So our ol’ pal, Red Tash, tagged me in this Next Big Thing thing… So here’s my answers to the requisite questions, complete with stunt casting for the Hot Sinatra film, where I get my ideas, and the answer to the age old question of who in the hell Olaf Skogerbo is supposed to be.
- What is the working title of your book?Hot Sinatra is the actual, permanent and entirely set-in-stone title. I think the only other title that ever even existed for this was “So Long, Sinatra” which lasted for all of ten seconds before I settled on the aforementioned.
- Where did the idea come from for the book?I tend to wallow in my inspirations. I’d been reading a lot of Chandler and Hammet, Jim Thompson, James M. Cain, etcetera. That led to concurrent re-viewing of my vast collection of Noir flicks from the 40’s, old Jimmy Cagney and Bogey gangster flicks, Lady From Shanghai, This Gun For Hire, Double Indemnity and neo-noir stuff from the Altman/Gould version of The Long Goodbye, The Getaway, Point Blank and Prime Cut… to British gangster stuff like Get Carter and The Long Good Friday. That in turn led me to new new stuff like The Salton Sea, Brick, Give Em’ Hell, Malone and Winterbottom’s glorious take on The Killer Inside Me.
You obviously can’t be mainlining detective novels and darkly subversive sex and violence without listening to a lot of jazz. I chilled out on Miles Davis, Monk, Coltrane and the likes, a lot of Art Blakey, then I mixed it up with Sinatra, Louis Prima… then into the “rock with horns”, mostly Cake, which cemented the idea of a modern SoCal P.I., but firmly entrenched in the old school traditions.
Then it kind of steeped for awhile and swirled around in the stockpot on top of my neck, slowly bubbling together into a tasty mélange of flavors that eventually encompassed all of those influences in their own little ways.
- What genre does your book fall under?It’s been described as “neo-noir”, “comic-nihilist-romance”, “tard-noir”, “Fletch-meets-Maltese Falcon”, “Hammet-esque” (which I will cling to til my dying day), “Pulp Bromance” and twelve or thirteen other hyperbo-tastic phrases. Personally, I refer to it as a “darkly comic neo-noir”.
- Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Man, I hate seeing “cast lists” when people are writing books. Seems a little like cheating yourself out of the best part of writing. It’s inevitable that those perceived quirks of a known personality are doomed to seep in and turn your characters into caricatures. I’d rather see them slowly come into their own, grow their own quirks and weirdo personality traits. If I decide I want a middle aged mob boss who looks like Christopher Walken, there is no question he’ll just turn into Vincenzo Coccotti, tics and all.
I can honestly say I didn’t have anyone in mind when I wrote any of the characters, but what I will do is play along and make some picks for the inevitable Hollywood blockbuster version of Hot Sinatra (that could happen, right? Right? Hey. Where are you going? Hey!)
I forget who suggested it, but somebody threw Jeffrey Dean Morgan out there as their picture of Moss from the vague descriptions in the book. I could go with that. Although most of the suggested actors (I’ve also heard Tom Jane and “The Rock” of all people) seem just a tad old for the part. I saw Moss as mid-30’s, mostly fit, 6’-ish, a little stocky. So, while I’d like to say Tom Hardy or even Joel Edgerton (who could be my cousin if you saw pictures of me from before I gave birth to my 4000th chili dog), what we’re really talking about is Jason Segel lifting weights for six weeks, or maybe Seth Rogen on a stepper. Slap some tattoos and scars on ‘em and you’re most of the way there. Or get Josh Brolin to eat a cheeseburger or 80. He’d be fuckin’ BOSS. The Thrashin’ star has already played one Moss, and he looks cool in a hat.
Cole’s beloved grandfather. He’s a class old gent. Tough, hearty and resilient. Handsome and imposing, even at the end. Eastwood? Jones? No idea. Let’s assume I can snag people from anywhere in history. Anthony Quinn at 60.
Carl muhrfuggin’ Reiner. No question.
Again, plucking from history. Mantan Moreland. Because, if it’s that kind of party, Charlie Moses is sticking his dick in the mashed potatoes.
Rosie & Holly:
Uuuuuuumaaaaaaaaa. Uma could be Rosie. She has that balance between normalcy and ascendant beauty. And those lips.
Gaby Hoffman circa Uncle Buck. Somebody hop in a time machine and go get that kid. She’s Holly. Werd. Up.
Lacy Lincoln & George “Mountain” McGuire:
Whoever is picking up Hoffman can swing by 1987 and grab Holly Hunter off the set of Raising Arizona. Her accent we can work with. Big George they may have to dig deeper for. Tor Johnson in the mid-50’s.
Either rough up Robert Sheehan, or shrink Dylan Moran. Or somebody figure out how to clone me a 25 year-old Colin Farrell that’s only eaten twice in the last month and is full-bore ginger. We have the technology. Your choice, wankers.
Lastly, most interestingly, Manlove & Kickerdick:
These two have quick become fan favorites and already starred in a couple of extraneous stories of their own. One coming in this December’s anthology
Let It Snow! Season’s Readings for a Super-Cool Yule, and the second coming in the LGBT issue of Big Pulp, next summer. Artie Menlowe should be totally unassuming. You should look at him out on the street and think “this guy spent 8 years folding T’s at American Eagle”. He is described, once, as a very young Al Pacino as dressed by the Gap. That attitude though. 65% early James Spader, 35% “oh no you didn’t”.Sam Rockwell. Yeah. Kickerdick, on the other hand, he’s a Frankenstein monster with Nazi tattoos and an eyebrow ring. So I guess there’s only one choice… The Kurgan!
Wait. What about the Southie with the F-bomb problem, you ask? Ollie Skogerbo, comin’ right up… the only character actually inspired by someone else.
- What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?A reluctant P.I. goes up against a psychopathic Las Vegas mafioso, the Yakuza, Mexican drug cartels, a drunken Irish rock star, a whipsmart little girl, her gorgeous mother, crooked cops, the City of Los Angeles and True Love in the search for a lost Sinatra record.
- Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?Hot Sinatra will be released by Evolved Publishing on January 15, 2013
- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?Most of it was done over the course of one month, the last third took another year, with starts and stops.
- What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Sweet sassy mollassey. Ummm… I don’t think it’s really going to be like much that’s out there. That’s the fun of it. It is funny, exciting, full of action, mystery, romance… it pokes fun at the conventions of pop culture, the definition of “noir” and what I find is kind of a stagnantion in mystery fiction.
- Who or What inspired you to write this book?My love of the style of the old masters of detective fiction. My penchance for 30’s and 40’s style and attitude, which I’m sure was passed down to me by my grandparents. One set still lived in a lot of that world, surrounded by their aging possessions. I grew up there, amidst the clutter and the musty books and old clocks and watches and tools. My granddad wore a fedora and nodded hello to strangers on the street. My grandma had her own garden and canned all of their vegetables until I was in my teens. They were farmers and oilworkers during the depression and into the 50’s.
The other set were city kids, born into the depression-era and they grew up on double-feature Bogey flicks in Toronto’s “Cabbage Town” area. That grandfather was an impressionable kid when he met an older Charlie “Lucky” Luciano, who was hiding out in the Great White North.
It all informs my everyday attitudes and my fantasy life. I’ve always associated more with the natty-suits and aww shucks manners of my forebears, even when all the other kids were wearing skinny leather ties and parachute pants (which is to say, as I was entering the terrors of puberty and peer pressure). I guess it just stuck with me all these years. One facet of a many-mirrored face. Part of me is very much a sappy nostalgic ball of black coffee and apple pie.
- What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There is a verbal joust between a foul-mouthed Irish punk rocker and a one-note Boston Southie.
There is a hilarious pair of hired thugs who happen to be same-sex partners, as well as professional sex performers.
If you hold this book up to your ear, you can hear the ocean.
If you ask it nicely, this book can make you a nice peanut butter and banana sandwich, or a tasty latte macchiato.
This book gives grown-up children the power to read!
This book once sat next to a book about Abraham Lincoln, in a movie theatre showing Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
This book can improve your sex life and increase the size of your virulent manhood in three easy steps.
Thanks for indulging me and getting a little BTS info on Hot Sinatra. Now check out these cats and kittens:
Tag! Your WIP is “The Next Big Thing!” Go visit these magnificent peeps who write like rabid Gods.