Thursday, July 8, 2021

An Interview With Beau Johnson, Author of Brand New Dark

 Beau Johnson is a treat. Outstanding author (most notably of the Bishop Rider short stories), tireless promoter of the work of other, connoisseur of all things cheesy, and a hell of a nice guy. I look forward to Beau’s annual collection not only for the stories, but as na excuse to get him back on the blog.

This year’s entry is Brand New Dark, which drops July 12 from Down & Out Books. (I should also note that Beau has all the best titles: A Better Kind of Hate, The Big Machine Eats, and All of Them to Burn.

OBAAT: Looking back at our previous interviews, I see we’ve been getting together more or less annually since 2017. In that first interview we talked a little about your process, how you’re a pantser but will revise each story ten to fifteen times before setting it aside for a few weeks. Has your process evolved as you become more comfortable in the knowledge “I can do this?” Maybe the first question should be to ask if you have become more comfortable.

BJ:  I guess, yes, this would be our fourth go around, Dana.  As ever, thank you for having me! Always

cool of you to give me time and space. As for more comfortable, I can say yes to some of it and no to other parts. I HAVE settled on twelve revisions as to the number any one piece goes through, however.

 OBAAT: I have to ask: Is Bishop Rider still a prominent force in this collection?

BJ: THE prominent force if I'm honest.  Brand New Dark being my first attempt at a book exclusive to a single character.  Will it be too much?  Bishop's world? His struggle?  Time will tell for sure and yes, these are the things I think about.

 OBAAT: Looking back, I’m shocked—shocked!—to see I never asked you about who has most influenced your writing. So, who have been the greatest influences on your writing?

BJ: Even though I found crime fiction over a decade ago my first love will always be King. Misery being the first book I ever read by the man.  I've been hooked ever since.  But back to crime fiction, I would say I dig quite a few writers out there producing today.  Matthew C. Funk is one.  Shawn Cosby for another.  I would add Nikki Dolson, James D.F. Hannah, Nick Kolakowski, Angel Luis Colon, Laurel Hightower, Jennifer Hillier, Laird Barron, Tom Leins, and just too many others that I will probably kick myself for forgetting once you've gone and posted this.

 OBAAT: What are you working on now, and what can we expect next?

: Well, I never want to jinx things, but if I'm lucky, I might have one more Rider book in me. It would take his story close to one hundred in total and I've always felt like that was a nice round number to end on.  We shall see, of course.  As ever, I guarantee nothing.

 OBAAT: What is the cheese you’ve eaten most recently (or are eating now), and why was it chosen?

BJ: Ha!  We do love cheese, don't we?  Right now just some plain old Old, purchased by my wife because she kicks all the ass. 

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