Heath Lowrance lives in a pleasant little suburb of Detroit, where he does his best to drag everyone down to his own level. The Bastard Hand is his first novel. You can visit his blog at http://www.psychonoir.blogspot.com
Can you sum up your book in no more than 25 words?
Drifter meets charismatic preacher bent on booze and women. They head to small town in Mississippi, where preacher begins very small and personal Apocalypse. Amen.
How important is a book's central character?
If the central character is dull, the whole damn thing falls apart. I’m not a believer in the idea that the main character has to be likeable, but he/she definitely has to be interesting. And it’s helpful if we can relate to them in some small way, even if we’re only recognizing the more fucked-up aspects of ourselves.
In The Bastard Hand, Charlie (our narrator) isn’t what you’d call heroic or moral, but I think the reader can relate to him because of his insecurities and his longing for close contact with another human being. At the same time, he’s interesting because he’s volatile and unpredictable and has a remarkable capacity for violence. The Reverend, on the other hand, is charming and manipulative and-- if we’re really honest with ourselves-- we have to admit that part of us sorta wants to be like him… even though he’s a dark, dark character.
What's the best piece of business advice you've been given?
I don’t know, really. If anyone has actually ever given me business advice it’s very likely I completely ignored it.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?
Strengths: I write good dialogue. I write solid, stripped-down prose with lotsa declarative sentences and not much in the way of glitter. My pacing is quick.
Weaknesses: I can’t write a sex scene to save my life. They always come out sounding like some juvenile fantasy, or a letter to Penthouse.
What aspects of marketing your book do you enjoy?
I’m really shit at marketing myself-- I get self-conscious about it-- but the really great thing is that, in the process, I’ve discovered this fantastically supportive network of noir/crime/hardboiled fans and writers that exist on the web. Some of them I’ve grown quite fond of, as fond as you can be of people you’ve never actually met face to face. And they’ve made the marketing thing so much easier.
So… making friends with fellow fans of the genre-- that’s the best part of marketing.
As a reader, how would you describe your taste in crime fiction?
I like stuff that straddles the line between brutal and funny. I like stuff that is fearless in depicting how very, very low a human can get-- so many books give us some sentimental, idealized version of ourselves, and that always rings false with me. So the more honest and ugly a book is, the better.
Oh, and I also like lotsa mindless violence and sweary words.
What was the last good eBook you read?
Choke on Your Lies by Anthony Neil Smith. It was fantastic.
What crime book are you most looking forward to reading?
I have a few cued up. Jailbait Justice by Danny Hogan is next, I think. And Southern Gods by John Horner, as soon as it comes out.
Who's your favourite living writer?
At the risk of sounding like an ass-kisser, I’m gonna say Allan Guthrie. And Ken Bruen. Oh, and Megan Abbott.
Do you have any other projects on the go?
My second novel is in front of an agent right now… fingers crossed that she winds up digging it. In the meantime, I’m working on my third. So far, each book I’ve written has been remarkably different than the one before it, but they all fall somewhere in the noir tradition.
The Bastard Hand by Heath Lowrance