INTERVIEW: Paul Heatley (author of Bad Bastards)

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A short interview with Paul Heatley, author of An Eye for an Eye series, Fatboy, Motel Whore (& other stories) and Bad Bastards which is out now with FAHRENHEIT PRESS.


‘Paul Heatley writes noir. His fiction is dark and bleak, populated with misfits and losers on a hellbound descent, often eschewing genre and geography to create a nightmarish vision of a harsh and uncaring world. His stories have appeared online and in print for the likes of Thuglit, Spelk, Shotgun Honey, Flash Fiction Offensive, Horror Sleaze Trash, Crime Factory, and more. He lives in the north east of England.’ –

BN:        Hello Paul, thanks for doing this. We know your writing time is precious.

PH: Thanks for having me!

BN:        How did you get into writing…what, who and where inspires you to put pen to paper?

PH: As far as I can recall, I’ve always been writing. I’ve always wanted to tell stories. I was writing for a long, long time and getting rejected for a long, long time before I ever managed to place a short story. I think a lot of that drive and desire to get my stories out there – because I have a lot planned, and a lot more living in my head – is what inspires me to keep writing.

BN:        What places flavour your work?

PH: I tend to set a lot of my stories in America. I’ve only been there once before, many years ago now, so what flavours my settings is what I find in what I watch, and what I read. When I set things in Britain, as I sometimes do, they’ll be in the north east of England, where I live. Usually between Newcastle and Northumberland.

BN:        Ignoring alphabetical order. Your work belongs on the shelf alongside who?

PH: Hopefully alongside the likes of Jim Thompson, James M Cain, Chester Himes, Charles Bukowski, Harry Crews, and Hubert Selby Jr.

BN:        If a known director was to turn one of your books into a film, who would it be, and why?

PH: David Lynch for The Motel Whore, as I wrote it heavily inspired by him. Nicholas Winding Refn for my American-set crime novels, primarily for his work on Drive. Neil Marshall for the Eye For An Eye series, or anything Newcastle-set, because he’s a fellow Geordie and would understand them.

BN:        Bukowski: A dick? Genius? Both and more…?

PH: I’d say he was both. He was a man, a person, and like everyone else he was multi-faceted. He could be a dick (I’ve heard he was quite awful to a lot of the women in his life) but he also had flashes of genius in his writing.

BN:        What’s the soundtrack(s) to your work…and life?

PH: Oh man, I have so many answers to this! The book I wrote that has a definite soundtrack (for me, if not for the actual book) is Fatboy. I wrote the first draft in just under two weeks and every night I worked on it I listened to the Ministry live album ‘In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up’. In terms of my life, and everything else I’ve written, here’s a bit of a list: The Doors, Mark Lanegan, Orville Peck, Lana Del Rey, Janelle Monae, Slayer, John Grant, Type O Negative, Wu Tang Clan, Run The Jewels, The Pixies, Blacq Audio, Boy Harsher, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Rammstein, Tom Waits, Blondie, The Bronx, The Kills, Skinny Puppy, REM, Death Grips, Immortal Technique – all right, all right, I’ll stop there. I could go on… 

BN:        Do you read books out of your genre? What was the last one you liked and why?

PH: I do. I have a great love of speculative fiction, whether it’s fantasy, sci-fi, horror, or just some weird shit. I’ve been getting really into both The Witcher and The Wheel Of Time books recently. I’m currently working through the Thomas Ligotti Songs Of A Dead Dreamer short story collection. I have a big love of Lovecraftian stuff, too. I’m really drawn to cosmic horror.

BN:        What’s the best gem(s) you’ve found in Barter Books?

PH: Probably the aforementioned Thomas Ligotti collection! I also picked up a very fancy Aleister Crowley biography from there which I haven’t gotten round to yet, but which I’m looking forward to.

BN:        We really loved ‘Bad Bastards’, and thought it was pure visceral poetic magic… What   are you working on now? – Tell us what you can.

PH: Glad to hear that! I think most of what I’ve written so far would be classed as novellas. My first novel I guess would be Violent By Design, which is a sequel to An Eye For An Eye. So what I’m working on at the minute is my first novel proper. It’s about two con-men brothers travelling across the American south, with many dark secrets and resentments between them.

BN:        Finally: your drinking against a bar for the foreseeable future, the clocks have stopped and there’s no windows… Who do you want there alongside you?

PH: Harry Crews. I’ve seen a lot of interviews with him and I’ve never heard an unintersting story pass his lips. Plus, he had a great accent.

BN:        Thanks again. And keep creating. Looking forward to your next one.

PH: Thanks! My next two books are both out in June. Cutthroat is being released by All Due Respect and is set in Newcastle in 1978. Best way I can describe it is Get Carter as written by a Geordie Richard Stark. My second is called Just Like Jesus and will be released by Close To The Bone (who released my Eye For An Eye series) and is a standalone story about two young drug dealers on the Northumbrian coast, inspired as a cross between Almost Transparent Blue and Less Than Zero.

His book, Bad Bastards is out now with Fahrenheit Press.

‘A dark noir stripped of fat; beautifully crafted and presented – punching primal buttons relentlessly with each word – it’s visceral, fierce and dark. ‘ John Bowie

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