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Sunday, May 15, 2011

#16 Joe Lansdale

20 Questions with Mourning Goats

Another Mourning Goats interviewee, Paul Tremblay, told me about Joe Lansdale and after looking through his collection, I knew that he would be a fantastic author to pass along to you readers. His new book Devil Red was released today, and I'm happy to share his answers below with you all! Also, check out his website for a lot of free short stories to start your day off! 

1. What comes to mind when you hear, "Mourning Goats?"

A goat at a funeral, near a barbacue stand.

2. You just had a new novel released on March 15th, Devil Red, what are you most excited about, with this book? 

I love Hap and Leonard, and this one's different. The guys are going through some stuff, and though there are some odd elements in this one, it's a very down to earth book about them, especially Hap.

3. I saw you were just at World Horror Con, how was it? How was hanging out with fellow Mourning Goats interview, Paul Tremblay?

It was fine. We had barbacued goat.

4. What can you tell us about the new 1930's novel you're working on, Edge of Dark Water?

I don't want to talk too much about it, but I will say it has elements of crime and mystery and adventure and coming of age, and it has a slight inflence from Homer's Odyssey.

5. Can you explain your term, Mojo storytelling, for us?

It's actually my webmaster, Lou Bank's term. But it means someone who writes with a kind of dark magic. Nice. I'll accept it.

6. How did you get started writing?

With a pen and paper. Drum roll. Actually, that's it. I started writing as a kid. Always wanted to do it. Loved storytelling. Comics are my earliest influences, along with storytelling, and then books and films.

7. Many of your fans may not know that you've also written for animated series, including Batman and Superman, do you see yourself doing a lot more of these? How did you get into that genre?

I would have loved to have done more, but the series went away. Maybe something else in the future. Last year there was a Jonah Hex short that appeared and got a lot of attention. Thomas Jane was the voice of Hex.

8. When I think of an author, I don't think of someone that has multiple belts in martial arts, do you think your discipline there bleeds over into your writing routine?

Yep, it does. Discipline. Confidence. Dedication. It works in writing too.

9. How proud are you of your son, Keith, who has written the screenplay for Christmas With the Dead? What do you think about him following in your footsteps, in regards to writing?

Very proud. Both of my kids are quite talented.

10. What's it like working with your new publisher, Mulholland Books, a division of Little Brown, do you see a lot of differences from Knopf?

So far, so good. I think they are more media savvy, the internet, that sort of thing. They seem very focused and aware that it's a new century and there are new sheriff's in town. Knopf was great, but I sort of felt I was spinning my wheels a bit. Sometimes you just need change.

11. You said that Night they Missed the Horror Show changed your life, can you tell us more about that? 

Suddenly people knew the story, and knew who I was, and then they read my other work. It was a game changer, along with other things. But it was part of it. A couple years before THE MAGIC WAGON got me attention, as did a story titled "Tight Little Stitches In A Dead Man's Back", but "Night.." was a real game changer, and is even an influence on writers to this day. Amazing.

12. Over the years have you seen a difference in your tours? Are they getting bigger? Have they evolved?

You know, tours aren't what they used to be. There's no media going on. No newspapers and television and radio like before, or very little of it. Used to be tons of interviews. The crowds stay about the same, actually. Good in most places, but not growing. Sales are growing however, and that seems to be through Amazon. There are so many people out there touring, so many things asking for people's time, that though they are important, they aren't what they used to be.

13. What do you think about the large following in Italy? Why do you think that is?

Tours there are huge. I can't explain it actually, but it's nice. Lots of newspapers, television and radio. Like early tours here.

14. I've interviewed a lot of authors that have married other authors, academics, editors, etc. What's it like being married to a writer and editor? 

Karen is not truly a writer. She can do it, and has on occasions, but she doesn't have any desire to be published. She can edit as well, and has. She does a lot of proofing for me, that kind of thing. But she has only touched on writing. A few articles, cowriting stories, coediting. She can finish something I can't, but she's not inspired to write. It works out really well, actually.

15. I love what you said in the observer about noir, how "it is so like a sucking gunshot wound that, to keep from hanging yourself from a shower rod, you have to laugh at it, make fun of it" can you go a little more in depth on this? How do you make fun of something so rough, especially in story?

Everything has a humorous side. You have to look for it. Remember Twain's quote: There's no humor in heaven." Which means all things humorous have to do with the sadness or pain of humans.

16. The adaptation of your short story, Christmas With The Dead, is set to start filming in Nacogdoches in June, how did this come about and what are you most excited about it?

The University wanted a better script than they had had in the past, and I wanted to make a film. We made a kind of union. More money. Keith's script based on my story. I brought in a couple of actors and a director who had experience, and we were off to the races. Films June 2, full feature.

17. I read somewhere that you said that ebooks are the new paperback, where do you think literature is going, in regards to the publishing world?

Books will still be published, but will be more of a luxury item. E books are the new paper back. It's just that simple.

18. How long do you see your Hap & Leonard series going?

Impossible to say. As long as I feel the urge. Right now, I'm thinking two to four more. But you never know.

19. What's the most important advice that you've received about writing?

I had to figure most of it out on my own, but sitting your ass in a chair and writing and reading is the most important. William F. Nolan told me to diversify. I did. It worked for me.

20. What's next for Joe Lansdale? 


Thank you!


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