Category Archives: short sharp interviews

Short, Sharp Interview: Aidan Thorn

tales from the underbellyPDB: What’s going on?

Right now, it’s 3am and I’m wide awake because I’m in the USA and I’m shite at travelling and time differences. But I guess I should also tell you about the release of my new linked story collection, Tales from the Underbelly. It’s a sort of British Pulp Fiction, as a bunch of characters all in someway linked to a couple of crime bosses, Tony Ricco and Jimmy O’Keefe, go about their lives and have to deal with the consequences of being involved with the criminal underbelly. There are a stories of all different lengths here, from flash fiction to novella, hopefully there’s something for all lovers of crime fiction, murders, corruption, dodgy coppers, colourful characters and occasionally some humour.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

Always. Much of my writing is inspired by music, as the title of my first novella, When the Music’s Over suggests. I always used to have the radio on, BBC 6Music or Radio X, but I can’t stand the chat while I work. These days I tend to go with some sort of live performance on YouTube, I’ve been reliving a lot of MTv unplugged sets, things like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. My friend Stu has also got me back into the blues recently so I’ve been streaming a lot of blues mixes on YouTube too.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

When people full over. That’s horrible right? But I can’t help myself, when I see someone go down I’m uncontrollable. I blame Fools and Horses and that bar scene, I was taught by that, at a very early age, that falling over is funny

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

10 years ago I’d have said exercise. These days I’m good for nothing for a few days after a proper session, I just have to ride it out, sofa, sugary tea and a film I’ve seen a thousand times before

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

San Francisco, incredible place. There’s something for everyone there. That said I’d miss going to Southampton home matches.

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

No, I’m 37, I don’t think people my age do. But thinking about it now I’ve done many of the things that I guess would be on it, there are a few bands I haven’t seen I’d like to, but I’ve seen most of the ones I love. I want more tattoos, I want to get fitter again, I want to write more books, I want to see Southampton FC not just in a cup final but win one, I want to keep travelling to different places… So it’s more a continuation of things than a must do list

PDB: What’s on the cards? 

I haven’t written an original word in 2017, but I’ve still been working on the writing. On new years eve 2016 I typed ‘the end’ on my novella, Rival Sons (another music inspired title, inspired by the band of the same name). I’ve spent free moments this year editing and polishing that trying to get it ready for publication. I had my editor and publisher for When the Music’s Over, Chris Black, at Number 13 Press give it the once over and it’s looking good. I’ve knocked together a synopsis and pitched it around a few indie publishers and I’ll see what comes of it, I’ve had a couple of nibbles asking to see the full manuscript so you never know, but I ain’t holding my breath

PDB: Anything else?12814622_10154001046965850_1354014591552990923_n

No, I think I’ve taken up enough of your time, Paul. Thanks for the interview, always a pleasure dealing with you Mr Brazill

Bio: Aidan Thorn is from Southampton England. You can find his short fiction and poetry in numerous collections and widely across the Web. He has three books with his name on the cover and is the curator and editor of the charity anthology Paladins.



Short, Sharp Interview: L A Sykes

Lee Sykes Noir Medley

PDB: What’s going on?


Sorting out some manuscripts and working on some more short fiction.

Also, Near To The Knuckle are putting out the full collection of my short stories and flash fiction in a volume entitled Noir Medley.


PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?


No, the quieter the better these days. So I can earwig on the voices.


PDB: What makes you laugh?


Can’t go wrong with the old classics: Only Fools, Blackadder. I’m partial to satire, word play and things of that nature.


PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?


A pint of water and a hot shower followed by a fry up. Before that some deep breathing to stave off the panic as the flashbacks of the night before creep into conscious awareness.


PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?


I suppose I should be ambitious and say a platinum palace in the Antarctic, but to be honest I’d be happy enough up the Lake District.


PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?


I haven’t considered a bucket list as I’m still conniving to cheat Death.


PDB: What’s on the cards?


Like I mentioned, Noir Medley, thirty six stories in one volume coming soon from Near To The Knuckle.

Also, the novella The Hard Cold Shoulder is being republished by the same crew later in the year. Another collection of short stories is in the works and some longer projects are being drafted.


PDB: Anything else?


Just a big thanks for having me. Cheers.


Bio: LA Sykes is a writer from Atherton, Greater Manchester, UK. He’s been up at the likes of Blink Ink, Shotgun Honey, Nightmare Illustrated, Spelk Fiction, podcasted at Dark Dreams and Blackout City and has a story in Dog Horn Press’ punkPunk! Anthology co-written with Mark Slade. He’s the author of Noir Medley: collected fiction volume 1 and the novella The Hard Cold Shoulder coming soon from Near To The Knuckle publishing and has other works lined up in the not so distant future.

Short, Sharp Interview: Graham Smith

the-kindred-killers-final-correctPDB: What’s going on?

As I write these answers, it’s the day before Bloody Scotland, which I’m attending, and five days before I launch the second Jake Boulder novel, The Kindred Killers.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

I generally have the TV on when I’m writing but I swap that for the wireless when editing.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

I’m a huge fan of clever wordplay and linguistic gymnastics. I rate the Marx Brothers films as the funniest of all time, closely followed by spoofs like Airplane or The Naked Gun.

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

I wish I knew. Irn Bru and a bacon roll can do wonders though.

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I’d say a Scottish village in a house which had panoramic views and a loch at the bottom of the garden.

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

I’d like to see my son grow up to live a happy and fulfilling life and to see my books earn me enough money for me to become a full time writer.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

I’m about to start a novel which has been burning away at the back of my head for some months now and when that’s done, I have the fourth books in both the Jake Boulder and Harry Evans series to write.

PDB: Anything else?

6014e-graham2bsmithNothing really other than my grateful thanks for having me over.

Bio: Graham Smith is a time served joiner who has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000 he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website since 2009

He is the author of four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team and one novel, WATCHING THE BODIES, in a new series featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder. The second Jake Boulder novel, THE KINDRED KILLERS, is released on the 12th of September 2017.

Short, Sharp Interview: Matt Hilton

19601336_471413026540927_4071050112285606313_nPDB: Can you pitch YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK in 25 words or less?

Raised in an orphanage, trained as assassins by a surrogate father who first offers chocolate and later the bullets that could kill them. (Brotherhood of the Rose by David Morrell)

PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows do you wish you had written?

I’m a fan of old time Rock ’n’ Roll and Rockabilly music, and have actually penned some tunes myself, and being an author have written books, but would love to claim I’d written The Stand. Really would have loved to pen an episode of Banshee on TV, or (am I cheating here?) the movie adaptation of my book The Shadows Call (as it is so personal to me).

 PDB: Which books do you think would make great films or TV series?

Ehm, The Shadows Call, or my Joe Hunter series? Seriously though, I’d like to see an adaptation of Robert E Howard’s Conan the Cimmerian that stays true to the original (I’ve enjoyed the movie incarnations to date, but they still haven’t fully caught the essence of the original stories for me), and would like to see them given a similar treatment to Game Of Thrones or The Lord of the Rings.

matt hiltonPDB: Can you tell me a joke?

(Scratches head trying to think of something clean and PC).

Q: What’s pink and wrinkly and hangs out Grandpa’s underpants?

A: Grandma on washing day.

PDB: Who are the great British writers?

I might be the wrong person to ask. I’m not well read in regards British authors. One day — I promise — I’ll read Arthur Conan Doyle.

 PDB: What’s on the cards?

I’ve got WORST FEAR, the fourth book in my series featuring Tess Grey and Nicolas ‘Po’ Villere, being published in September, and have just recently seen my twelfth Joe Hunter book, MARKED FOR DEATH, published. At present I’m working on a possible new series that mixes police procedural with the supernatural, and if a publisher picks it up will be my first published crime thriller set in my native UK.

PDB: Anything else?

 Joe Hunter will be back. Book 13 – Unlucky For Some.Guest Blogger: Matt Hilton - Genesis to Generation -or how characters are born

Bio: Matt Hilton is the author of the high-octane Joe Hunter thriller series, and the Tess Grey and Po Villere thrillers. His first book, ‘Dead Men’s Dust’, was shortlisted for the International Thriller Writers’ Debut Book of 2009 Award, and was a Sunday Times bestseller, also being named as a ‘thriller of the year 2009’ by The Daily Telegraph. Dead Men’s Dust was also a top ten Kindle bestseller in 2013 and 2016.

Matt has published novels in the supernatural/horror genre, namely ‘Preternatural’, ‘Dominion’, ‘Darkest Hour’ and ‘The Shadows Call’.

His twelfth Joe Hunter novel, Marked For Death, was published July 2017, and his next Tess and Po novel, Worst Fear, is published September 2017.

Short, Sharp Interview: Beau Johnson

20525595_1907272402872470_5546300016962871857_nPDB: Can you pitch your latest book in 25 words?

BJ:  Nope.  Not enough space.  If I had more space, maybe.  But even then, maybe not.  Hate.  The book is about hate.  How we can use it better.

PDB: Which music, book, films or television do you wish you had written?

BJ:  Oh man, there are tons.  Silence of the Lambs.  Seven.  Lost.  Breaking Bad.  Up to season 7 of the X-files.  The episode where Buffy’s mom dies.  As for books: everything by Thomas Harris excluding Hannibal Rising.  The Long Walk by King.  The Jaunt.  The raft.  Music?  Wheat Kings by The Tragically Hip, our very own Canadian treasure.

PDB: Which books do you think would make great films or TV series?

BJ: I want to say the Dark Tower, but as it seems that particular ship might have somewhat sailed.

a better kind of hatePDB:  Who are the great British Writers?

BJ: PDB, naturally.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

BJ:  I have a few shorts in the pipe, some coming soon.  Bishop Rider has been poking his head up too, just headlining a new finished piece titled Old Ghosts.  It’s companion story to a yarn called Shift Work, where I once and for all debunk his reasons for retirement.  It might include dismemberment.

PDB: Anything else?

BJ:  Big thanks to you, Paul.  For offering this platform and for supporting me in the past.  If memory serves, you were one of the first who started sharing my work when I first got on to Facebook.  I want you to know I appreciate that, Paul.  I always have.

 BIO:  Beau Johnson has been published before, usually on the darker side of town.  Such fine establishments might include Out of the Gutter Online, Shotgun Honey, Spelk, HST, and/or the Molotov Cocktail.  A collection of Beau’s, A Better Kind Of Hate, is published by Down and Out Books.

Short, Sharp Interview: Tom Leins

Skull Meat - Tom Leins - jpegPDB: Can you pitch SKULL MEAT in 25 words or less?


A deranged seaside noir about a PI who gets dragged into a violent running battle with an obese sex trafficker called Swollen Roland. In Paignton!


PDB: Who are the great British writers?


Good question – albeit one I’m not best equipped to answer, given the heavy American bias in my recreational reading history…


Instead, I’ll give you a run-down of my own great British influences…


J.G. Ballard. This probably sounds strange to anyone remotely familiar with my fiction, but Ballard is my number one. I picked up my first Ballard book (Cocaine Nights) in a Vietnamese travel agent (in Vietnam, not in this country), and it blew me away (and kept me distracted on a terrifying mountaintop coach ride). Aspects of Ballard’s work has always seemed scarily prescient, and now we are very firmly in a post-Ballard Britain. The insidious way in which he rolls out his stories is a joy to behold, and – while we obviously won’t get the chance – I would have loved to have seen his interpretation of contemporary Britain, and indeed his nightmarish projection of our future.


Iain Sinclair. My first encounter with Sinclair was in an otherwise unmemorable football themed short story collection (I forget the title). The story later appeared in his excellent Slow Chocolate Autopsy book, which the main character, Norton, is trapped in a particular space – London’s city limits – but not in time. Anyway, the story was so good it prompted me to pick up White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings, and a number of other Sinclair books. I’m fascinated by his take on Psychogeography, and my Paignton Noir stories are an attempt at a localised spin on the concept.


Derek Raymond. I picked up a greasy hardback copy of his posthumous book ‘Not Till the Red Fog Rises’ in a 30p sale at the old Paignton Library in Victoria Park half a lifetime ago. I had no prior knowledge of the writer, or his work, and the book was grubby and intense – much like the old Paignton Library building – in a way that most British crime fiction simply isn’t. It led me to investigate his arresting ‘Factory’ series, and his compelling life-story was an additional hook. Fascinating man, fascinating life, fascinating books.


David Peace. The Red Riding Quartet must surely rank as the bleakest most absorbing series in British crime fiction. Nasty, unflinching and thoroughly immersive, it is easy to see why Peace is often likened to James Ellroy. These superb, confrontational books offer a grim, unrelenting depiction of Northern England during the Yorkshire Ripper case, and Peace mines this dark episode for a complex, terrific story.


PDB: Which books do you think would make great films or TV series?


Ballard’s High-Rise (directed by Ben Wheatley) was probably my favourite movie of last year, and I hope its success encourages other directors to tackle his work. There is so much excellent Ballard material to work with, but I would like to see Cocaine Nights turned into a mini-series, populated exclusively with the revolving cast of middle-aged, middle-class actors that ITV stuffs its programmes with. To my mind, that would make it even more subversive. Obviously, ITV wouldn’t touch the story with a barge pole, but I can dream!


PDB: What’s on the cards?


A collection of Paignton Noir short stories, MEAT BUBBLES (& OTHER STORIES), should be available through Amazon later this summer.


My Paignton Gothic story ‘Here Comes That Weird Chill’ will be included in the MORE BIZARRO THAN BIZARRO anthology, edited by Vincenzo Bilof, later this year.


Also, coming in September, is the first issue of THE BLOOD RED EXPERIMENT, a serialized collection of neo-Giallo stories, edited by our mutual acquaintances Craig Douglas and Jason Michel. I’m involved, alongside a selection of other literary reprobates. Expect blood, dismemberment and cliffhangers galore. Suffice to say, my story, DIDN’T BLEED RED, takes place in the already disturbing Paignton Noir universe. Honestly, the last thing this town needs is a deranged sex-killer in a motorcycle helmet running amok with a meat cleaver, but that’s exactly what it is going to get…!


PDB: Anything else?

Thanks for having me back, Paul – always a pleasure!TomLeins-2017-b&w


Bio:  Tom Leins is a disgraced ex-film critic from Paignton, UK. His short stories have been published by the likes of Akashic Books, Shotgun Honey, Flash Fiction Offensive, Near to the Knuckle, Pulp Metal Magazine and Spelk. His novelette SKULL MEAT is available for Kindle, via Amazon. Get your pound of flesh at


Short, Sharp Interview: Scotch Rutherford

Scotch Rutherford headshot 1PDB: Can you pitch YOUR NEW BOOK in 25 words or less?

Switchblade Issue 1—the very latest no-limit crime fiction anthology. Featuring the very best in the business outside the big 5; a real steal for only $6.95

PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

I wish I’d written the script for “Heat” (Michael Mann) A film that inspired the 1997 North Hollywood bank shootout, and was most famous for Pacino and Di Niro’s first scene on film together. It’s a brilliant piece of work, filled with pure style. The downtown LA shootout scene was probably the most accurate and dynamic depictions of combat on film, next to “Saving Private Ryan. Cast-wise it’s got everyone—except maybe for Michael Madsen. “Heat” is my top pick for contemporary film noir.

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

Well, being a fledgling author who’s yet to make the leap from short fiction to novel-length prose—I think any talk of scripts based on the novels I haven’t written yet is kind of putting the cart before the horse. However, I do have a finished short script adapted from my short story, “The Pareto Principle”, which appeared in Pulp Modern 10.

PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

You know, I just love the kind of authors who can take the reader to a pivotal plot point, and then switch gears completely, denying the reader of any possible dissatisfaction in knowing what’s going to happen next. Christa Faust does this flawlessly. I also love authors with a knack for humanizing unlikable protagonists—Jim Thompson does this very well, and so does Lawrence Block, whose “Hit Man” series is one of my favourites. I’m also a big fan of tech noir, and Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon series is one of the absolute best in that genre. If you haven’t read these books, they’re a little like PKD’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep thrown into a vat of hard boiled hydrochloric acid.

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

What do caviar and Michael Jackson have in common?

They’re both black and come on little white crackers. Okay, so that was a little off-color, but I’m not exactly known as a man of taste. Sadly, I can’t claim that one, it isn’t mine.

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

Megalomania by Black Sabbath, off of the Sabotage album. It’s a layered piece about religious deprogramming, and one man’s interior struggle between the ego, and the id. It’s incredibly melancholy for about the first two minutes, then Bill Wards percussion builds into a fist pumping tempo, and once Tony Iommi’s guitar kicks in it’s like the roar of a high performance muscle car, taking a sharp corner—practically going off the rails, before Ozzy even starts to sing. And then it gets really good.

switchbladePDB: What’s on the cards?

Failure—and then success. And isn’t that what we all want? Bad news before the good news.

PDB: Anything else?

Yes—check out Paul D. Brazill’s Brit-Grit flash fiction piece, Getting Away With It, between the pages of Switchblade 1 

Bio: Scotch Rutherford is an independent screenwriter and short fiction author, out of Los Angeles. His fiction work has appeared online and in print. He is the creator and managing editor of the quarterly noir anthology, Switchblade. 

Short, Sharp Interview: Henry Brock

vicious-dogsPDB: Can you pitch VISCIOUS DOGS in 25 words or less?

Derek Lasker, a broke and desperate PI,  foolishly takes a case that involves following a potential psychopath. It will cost him.

PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

What books do I wish I had written? So many. In fact, when I am working on a book I have a difficult time reading fiction since I fear my work will not measure up by comparison or their prose will change my writing style somehow. That being said, some books that I wish I had written are “We’re All In This Together” by Amy Jones, “The Talented Mr. Ripley” by Patricia Highsmith, “Whale Music” by Paul Quarrington, “Hyperion” by Dan Simmons and what writer wouldn’t love to have written Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time”?

Films I wish I had written include: “Runaway Train”, “Citizen Kane” and “Plane, Trains and Automobiles”.

Television shows I wish I had written: “Mad Men”, “Orphan Black” and “Mr. Robot”.

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

I would love to see Lasker Investigations as a series with “Vicious Dogs” as season one. I started developing the idea for the book while working in the film business in Toronto, Ontario, so seeing the book brought to the screen would seem apropos. I also wrote a book about a 1980’s heavy metal band called Bastards of Destruction, which has been rejected by dozens of publishers (I like to think it is due to the graphic sex and rampant drug use and violence, but editors might just think it isn’t good enough…) but I think it would make a fantastic movie.

 PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

Like most avid readers, it’s hard to list a few for fear that I will forget someone important. But since you are twisting my arm here, Paul, I will list a few here: Jim Thompson, Philip K. Dick, John Irving, David Goodis, Michel Faber, Sarah Waters, Clive Barker, Robertson Davies, and Michael Crichton.

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

I don’t think I am a particularly funny person and am terrible at jokes, but here’s one for my UK friends:  Apparently someone in London gets stabbed every 60 seconds. Poor bastard.

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

So many faves…. but how about “The Blank Generation” by Richard Hell and the Voidoids.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

I am plugging away on book two of the Lasker Investigation series and once I am done my first draft I am going to cleanse my pallet before editing/re-writing by writing something completely different like a kids book or a book about Stephen Stills.

 PDB: Anything else?

Though I have been writing all of my life, I am new to crime fiction and I need to say that I absolutely love it. I would like to thank everyone who supported my along the way and thanks to all of those who have read Vicious Dogs and have reached out to me to let me know how much they have enjoyed it. As you know, Paul, writing is a solitary task, so hearing from readers makes all the difference.

henry brock

Bio: Henry Brock is the author of “Vicious Dogs” which is the first Lasker Investigation. He worked for ten years in the Toronto film industry, where he sidelined as a copy editor and musician. He currently lives with his wife and twin 8 year olds in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Short, Sharp Interview: Kevin Berg


PDB: Can you pitch Indifference in 25 words or less?

An emotional gut-punch that sweeps through the dark lives of a homeless vet and the people who ignore him every day. GraphicViolent meets SexyFun. 

PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

Audition, both the book by Ryu Murakami and the film directed by Takashi Miike. Great stuff, and that takes care of two with one answer. I don’t watch much television (I guess I am THAT guy), but honestly the stereo and television are usually occupied by a cartoon or a song that has something to do with a damn princess anyway. Some arguments are easier to win when they are avoided, especially with a four-year-old. That comes from experience.

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

Indifference would make one hell of a disturbing indie movie, hopefully banned early on and later downloaded illegally, or streamed online somewhere.

PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

People that push the limits to entertain me, and don’t bore me with the average bullshit. After finding that most good reading these days comes from indie authors, the list continues to grow, and this has already been a great year in reading – Ryan Bracha, Mark Wilson, Jason Michel, Shervin Jamali, Lee Goldground, J. David Osborne, Gabino Iglesias, Robert Cowan, and Brendan Gisby. Different styles, different stories, but all badass. And that’s just in the past couple of months. Still nine to go, and then I can start again. Every day or two is a new book, and another chance to find a new favorite author.

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

Okay, this one took some research. I am not the best with jokes, or even the right times to relay the funny one I just heard, but I was lucky enough to run one through a filter of twelve seasoned authors and three coworkers to determine that it is, in fact, highly inappropriate. And I am pretty sure I am getting some sort of writeup at work now. So here are a couple of good replacements I have borrowed to give you an answer:

For the trendy readers, “I was vegan for a while. I lost 6lb, but most of that was personality.”

For the brainy ones, “Let me tell you a little about myself. It’s a reflexive pronoun that means ‘me’.”

For the bleeding hearts, “What’s black and white and red all over? A racially motivated hate crime, which is not a laughing matter and a sign of the awful times we live in.”

And finally, for the ladies, “What’s the difference between a woman and a fridge? The fridge don’t fart when you take your meat out.”

I do have several more, but I can’t take up all your space with the wit of others. I mean, we are here to talk about me, right?

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

Don’t know if it counts as a favorite, but I have had Dr. Demento’s “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” stuck in my head since the eighties. Glad it pushed out “Baby Beluga” from Raffi, but a conference call while working from home has forced me to convince my boss that the instrumental version of “Let it Go” is tops. Seriously too many songs to choose only one, but if it is good, I bet it sits idle on the iPod in my car.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

I plan to keep learning and grow as an author. This year I will be working on my second book, planning my third, getting some more shorts published, and improving every step of the way. In a couple of months, I will have a piece in a novel which is definitely one of my favorites so far. My short is called “Pieces Forgotten,” coming up in a collection of stories from myself and twelve excellent authors, all tied together and due for release in May. The Thirteen Lives of Frank Peppercorn. See you there, sir.

kevin bergPDB: Anything else?

Thanks to everyone for the guidance with the joke, and to you Mr. Brazill, thanks for the opportunity.

Bio: Kevin Berg lives at the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains with his amazing wife and two kickass daughters. He has published a debut – Indifference – and found a home for some of his shorts out there with Pulp Metal Magazine and Near To The Knuckle. He has some interesting projects coming up with some of the best in the game, so stay tuned. Find him on Goodreads and Facebook, let him know what you think.

Short, Sharp Interview: Paul Heatley

Author photo 3PDB: Can you pitch FATBOY in 25 words or less?

Latino barkeep Joey attempts to regain his family and exact brutal revenge upon the racist businessman that hassles him, all at the same time.

PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

Music-wise, anything by Mark Lanegan or Nick Cave. In terms of wordplay and mastery of language, Saul Williams. Books – The Clown by Heinrich Boll, The Lost Weekend by Charles Jackson, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. For songs, see anything by the above. And the Beach Boys! Love the Beach Boys… Films – The Wrestler, Taxi Driver, Rocky, Sicario, The Nice Guys. Television – The Leftovers, The Wire, Fargo, the first four seasons of Dexter…

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

MW Front CoverI think The Motel Whore could make a decent indie feature. TV-wise, there’s potential in a crime series set in Newcastle featuring characters from An Eye For An Eye, which is a world I’m hoping to expand upon at some point in the future.

PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

James Ellroy, Jim Thompson, Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Zadie Smith, Harry Crews.

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

I’m bad with jokes, I don’t store them. There’s a chef at work always tells the same cheese joke and I can never remember the punch line. Right now I’m struggling to remember the build-up, too… I watch comedians, though – Eddie Izzard, Bill Hicks. The latter’s bit on Jack Palance in Shane has always been a favourite and is worth looking up on YouTube. Pick up the gun…

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

‘The Sound of Silence’ by Simon and Garfunkel.

An Eye For An Eye CoverPDB: What’s on the cards?

Well, I’m keeping busy! I finished a novel at the start of this year which I’ll soon start the edits on, along with two more novellas I wrote shortly after that, and I’m working on a third that I’m hoping to have finished by the end of this month (March). After that there’s a whole slew of new projects I’m looking to plan, write, and edit, and hopefully they’ll see the light of day at some point.

PDB: Anything else?

Fatboy will be available May 1st, published by All Due Respect. In the meantime (or afterward, depending on when you’re reading this), An Eye For An Eye is available for Kindle, published by Near To The Knuckle, and I recently made The Motel Whore & Other Stories, and Guns, Drugs, And Dogs available as paperbacks.

Bio: Paul Heatley’s stories have appeared online and in print for a variety of publications including Thuglit, Crime Syndicate, Spelk, Horror Sleaze Trash, and Shotgun Honey, among others. He is the author of The Motel Whore & Other Stories, An Eye For An Eye, Guns, Drugs, and Dogs, and the forthcoming Fatboy. He lives in the north east of England.

Short, Sharp Interview: Gerald M O’Connor

benjamin-hacketPDB: Can you pitch THE ORIGINS OF BENJAMIN HACKETT in 25 words or less?

GMOC: On discovering the truth of his adoption, 18-year-old Benjamin Hackett hunts down his parents in a country determined to keep them a secret.

PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

GMOC: Music: Anything by American composer Philip Morris Glass, especially from his album Metamorphosis. The melodies and structures are simple and repetitive, and yet the mood it creates is haunting. It takes sheer genius to write such basic scores and still have profound depth to the music. He’s Hemmingway-esque in his minimalism and equally effective.

Books: Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. His novel is the perfect mix of literary and story. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read it. Apparently, it takes the him ten years to write his novels. Time well spent, in my humble opinion. Some say he has the odd opaque moment when the prose strains the eye, but the sheer ingenuity of that book continues to mesmerise me.

Films: Whenever I hear Maximus’ speech to Commodus in the Colosseum, my inner child leaps out and shrieks. If you want an example of the Hero’s Journey done to absolute perfection, then look no further than Gladiator in all its gladius waving glory.

Television: The Killing (Dutch version) Such a multi-layered show. Made me a sucker for Scandinavian Noir from the off. Sofie Gråbøl was imperious. True Detective (Season 1) would be my other must-mention. Those scriptwriters were on fire throughout. Definitely worth another weekend binge.

Songs: The entire back catalogue by the master of cool, David Bowie. His cut-up technique is intriguing to me as a writer. You’d imagine there’d be this strange randomness to his lyrics, yet no matter how awkward his word combinations read, when they gelled with his music their intent was obvious.

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

GMOC: The Origins of Benjamin Hackett. I have been told it has a certain cinematic bent. It has oodles of dialogue and a linear plot, lending itself nicely to a Big Screen production.

PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

GMOC: I imagine Paul D. Brazill and Les Edgerton could hold their own in the rarest of company. Besides these two, George Orwell and Cormac McCarthy possess much of my kindle real estate. I did flirt with Joyce for a while, but I’ve since gotten over it.

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

GMOC: Heard this one today, and as is the way with jokes, it’s now my new found favourite: “Why is it hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs? Because they always take things literally.”

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

GMOC: Ashes-to-Ashes is my favourite ‘stop-shuffle-and-repeat’ song. It’s Bowie in all his pomp and glory.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

GMOC: Today, I’m still in the afterglow of my debut, so I’m busy with promotion and blog tours and my new fascination—split-testing Facebook ads (Odd, I know, but it’s kind of like ethical gambling) Only last week, I added the final touches to my second novel, The Tanist. Now that it’s all buffed and preened, I’ve that pre-release nervousness building once more. By the end of 2017, it should be free to terrorise the world.

 PDB: Anything else?

GMOC: Only to thank the host for having me over. Love what you’ve done with the place, Paul!

gerald o connorBio: I’m a Corkman, reared in the village of Blarney. I studied dentistry in University College Cork and spent 18 years working in the UK. I live in Dublin now, along with my long-term partner, Rosemarie, and our three children. I write character-driven novels of various styles ranging from fantasy to black comedy and contemporary literature. I enjoy sci-fi films, spending time with my family and being anywhere in sight of the sea. My first novel THE ORIGINS OF BENJMAIN HACKETT was released on the 6th of February 2017 by DOWN AND OUT BOOKS. I am currently working on the final draft of my second novel THE TANIST—a Celtic thrill-fest set in the pagan world of 15th century Ireland.

Books: amazon  | Web: geraldmoconnor

Short, Sharp Interview: Matt Neal

bay of martyrs coverPDB: Can you pitch BAY OF MARTYRS in 25 words or less? 

A sexy, funny thriller set along south-eastern Australia’s Shipwreck Coast. Someone called it the Aussie True Detective. I won’t argue.

PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

The entire oeuvres of XTC and The Beatles, The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Muppet Movie and the first 12 or so seasons of The Simpsons.

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

I’ve only written (co-written actually) one book, Bay of Martyrs, so that one. But I have written a screenplay which is a sequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit which I am desperate to get made (I’m not even kidding).

 PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

Aside from my co-writer Tony Black, who I am forever indebted to, my two favourite writers are Hunter S Thompson and Terry Pratchett, may they both rest in peace.

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

Donald Trump is President of the United States of America.

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

Today, I think it’s Television’s Marquee Moon. Yesterday it was XTC’s Books Are Burning. Tomorrow it will probably be Ween’s If You Could Save Yourself, You’d Save Us All.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

I’m balls deep on the sequel to Bay of Martyrs, which is currently titled The Cutting -named after another local landmark in my little patch of Australia.


PDB: Anything else?

Did you know the outro to Hey Jude is longer than the rest of the song?

Bio:  Australian journalist, film reviewer, musician, songwriter, and international author Matt Neal was born and raised in south-west Victoria. He’s been writing for The Warrnambool Standard for 15 years, is a prize-winning songwriter and a film reviewer for Australia’s ABC Radio. His first book Bay Of Martyrs – a crime thriller set in south-west Victoria – has been co-written with Scottish “tartan noir” novelist Tony Black. A sequel is due out in 2018.

Short, Sharp Interview: Chris Bell.

faces-in-things-coverPDB: Can you pitch FACES IN THINGS  in 25 words or less?

“My second story collection, all written in New Zealand, a variety of genres including food, music, science fiction, fantasy and magical realism, 13 previously unpublished.”

PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

Music: Anything by Thelonious Monk because you can’t argue with the man who said, ‘The piano ain’t got no wrong notes.’ A piece of music I don’t so much wish I’d written as often wish I had playing while writing is the David Sylvian (of Japan) and Holger Czukay (of Can) collaboration ‘Plight and Premonition’. It’s full of the spiralling of winter ghosts and Czukay’s virtuoso twiddling of radio dials lends the promise of creative potential lurking behind the ambience and bursts of interference.

Book: ‘Pilgermann’ by Russell Hoban, for its sheer audacity of vision and the fact that it was (in my view unjustly) overshadowed by his post-apocalyptic Huck Finn, ‘Riddley Walker’. ‘Pilgermann’ is a magical realist’s history of the Crusades as if from the palette of Hieronymus Bosch. It so vividly depicts ancient Antioch that I once dreamt I was an owl flying over its ruins.

Film: Terry Gilliam’s ‘Brazil’ is my favourite film and an important inspiration. It takes true genius to make a funny dystopia, and Gilliam’s interpretation of Tom Stoppard’s screenplay is so detailed and multi-faceted that I never tire of watching it.

Songs: Justin Currie’s ‘No, Surrender’ (part one: part two: and ‘The Fight To Be Human’ ( – audio only), which between them encapsulate pretty much everything I wish I’d said about modern life and then some.

TV: ‘Fargo’. I was sceptical before watching a TV extrapolation of a classic film and didn’t expect to enjoy it (in fact, the first time I saw the Coen Brothers’ film I was underwhelmed by it, but Carter Burwell’s theme and musical score crept up on me slowly over the years and eventually the film lodged itself in my consciousness). Season One of the TV show was superbly written and cast. Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman and Allison Tolman gave such extraordinary performances that now I’m sceptical about the prospect of Season Two – could the producers possibly pull it off again?”

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

“I wrote a screenplay version of my first novel, ‘Liquidambar’ ( – which is set in the world of 12 of Edward Hopper’s paintings – and years ago had talks about it with Weta Digital’s Richard Taylor and Gayle Munro. Richard kindly offered to make a show reel at no cost if I could interest a producer. I tried but needless to say failed.

“My latest novel, ‘Songshifting’ ( – a dystopia set in an alternative world of touring bands gigging under a repressive regime headed by a shadowy impresario – also has filmic potential, but I imagine most writers say that about their most recent work because if it doesn’t come alive in their own heads they haven’t done a good enough job of imagining it.”

PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

“In chronological order of reading: Stephen King for ‘The Stand’, ‘The Shining’, ‘Christine’, ‘Cujo’, ‘The Dead Zone’ and ‘Different Seasons’; Russell Hoban for every one of his novels; Richard Brautigan for ‘Sombrero Fallout’ and ‘So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away’;

Russell H. Greenan for ‘It Happened In Boston?’; J. P. Donleavy for ‘A Fairy Tale of New York’ and ‘The Ginger Man’; Martin Amis for ‘London Fields’; Thomas Pynchon for ‘Inherent Vice’; Graham Greene for everything of his that I’ve read; Evelyn Waugh for ‘Scoop’; Richard Price for ‘Clockers’ and ‘Lush Life’; and W. Somerset Maugham for ‘The Narrow Corner’.


PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

It would probably be one of Tommy Cooper’s. How about, “This man knocks at his neighbour’s door and the neighbour’s wife answers. ‘Hello,’ says the man, ‘is Charlie in?’ The woman says, ‘I’m sorry but Charlie died last night.’ The man says, ‘Oh. He didn’t say anything about a can of paint?’”

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

“Inevitably this changes over time – music is indispensable to me while working; as my protagonist Rarity Dean says in ‘Songshifting’, ‘A day with no soundtrack is a wasted day.’ I’ve always loved Elvis Costello’s ‘Shipbuilding’, and I even love all the different cover versions of it – from Robert Wyatt’s ( to Suede’s ( and tRANSELEMENt’s (, as well as Elvis’s recording with the late Chet Baker’s trumpet solo (audio: Who’d have thought you could write a pop hit about the Falklands War?

“But my favourite song is currently another Justin Currie beauty called ‘Little Stars’ ( about the pathos and wonder of weddings. As I’ve said elsewhere, no one writes about love and loss better than the former Del Amitri frontman. He’s a pop Leonardo da Vinci – without the long beard and with a better accent.”

PDB: What’s on the cards?

“I’m almost halfway through the first draft of the second part of my ‘Songshifting’ trilogy, which has the working title ‘Requiem For Stage Diver & Bass Guitar’. ‘Songshifting’ plays against the scuffed backdrop of an oppressive regime and is set in an alternative present or a skewed future in which hats are back in style and musicians have developed what seem to be supernatural abilities – during their concerts they levitate, disappear or induce extreme physical reactions among the punters. The impresario has prohibited recordings and home entertainment, meanwhile administering a drug called Sentimental Hygiene at gigs as a secret form of crowd control. I’ve been told this is implausible by people who apparently haven’t noticed what’s going on in the world right now.

“The second book will be a murder mystery in the same setting and with some of the same characters.”

PDB: Anything else?

“My homage to the ghost stories of the 1920s, ‘Shem-el-Nessim’, is set to appear in Eric J. Guignard’s US anthology ‘The Five Senses of Horror’ this year.”

There’s a ‘Songshifting’ website – a kind of wiki for all the bands and characters that appear in the novel – here: and the rest of my stuff is here:

chris-bellBio:  Chris Bell was born in Holyhead, North Wales. After working as a musician, a messenger for a small London record company, a freelance music journalist and as editor of Soundcheck!, he moved to Hamburg, Germany where he was employed by a guitar company and an independent music publisher before emigrating in 1997 to New Zealand. His short stories have appeared in The Third Alternative; Postscripts; Grotesque; The Heidelberg Review; TransVersions; Not One of Us and Takahe, as well as on the internet. His short story ‘The Cruel Countess’ was anthologised in The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror (10th Annual Edition), in which his collection The Bumper Book of Lies received an honourable mention. ‘Shem-el-Nessim’ appeared in This Is The Summer of Love, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 21 and That Haunted Feeling. His poetry has been published in Workshop New Poetry; Snorkel; foam:e and the New Zealand Listener. His first novel, Liquidambar, won UKAuthors’ ‘Search For A Great Read’ competition.

Short, Sharp Interview: Tom Leins

wu-tang-antho-coverPDB: Can you pitch This Book Ain’t Nuttin to Fuck with: A Wu-Tang Tribute Anthology in 25 words or less?

Tremendous hip-hop inspired collection edited by Christoph Paul and Grant Wamack. My story, INCARCERATED SCARFACES, is a Paignton Noir remix of Van Damme’s Death Warrant!

 PDB: Which music, books, films, songs or television shows do you wish you had written?

Music: Mule Variations by Tom Waits, and Hold On in particular. That song and album introduced me to his work back in ’99, and remain firm favourites.

Book: The Road by Cormac McCarthy. An absolutely devastating piece of work. If I were to read it again since becoming a father it would probably destroy me!

Film: Pulp Fiction. Most of my nominal ‘Top 10’ movies would probably be drawn from the 1990s, back when video shops still ruled the roost. Tarantino has plenty of detractors nowadays, but the Reservoir Dogs-Pulp Fiction one-two punch still excites me.

TV show: Breaking Bad. Such a smart, multi-faceted show. Excellent storytelling, and great attention to detail.

PDB: Which of your books do you think would make good films or TV series?

I would love to see a Paignton Noir TV series one day. Regional voices have always done well in the UK cop-show world, and I would like to see my shabby seaside town given the same treatment. It would be great to shine a light on the sun-blurred beaches, dilapidated caravan parks, murky amusement arcades and time-ravaged pubs that are this town’s stock-in-trade. I’m working on a ten-book series, starting with ‘Boneyard Dogs’, so there is plenty of scope for small-screen action. (Of course, I need to get the actual books published first…!)

PDB: Who are your favourite writers?

Far too many to mention, so I will namecheck the writer I have been reading back-to-back in recent weeks: Adrian McKinty. I thoroughly enjoyed his Dead trilogy years ago, but his Sean Duffy series – set in 1980s Northern Ireland – sees him raise his game to dizzy new heights. The volatile backdrop provides extra frisson, and the mysteries themselves are impeccably put together. Plus, anyone who uses Tom Waits lyrics as book titles is worthy of our attention, right?

PDB: What’s your favourite joke?

My literary career!

PDB: What’s your favourite song?

To answer this question properly would take me weeks of contemplation and research, so I will defer to the all-time most-played track on my iPod: ‘Unchained (The Payback/Untouchable)’ by James Brown and 2Pac, as featured on the Django Unchained soundtrack.

tomleins-2017-bwPDB: What’s on the cards?

My story THE STOOGE is in the first issue of the brand new California crime magazine Switchblade, edited by Scotch Rutherford. It is one of the nastiest stories I have ever written, and has little in common with anything else I have ever published. After that, my story HERE COMES THAT WEIRD CHILL features in ‘More Bizarro Than Bizarro’, the new anthology from Bizarro Pulp Press, edited by Vincenzo Bilof. It is Paignton Gothic rather than Paignton Noir – a slight departure from my regular stuff. In terms of flash fiction, I have a new batch of wrestling noir stories in the pipeline, which I hope people dig.

PDB: Anything else?

Thank you for having me, Paul!

Bio: Tom Leins is a disgraced ex-film critic from Paignton, UK. His short stories have been published by the likes of Akashic Books, Shotgun HoneyNear to the KnuckleRevolution John and Spelk. He is currently working on a novella called Boneyard Dogs. Get your pound of flesh at