Monday, November 25, 2013

Interview: Josh Stallings (author of ONE MORE BODY)

Josh Stallings is author of the critically acclaimed Moses McGuire crime books. This latest book is All The Wild Children a noir memoir.

He has been in no particular order, a film editor, taxi driver, criminal, father, husband, club bouncer, a trailer editor, a screen writer, a bad actor and a good friend.

He lives in the city of his birth, Los Angeles with his wife Erika, two dogs and a cat.

Josh was kind enough to take time out from his writing to answer some questions I had bout his new book ONE MORE BODY and the Moses McGuire series in general. (author bio and pic from
(Josh) First of all, I’m a big fan ever since BEAUTIFUL NAKED AND DEAD knocked my literary socks off, thanks for taking the time to hang out on the blog.
(Josh Stallings) Thanks for asking me over. I’ll try not to track too much blood or mud into your clean blog.
ONE MORE BODY is the third Moses McGuire book, apart from ALL THE WILD CHILDREN, do you think you’ll write more outside of this character?
Yes, I’m ready to stretch a bit outside Mose’s world. I have written a few short stories, one called Blow Jobs appears in the new Beat To A Pulp: Hardboiled 3. I’m damn proud of it. I have had a few other short pieces make it in to anthologies this year. I am in the early stages of a new stand-alone crime novel. I think Moses has been beat hard enough, he deserves a rest.
One More BodyThe Moses McGuire books are loaded with iconic scenes and ONE MORE BODY is no different, where do you draw inspiration for these pivotal events in the books (in the case of ONE MORE BODY I’m referring to a blood drenched teen with sickly sweet watery red dripping from her pigtails)?
Everything I write comes from an organic character driven place. When I sat down to write ONE MORE BODY I did a lot of research on child prostitution and trafficking in the US. I knew I didn’t want Freedom to simply be a victim, so I looked into child soldiers, I wanted to see what it took to turn an ordinary kid into a killer. Above my desk I wrote “They should have killed the girl.” It was a working subtitle to keep me on track with her. So when we come to the image you mentioned, she isn’t blood soaked for shock value, it is the natural landing place of her trajectory.
Moses is a knight in rusty armour; he’s not a shiny squeaky clean protagonist with the world at his feet, more-so a deeply flawed yet endearing character with a heart of gold and fist full of steel. How important is it to write a character who can traverse the seedy underbelly of society whilst still providing a link to the law?
Moses’s link to the law is weak at best. They use him and he uses them, I think it helps keep him out of jail so I can have him in another book. One reoccurring story line is that Moses has had two strikes and lives in a three strike law state. Here in California if you are convicted of three felonies you get an automatic life sentence. The cops use this to manipulate Moses and he runs always under the fear that if he surfaces they can take him down. As for his knightly characteristics, Moses has a deeply seated moral code, but it is one neither he nor those around him can quite live up to. The concept is taken from Raymond Chandler and moved into a seedier modern setting. Marlowe was the first tarnished knight I read, and feels like a centre piece of the hard-boiled books I love.
The characters in each of the three Moses McGuire books are very well written and instantly believable, are these characters moulded on anyone in particular?

Yes. Ok, I should say more. Um, yes, they are. Here is the deal, many of the characters are based on people I met when I was younger, or those I meet doing research. But that is only a starting point. I meet someone, then later I wonder how would they react to having “x” happen to them, how would it change them? I studied theatre, and although I was a bad actor, I learned tons about how characters are built. Plays are a great learning ground for creating characters. You look at what Mamet does, or Shakespeare did with dialogue only, creating a richness of character and relationships, it’s rather stunning.

If you could describe ONE MORE BODY in one sentence what would it be?

Moses McGuire sets off to rescue a trafficked girl, and winds up saving himself.

What’s next for Josh Stallings?
Writing, writing and more writing. I want to continually raise my game as a writer and the only way I know to do that is to keep pounding out words. This next year I’m on track with the stand alone novel, and I hope to write some more short stories. Regardless of what I write, I will be pounding keys. Some days I write, other days I type - both seem important to my process. Sometimes I need to write a shit idea and toss it away to get to the good idea.

No comments:

Post a Comment