Short, Sharp Interview: Preston Lang

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PDB: Can you pitch THE BLIND ROOSTER in 25 words or less?

Drifter gets involved with a waitress, leading to con games, ugly family secrets, and aggressive karaoke.

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

I recently read three of the Parker novels by Richard Stark in no particular order, so I wasn’t always sure whether he had his old face or his new face when I’d start a book. Two new novels I got to and greatly enjoyed in the last month are Salaryman Unbound by Ezra Kyrill Erker and Big Ugly by Jake Hinkson.

I saw Out of the Past for the first time recently. It’s a good reminder of how funny the really great old noirs are. The writing is just so good.

And I’ve been hearing All About that Bass everywhere lately. I’m still trying to process my feelings about the song. A lot of people like it, so it must be good.

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

No, I don’t think so.

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

I’ve done some theatre. Over the summer, a piece I wrote was performed in a taxi cab that drove around Brooklyn. It was a sort of hyperactive noir about a priceless book and a legless woman. That was for a great theater group called Woodshed Collective. They do insane projects wherever they can get space.

Film, television? Sure, I’d do that.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

It depends on the book. The Blind Rooster required a few trips to a karaoke bar, but this was not a research heavy project. I once had an idea for a series of hard boiled novels set in the coffee houses of medieval Germany. But that required a lot of research—like a lot. For example they didn’t have coffee houses in medieval Germany. They didn’t have coffee. They didn’t even really have Germany if you get right down to it. So that’s what research will get you.

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

I’ve got a twitter account but don’t use it as often as some writers do. I’ll tweet out this interview.

PDB: What’s on the cards for 2014?

More writing.  I’ve got a few books that are fairly close to completion, and some interesting ideas that haven’t quite gotten off the ground. There’s one about black market cigarettes in New York City, which a lot of people (non-smokers or non-New Yorkers) think is a joke. It’s not, and it’s a pretty big business.

I’ve also got a novel about an amoral Canadian woman who works as an unlicensed private detective for shady clients. It’s loosely based on the smartest person I know.

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