- Tom Piccirilli
- "We need to make books cool again. If you go home with someone & they don't have books, don't fuck 'em."--John Waters
I'm the author of more than twenty novels including SHADOW SEASON, THE COLD SPOT, THE COLDEST MILE, THE MIDNIGHT ROAD, THE DEAD LETTERS, and A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN. Look for my next one THE LAST KIND WORDS due out May '12 from Bantam Books. Contact: PicSelf1@aol.com
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
So how’s your day going?
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
My thanks to everyone who bought, read, reviewed, and help to promote my latest novel THE COLDEST MILE, the follow-up to my Edgar Award-nominated THE COLD SPOT. I appreciated all the isnightful, positive, and even critical comments.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Ok. How did you come to be represented by David Hale Smith, an agent who does not accept queries? A referral? Or you were already established and repped by another agent, like J. D. Rhoades was?
DHS and I worked together years ago through Write Way Publishing, a small press that brought out three of my mystery novels in the mid-90s. David was their agent and sold THE DEAD PAST and SORROW'S CROWN to Berkley for mass market paperback release. Then for about ten years afterwards I wrote horror novels and worked without an agent. When I turned my eye back towards crime fiction, most of the guys who were doing all kinds of great work in the field--Duane Swierczynski, Sean Doolittle, Victor Gischler, among others--turned out to be repped by DHS. So I contacted him and discovered he'd been keeping an eye on my career over the interim, so we started working together again.
He's the fifth agent I've had in my career and the first to ever sell something for me. The other four failed to garner any interest at all, although on my own I sold seventeen novels to the likes of Pocket Books, Leisure, and Bantam. So no, I have absolutely no advice I can give you about how to find a good agent, because it took twenty years for me to find one.
Tony Zuma asks:
W.H. Auden commented on how crime fiction follows a familiar pattern:
1) First there is peace2) Peace is shattered3) Search for wrongdoer4) Apprehension5) Punishment6) Restored Peace
Your crime novels are anything but formulaic (with the exception of the theme of revenge) and I was wondering if you can contribute your success to not following this or other established patterns in your mass market crime fiction. Are you a blank slate for every novel?
I think Auden's list is pretty accurate for my work, with the exception that none of my characters ever starts off or ends up truly at peace. And it's because I focus my energies on trying to explore that chaos of a charater's life that I think each of my novels follows its own course. Even if I do return to certain themes and plot points, it's in that confusion that I try to find exactly what sets a protagonist off on his quest and how he is stymied and suffers and may or may not eventually overcome. I don't think "blank slate" quite conveys the impetus--rather the opposite. The slate is covered over and it's how I try to weave the mess into a cohesive tale that gives the story its structure, momentum, heart, and resolution.
TT also asks: Do you prefer white or red clam sauce with linquine.
If you mean white sauce as in alfredo sauce, then I'm all about the alfredo. If you mean a garlic and butter sauce, then I've gotta go with the red clam sauce.
Keith Rawson asks:
Okay, as you know I'm a pretty big fan of your fiction and I've read just about everything of yours that's in print. And I've noticed in your novels the running themes of automobiles and dreams. So my question is, what's the deal with muscle cars and hanging with dead folks in your novels? Are you a gearhead? Do you have a vivid dream life that carries over into your writing life?
I'm about as opposite from a gearhead as you can get. I know how to start a car, where to put the gas, and maybe in a clinch I could change a tire. Other than that, I'm useless. But as a person and a writer and a 70s movie junkie I know that the Americana myth is front-loaded with on-the-road freedom and muscle car mayhem and movement. We don't just tap into what we are to find our stories, we guess at who we want to be, at what our alter-egos might be like, what they'd do in certain situations that, God willing, we never find ourselves in. So I groove on muscle cars. I can respect their power and their iconic imagery on the road and in film and in fiction. It's a way for me to bring some street value into the work. It's a way for me to dig on my own fantasies. Who doesn't want to be Steve McQueen in BULLIT? Or Peter Fonda in DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY? Or Burt Reynolds in WHITE LIGHTNING? I don't need to know shit about an engine to drop the hammer.
As for the dead folks who ride shotgun or sit in back--along with that iconic imagery comes a lot of Americana history and personal burdens. Freedom costs on the road. Who doesn't like to kick back and go for a ride and hit a righteous radio station and gun for the sun? But it's during those long lonely rides that my thoughts turn back to the folks I've lost--who might be dead or might just be distant, who might be twenty years out of reach. But they're with me in my lonely moments, and the dead and the missing are with my characters on their treks. It's a theme that reverberates with me. That sticks in my gut. So I revisit it every so often.
Anyway, in my next two novels I promise you won't get any muscle car mythos.
Stink-Eye Pete asks:
What else can you tell us about your latest "noirella" THE LAST DEEP BREATH?
It'll be another novella for Tasmaniac Publications, due out in early '10. The story follows Grey, a drifter on the search for his foster sister, who showed up for the first time in ten years with a knife in her side, then vanished without a trace. Grey winds up in Los Angeles dealing with manipulative actresses and scummy agents, hoping to find some clue as to what happened to her after she dropped out of a porn career he didn't know about.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Also, remember, you've got until April 15th to join in on the SHADOW SEASON - THE COLDEST MILE Contest.
For National Poetry Month it looks like FAIRWOOD PRESS is having a sale on my poetry collection WAITING MY TURN TO GO UNDER THE KNIFE. Normally $27, now on sale for $20. Signed & limited to 250 copies.
Here's what JACK KETCHUM had to say about it: "I find this book remarkable on a number of levels. First, the poems themselves are tight and packed with on-target imagery — in the service of narrative. They are decidedly not obscure and read like wicked, funny, sometimes deeply troubling short stories. Then, together, they form a kind of autobiography-of-the-soul. I've never said it before about a book of poetry—but it's a real page-turner."