This year finds me briefly veering back over to the nonfiction side of the publishing world with Rogue Males: Conversations & Confrontations About the Writing Life
, a second collection of interviews with authors including James Ellroy, Pete Dexter, Daniel Woodrell, Elmore Leonard and the late, great James Crumley. Rogue Males
also features an account of a trip to the desert to interview crime fiction greats Ken Bruen and James Sallis about the craft of writing.
will be published by Bleak House in two simultaneous versions: a durable hardcover edition, and a trade paperback edition. Technically, both versions are supposed to release in middle May; in actuality, it’s looking more like very early April.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be giving a little background about each writer featured in Rogue Males
. We kick it off with singer/songwriter Tom Russell
, who on face might seem a curious interview subject for a book dominated by crime novelists.
In fact, Tom Russell is probably the only singer/songwriter with a degree in criminology. His song catalogue also contains a number of crime inflected compositions including the James Ellroyesque “Tijuana Bible,” a tribute to Texas über defense attorney Richard “Racehorse” Haynes and his Orson Welles-inspired, Borderland masterpiece “Touch of Evil,” among many, many others. (I actually dedicated my debut novel, Head Games
, to Mr. Russell, because the book was written to a steady soundtrack of his music.)
Russell also penned his own crime novel, although the work has only appeared in Norwegian translation.
To get a sense of Russell the prose writer, check out his Borderland blog
. If you haven’t sampled his music, his recent posting to YouTube of a new song, “Guadalupe
,” is a pretty sublime place to start.
Tom Russell interview excerpt: “In this culture, I’d hate to be an insider. I’d be playing 18 holes of golf a day and listening to country music. This other crap. A fear-driven culture. If they call me an outsider, that’s fine because it leaves me alone to do whatever I feel like, really.”
NEXT UP: JAMES CRUMLEY