Born Slippy (Author Interview)

Born Slippy looks like a great book.  Love the cover.  Can you tell us a little about the story and about Frank Baltimore? 

Frank, 28, is somewhat of a loser when we meet him building a house in Connecticut, looking for his big break. Dmitry, 18, is over from England, before going to university, and works for him. Dmitry is a charming sociopath, it turns out, and he bedevils Frank’s life on again and off again for the next 15 years, leading to a (quite literal) explosion. When Frank fall in love with Dmitry’s wife, things go from bad to worse.

Any plans for a series?

Yes, I’ve already started Still Slippy. I’m not done with these folks yet—there are some scores to settle.

What inspired you when writing Born Slippy?   

I am never happier than when I’m deep in the flow of writing. Each decent page I manage is inspiration for the next one.

When did you decide to become a writer?

In high school. I had all the parts necessary—a good imagination, a lot of reading, a lot of varied life experience both high and low—I was just missing the sit-down-and-get-cracking part of it. That didn’t start in earnest until I was 35 or so.

When writing Born Slippy did anything stand out as particularly challenging?  

I wanted Frank to be someone who is our central intelligence, but who is a little slow on the uptake. Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade, Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley, Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins are all people who are smarter than the people around them and figure things out long before the reader does. Frank is a couple steps behind the reader. So the tricky part was not letting my reader think that I, the author, was as dense as Frank….

What do you like to do when not writing?

I run a daily magazine (The Los Angeles Review of Books) and its associated nonprofit and teach full-time at a university (UC Riverside), so I think of writing as the thing I like to do when I’m not working. I’m also a musician, so I steal some time for that, too.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

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