Chris Rhatigan, author and editor, stopped by to chat All Due Respect Magazine, crime fiction and favorite reads of 2013. Here’s the bio:
Chris Rhatigan is the editor of All Due Respect and the Pulp Ink anthologies. He is the author of more than 50 short stories and the novella, The Kind of Friends Who Murder Each Other. He lives in India.
Tell us about the relaunch of All Due Respect – what makes this publication stand out from the others?
All Due Respect is about crime fiction from the criminal’s perspective. That’s at the core of what we do. We like to think of ourselves as the magazine for people who read Jim Thompson, Ken Bruen, Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake.
In the latest issue of ADR, you selected Chris F. Holm as your feature author. I’m a big fan of Holm’s work – what brought you to initially work with Chris?
Chris was a rising star when I first found out about the crime fiction scene a few years ago. At that time, 8 Pounds, his first collection of stories, was winning awards and generally kicking ass. It stands today as one of my favorite crime short story collections. He also effectively blends in elements of horror and fantasy.
Chris was exactly the kind of person we were looking to be a featured author. He has a growing audience and a love for the short story form. Plus he’s just a cool person and a great ambassador of the genre.
In the first issue, there’s a stand-out story by Renee Asher Pickup that deals with child abuse and its lasting effects on its victims. Given the subject matter, did you have doubts about publishing it or did you know right away that it belonged in your first issue?
Mike Monson, who also edits ADR, said he had read a draft of the story and thought it would be a good fit.
Usually I need to read a story twice to know that it’s a good fit for ADR. But as soon as I finished “Amanda Will Be Fine,” I knew we’d publish it. The force behind the writing and the honest approach set this one apart.
Looking back, is there a specific book or moment that made you fall in love with crime fiction?
I started reading genre fiction in middle school. At that time, I liked Michael Crichton, Tom Clancy, Robert B. Parker. I can still pick up a Parker or a Crichton and breeze through it in a few hours. (Clancy, not so much! Too much boring military stuff.) So those mainstream writers put me on the path toward crime fiction.
You’re an editor but you’re also a fiction writer. Do you find you’re sometimes overly critical of yourself when crafting a story?
Yes, but that was always there. But it also helps to be an editor because you understand that the submission process is, in the end, pretty arbitrary. We receive many excellent submissions for All Due Respect—ultimately it comes down to taste, whether or not you like the story. I’ve seen stories I rejected find their way to truly excellent publications. Guess those editors simply saw something there that I didn’t.
Do you have advice for any aspiring writers?
Nothing beyond the obvious clichés—keep writing, don’t worry about what other people are writing, etc.
Although I think the best cliché is keep reading, especially short fiction. I think any success I’ve had as a writer (and, for that matter, editor) is because I read tons of short fiction.
I know this is often a hard question to answer but what’s the best book you’ve read in 2013?
Well, as you might imagine, I’m going to give you more than one book!
The first one is Steve Weddle’s Country Hardball. It’s a collection of short fiction that is just perfect in every way. Beautiful writing, living and breathing characters, the whole thing imbued with deep sorrow—I loved every page.
David Cranmer’s Beat to a Pulp is always excellent, but the publication’s most recent collection, Hardboiled 3, is a cut above. Patti Abbott, Hilary Davidson, Chris Holm, Sophie Littlefield, Kieran Shea—doesn’t get much better than this.
I’d like to thank Chris for stopping by and answering a few questions as well as recommending some excellent fiction.