A New Crime Boss In Town

This post is going out a day early for three reasons. First, someone told me they were looking forward to reading my interview with Chris Rhatigan, and I thought, “Hey I am excited about it too.” Secondly, I will be spending most of my Sunday afternoon preparing for a jury trial on Monday. The last reason I decided to post early is simply, because I can. Hey what’s the fun of having your very own blog if you can’t do what you want?

So let’s get right to it. As of May 2012 Chris Rhatigan will become the editor of the online crime fiction magazine powerhouse All Due Respect. I say powerhouse because ADR is my favorite online publication and the quality of the stories to be found there is amazing. The brain child of Alec Cizak, now the editor of Pulp Modern, ADR has been unwavering in the publication of KICK ASS crime stories that narrows its focus to just that, crime. Not the solving of crime, not the bemoaning of crime, just the ripping no excuses grit of criminals doing what they do best.

As I contemplated this interview, I tried to remember how Rhatigan came to my attention. I am pretty sure it was his story at Beat To A Pulp. The reason I say pretty sure is because when I scampered over to BTAP today to confirm, their archives were undergoing technical difficulties so I couldn’t refresh my memory as to what his story there was. Chris is also the co-editor of Pulp Ink which I purchased a couple months ago and enjoyed immensely. Since then I have been a regular visitor at his blog Death By Killing.

When I heard the news about the change of leadership at All Due Respect I’ll admit I had mixed feelings. At first, I was concerned because it is such a top notch publication, but the more I thought about it the more I was intrigued by Cizak’s choice to carry on with his dark and dirty business, and when you read his answers to my questions I think you’ll see why.

Now how about we hear from the man himself, shall we?

 

Chris, how does it feel to take over the reins of All Due Respect?

I’m very excited. Founding Editor Alec Cizak has developed one of the top crime zines on the web, and I’m really honored that he chose to let me take the reins. I think ADR’s tight focus – only fiction about crime, only stories developed beyond flash length – is a strength.  

I was excited about the addition of a second story every month, and also saw that the minimum word count has changed. Did you have any special reason for making these adjustments?

I want to continue to expand ADR’s readership. By going twice-a-month instead of once a month, I think we’ll be on people’s radars more often. Also, as a reader of ADR, I wanted my fix more often – waiting a whole month sucked! So I figured the rest of ADR’s readership felt the same way and would be happy to hear that we’re offering more.

On the word count, I decreased it from a minimum 2000 words to 1000. I had two reasons for this. First of all, the 1000-2000-word story is kind of a gap in the world of crime fiction. There are a ton of flash sites and a number of sites/print pubs that do over 2000-word stories, but not too many that do 1000-2000 (off the top of my head, Yellow Mama, A Twist of Noir, Pulp Metal Magazine, and Beat to a Pulp). So this will offer those writers with very strong 1000-2000-word stories another venue.

And the second reason is that I’m looking for more submissions since we’ll be publishing twice per month. Lower word count equals more submissions, or so the theory goes.

Do you have any specific goals for ADR in the coming year?

Good question. Basically I want to keep putting out the same quality product that Alec has established. I believe that the stories I’ve accepted thus far meet those standards.  

At some point, I’d like to start working on an ADR anthology. Certainly at some point we’ll have an e-book/print presence, whether that comes in the form of periodic issues or an anthology, although this is all just me talking out of my ass.

What was the first story you ever wrote and how old were you at the time?

Oh, Jesus. Well, I wrote a lot of James Bond-esque stories as a kid complete with pictures and ridiculous globe-trotting “plots.” In high school I wrote a couple of moody, nothing-happens lit stories along with a slew of poetry.

The first story I wrote that’s worth talking about at all is “The Bait” at A Twist of Noir. If I wrote it now, I’d probably do some things different, but it was my first serious attempt to get a piece published. I really liked what I had read at A Twist of Noir, so I tried to dream up a story that would fit in there. I was absolutely thrilled when Editor Christopher Grant accepted it. The internet (and the crime fiction community more specifically) offers a really good training ground for up-and-coming writers.

Do you have any thoughts or predictions about where the world of publishing is headed?

Obviously e-books are growing a lot. Self-publishing and working with smaller publishers is growing, too. I have no idea how any of this will turn out, but for now, we’re seeing more fiction that takes risks getting out to audiences, which I’m very happy about. We’re also seeing more short story collections getting published and gaining (a small) readership, and that’s fantastic.

I also like that prices are coming down and writers are getting a bigger share of the pie (if they self-publish). Ultimately traditional publishers will be forced to respond to those trends in some way. The model of releasing a print book, only selling half of them (at best), and dishing out a paltry royalty to the writer isn’t cutting it anymore.

Who has influenced you the most as a writer?

It changes from moment to moment. I fell in love with the short form after reading a collection of Ray Bradbury’s stories. He is so wicked good and so smart – every decision he makes is the right one. These days I’m reading a lot of Julie Morrigan (I really admire her plotting skills), R Thomas Brown (ditto), Pablo D’Stair (a master stylist), and Patti Abbott (a wizard with character).

For some reason, I’m writing a lot of surreal stuff lately. Guess that has to do with reading more sci-fi and horror – just finished William Gibson’s Neuromancer the other day and that knocked me on my ass.

Is there anything you want writers submitting to ADR to keep in mind?

Read the guidelines and read the stories ADR’s already published. As I said, the site has a pretty narrow focus and I plan on keeping it that way. Also, make sure things happen in your story early on – or that you establish a lot of tension. If you’ve got two people talking at a table for three pages, I might take it, but it better be damn good!

And don’t take rejections personally. It’s me, one random dude, reading the story and reacting to it. I’ll tell you what I think, but, in the scheme of things, it doesn’t mean anything.

If there is one writer out there who you could get to submit a story this upcoming year, who would it be?

I already got one from A Twist of Noir Editor Christopher Grant – a set of flash pieces that friggin rock – so that was very cool. I’d love to see something from Kieran Shea. And Cindy Rosmus. There are like a million others, but I’ll leave it at those two.

____

I want to thank Chris for taking the time to speak with me, and I am excited to see the future of ADR under his leadership.

Chris Rhatigan is the co-editor, along with Nigel Bird, of the crime anthology Pulp Ink. His fiction has appeared in the collections Off the Record and Pulp Metal Magazine’s Laughing at the Death Grin, and around the web at sites like Beat to a Pulp and Shotgun Honey. He blogs about short fiction at Death by Killing. In May, he will become editor of All Due Respect.

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8 Responses to “A New Crime Boss In Town”

  1. Great interview. Chris has actually already taken over full editing duties at ADR. I’m anxious to read that group of flash fiction stories from Mr. Grant.

  2. chrisrhatigan Says:

    Yeah, we changed things up there in the last few days! And you’ll love those Grant stories. He is the business.

  3. Great interview. Chris is such a good writer – and editor – I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this develops!

  4. A great zine continues. I am so glad.

  5. Excellent interview! I am looking forward to reading some the stories at ADR. One of my goals is to write something worthy of this great ‘zine.

    Congratulations, Chris!

  6. A class act meets a crime-zine and it’s a sure shot Rat-a-tat-Rhatigan will bring in every issue that readership grows to gun for.

    ~ Absolutely*Kate, a bigger fan of Chris
    each time he edges out of the shadows.

    ( I’d like to read more of that surreal stuff too )

  7. chrisrhatigan Says:

    Thanks for swinging by folks and for your supportive comments.

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