Suspect’s Viewpoint: Chris Rhatigan

An interview with Chris Rhatigan, a freelance editor and the publisher of All Due Respect Books. He is also the author of several books: The Kind of Friends Who Murder Each Other, Squeeze, and Race to the Bottom  His occasional blog about writing is worth a read. I asked him several questions over emails.

David: Mike Monson, co-publisher of All Due Respect Books, left this past summer. Can you talk about his enduring influence on ADR as well as how you are filling the hole within ADR due to his absence?
Chris: Mike had been with ADR since the early days, back when it was a short fiction website. He shaped ADR’s identity as a magazine and publishing house exclusively dedicated to lowlife literature. Mike has high standards for storytelling, and we had a policy for every manuscript we accepted–we had to both be excited about it. No easy feat! He also wrote some killer titles for us.
On the second part of your question, teaming up with Down & Out Books has been a great experience. I’m constantly learning from the D&O team, Eric Campbell and Lance Wright, and they’re improving every aspect of ADR from the process a manuscript goes through to promotion and marketing. I also work with a consulting editor (Nigel Bird, Rob Pierce, or Chris Black) on every book we publish.

David: With the recent release of Matt Phillip’s “Accidental Outlaws” and eight books scheduled in the next ten months, it seems that ADR has its work cut out for you all. BTW thanks for piling on to my TBR. Can you talk for a moment about your production processes and the rhythm created for ADR’s upcoming releases?
Chris: We started off publishing one book every month. They were selling well, so we decided to publish two books per month. That was too much. We weren’t giving each title the attention it deserved. So I’ve rolled things back a bit and put some cushion in the schedule. I prefer to read each manuscript at least four times before its released.
Also, one of the important things as a small publisher is communicating with authors. I need adequate time to communicate with writers on each step of the process. I want every author I work with to be proud of the final product.

David: Submissions are still open for ADR and hopefully, you’re getting some activity there, you read a ton personally as shown by your Goodreads reviews, you’re a freelance editor, a teacher, a husband and a new father, how do you find the time?
Chris: I actually left teaching in 2015. Since then, I’ve been doing freelance writing/editing. This is a cliché, but it comes down to what I’m passionate about. I love reading crime fiction and I love working with authors to bring their work to publication. So I get up before my daughter at around 5:30 every day. That’s when I drink an unreasonable amount of coffee and edit. Unfortunately, I haven’t written much over this last year. Lack of time is the number one excuse for not writing, but there it is. Hope to get back to that this year. I was just jotting down some notes for a new book about Lionel Kaspar, scumbag newspaper reporter. The three fans of this series are probably peeing themselves with excitement.

David: I read that you’ve been in India for 6 years. I lived in Venezuela for a few years and I found it to be quite educational to be an American overseas. It is difficult enough to acclimate yourself to a new culture, but even grocery shopping or getting a cup of coffee is just a little different. How do you think it has affected you?
Chris: Educational is a good word for it. A couple of things stand out about my time overseas. One is that when I’m in India, I’m very aware of how American I am–my tastes, my accent, my way of thinking. Then when I return to the States, I feel somewhat less American. Like I’m a step behind everyone else. I’ll come back to an American grocery store and it’s like a bad acid trip. There are just no places even a little bit like that in India.
I live in a small town in the Himalayan Mountains so things are relatively simple. There are only a couple of roads; cows wander around the hillside; we tend to walk almost everywhere we go; we eat Indian food for almost every meal. I’ve enjoyed my time here but I’m ready to go back to the States. We’d like our daughter to grow up around family…and we miss IPAs, pizza that doesn’t taste like ketchup on cardboard, and having a vague understanding of what the fuck is going on at any given moment.

David: Give me five books/authors to read, genres don’t matter.
Chris: Pablo D’Stair should be a legend. His five-book series about con artist Trevor English is a master class in crime fiction. It was this series that got me interested in independent publishing. They have this mundane, grim quality that you’ll never see in books from large publishers.

Kanae Minato is a Japanese writer who has two books translated into English, Confessions and Penance. Both are slow-burn psychological thrillers I’d highly recommend.

Patti Abbott is a writer I always want to talk about, but particularly now since she recently released a short story collection, I Bring You Sorrow. Her novels Concrete Angel and Shot in Detroit are also excellent. There isn’t a crime writer out there who does characterization better.

I recently read How’s the Pain? by Pascal Garnier. It was recommended in a list of noir novels by French authors. This is an interesting take on the old hitman-about-to-retire plot. It’s more like a weird road trip story with all these tragic, nihilistic characters bouncing off one another. It has this wonderful sense of the absurd and a healthy dose of black humor.

Charles Willeford is a pulp writer from the golden era I only found out about a year ago. Now I can’t get enough. He has a different approach than other writers in this era, taking a more deliberate pace, but if you like hanging out in an evil character’s mind, there’s no one better.

Chris Rhatigan is a freelance crime fiction editor and All Due Respect Books publisher. He is the author of The Kind of Friends Who Murder Each Other, Squeeze, and Race to the Bottom.