This month’s guest is none other than Patti Abbott. She has been a recipient of a Derringer Award, edited several anthologies, and writes some of the hardest-hitting crime fiction around. She also maintains a popular blog for writers and readers at http://pattinase.blogspot.com/. Here latest release is Monkey Justice, an anthology of her stories.
HARD-NOSED SLEUTH: Give us a little background on your latest release of Monkey Justice.
PATTI ABBOTT: Monkey Justice includes about 25 of my stories from various zines, anthologies, and print publications. That's roughly 1/3 of my published stories. I had never considered publishing them until Brian Lindenmuth, from the newly formed SNUBNOSE PRESS and SPINETINGLER ZINE, emailed me and asked me if I'd be interested in collecting them for one of their first anthologies. Usually a collection of stories come after a published novel. But with the way ebooks can target a smaller audience than a print book and still have some success, it made sense. All the stories I chose are crime-related, but not particularly violent. Brian allowed me to choose whatever stories I wanted for the collection. A few stories I would have liked to have included were under copyright still or had not appeared in publications yet. I also tried to vary the places they were published, the age of the protagonist, the setting. Maybe I will get to include the others in another collection at some point. I am very grateful for the folks who have blogged about the collection, written amazon reviews, or bought the ebook. It is extremely hard to know how to publicize it and I now appreciate why facebook is mostly people pitching their wares.
BK: When I started my journey as an English major at Oakland University, I dreamed of having a seat at the Algonquin Round Table. A few years ago on a trip to New York I even hunted down the famed hotel just to sit at the bar and take a look in the room where the table sat. You run, what I think, is one of the more popular blogs for writers and I often see/hear a lot of advice and suggestions on it. How do you think social media/ blogs/groups help us as writers in that tradition of open dialogue?
PA: Ha! I have stayed at the Algonquin Hotel on a few occasions and sat in that room. It is magical, isn't it? I do try to run my blog for readers, writers and people who like to discuss various things. Initially, it was almost all about writing. But over time, more and more people who commented did not write and wanted to talk about books, movies, TV. I expected Friday's Forgotten Books to last about two months and we are headed for four years. A few people have written a book review every week over that time. I also add topics like HOW I CAME TO WRITE THIS BOOK or STORY. I also issue challenges to write flash fiction based on some theme about twice a year.
I write about movies a lot. Some things I eliminated. I stopped talking about politics because it attracted some argumentative people. I try to make my blog personal without talking too much about my family. I also very rarely review a new book despite continuous attempts by publicists to do that. I could never give a book a bad review and consequently my reviews would be meaningless. I invite any writer of a book, not self-published, to come on and talk about their book though. Some take me up on it and some just don't have the time.
BK: I ask this of everyone I interview. When did you know you just had to write?
PA: This is an interesting question. I have always written in some fashion. But I lacked confidence until I took a poetry workshop because another class didn't carry when I returned to school. That was in the mid-nineties when I was over forty. The instructor encouraged me to the point I submitted some poetry, got it published, and finally had a poetry chapbook published. But I was a lousy poet because all I did was to tell a story in the form of a poem. So eventually I came to stories and took four writing workshops where a marvelous teacher, Chris Leland, encouraged me even more.
So I have always known I wanted to write but only acted on it after forty. And I was almost fifty before I began writing stories.
How's that Jack?
BK: That was absolutely wonderful, Patti. Thank you for the interview.
BLATANT SELF PROMOTION CORNER: Pulp Metal Magazine will run my short, ‘The Dog That Shat against the Wall’. No firm date yet.
BLATANT SELF PROMOTION CORNER NEXT: Untreed Reads will be releasing two of my pieces in the coming weeks. Monkey See, Monkey Murder is a novella introducing Detroit’s PI to the stars, Hack Ward. The Flying Box will be a part of the Grimm Tales anthology. Look for both to launch soon. By the way, Patti Abbott also has a story in it.
FLASH JAB CHALLENGE #8: Still waiting for responses. Fire up those keyboards or set those pencils afire! Flash Jab Fiction wants your stories! http://tinyurl.com/7lejhhh