By day a poetry-writing, gun-hating sissy boy, by night Steve Weddle increases his insidious presence through the web’s mean streets of noir fiction. Aside from his own web site and blog, Steve is a contributor to the group blog Do Some Damage and co-
conspirator collaborator with John Hornor Jacobs on Needle, The Magazine of Noir. His short fiction has appeared in such prestigious sites as Beat to a Pulp, Crime Factory, and A Twist of Noir. He is also a regular contributor to online flash fiction challenges, which is what got him started on the downward spiral that culminated in an interview with yours truly, when he became co-editor with Patti Abbott of the e-book collection of flash stories, Discount Noir.
OBAAT: As you’re a co-editor of Discount Noir, tell us a little about how it came to be.
SW: I saw the People of Walmart website and started talking about it on Twitter. I linked up some pics from the site and we all had huge laughs.
Keith Rawson and I thought it would make a great flash fiction challenge. Then we bugged Patti Abbott, as she hosts flash fiction challenges.
Patti’s site ended up with a huge number of great stories. She and I thought it would be cool to see them together, and I enlisted the help of the world’s best agent, Stacia Decker. We then harassed the hell out of some more really talented authors, asking them to contribute flash pieces. Everyone was terrifically kind and generous with their time and talents.
Stacia worked with Untreed Reads on the deal, and soon enough the book was out in the world.
OBAAT: Patti Abbott has had several flash fiction challenges. Why do you think this one gained enough momentum to become a book?
SW: I think this one speaks to people on a number of levels. So many of these sites – People of Walmart, Awkward Family Photos, Passive Aggressive Notes, and so on – already create mini-stories from the artwork they provide. And, as writers, I think we do this all the time. You see a dumb picture and you think up a caption. Or you see a photo of a woman with a purple wig, fishnet hose, and a tanktop that says “Jesus is the Reason” and you just have to write the story.
Also, I think timing has a good deal to do with the success of any flash challenge. You catch folks when they have time. They have to be able to write and read. Lulls throughout the year, you know? Thanksgiving week, for example, would be a bad time to host a challenge like this.
And one of the bonuses from a challenge like this is that you get to hop around to people’s sites and read what they’ve written, see comments from folks you might not yet know, and generally just wander around the internet as if it were some huge party sprawling across the entire neighborhood.