So our latest interviewee is a young talented writer who goes by the name of J. David Osborne. He’s witty, funny, and his lean prose packs a helluva punch. So without further ado…
What exactly made you want to write and can you include some influences?
I wanted to write because I felt compelled to. Boring answer, I know. I don’t have a dark past. I’ve had a pretty sweet life. I felt, and still feel, that people are wasting good ideas with bad writing and, more importantly, maximalist prose. So I try to write well and give people the kind of books I’d want to read: weird and concise and about something. That sounds kind of up its own ass. But there’s no other way to put it. I think a lot of stuff is great but I have horrible ADD and can’t sit still for too long without wanting to go do something. Go outside, etc. I get weird existential crises when I stay staring at a book for too long. So I’m always like, “get to the fucking point.” I think my writing might eventually evolve into something a bit better than the second-rate Ellroy knockoff it is right now, but for now you guys are stuck with WHITE JAZZ with people who lose their teeth like sharks.
Oh, and also:I don’t think that maximalism is a bad thing, per se. My favorite writer of all time is David Foster Wallace. DFW could make every single word count for something, though. None of it was fluff. It was the ultimate in lean, complex prose. But that’s a level of genius that someone would have to be crazy to attempt to emulate. Stephen Graham Jones wrote a great article on that, I think it was over at The Cult. Or The Velvet.
Here’s the article.http://chuckpalahniuk.net/features/essays/blue-velvet-monster-on-david-foster-wallace
So I hear you’re becoming dj as well?
Yeeeeep!! I’m trying, man. It’s hard! Beat matching and all that. My buddy’s got an S4 which automatically syncs shit but I hear you get booed for that so I’m learning it old school. I have to remember to focus on things like BPMs and shit. I’m not very musically inclined, but it’s a blast. I like it because I get to feel like a musician without really doing much. And all due respect to real DJs, who definitely do something, the shit gets mad complicated. I’m just far from that, now. But one day…
Let’s say your 48 hours into the zombie apocalypse, what do you do?
48 hours in? I’d be dead! We have this board game, because we love to party, that has zombies and shit in it. You get to strategically place zombies around your friends and you have to get away from their zombies. I lost. I would be a zombie or I would be food. Period.
Can you tell me about your next book your working on any other upcoming publications/gigs?
My next novel, LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY, is being worked over right now. I finished the first draft around the beginning of June. I’m in the hardest part of novel writing: culling through every word and making sure it’s essential. And then, once you do that, you take out stuff that’s essential to the little things, that can be picked up on somewhere else. I love leaving a lot of little mysteries around in the book that can be solved by connecting two different lines at different points in the book. BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE’LL BE FRIENDS had a lot of those. BTTWL takes place in a Russian gulag, so it’s basically a prison camp. There’s a scene at the beginning where, on the camp administrator’s desk, there’s a photo frame with the picture missing. Then, later on, we find one of the main characters with the picture, but it’s written to seem like it’s a picture of his girlfriend back home. There’s a throwaway line about how he has been working, cleaning the camp administrator’s office. There’s shit like that all through the book. I love love love doing stuff like that. It’s so much fun, as a reader. And as a writer. I basically write to entertain myself. I hope some folks get something out of it, too.
I’ve also got the DEMONS anthology coming out, which has a story that I am really proud of. It’s edited by the nicest man in the world, one John Skipp. It’s got stories by Neil Gaiman, HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe. Also some newer shit by badasses like Nick Mamatas and Carlton Mellick III and Athena Villaverde. It is going to be AWESOME. As humbly as I can say, the story in that book, OUR BLOOD IN ITS BLIND CIRCUIT, is the best thing I’ve done so far. It’s about a couple of cops in Juarez who turn to Haitian voodoo and Cuban santeria to protect themselves from the violence down there. They get magical protective tattoos, make war water, etc. And that is all based on fact, which is wild. I lived in El Paso for a couple years and it seeped into my blood. I love that city and its troubled sister city. Miss it.
There’s also the WARMED AND BOUND anthology, which is maybe the most excited I’ve ever been for an anthology as a reader, ever. Steve “Fucking” Erickson wrote the foreword, which made me pee a little.Brian Evenson, Stephen Graham Jones, fucking Craig Clevenger, the list goes on and on. Blake Butler, Jeremy Robert Johnson, Craig Davidson. This will be THE definitive noir collection of the past few years, easily. Every single writer in this has cut his or her teeth on the blackest, dirtiest, sleaziest noir around. They drink Ellroy and shit Thompson. Or you know, whoever. It’s a smorgasbord of noir goodness. My story in that one is pure Oklahoma noir, dusty roads and meth and jilted lovers. My story in that one is called “Three Theories on the Death of John Wily”, which is maybe not a great title, now that I think about it. Theories is a stupid word. Anyway, the story presents three possible suspects for a dead meth dealer: his best friend, his girlfriend, and a pimp. Pela Via, who edited this beast in addition to providing a story, said that it lacked a certain warmth that the other stories had, which is something I’m going to have to work on. Noir needs a heart. It’s bloody and damaged, but it needs a heart. So there’ll be one cold bump on an otherwise hot, bloody, sleazy book. Seriously, you’ll love this thing.
There are a bunch of little stories that I’m working on, too. That I will not tell you about. Except for the story I’ve got coming out in the next Magazine of Bizarro Fiction, issue 5. It’s about a walrus that grows out of a guy’s leg. I’ve also got an article in that issue about the novel I scrapped before I started LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY.
It was called BREAK THE BONES WHOSE SINEWS GAVE US MOTION. I like that title a lot. I might use it, might write the damn thing after all.It was kind of a pseudo-sequel to BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE’LL BE FRIENDS.
Last but not least, is there anything else you would like to add?
Be my friend on Facebook! (link) Follow me on Twitter! (@jdavidosborne) I do my damndest to keep the mood light and funny. I’m very friendly and totally not a douchebag! Also, there’s a release party for WARMED AND BOUND in Hollywood on August 26th. I will be there, getting drunk and acting a fool. Come out if you are in the general area!