Razorline Press got to speak with Jimmy Pudge, author of titles like Bad Billy and Ice Cream Man. His current work, Corn Bred, a 99¢ title available on Kindle is about a man who discovers he has a split personality that wants to kill his fiancée after she suggests he go to therapy for his blackouts. It’s been getting great reviews (me included) and anyone who likes fast-paced horror should download a copy posthaste.
Born in 1979 in the backwoods of South Georgia to a truck driver and a father he never knew, Jimmy served several prison sentences because he refused to give in to the federal laws that impose independent spirits’ rights to be entrepreneurs. An expert in the art of pruno, shank construction, and paper dart blow guns, Jimmy briefly served as a leader in his dorm room before being released early for good behavior.
RP: Thanks for talking with me, Jimmy. Big fan.
JP: Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner, Gerald. It’s been a crazy weekend of drinking and I’m just sobering up.
RP: Uh, that’s quite all right. How long have you been writing?
JP: I started writing in the mid to late 90’s, but I didn’t start trying to get published until around 1999. I had many, many rejections.
RP: Me too. I stopped collecting them after a while. I love your straightforward, nonstop style. There are absolutely no lulls in your writing. Where does that come from?
JP: I’ve never really enjoyed books where the writer spends such a great deal of time describing things. I could care less about what types of furniture are in the living room. I try to be as minimalistic as possible when describing things. This makes the dialogue flow better. Some readers, I’ve noticed, absolutely hate this stripped down style. They prefer lots of description. So you have fans of both schools. I also try my best to use emotions to form character development. It’s hard to explain, but I want a character’s laughter in the wrong places or expression of hatred to develop the character instead of going into great lengths about how the character feels and why he/she feels. Corn Bred was a bit of an exception to this rule, but I needed the reader to understand how the personality developed.
RP: What and who are your inspirations?
JP: I’m inspired by those I interact with on a daily basis. I’ll go to Wal-Mart and just listen to people, hear what they’re saying, make mental notes about the way they say something. A lot of people hate the excessive profanity you find in my books, but it’s true to the way the people in my environment act and talk. I believe in realism when it comes to dialogue. Some people will say, “Shit, you’re stereotyping.” But that’s not true at all. That really is the way people where I live talk.
RP: Who do you read?
JP: I started off reading a lot of Harlequin titles. I wasn’t like most writers. I haven’t read since I was a child. My love of reading didn’t take off until about the mid-90’s. The library I got these books from was small, so there was a very narrow selection. After reading the romances, I graduated to Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey westerns, and then went into horror, reading Stephen King, Dean Koontz, etc…I’ve got to admit, I wasn’t blown away with anything until I started reading John D. McDonald’s Travis McGee books and found Peter Rabe. Now, I mostly stay away from popular authors. I check out indie writers and I read older fiction. I never read when I write because I like to try to keep as much of my voice as possible. I also try to read all genres.
RP: What was the genesis for your latest work, Corn Bred? How long did it take you to write?
JP: One of my favorite horror stories has always been Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” There’s something about that story and the split personality disorder that makes a sad, emotional study of the human condition and good versus evil, and I thought “Corn Bred” would be a good homage to Stevenson. I wanted a man who was a good guy, a pushover, and someone who was unable to confront anything that seemed like a threat. I wanted to give him an alter ego, a complete opposite, someone evil and psychotic. I didn’t want the protagonist to know about his other personality. That made it even more upsetting when he discovers he is the one who kidnaps the woman he loves and now he has to figure out how to find her and save her . . . from himself. Thinking of the plot took about two weeks. Writing it took another two weeks.
RP: The first story I read of yours was Bit** Gone Crazy in the Attic. The title alone had me hooked and I knew I had no choice but to read this story. Do you have a secret as to how you come up with your titles?
JP: Bitch Gone Crazy in the Attic was written for an anthology and was quickly turned down. I can’t blame them for turning it down; the other stories in it are so far away from what I was doing with “Bitch” that it would make no sense being mixed in with the rest. I chose the title because I thought it was funny as hell. I had recently broken up from a controlling bitch, so the title character is loosely based on the bitch I dated. She inspired the title Bitch Gone Crazy in the Attic. When I choose a title, I just think about something that makes me laugh. I was working on a book about a private eye named Johnny Sausage who was also an ex-porn star. He’s also an asshole. Now, private eyes are referred to as dicks, assholes are referred to as dicks, and male porn stars make money with their dicks. I also noticed no other title in fiction that was called “The Dick,” so I immediately chose that name. I now see why there are no other books called “The Dick.” This title hasn’t sold for shit. I guess no one likes buying books with “Dick” in the title.
RP: Who designs your covers? They’re very eye-catching.
JP: Thanks, Gerald! I design them, man. I usually buy a stock photo for about $5 and then go to a photo editing website and add the title and play around with colors.
RP: Have you ever collaborated with another author?
JP: No, I’ve never worked with another author before on a manuscript.
RP: Your website! You have to get that updated so people can get an inside view to that brain of yours. Are you updating it?
JP: Man, I forgot all about the website until you mentioned it. I’ll have to update it soon.
RP: What’s your view on the whole eBook versus printed book debate?
JP: I can tell you for a fact you would never have read anything I wrote if it wasn’t for eBooks. It’s a wonderful invention that gives readers the option to find titles that are different, that are not written necessarily for mainstream success. Indie authors have flourished, so this makes it more difficult for established authors to put out shit like they have in the past. Price is also a benefit for the readers. Indie writers sell titles for cheap, many just as good as anything you’ll buy from Random House, Penguin, etc…Printed authors will give you a completely different take on the issue. E-books are cutting into their sales. There is a lot more competition, so the pressure is on for them to produce high quality fiction. With that said, there is a handicap for e-book Indie authors. If you’re in romance or action, the sky is the limit. But if you’re in a much smaller genre like horror, for example, then you may find yourself at a plateau when it comes to sales. If this is the case and you don’t have money to go to conventions and interact with fans (like me, I’m one broke motherfucker), then you may need to find a small press that does have the money to make these conventions and represent your work. So, I’m not against traditional publication by any means.
RP: What are your tips on creating an engaging story?
JP: It’s very important to have a hook as soon as possible. I try to make my first paragraph grip the reader. In Corn Bred, for example, the first thing I mention are the protagonist’s bloody hands. It’s my hope that the reader will want to know why these hands are bloody. I also try my best to limit description. In my opinion, the more you describe, the more you bore the reader. No need to explain the layout of a yard in anything over a paragraph.
RP: Do you have anything in the works you’d like to talk about?
JP: Devil Inside is slated to come out next month. Serial killer Junior Boyd’s remains lie inside a box in an old country church. When Mama convinces two criminals to break in and rob the church, they release his soul and the carnage begins again. Now there’s only one hope to stop Boyd, and that hope lies in the criminally insane serial killer Big Country. This time, it’s going to take a killer to catch a killer.
I’ll self-publish this one in late February I imagine. I’ve also written a novella called Run Teddy Bear, Run, which I’m currently seeking publication for. Run Teddy Bear, Run is about a serial killer who used to terrorize a summer camp in the 80s and early 90s. The camp went out of business, and the killer retired. Now, years later, the camp is reopening and the killer has decided to come out of retirement. Unfortunately for the Teddy Bear Killer, killing campers ain’t what it used to be. The hunter is about to become the hunted.
RP: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today, Jimmy. I’m looking forward to cracking open Devil Inside when you release it.