Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday Spotlight on author Ed Kurtz, who will be at our 65 James Street store on Saturday, April 14, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM! We’re celebrating the release of Ed’s latest collection, At the Mercy of Beasts.
Thank you so much for joining us, Ed! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
I’m a Southern writer living in exile in the Northeast by way of the Midwest, with a penchant for American history and 20th century pop culture that finds its way into nearly everything I write. My work can broadly be classified as horror, crime, thriller, and once in a while, western. My novels include Bleed, The Rib From Which I Remake the World, Nausea, Angel of the Abyss, and Sawbones. My short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, and has been featured in Best American Mystery Stories and Best Gay Stories.
What kind of research went into writing this book? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?
At the Mercy of Beasts, like the preponderance of my work, consists of historical stories, so there’s always a lot of research that goes into that. I was living in Texas when I wrote all three of these novellas, so the setting for the first one, “Black’s Red Gold,” was a given to me. Upton Sinclair’s Oil! was an invaluable resource for that one, to get me to a place of understanding the oil boom of the early 20th century. The second novella, “Kennon Road,” is set in Baguio in the Philippines, which is the hometown of my dear friend and occasional collaborator Billy Sagulo. I dedicated it to him, and I read a stack of books on the Philippine-American War while peppering him and his family with questions to get it right. The final novella of the triptych is set in the 1970s, possibly my favorite era to write about, but I didn’t really know very much about the trucking culture that Americans were so fascinated with back then, so again I had to dig into personal accounts I could find in books and online, but also conversations with a handful of old-school truckers who offered loads of anecdotes that informed the story. It was a heap of fun, and my favorite way to attack any piece of fiction, be it a short story, novella, or novel.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
First and foremost, exercise patience and publish well. Too many new writers are too eager to see their names in print and on book covers to stop and consider what’s best for them and the work in the long run. I know this because it’s a mistake I made in the beginning, and I’m fortunate to have learned from it. There are great books and stories out there nobody is reading because they’ve been published by fly-by-night presses with lousy covers and poor editing, and that’s just a shame that can be easily avoided. It’s a “dress for the job you want” kind of thing.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
Next up from me is an epic historical thriller from Crossroad Press, Sawbones, a first-person recounting of a violent revenge spree across the post-Civil War U.S. from a very unreliable narrator, which will be out in July. Then in early 2019, ChiZine is publishing my horror novel Caliban, which concerns a disparate group of deserters from the 1755 Braddock expedition during the French and Indian War who are stalked by a formless, ancient entity in the wilderness.
What are some of your writing-related hobbies, crafts, addictions?
I suppose my addiction to buying and collecting old soul and R&B LPs has become writing-related, now that I’m deep into writing a novel that takes place in early 1960s Detroit during the heyday of Motown. Maybe I can write these off as a business expense.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
Most everything I’ve ever published is available through the usual suspects, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, etc.
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
I have an author page on Facebook that updates what I’m up to, and I can be found at Twitter, too. My website is down presently, but should be back pretty soon: edkurtzbooks.com.
Thank you again for joining us, Ed, and for the great interview! We look forward to hosting you at our 65 James Street store on Saturday, April 14, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM!