Photo: Crime Writer Donald Glass
Greetings, ladies and gents. Your delinquent crime writing host Mick Rose here. Pleased once again to pull back the stage curtains and fire up the spotlight—which blazes tonight on Pennsylvania writer Donald "Don" Glass. Mr. Glass is one 14 writers featured in the HARDBOILED crime collection, published by Dead Guns Press, and co-edited by M. Leon Smith and John L. Thompson.
I snagged a copy of this collection for several reasons: I'd read stories by some of the featured writers; and I've enjoyed illustrations by John L. Thompson at illustrious Yellow Mama Webzine. Though I'm still delving HARDBOILED, I haven't found a bad apple in the bunch. Sure a lot of the characters are bad apples—but that's why we read hard-boiled crime fiction, yeah?
One of the tastiest apples in this bunch ain't a Red Delicious or a Granny Smith. It's Don's kidnapping tale, "Sibling Rivalry." The suspense in this hard-edged thriller kicks all kinds of ass.
While crime writer Jesse "Heels" Rawlins normally writes interviews for Southern Crime mag Story and Grit, that butt-kicking trailer trash noir saloon is on a well-deserved Holiday. So once again heavy-duty plastic sheathing's now carpeting my hardwood floors. And soon as I grab a balcony seat—far from the pending blood splatter—Ms. Rawlins will skewer Mr. Glass ... presumably for your entertainment pleasure. But more likely cuz she gets off on torturing writers.
You may wanna grab some pizza quick. Or you could wind up with extra sauce. Interested in grabbing your own copy of HARDBOILED? That's easier than pizza pie: just click the magic button below the rockin' book cover.
JHR: Welcome to 6 Stabs, Don. You live and write in Altoona, Pennsylvania—and you’ve seen your crime stories published in online mags like Shotgun Honey, Flash Fiction Offensive and England’s hard-hitting Close To The Bone.
When did you first start writing? What drew you to penning crime tales? And when and where did your first story get published?
DG: I first started sometime in the 90’s. I can’t type for shit and still only use 2 fingers. But along came the computer and modern word processor, making it a lot easier.
I’ve mostly read horror. But horror stories are harder to find online. Crime fiction was exploding and easily available online. I started reading more of it. I discovered I loved the genre, the down to earth feel and realness of it. So when I decided to put some words on paper it became an obvious choice.
My first published piece was “Sucker for a Redhead” in the Flash Fiction Offensive over at Out of the Gutter Online.
JHR: Some of your stories like “Sucker for a Redhead,” “Salvation” (Shotgun Honey), and “Crossed” (Yellow Mama Webzine) involve people with troubled pasts suddenly making radical choices in hopes of “trying to make things right.” What spurs you to write these types of stories, Don?
DG: I’ve never set out to write to write that type of story it just happens. I rarely plot anything. When I get an idea I just fly with it. At times that’s left me with gaping holes that can’t be filled and I have to scrap it. I have an entire folder filled with files like that. I’ve always been a fan of the underdog and believe that every person, no matter how bad they may be, is capable of doing at least one decent thing. Although in my stories usually it’s done for self preservation, as a means to and end, or they are forced into it.
JHR: Some crime writers weave humor into their stories. The stories I’ve read by you tend to focus on the darker side of life. Have you written any humorous stories, Don—and if not why?
DG: It’s easier to write about the dark things in life than the humorous for me. I don’t know why. Maybe it's a personality defect. Don’t get me wrong I’m a fucking funny guy and see humor all around me but I can’t seem to blend it into crime fiction.
JHR: The Author’s Bio you’ve used throughout the years when your stories get published at Shotgun Honey always notes that you’re working “on a lot of stuff.” What kinds of stuff are you usually working on? Or is this a case of if you told us you’d have to kill us?
DG: I always have three or four things started at different stages. I’m also a procrastinator and that doesn’t help. Currently I’m working on one about two stoners that time travel to make some easy cash to finance their demo tape. In time travel there's always something that gets messed up. It’s completely outside the genre I usually write in, and will probably never see the light of day. But it was fun doing something completely different.
JHR: Have you ventured into writing novellas or novels, Don? Or do you stick to shorter tales? If you stick to shorts what keeps you writing them—even if some aren’t likely to get published?
DG: I’ve always liked short stories and flash fiction, both reading and writing them. I have a short attention span and that format suits me better. I have a few ideas for some longer pieces, but haven’t gotten around to them. Working ten and twelve hour days leaves little time for anything else. As far as getting published that’s just a byproduct. When I get something in my head that I think is interesting I just run with it.
JHR: Like your hard-edged tale, “Crossed" your HARDBOILED anthology story, “Sibling Rivalry” tosses us some curve balls and keeps us in suspense. We can never get “comfortable” about where these tales will take us. As the name suggests “Sibling Rivalry” involves a brother and a sister: both with dreams and ambitious … but in dramatically different ways. The brother you created also happens to be a “writer.”
What led you to make this character a “writer?” And did this story take shape fairly easy for you? Or present a bit of a struggle?
DG: That one was interesting to write. It started out as a straight forward kidnapping tale with a twist at the end. I shelved it for about a year because I thought it was too short. Then I got the idea to write a story about someone who journals their crimes. That story evolved into one about a writer who uses his own crimes in his stories. I know that’s been done but I gave it a shot anyway. I didn’t work out so I decided to combine the two and it led to the additional twist at the end. Of course it also left me with multiple endings that took a while to work out.
JHR: Well, Don, I love how the story turned out. But since you're bleeding copiously from multiple wounds and I'd hate to see you suffer a gruesome ending, now's a good time to turn you over to the Story and Grit medics who flew in from Oklahoma just to stitch you up. And I wanna grab some pizza while it's still hot.
Anybody wanna help me clean up this mess after I'm done gorging? Sigh. Guess not. Cheers ya'll. And thanks for hosting us Mick Rose!
Addicted to tawdry tales that sometimes make her blush, Jesse typically writes crime, mysteries, and humor. You’ll usually find her stories on the wrong side of the tracks, including flash-zine Shotgun Honey, The Rye Whiskey Review, and Punk Noir Magazine. She dazedly accepted the online publishing torch for 10-year-old Crime, Pulp & Humor mag the Flash Fiction Offensive in February 2019. And her murderous band of writing cohorts keep Jesse on her “heels.” Wanna say “Hello?” You can visit Jess on Facebook:
Photo: Crime Writer & Editor Jesse Rawlins