Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mollusks and Murder: The Jordan Krall Interview

Today's guest is Jordan Krall, author of Piecemeal June, Squid Pulp Blues, Fistful of Feet, and King Scratch.

How did you get involved in the Bizarro movement?
I’d say it was in 2006 when I read about it on the Internet. It was very intriguing and seemed like the type of things I’ve been writing. Eraserhead Press specifically was something that appeared to cater to my tastes. However, at that time I believe they were closed to submissions so I sort of just sunk back into a disappointed state because I really didn’t think I could write fiction that wasn’t weird. Also, at the time I didn’t write all that much. Anyway, in about 2007 they opened up submissions, I submitted, and the rest is history. Rose O’Keefe contacted me and we talked and then I was offered a contract. It was a dream come true.

After reading Squid Pulp Blues, I could tell you have some serious noir love. How did Squid Pulp Blues come about?
Well, when I first signed to Eraserhead, they wanted me to be included in the second Bizarro Starter Kit. The only catch was that it was being published pretty soon so I had to write something quickly. That’s where “The Longheads” came in. After that, I decided to use it as the middle novella in SPB, my second for EHP. I wrote the story “The Haberdasher” which takes place before “The Longheads” and then “The Apocalypse Donkey” which takes place after. I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from crime fiction fans.

What's the story behind the spaghetti western-influenced Fistful of Feet?
I’m a big fan of Spaghetti westerns and giallo flicks… and I really wanted to do something involving those genres. I believe I talked about it with Carlton Mellick III at World Horror in 2008 and he thought it was a good idea. It took me quite a while to really cement the idea down and writing it was pure hell (in retrospect, it was worth it).

Any more adventures of Calamaro or visits to Thompson, New Jersey in the Future?
Thompson will be used again for sure. I’m not sure about Calamaro or the world of FoF. If a publisher approached me about a sequel to it, I’d consider it.

Foot fetishes were prominent in both Squid Pulp Blues and Fistful of Feet. Do you, in fact, have a foot fetish or do you just think foot fetishes are hilarious?
Well, all I’ll say is that I don’t find foot fetishism funny at all.

Was there a book that made you realize you wanted to be a writer?
It was probably a combination of William Burroughs, Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Clive Barker, and Dean Koontz. Not one book specifically but I read those authors in a time in my life when I was exploring my creativity. I’m sure they all contributed to it. I do remember my friend and I writing really bad Conan rip-off stories as well as Lovecraftian stuff (but surprisingly I don’t think they involved the Cthulhu Mythos but more of his tales like The Tomb).

Who are some of your influences?
As far as authors go….Like the above, Lovecraft, Barker, Robert E. Howard. Also, Jim Thompson, J.G. Ballard, Edward Lee, Thomas Ligotti, Mario Puzo, Elmore Leonard especially. I’m also influenced by movies: horror, film noir, 80s and 90s movies and TV shows. David Lynch, Andy Milligan, Charles Bronson, Fernando Di Leo, Dario Argento, Ginger Rogers. I’m also influenced by history.

What's your favorite book?
Not sure I can narrow that down. Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti. Pronto and Mr. Majestyk by Elmore Leonard. Savage Night by Jim Thompson. The biography of Andy Milligan. Perfume by Patrick Suskind.

Who's your favorite author?
Can’t pick just one. Top five are probably Jim Thompson, Thomas Ligotti, Elmore Leonard, H.P. Lovecraft, and Edward Lee.

What's the best book you've read in the last six months?
The Godfather.

After digging through your shelves on Goodreads, I see that we're both fans of the Hard Case Crime Series. Which Hard Case is your favorite?
Shit, I don’t even remember. I started reading them in the beginning but they eventually got pretty boring. I’m not sure they were publishing the best of the best. Sometimes a book is rare for a reason. And Stephen King’s book just didn’t belong. I understand why they published it ($$$$$) but it made the title of the series (Hard Case Crime) appear ironic.

What was with the Karate Kid III references in Squid Pulp Blues?
It’s all part of a ritual to resurrect Ralph Macchio’s career.

Who would last longer in Thompson, New Jersey: Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective, or Roma the tomato from Eric Hendrixson's Bucket of Face?
Jimmy Plush wouldn’t last two minutes. Then again…Roma would probably be made into sauce shortly after that.

Any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?
You have to read a lot. You have to write a lot. You can’t wait for inspiration. If you write fiction, concentrate on believable dialogue. You wouldn’t believe how many books I’ve stopped reading because the dialogue sounds unnatural. Also, WATCH MOVIES. I don’t know why some writers think they shouldn’t watch movies. That’s bullshit. As an author your first job is to tell a fucking story! You can learn a lot from cinema. You’re just closing yourself off from inspiration. You can look a perfect scene in a movie and think, “How can I describe that in words in order to make that just as effective on paper?” or any of the other countless things movies can do for you as an author. So basically just get as much inspiration as possible and tell a good fucking story.

What's next for Jordan Krall?
I just finished up TENTACLE DEATH TRIP that Eraserhead Press is going to publish in the fall. Basically it’s like Death Race 2000 meets Mad Max meets the Cthulhu mythos. Also, I’m writing a novella which will be part of a “double feature” paperback with William Pauley III. My story is called YOUR CITIES, YOUR TOMBS. That’s coming out on Library of Bizarro Horror. Lastly, Australia’s great LegumeMan Books is publishing my horror novel PENETRALIA. Just imagine if film maker Andy Milligan and author Edward Lee got together to write an extreme horror novel. Horrific gothic grotesqueries will abound. After that I have quite a few projects in the works. Stay tuned.


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