OK, so today we’ve got another central California writer on board in the form of the infamous, coastal inhabitant, Todd Morr.
I like Todd’s work and—I think—I’ve read just about everything that’s been published. Hell, I’ve even reviewed some of his stuff here, here and here. Morr isn’t the most polished indie writer that I’ve read, but he does rate as maybe the most twisted and one that I look forward to.
So let’s get on with it. Welcome Todd. It’s great to have you, man, but first, beer or something from behind the bar?
Let’s start with beer, find me a cold IPA (because I’m such a hipster) and I will be a happy man.
You can smoke here too. I know, it’s California, but fuck it. What they can’t see, right?
So hey man…some time ago, I got my introduction to Todd Morr in a short story—at Flash Fiction Offensive—about a dad who sells his daughters liver or something like that. The story was outright, fucked up and I’ve been a fan ever since. What leads a dude to think like that? I know that you’ve got a kid yourself.
Actually three kids. It’s even more fucked up than it sounds, the story got it’s start after a conversation with my teenage daughter who was asking if I would buy some lotto tickets, hell some of the dialog is more or less taken straight from the conversation (yes I use ‘bad words’ infront of my teenager, because ‘parenting’). After hearing her ask ‘why not?’I spun a ridiculous tale of the evils of gambling which ended with the selling of kidneys, because you know, parenting. Later I thought my rambling to get her to stop asking about lotto tickets might actually be a story, so I wrote it, adding a different ending, because the truth, we went and got pizza, is not very noir. In truth it was kind of hard to write, but for it to work, it had to be messed up, which probably applies to everything I have ever wrote.
It’s always nice when your kid tells people “My dad writes stories about selling my kidneys,” which she has, a lot.
In terms of messed up I thought my last Out of the Gutter flash fiction ‘Inner Me’ had ‘Father Daughter Moment’ beat.
I didn’t really answer the question, as to what leads a dude to think like that. because I don’t really know. Maybe all the Metal I listened to as a kid was really bad for me, or it was watching all those violent movies, or maybe as an internet quiz told me, I am a sociopath. I’m already rambling and we have hardly started drinking.
I think it was Jesus Saves, Satan Invests that really drew me in to your stuff. What was the story behind that one? And no…I listened to the same bands and I’m OK?
For this one I was thinking Elmore Leonard Richard Stark type thing as if it were a nineties Hong Kong action movie directed by John Woo, with Sarah Conner from T2, only instead of running from killer robots she was a former stripper on the run from people she had wronged. Kind of a revenge story told from the opposite perspective.
About a decade after I started it Spanking Pulp Press published it. To be fair to anyone who passed on it before, the early versions were not very good, first draft was over 100,000 words (final version is about 60,000) without adding much. This one was a lesson in patience and the power of the rewrite.
Tell us about, If You’re not One Percent? I lived in rural Pennsylvania for a job in the 90’s and the story dripped of rural Appalachia or something of the sort, small town America.
For sure. I did not sit down thinking I wanted to write a rural noir, I sat down thinking I wanted to write a really violent Home Alone type story (or maybe it was a much less messed up Funny Games), but it turned out that way. The area in the book is modeled off of a real place, but I decided not to name it in the book. I did the same thing in ‘Mr. Chips Must Die’. I think in a horror type story it is good to let everyone think I am talking about horrible stuff happening where they live. Neither the books mentioned are really horror stories, but I think they both had some of the elements. I could take liberties with locations this way to make the story work too.
The few people who read it and are familiar with the area (this is a very exclusive group) picked up on it.
Now I have to do a bit of shameless self-promotion here. Todd and I were paired in a compilation of central California noir—from 10th Rule Books—simply titled Double Tap. Todd’s contribution—Fiero—is classic for the central California writer and I have to admit that I literally laughed my ass off during the climactic gunfight scene at a Salinas 7-11 and I haven’t stopped telling people about it.
Dude, I could have been one of the stoner kids in the story. It was that real. What inspired this one? And a great story by the way.
I grew up in the eighties, and there is a lot of me in some of those characters, probably more than I would want to admit. I certainly spent a lot of time hanging out at my local 7-11. Unlike the two books we were talking about this one has a definite place and time, both of which kind of serve as an element to the story, or at least I hope they do.
I was shooting to get in an 80’s themed anthology and didn’t make the cut. I still liked the story and the characters, and I felt the gunfight scene you mentioned should not go to waste, but how many 80’s themed crime fiction anthologies are out there? It seemed it could be a longer piece, there was a lot going on for a short story. It still ended up a weird length, not quite a novella but too long to be a short story. Teaming up with you and releasing it with 10th Rule Books was perfect. All we need is some readers.
Setup kicked some serious ass by the way. After reading that I knew I had to bring my ‘A’ game for Fiero.
Is there anything else that we should know, any stories that I’ve missed, anything in the works for 2017?
I think we covered them all.
There is much in the works for 2017, but little detail to give out at the moment. I’m looking to keep pushing 10th Rule Books and the ‘Pulp Fiction that leaves out the Boring Parts’, philosophy to the masses, more books from them are coming, including a sequel to ‘Hell’ by my ‘pal’ Bodie Myers and some other stuff still in the planning stages.
I’ve got stuff out there, which may or may not see the light of day this year. I’d love to gives release dates but . . .
I’ve started a sequel to Jesus Saves, Satan Invest which hopefully will make both people who asked for one happy.
Mostly I’m planning to keep on creating character and having them kill each, and hoping someone decides to read about it.
How can a reader find you Todd?
The usual twitter @ToddMorr1 and Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/toddmorr1/ and I’m on Goodreads too. Plus the Amazon Author page is out there.
One could also follow 10th Rule Books on twitter @10thRuleBooks and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/10thRuleBooks/.
I should add if you like my stuff there is a very good chance you will like Bodie Myer’s stuff too, sure he is an asshole, but give him a chance. He can be found on twitter @Bodie_Myers, go there and call him names, he likes it.
Well that’s it folks. We got a glimpse into the inner workings of my pal Todd Morr and his sickly-twisted form of crime writing. Now go out and buy the guy’s stuff and help an #indiewriter out.