Interview with Crime Writer Bob Hartley S. 5, Ep. 22
I this the crime cafe. You're podcasting source of rape crime. Suspense and Thriller Writing. I'm your host Debbie Mac before I bring on my guest. I'll just remind you that. The Crime Cafe has to e books for sale. The nine book box set and the short story in policy. You can find the by links for both on my website. Deputy Mac dot com under the crime. Cafe Link you can also get a free copy of either book if you become a Patriot supporter. You'll get that and much more if you support the podcast on Patriae on along with our eternal gratitude for doing so I would also like to recommend stitcher premium. If you're a fan of podcasts. If you like true crime or crime fiction there are loads of podcasts. Out there for you. And with stitcher premium you can listen to the exclusive archives from criminology or bonus episodes from true crime garage. You can also listen ad free. Two episodes of your favorite podcasts. I've subscribed for only four ninety nine a month. It's nice to have ad free entertainment. Just go to stitcher dot com slash premium and use the Promo Code Crime Cafe. That's one word all caps to try it out absolutely free for a month. Hi everyone this week. My guest is the author of two novels. The latest of which is worth in central he has an MFA in section and along this being a writer. He's been an actor singer. Teacher Bartender mailroom clerk and wash your of soup mold. In other words he has the perfect background and life. Experience for hard will crime writers far as I'm concerned my guess. Today's Bob partly I saw. It's creating you want. Thank you for being here. The whole thanks. Thanks for having me on. Well I'm glad to do it I have to agree with one. Author's assessment of your writing quote this guy partly nails late seventies blue collar Chicago with Jarvis going away. They'll coming due in cops. You can't tell from the robbers that is so I just nails it right. There just seems perfect It's an absolutely fantastic book and I don't say that lightly. I don't say that to everybody along with your experience a bartender. What made you decide to write birth in central? I grew up on a far west. Chicago and That was a world that I grew up within and It's it's in. The neighborhood actually is called Austin as a up until a few years ago. It was the largest neighborhood in Chicago but if you go to Chicago now the tourists go there. It's a basically a working class neighborhood in my childhood up until it out. I should say a working class white working class neighborhood until about till the time was about fourteen and then it became an african-american working class neighborhood within the next few years and During that time there was a lot of economic turmoil going on in the seventies and I witnessed it so in a Lotta racial turmoil as well and I witnessed all of that and That has put a mark on me that I have. I have difficulty writing about anything else. the stories. I've written I've written all seem to gravitate towards Like the sixty seventies I might write another one that set in the eighties it because I can't find anything that is as I know poignant to even to. What's going on now the the book? Although I'm certainly glad that it is looked upon as a as a new are novel that it's a you know captures that time and so forth but I think of it as a metaphor for System itself so with actually a lot of or experiencing right now out of low cloud Low paying jobs a lot of people without any Real any well without a lot of hoped answered a lot of economic insecurity You know it. It's what I tried to capture this. This one event going on is one few months in which All of it's coming down on top of them you know and they they really can't human beings like to think they're in control but in reality as we found out recently You're not in control. And so he scrambled to find some kind of control when we really don't have it and hence people going out and trying to empty the stores and toilet paper anyway. You know so. We're constantly trying to do that. But in in reality is sometimes the situation. You have no control. And that's what they're finding out here absolutely I think that the your story is representative. Not just if Chicago but of urban areas and the country in general at various levels to new seem less great. Because it's it's one of attempting to do you know it's not just about those people those those that time it's representative of what's going on with new millions of people right now. Sir I mean I live in Maryland and the first thing that comes to my mind is Baltimore. Oh sure the Baltimore. Dc DC have struggled with right huge urban issues and of course you see that in TV and shows like homicide the wider that transit right right exactly but the characters in your book or so well drawn and unique How many of them were based say loosely or otherwise on real people? We're all composite characters so None of them are exactly the same person but I did know people similar to those people and what I try to do is Cobble them together and make them more interesting by putting them together. You know so Annette's attempted to do they ring true. That's very good because They are fictional. None of them really existed so but they ring true it just you asking. That question tells me something that they did. So that's Great Fisher. I mean they have always wonderful little quirks and you can tell all of them apart. They all have a certain traits or a look to them. They make some distinct. That's when you can do with allies characters. That's a real skill. There was a good writer. There's a Chicago writer Nelson. Algren and I what he tried to do was which he was like he he's He's long gone now but he was highly influential with me because he When I read his books I saw somebody who is looking at a neighborhood and actually writing about people who aren't represented in Fiction very often and Captured it very well. And that's going to his Traits was that he was able look all these characters and even the minor character. If you were to follow that character out the door you would be experiencing a story that might just be as compelling as the one you're reading which is that's tough to do. An Auburn did very well. If if you're saying that I've come close to it. That's great because that's what I'm looking for. Now you've got interested in reading more Nelson Albritton beyond wilderness. Start there you'll see the yes the short stories of neon wilderness He was unbelievable. He was unbelievably great writer. Fantastic to know Let's see the bar you write about has so many unique characters. Okay and Do you write individual. Bios reach them or do you just as you go. How do you handle everything straight? Well you know I it. I do draft and what I would do is. I'd write every day so right every day. Right PART OF EVERYDAY BUT As far as characterization goes I was given a suggestion along very long time ago and It was this. It's not important for the reader to know what the characters doing twenty four hours a day. It's a it's important for the writer to know so if you had asked me for example what. The main character of northern central is doing right. Now I could tell you so in his typical day. the same is true of all the characters you have to know them so well and even description of what they're wearing. It's the next day the next day to find Find the characters I would them from head to toe but then again the the the the reader doesn't have to know what they were headed. Tell you have to know as the writer so Dan you choose. What is the most poignant things but is what gives you the most bang for the buck To tell you about that place in those people and another interesting thing that was given a suggestion Minor characters supporting characters are part of the setting so the way they're described tells you something other places. Well so what I'm trying to do. Anyway is to try to get as much from a character as possible as far as conveying the story and so a minor minor supporting characters part of the setting tells you about the place will. What does it tell you about the place? You know what they're wearing you know. And and how and and the speech the dialogue itself. It's over tells you something about the place to it's so that's basically what I did. That says how I work. Dialogue is also very authentic. Thank you I. I understand that you are involved in the dancing material to a stage. Yeah uh-huh shortly. Well probably about a year after the book was Was Out This German Ed. Blacksburg isn't is his name. And he he was a co-founder of American bliss. Seder Chicago's very old. State or company goes back to the eighties and he. He got hold of me on facebook and he said you know. I'm I'm Ed Blackford and so you know American theater and are you interested in and Writing this is a play and I said yes I am and especially the because it was. The Scarlet Theater Company didn't is there a workout with a American Blues Theater? They're going in a different direction. But with Ed it did so at an odd. I and another gentleman were working on it and it's a different animal. I can tell you that right now. Very different thing and it's going to be different than the book it ever is produced and This has been going on for a while few years. So it's it's a whole different challenge. I've never I've never written a play before. So it's they're they're very With me which is Great. That's great yeah. I understand completely because my first novel was optioned for a movie producer is and she asked me to write the screenplay and Mike Young and the funny thing is that I had written a screenplay previously to other naturally not professional at this point in terms of sales. It's just it is very very different. Getting into kraft's screenwriting. It's a nation. Have Different yes very different races? Different Let's see that was going to talk about the differences between the two and then I think we already have. I guess incense isn't hard to find money to produce stage places things I I would say yes. That's not my actually. We haven't really been Worried about that as much as a writing a good play simply writing. I think though that it is an in respect to This would be an ensemble piece and it would be at least ten characters to make it to to capture the place and that makes it difficult because obviously the pay ten actors you and and And also you're looking for an ensemble theater company and that's the Fortunately Ed Had A friend of his that that does have an ensemble theater company. He's looking at it now. He's a professional rider. More than I as far as writing for television and Film Theater. So he's looking at it now it will jump in and for its over. We'll have four or five people involved in and hopefully we'll have something good by the end if it's produced as great I I if it's not that's okay too. It's takes a very just like getting a publisher. It takes a very very long time and the experience of writing play has helped me a great deal. You know so you know it's a I don't worry about whether it's going to be produced or not. I do want to produce. I do want to write something. That's good that's basically always been my thing. I never worried about if I had a publisher not before. He wrote a book so well. Yeah it's you know I I don't care if it's it. This is a difficult thing is i. Don't care if it's commercial or not. I don't care if I really don't care if it's a good story and often those two things don't Mesh I mean so I've you know the first book I wrote. It took fourteen years to somebody to publish this book about three. So you know I mean I had said it's it's an Anna. The publisher of this book is independent publisher out of Chicago in Cya major publish so except when it gets published than ever every every every review it's gotten a said it's it's a very good so that end the first one do and so it's it's it's very interesting because well then why couldn't I get an agent. Why couldn't make it? So that tells you something about the publishing industry that right. It's not Nice plane. Well you know like say will `Bout Haji get published not say. I don't know I sent to everybody. I knew Finally Somebody said yes. And then we had published in but There is no rhyme or reason. I think I accept that. They're looking for something that can make money and you know it's a business. I understand worse so you can't get really bitter. I'm not bitter about it annexed actually so you know it's. I'm very happy next to her. Yeah I've been able to write what I wanted to write. It's great I think that's really the bottom line. How good you how well do right. Yes yes and little tired. As I'm self published author at this point I get a little tired of hearing. All this got to come out with three five ten books Keep your readers interested what I might now that you know I. I don't think that's that is a kind of mass. Production attitude is a problem because if you look at great writers great novels and so forth. They take years to produce that many books to say that. You'RE GONNA come out with three books. A year is that to me is then. Then what are you? What are you writing? And while you're writing so and that's difficult it because I know there are people who make their living from writing and I don't. I mean I have a job and that's how I make my living So I understand you know. And then there are people who make their living from writing and they feel like they have to produce that kind of material for me. It's you know it's kind of productive for me. Not Net for. I understand though if you have to make a living. That's a different story but I don't think the quality of the writing is going to be there. It just can't be unless you're a genius. I mean maybe you know. If you're a genius you can turn out that many books a year. But I don't see how I can do other than that. Where you take other means and rightly sleep. Let those shredders other people ghostwriters. Would he have you taken Fatemi Anyway? but I understand. I understand why people do. Yeah I just three inches. You're pushing yourself little too hard and sacrificing quality their own process. Sure that's my main concern Even though I have a funny Know the answer to ask anyway white SOX OR CUBS. Oh well now. That's an interesting story. That would be a quick quick answer. Not and I'm GONNA eat some time up here if you're from the south side your socks. Fan White section. If you're from the north side you are a cubs fan but if you're from the west side as like my father was a one socks me. My brother is a cubs fan. My friend is a white sox. Fan I am a cubs. Fan was so The the the west side is a little murky there. You know it's not as it's not a straightforward so That you thought that was gonna be a pretty straightforward answer. But it's not which makes it a west side make suicide even more interesting is even worse or is really interesting. Sounds like the civil war or something like Eur in like the borders state area. Yeah exactly territories. That whole thing is really interesting because The the old Chicago cardinals which was a football team is on the in the NFL and they were they. They played in Comiskey Park which was on the south side. While the bears played in Wrigley Field which was on the north side so the south side people were cardinals fans and up until about ten fifteen years ago. You could still find cardinals. Fans on the South Side Elderly Gentlemen and ladies who were cardinals fans rather than bears fans because of that so he is. Yes the lines are drawn Marie interesting. No I'm always kind of rooting for the cubs. A not from Chicago and I am from New York. Oh again I've been a lifelong met fan. Sure well I resent the mets in nineteen sixty nine. They dashed my dreams and the Red Sox. Yes thanks you ninety six. I can still I can. I can name everybody the main players on the cubs team from nineteen sixty nine. Oh my gosh. Wow I believe Baltimore was also beaten probably hubbs. How could how well? I'm sorry. It's okay. Then they research terrible team for so long. Sorry for them. Let's let's just move on Debbie Bates all. I'm getting bitter again. So let's see so Nelson Oliver night soon with breath the authors who inspired votes yeah Hubert Selby He wrote the last exit to Brooklyn. I think there's some most. Oh well southern writers you know faulkner but it's you know everybody says Oh wrote Carson mccullers Carson mccullers who I agree and Roy intensive great really really interesting stories. You know catchers glazed again you know not everybody's perfect there you know. Average people goner gone in in very difficult situations. You know sounds familiar to me anyway. So yet. I O N Farrell he wrote the Salon again trilogy for Chicago announced again. It captures neighborhood and I've been compared to him. I guess which has been converted Auburn and Farrell in that Kinda traditional the traditional writing Which is that's really good. Companies being auguring especially Auburn with e fee. It's amazing that people don't know who he does he he wrote. He won the First National Book Award. Yup Yeah he was yes. He did and Three of his I'm sorry to the books were made into films But during the fifties because he was he was a socialist and during the fifty s During the red scare he was pretty much Suppressed and I guess he. Yeah like. Hemingway called him the second. Best writer in America reframing obviously was yeah exactly yeah so And he was so he was widely read and and he and he was praised and he's just disappeared but There may there may be some resurgents there because again he he he wrote about this Polish neighborhood on the near northwest side of Chicago. In catcher the people there he wrote about the bars and the and the drug addiction the gangs and so forth and It was he really exposed a he. He was unbelievable. He was mugged one time. And he he. He was given a a a pass to go to a lineup. A police lineup to to to identify his Mugger. He didn't and But he kept the past so he would go to police lineups and just go through them for watch them and he would He he would report even use those stories and so forth. He wrote a story. I think the captain has bad drains in about this police captain and these lineups just unbelievably great stories. Interesting was he. Author of nanoparticles right. Yeah he hated that movie long. He hated hated the movie. Yeah since he was a while back yet us. I was paid a thousand dollars a week to come out to California to work on came out on a Monday I was gone by Wednesday to paraphrase like he was auto premature the director to paraphrase autumn. Probably not going to get the correct but anyway The writer asked him. How can you live amongst all those Prostitutes and drug addicts and criminals? And said I was GONNA ask you. The same thing wasn't popular. Yeah I guess I guess the second mind. His second day ran into some gamblers and they went to the track. Now that was all great but really interesting guy. He knew Do See Nam Richard Right. He knew Richard Wright and they were very close friends and They they made a An agreement that whoever was published I call their book native son some interesting and interesting right. Beat them so that said. I'll be darned. Is there anything else you'd like to add before we finish up? I don't know I think thanks very much for having me on. I would like to say that I. I wish this had been a little bit more humorous book as funny but say you have a lot of humor in your book. Yeah yeah there's it's so but I think I'm glad we talked about writing. I'm glad we talk about How difficult is right? Glad we talked about how dividends to get published And that if there are people out there who are aspiring writers or I hate the word aspiring. You're writing your writing. You know if you never get published this chance. I would never been published. I'm not doing it for the that I'm doing it because It helps meeting to understand the world better and it's published hopefully Helps other people understand the world better to maybe a world they're unaware of you know south in Nonni and to stay healthy please when everybody else and I'm a respiratory therapist. I'm going to go into a work in just about fifteen minutes. It's now I'm in Pittsburgh. Yeah Yeah So. That's resident priests Tynan in Roseville their Monroeville. Yes I know of it. I've been there a few times. I live within the city itself so excellent Dan. I enjoyed living here anything. Stick and thanks for having me well. It was my pleasure Bob. I'm really glad you could be here. Great before we go remember everyone to check out the Crime Day Fox said in anthropology on my website. Be Dot Com. They'll get worse than your money's worth if you buy those books. They're great believe me authors. Who wrote the stories of contributed? Antastic stuff You can also get copies by becoming a teacher down supporter Just look for the Patriots logo on my website. Debbie Dot Com and our final shoots. A regular season is in two weeks. Our guest will be Richard Armstrong until then take care. Wash your hands and copy.