was born in Oakland, grew up in various small towns in California’s
Central Valley, and attended film school at the University of Southern
California. He has, among other jobs, edited the heavy-metal
magazine RIP. In 2009
he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. His novel This Wicked World was published in
June, also by Little, Brown.
with Richard Lange
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
stories in Dead Boys were written over a period of eight years.
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
RL: Not at all. I was just writing
stories and sending them out to journals with no thought of them ever
being presented together.
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
included every mature story I had written up to that time in Dead Boys.
Ten of them had appeared in various magazines and journals, and two
appeared for the first time in the book. My editor chose the order. My
drawer was empty after that, and I’ve just recently started filling it
does the word "story"
mean to you?
I’m still figuring that out. In my short pieces I often try to see how
little plot I can get away with, offering the reader an emotional
experience instead. I used a different strategy in my new novel, This Wicked World, opting to do
something plot-oriented there. The plot stuff is much harder for me
than the emotional stuff.
Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?
Yes: me. I write things I’d want to read.
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection,
anything at all?
RL: Did you tell ten of your friends
to buy the book? Would you, please?
How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
RL: It’s fantastic. I’m still
waiting to wake up from this dream.
What are you working on now?
RL: A new collection of stories and
a new novel.
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
RL: I don’t read many story
I’m pretty picky. Right now I’m reading Bleak House by Dickens, Imperial by William Vollmann and a Library of America true crime
anthology. I’ve also been dipping into Maupassant’s stories.