Tuesday, 1 November 2011

PUSH-UPS: Anthony Neil Smith

So, what you pushing right now?
A new novel with a brand new publisher. My thriller ALL THE YOUNG WARRIORS is out Nov. 1st, and it’s an e-book from the upstart Blasted Heath, the creation of Allan Guthrie and Kyle MacRae. They’ve got some impressive titles and impressive ideas about e-publishing, and I’m excited that they decided to drag me on board.

What’s the hook?
In the Twin Cities, a few hours east of the small farm town where I live, there’s a huge Somali population. Over the past few years, some young Somali men have been disappearing from the Cities but then showing up back in Somalia as soldiers for a terrorist army. That really got to me since we also have a lot of Somalis in our town. It just seemed like a lot of families were getting torn apart because someone was recruiting these guys right here under our noses. So that’s the hook—a small town Somali college kid gets pulled into this trip to Mogadishu, but only after his friend kills a couple of cops who try to get in their way. That brings in a heartbroken detective and the college kid’s father, an ex-gang leader gone legit.

And why’s that floating your boat?
I think this is a big story, lots of serious overtones, but I also wanted it to be pulpy as shit. Larger than life, all over the map. And at every step of the way, from my first outline to the last chapter, Allan Guthrie was there offering advice and guidance. I think we really clicked as a writer-editor team on this. So when he started Blasted Heath, I was glad to hear he thought this was perfect as one of the launch titles. So I fired him as my agent and re-hired him as my publisher. Sweet.

When did you turn to crime?
Young. A pi’po’et on the streets of Lun-dun, I was…

I blame Hardy Boys covers (they’re in trouble! Gotta read how they get out of it), Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators, my grandpa’s Mike Shayne novels, my dad’s Executioner books, and the local library’s crime section.

Hardboiled or Noir, classic or contemporary?
Noir. But more as a flavoring than a genre. I like to be surprised. And I lean a lot more contemporary (Neo. I’m all neo and shit), but am going back and picking up a lot of cool classics. I love some Chester Himes, non-Maigret Simenons, etc.

And, what’s blown you away lately?
Shit, loaded question. The past few weeks I’ve been reading Derek Raymond, the new James Lee Burke, John Rector, Anonymous 9, Nigel Bird, McDroll, and I’m looking forward to the new Ray Banks, Douglas Lindsay, Gary Carson, and Brian Pendreigh from Blasted Heath.

I’m always jazzed by new stuff, and I hate saying what because I leave people out. I hate being left off “What are you reading?” lists.

Here’s what’s *really* blown me away: I turned over the editorial reins of PLOTS WITH GUNS to Sean O’Kane, who also has Erik Lundy and Gonzalo Baeza on his team, and their first issue together just hit the web. It’s a monster. Looks incredible, and the work is strong medicine.

See any books as movies waiting to happen?
I would love to see someone turn ALL THE YOUNG WARRIORS into a movie, sure. I see it as a big over-the-top Tony Scott sort of thing.

Also, YELLOW MEDICINE is being turned into a screenplay by William Rabkin, so you never know.

Mainstream or indie - paper or digital?
ALL OF IT. You know, there’s good about all of it. But I like the rebel attitude of indie e-publishing because it feels a lot like indie record labels. They want to get the stuff out there to the readers. They’re more about the art than the money. They price the books reasonably instead of trying to squeeze the reader.

Overall, I think if I had to choose either all indie or all mainstream for the rest of my life, I’d go all indie.

Shout us a website worth visiting …
PLOTS WITH GUNS, of course. But only after a visit to BLASTEDHEATH.com, where you’ll find a page for me, and you can even ask me questions on it. I might even lower myself enough to answer.

Finally, tell us any old shit about yourself …
My dog, Herman, is pretty fucking awesome. I’m making a video about him.

NEW ORDER: Award-winning novelist and literary agent, Allan Guthrie, left, with entrepreneur and social media expert, Kyle MacRae, who will publish Anthony Neil Smith through their new venture Blasted Heath