Short, Sharp Interview: Rowdy Yates

bringmethehead_200PDB: What’s going on now?

A lot, actually. I just finished my first literary thriller, a novel about a rogue NSA agent who finds himself in the middle of a giant conspiracy and am about to start work on my first horror novel. I’m not the greatest person at resting, or rather I get most of my rest by working, which is, you know, kind of a blessing and a curse. Outside of that, I’m covering the 2016 Presidential Election for Atticus Books and putting together a collection of essays about it.

PDB: How did you research Bring Me the Head of Yorkie Goodman?

The setting for the majority of Yorkie Goodman is in Southern Indiana, which is where I’m originally from. There are a lot of sketchy things down in the hills, a lot of sketchy people. I’ve been doing that research most of my life, but some of the more medical/biological components of the book were actually figured out via these conversations with a buddy of mine who’s starting out as a brain surgeon. I gave him a lot of calls – re: what kind of tool would best help saw off a head, how long a head could stay in a cooler, etc. etc. – and asked a ton of questions. In his favor, he was pretty patient, but near the end he kind of got weirded out and asked just what we were talking about.

PDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?

It probably boils down to the first ones. My first story was this quick little piece called “Old” that was printed in the Emerson Review, which was huge because at the time I was convinced I’d never get anything published before I died. The first book was An End To All Things from Atticus Books, and that was a hell of a day for me. This book, Yorkie Goodman, is my first published novel, so I’m proud as can be.

PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme?

You know, I like a lot of different movies, so the list is a little varied. My favorite “modern” movie is There Will Be Blood, but I’m also really fond of Apocalypse Now, Taxi Driver, and Network. Book is probably the collected works of Raymond Carver. As far as song, man alive, we could be here all day. For a show, that’s probably Mad Men. That thing hit the spot.

PDB: Is location important to your writing?

For sure. I am who I am because I grew up in a small town in Indiana in a terrible neighborhood. And I’m the writer I am today because I moved down to Georgia and absorbed chunks of that culture.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

Jared Yates Sexton-2Not that much, but you know what I do? I go on there and see if anybody’s reviewed the stuff because every time that number changes my breath hitches in my lungs.

PDB: What’s next?

Those projects I was talking about earlier, but there are probably seven or eight other novels that’s kind of bouncing around my head. It’s finding the time, I think, that’s the hardest part of this whole writing business.

Bio: Rowdy Yates (Jared Yates Sexton) is a born-and-bred Hoosier living and working in The South as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Georgia Southern University. He serves as Editor-In-Chief of the literary magazine BULL and his work has appeared in publications around the world. He’s the author of three collections and the crime-novel Bring Me The Head of Yorkie Goodman.