Continuing with interviews with writers involved with upcoming release OFF THE RECORD, we’re joined by Heath Lowrance today. A rising name, Heath has been receiving excellent reviews for his latest releases THE BASTARD HAND and DIG TEN GRAVES. Here, he talks about his OTR story, his upcoming release from Trestle Press and future plans…enjoy!
So Heath, you’re one of the many, many writers involved with OFF THE RECORD, can you tell us what song title you went for and why?
I chose “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, a song by one of my favorite bands, The Stooges. Like the fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants type cat I am, I didn’t have a story in mind when I chose it. But I’ve always thought it had a great sinister, driving quality.
What’s the story about, and how much was inspired by the song itself?
It’s not really clear what the song is about, truth to tell. But I suspect the story is nothing at all like what Iggy and the boys had in mind. The main character IS a teenage punk, though, and a fan of The Stooges.
Do you listen to music when you write, and are you influenced by music at all?
I am influenced very strongly by music. I love old punk, ‘60’s garage stuff, blues, old country music, soul, bluegrass, surf, psychedelic, etc. Roots music and fringe music have always played an enormous part in my life, and that devotion to cool music couldn’t help but seep into my writing. Having said that, I don’t really listen to it while writing. It’s too distracting. When music is playing, I want to LISTEN to it.
You garnered rave reviews for recent releases THE BASTARD HAND and DIG TEN GRAVES…how do you feel about the reactions to them?
I am very, very gratified. They are admittedly oddball books without a clear genre, so the positive response has proven that there are a LOT of oddball readers out there. Thankfully.
You have a release coming soon from ‘Trestle Press’, can you tell us a bit more about that?
It’s an e-short called “That Damned Coyote Hill”. A horror-Western-pulp-adventure mash-up. It’s meant to be the first in a potential series of e-shorts, but we’ll see. I enjoyed writing it, and if enough folks enjoy reading it I would definitely write more about the protagonist, the mysterious and vengeance-driven Hawthorne.
What books did you read as a child/teenager?
As a child, I was a comic book fanatic. As a teen, I branched out into all sorts of books in just about every genre. I loved Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Joe Lansdale, all those masters of horror and speculative fiction. I also enjoyed adventure stuff like Tarzan and Doc Savage. I loved the Executioner books by Don Pendleton. A little later, I discovered Dashiell Hammett, and that was a game-changer. It wasn’t until I was an adult, though, in my early twenties, that I discovered the rich vein of crime and noir writers that tend to make up the bulk of my reading now.
What authors do you always look forward to reading?
The poor man is going to think I’m stalking him, since I name-drop him so often, but I always get excited when Allan Guthrie puts out something new. More recently, Tom Piccirrelli has made my short list of writers to get worked up about. Joe Lansdale, still. Ken Bruen. Lawrence Block.
If you could name just one book which inspired you to start writing, what would it be?
That is the hardest question ever, in the history of questions. I’m going to cheat and give you a triple answer: 1. When I was a wee lad, about twelve or so, Ray Bradbury rocked me upside down and I knew then that I wanted to be a writer. A story called “There Will Come Soft Rains”. 2. In my early twenties, I stumbled across Jim Thompson’s POP. 1280. Had an enormous impact on me as a reader and as a writer. And finally, answer 3. Shortly after that, Charles Willeford’s BLACK MASS OF BROTHER SPRINGER solidified an ideal in my mind, and everything clicked into place for me.
What are your future plans, in terms of writing?
I’m hard at work on a new novel, tentatively titled WRETCHED CROSS. It’s sort of a Western, but very bleak and, hopefully, disturbingly funny.
And now 2 questions I always ask of writers…
Describe your perfect writing environment.
An isolated cabin (although complete with all the modern amenities) somewhere in the wilds of Wyoming, with no noise and a gorgeous view.
Describe your actual writing environment.
A little study crammed rafter to rafter with books, CD’s, and random toys. Neighbo’s mowing their lawn outside, kids across the street yelling about something. Occasional cars blaring awful music rumbling down the block.
But, ah, you know… it’s home.
Dig Ten Graves and The Bastard Hand are both available from Amazon here and here.
Trestle Press will be releasing Heath’s latest E-Short very soon. Check his website for more news here!