Short, Sharp Interview: Jan Kozlowski

PDB: Can you pitch Die, You Bastard Die ! in 25 words or less?

Paul, I’m lucky in that I think the title says it all, but here goes: DIE, YOU BASTARD! DIE! is a down-and-dirty, grindhouse-style revenge story that registers somewhere between Misery and Last House on the Left on the EEK! meter.

PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

Films: The only new one I have any interest in seeing is Seven Psychopaths, with Christopher Walken, Harry Dean Stanton, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Colin Farrell & Tom Waits.

Old ones saved to the permanent DVR queue: Machete, Jennifer’s Body, Secondhand Lions, Dust Til Dawn& Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2.

Television: The Walking Dead, Castle, The Big Bang Theory, Hot in Cleveland & Dave’s Old Porn.

Books: Oh, man…too many to mention! I tend to read a bunch of books at a time and right now I’m in John Skipp’s Psychos, Mercedes M. Yardley’s Beautiful Sorrows and short story collections Protectors: Stories to Benefit PROTECT, and Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels.

The books I’ve most recently finished have been: Chastity Flame by K.A. Laity, Kin by Kealan Patrick Burke and A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Noir edited by Megan Abbott

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

My problem with writer as reader is not so much objectivity, as it is just being able to kick back and enjoy a good read without turning into nasty editor lady. I’ve spent most of life as a writer and the last 15 years or so as a freelance editor, so just being able to relax and sink into a story without (or without noticing) grammar, typos, fact checking or plot glitches is a rare and beautiful thing.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

Years back I had a short story that I was asked to turn into a short movie script and then that movie was shot locally. I was lucky enough to actually be on the set as a technical consultant during the shoot and I had a blast. Unfortunately the film, to my knowledge, never made it out of post-production, but it was a great experience.

It was different in that I had to get used to creating by committee and at one point on the set I thought that if I heard my own words repeated one more time

I’d scream…but all in all it was a lot of fun and I’d certainly consider doing it again if the project was right.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

As much research as I need to do to make the story credible and as factually accurate as possible. For BASTARD, I relied mostly on my own history, emotional truths and work experiences. Back in the 80’s, I was an urban EMT and I grew up in an area much like where BASTARD is set. About the only hard research I needed to do, besides finding out how long cockroaches could live underwater, was to make sure that my main character’s paramedic equipment and treatments were up to date and followed today’s protocols.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?

Social media is absolutely vital to professional writers today. It is our salon, our professional gatherings and publications, our local watering hole, our backyard fence and in many cases, our employment office.

Don’t like Facebook or Twitter or Goodreads or Pinterest or Google+ ? Too bad, if you’re going to be a professional writer, that is one who gets paid for their work, suck it up and learn how to manage it. Personally, I aspire to Jonathan Maberry’s disciplined approach of spending ten minutes of every hour on Facebook or Twitter and the other 50 minutes writing…but stuff (and fun conversations) happen. So I do the best I can and the quest for balance continues!

PDB: What’s on the cards for the rest of 2012/13?

Hopefully lots and lots of writing! I’ve been busy with conferences for the past couple of months, so it will be nice to hang up my traveling shoes and concentrate on putting words on the page again. I have a new novel project that I JUST started working on and I have a couple of fun editing projects on the horizon that I’m looking forward to as well.

Bio: Jan Kozlowski is a freelance writer, editor and researcher. Her first novel DIE, YOU BASTARD! DIE! was published in 2012 by John Skipp’s Ravenous Shadows imprint. Her short horror stories have appeared in HUNGRY FOR YOUR LOVE: An Anthology of Zombie Romance and FANGBANGERS: An Erotic Anthology of Fangs, Claws, Sex and Love, both edited by Lori Perkins, NECON EBOOKS FLASH FICTION ANTHOLOGY BEST OF 2011 and WEIRD NOIR edited by Kate Laity. Her websites are: www.jankozlowski.com and www.butshekeepsanicelawn.com

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