Friday, April 2, 2010

Interview: Steve Lowe

I met Steve Lowe in 2009 while work shopping stories on American Zoetrope. He’s helped me with a few of mine and he has a fine eye for details (probably stems from his journalistic background and from being a perfectionist—both noble endeavors.) I’ve also read some of Steve’s fiction and here’s my opinion: It’s clean and sharp and gutsy. He spins some weird yarn that is easy to get caught in. But you should read some of his stories and form your own opinions.

1. Tell us your background. Have you always scribbled nasty letters? What shoved you toward the dark side? Movies? Books? Ex-girlfriends?

SL: I’ve scribbled for a long time, but it’s only been nasty for a short while. I’ve been writing about sports in my fair hometown of South Bend, Indiana since 1999 and I hadn’t written any fiction for about six years before I got back to it again in late 2008. My wife had one of those cheesy werewolf romance novels with a burly, long-haired dude on the cover. I read the first chapter and knew I could do better, so I wrote a short story mostly on a lark. The lark was not happy about it, let me tell you, so I switched to writing it on a computer and it went much better. That story (after transcribing what I could from the lark) is now a novella called WOLVES DRESSED AS MEN and will be released in November of this year. We had to put the lark down. It was both a happy and sad day.

2. How would you label your fiction? (For example, mine is “Goth/Hillbilly” but you can go into further detail with yours and mention some writers you adore/stalk)

SL: I don’t know how I would label it because it continues to change all the time, though I will admit I’m enjoying writing the weird stuff right now. I like minimalism and getting right to the point (a product of sports writing and newspaper journalism in general) but I’m not really focused on one style or genre. I’m still in that stage where I write what comes to mind based on what mood I’m in, how annoying my children are being at any given moment. I’m all about capturing what I’m feeling in the moment. If I start writing homo-erotica, then I’ll know it’s probably time to stop hanging out at the YMCA.

3. Tell us about your two novellas (Who bought them? What are they about? When can we buy them?)

SL: The first one is more of a novelette. It’s called MUSCLE MEMORY and it’s somewhat low-brow comedy about body-switching in rural Pennsylvania. Eraserhead Press is publishing it in October as part of their New Bizarro Author Series, which is sort of a proving ground for authors who want to become real, grown-up bizarro authors and no longer be forced to sit at the kiddie table at Thanksgiving. Basically, if my book sells 200 or more copies in a year’s time, I could get a five-book deal from Eraserhead and be forever labeled an official bizarro.

The other novella is the aforementioned WOLVES, and it’s being published by Eternal Press as an eBook first, then will be offered in print a month later. I wrote this one almost a year ago, and like I said, as my writing has evolved since then, I don’t know if I would write this story today. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the story or the style, just that it’s not what I’m writing now. The story is about a werewolf loose in a crumbling Detroit-like slum, but there’s very little focus on the beast and more about the men fighting it, very dark and brooding stuff. I must have been all dark and broody at the time.

4. Where can we find your short stories?

SL: Oh, here and there. I had one in the most recent issue of Liquid Imagination, I had one in the first Dead Bait anthology, a couple on The New Flesh: Crowd parted for great lucchesi
Ambling Along as I'm Wont to Do Knobby) and I’ve got some forthcoming in Three Crow Press and Esteban’s House of Bizarro. Probably my favorite story that’s been published so far was made into a podcast on Drabblecast: Varmints!) It’s entitled VARMITS! and it’s about a paranoid guy who think raccoons are out to get him.

5. What’s the deal with your brain always stroking off over “Two Minutes,” and who is this Bogey character that’s sending you death threats disguised as lingerie?

SL: If you mention “stroking” and “Bogey” in the same sentence, you’ll never hear the end of it from her, the auto-erotic little minx that she is. As for the 2-Minute Drill, it just sort of happened. When this year began, I was shopping my novellas around and thinking I would need a website, or at least a blog, if I ever happened to sell one or both of them. Once I got the blog up, I didn’t have much of interest to post and I really didn’t want to do another normal author’s blog. Not that there’s anything wrong with that obviously, but if I was going to do it, it had to be different. I wasn’t going to just write about stuff that popped in my head, because I’m really not that interesting or insightful. I wanted to use it for entertainment, or at least post goofy, funny stuff. That’s when I thought of doing author interviews, but making them a little more unique. See, I get bored easy, so I thought five short questions, five short answers, totally off the wall shit, while also attempting to push the authors’ books and wares to the readers, and maybe it would work. I had AJ Brown do the first one and the next day I had a list of about 20 writers and artists wanting to do their own 2-Minute Drill. And they’re fun as hell because I get to make up just about whatever I want.

6. What is your proudest moment as a writer? As a man?

SL: As a man is easy, it was the day the paternity results came back. Didn’t have much of an argument left after that day, but I digress… As a writer, that’s tougher. I suppose that first acceptance and first payment. That was a good feeling, to know that I was cunning enough to fool someone into giving me money for my fiction. (Insert maniacal laugh here…)

7. What does the future hold for Steve Lowe?

SL: Pain. No, just kidding. Hopefully, a novel, which will probably be painful for anyone who tries to read it. After writing for newspapers for so long, you get conditioned to keeping it short and sticking with only the most important stuff. But fiction is such a different animal. I’ve always wanted to write novels, but I didn’t think I could manage something that long. Once I got to the 20,000-word mark on WOLVES, I started to figure it out. At some point, I’ll knock out a full-length novel. I have 18,000 words of something I may or may not finish, but before then I’m working on another novella, then I’ve got two more ideas started that I want to flesh out and see where I can take them. They may not be novel-length, but I haven’t really focused on them yet so we’ll see. And of course, more 2-Minute Drills. At some point, I’ll convince another big-time author to come on. I had Jeremy C. Shipp do one in early March and he was great.

8. Anything I forgot?

SL: Did you pick up your dry cleaning yesterday?

9. Befriend/Worship Steve Lowe links: (Facebook, etc.)


Thanks, Steve!


Annemarie Bogart said...

hahaha...great stuff guys. "how annoying my children are being at any given moment"...priceless, and damned true. And dammit, Lee, those are legitimate gifts....Lowe says he loves lingerie, even it the fit is off a bit.
*tries to push back the Buffalo Bill images from Silence of the Lambs*

Hello. said...

LOL! That is an image I wish I hadn't had to picture! Thanks for reading, Bogey!

stevenelowe said...

Actually, that very much fits the theme of MUSCLE MEMORY. C'mon Lee, you know you tried the tuck-and-strut in front of the mirror before while saying, "It rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again."


Hello. said...

Haha. Yeah, we've all got a little Eric Cartman in us! Looking forward to the release of the novellas, Steve!

K.Hinny said...

Hey Lee! Nice questions! Steve congratulations on your Novellas! I found it interesting that you spoke of your sports writing and journalism as what makes you minimalist, when I first started writing I had my friend look at it - she also was a journalist, and she started taking out words explaining that less is more. It's a habit I keep in my head (while I'm still wordy at first) the revisions get cut down quite well!

geoffnelder said...

Insightful interrogation, Lee, and impressive avoidance technique, Steve. Liked it.

Hello. said...

Thanks for reading, Kara and Geoff! Mucho appreciated!