Sunday, 30 September 2012

PUSH-UPS: Julie Morrigan

So, what you pushing right now?

Wired, a pair of nasty shorts (Barbed Wire and Razor Wire). Both stories include scenes of violence, brutality and human frailty.

What’s the hook?

The hook is barbed, literally. The first story, Barbed Wire, was inspired by some ‘facts’ I was told years ago about a local murder. From a starting point of thinking about how trying to throttle someone with barbed wire might turn out, it was a small step to consider what might be done with razor wire. Obviously, it was never going to be warm and fuzzy or end well for anyone involved. (Although I’m told the most memorable scene involves a mere ball point pen. Who’d have thought?)

And why’s that floating your boat?

After writing a lot of different stuff (including non-fiction) it was nice to get back to doing something in the style of previous collections Gone Bad and Show No Mercy.

When did you turn to crime?

I’ve read crime fiction for as long as I can remember, but I started trying to write it seriously back in 2006 when I discovered Bullet magazine. I ordered and read the back issues, then submitted two stories for the next one, thinking that doubled my chances of getting one accepted. The editor took both, so my first published stories were in issue 6 of Bullet, alongside Charlie Williams, Ray Banks and Allan Guthrie. Still chuffed about that!

Hardboiled or Noir, classic or contemporary?

Oh, all of it, definitely. The great thing about it is that there’s no need to choose, just the opportunity to find what you like and enjoy it. (Although I do have a well-documented weakness for Jim Thompson.) I take great delight in the range of crime fiction that’s available. I wish I had more time for reading, Mount TBR has taken on epic proportions.

And, what’s blown you away lately?

Well, sticking with short stories since that’s what I’m pushing, two collections lately, both by Scottish writers, have made a big impression on me.

The first is Steven Miscandlon’s Into The Shadows, which brings together crime fiction, science fiction and horror. I’m perhaps biased because he’s my partner, but then again, I do get murdered in that collection. Dead me even gets set alight with my own Zippo. What I love about Steven’s writing is that it’s darkly funny and sharply observed, and it’s an absolute pleasure to read.

The second is Leon Steelgrave’s More Stories About Drugs, Sex & Violence, a terrific collection of layered, nuanced, and richly rendered tales. Some run the gamut of badness from the small wickednesses men (and women) do to global acts of destruction. Others detail surreal and even sometimes playful stories of the weird and the wonderful.

Both writers and both those collections are highly recommended.

See any books as movies waiting to happen?

Dani Amore’s Death By Sarcasm springs to mind. It’s a cracking tale of revenge. Dani’s a great writer and Mary Cooper is a great character; mouthy, brash, intelligent, tenacious, brave and very, very funny. The second Mary Cooper novel, Murder With Sarcastic Intent, is available now, too. It’s one I’m really looking forward to reading.

Mainstream or indie - paper or digital?

I don’t see it as an ‘either/or’ option. What matters to me as a reader is the story and how it’s told, and what matters to me as a writer is getting my stuff out there so that it (hopefully) finds some readers who enjoy it.

Shout us a website worth visiting …

Great book reviews and interviews from the very lovely Elizabeth White, who is a hugely supportive friend to writers:

Finally, tell us any old shit about yourself …

I’ve had my face spray-painted on a wall in town! I’m a keen amateur photographer and a few years back I got into shooting street art. (I love it, and it will feature in a future book release.) Anyway, one of the local artists made a stencil from an old pic of me he found and put it on a wall. (I would have stencilled a thank you to him for doing that, but I’m a law-abiding citizen and that would have been very naughty.)

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