1) So, who are you & what have you written?
I’m Chad Sanborn, author of The Billy Keene Stories, a taut, fun and fast-moving crime series that follows a young inexperienced small-town sheriff as he grows into his job. Getaway is a crime novella and a prologue to the first novel in the series, All Debts, Public And Private. Both are full of dark humor and redneck vengeance.
2) Why do you write crime fiction?
I’ve said this before but it’s true: I have a criminal’s mind but a coward’s stomach for actually trying to pull it off. So I figure it’s better to put it in a story than have my ass put in the joint. I’ve always loved reading crime stories. I love writing them because they come with a built in engine that drives the plot yet gives me the freedom to explore characters, relationships and just about any aspect of the human experience I want to play around in.
3) What informs your crime writing?
I think my knack for recognising the criminal possibilities in situations, of seeing the angles, comes from growing up around people who were self-reliant to the point of viewing some laws as suggestions for behavior rather than requirements. Most of the people I grew up around weren’t criminals, a few were, but almost all of them were okay with having all the options on the table when faced with a problem to solve—whether it was something as mundane as getting a car running or something as potentially criminal as how to make some money fast.
4) What’s your usual writing routine?
I have to work in the morning — outline or write or rewrite, depending on the which phase I’m in — to give the day a shot at being a good one. Otherwise a part of me spends the rest of the day ashamed, nagging at me for being lazy.
I usually work in fifteen minute increments, so I’ll set the timer on my phone and start hacking away. If I’m really grooving when the timer goes off, I shut it off and keep going. If not, it’s a great excuse to get up, move around, get some more coffee, reset the timer, then start grinding on the story again. Then later in the day and evening I may chip away at it if I get a spare fifteen minutes here or there.
5) Which crime book do you wish YOU’D written, and why?
Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard and Layer Cake by J.J. Connolly because they seem like they would have been as much fun to write as they were to read. But for the sheer brilliance of it, The Red Riding Quartet by David Peace. As a reader I was in awe and delighted. As a writer I was in awe and miserable. Like “Hell, why even try? I’ll never come close to pulling off something like this.” But then again that’s the beauty of writing, finding out what you can do in your own way that will delight readers.