Late last month, gentleman scholar, and all-around good guy Colman Keane was kind enough to shoot a few questions my way for his site Col’s Criminal Library. I’ve taken the liberty of copy/pasting said interview onto this site because, sometimes, I’m lazy like that. If you’d rather read the original, just click HERE.
A hearty thank you to Mr. Colman Keane for the lovely Q & A. Enjoy!
I’ll assume the writing isn’t full time, so what’s the day job?
You assume correctly. I moonlight as a condom tester. Kidding, I work for a company that does horseracing data. Not as exciting as a rubber tester, but it pays the bills.
Call it a hunch, but I’m guessing the uber-cool Verge Le Noir moniker isn’t something your parents came up with – is your real identity a well-guarded secret? Why not publish your books under your real name?
No my parents are not that cool—at all. I’m just a cat who’s scared of his own writing so he hides under a too-cool-for-school nom de guerre in order to appease the God’s of writerly things. My name is not a well-guarded secret, I’m not in the witness protection program or anything as exciting as that, matter of fact, my writer bio has just been updated on Amazon where I use my real name, (and new mug shot) I will however, still use my pen name because is way cooler than my real name which is Virgilio Feldman. Try fitting that on a small book cover.
What’s been the most satisfying moment of your writing career so far?
Honest to the Gods of Beer? Doing this Q & A. And having people read the stuff I write.
What’s your typical writing schedule?
I don’t have one; I slip the writing whenever I can. I’m lucky I get to write at all. I typically try to cram as much writing as possible on my days off. Sorry ladies…
Do you insert family, friends, and colleagues into your characters?
I’ve only done it in my short novel Desperados sparingly—and it’s mostly overly exaggerated anecdotes from an acquaintance here and there, or family members, but for the most part I don’t do it.
Are you a plotter, or do you make it up as you go along?
I like to let the characters take me wherever they want to go, so I make it up as I go along. Most smart writers swear by plotting, I see it as painting yourself into a corner and that doesn’t jive with moi. Maybe I will try it someday.
Are there any subjects off limits?
Nothing’s off limits I hate censorship.
Desperados features the journey of a young immigrant coming to America from the south, any parallels with your own life or are you a home-grown American citizen?
Good question. I was lucky enough to migrate legally to the U. S. from Honduras about thirty years ago. I did mined a few things about my life for Desperados, lets’ see: I’m from the same Islands that the character Lester talks about, I was once duped by a cousin into becoming a bracero in the State of Georgia for about two months in hell, we lived in trailers in the middle of nowhere making shit money, on the weekends we would shop at a Piggy Wiggly. A manager of a restaurant I used to work at did the orange juice bit to a waitress once. The character of Leonide or Leo is based on a good friend of mine who hails from the Ivory Coast by way of France but that’s where the similarities end. These are the few things I can think of from the top of my head; the rest is pure imagination and research.
I believe you’ve self-published all your work to date, is that a conscious move? Have you tried the “traditional” route via an existing publisher?
A conscious move indeed, I don’t know anyone in the publishing business, and I won’t know how to approach anyone on that side of things, besides they only seem to be interested in bestselling authors and celebrities. They want an established brand. So yeah I’m self- published all the way. For every one of my books though, I hire a professional editor, a book formatter and make my own book covers. I just don’t see what a traditional publisher can do for a guy like me. I honestly don’t see it. For prestige? Piss-off. The world doesn’t need another ‘tastemaker’ or ‘bouncer’ at the exclusive writers club. My humble opinion and it can change, but for now I’m happy as a clam in salt water doing things this way.
How difficult is it to attract a readership?
In a scale of one to ten, I would have to say One Hundred. A Hunter Thompson quote comes to mind, he said: “It’s like trying to wrestle a T-bone steak from a hammerhead shark.” Similar to that or thereabout. Although a lot of it is my fault, I’m a lousy salesman, I don’t know much about promotion, pushing product etcetera, etcetera. I’m still learning, for the most part I just concentrate on writing an entertaining story.
Your works so far are Desperados – a novel, Killing Crows – a long short story, Shell Casings and Black Pills and Red Bullets – two short story collections. Is there one of your books you’re more proud of than any of the others? Which and why?
Tricky question, like: who is your favorite child? The red-headed bastard is my favorite! In this case they’re all my favorite red-headed bastards. In all honesty; the last one I wrote—Desperados—is my favorite because is the closest I’ve come to cannibalizing parts of my life in order to write a good story. It’s a bit personal I suppose. I must say though; Shell Casings seems to be people’s favorite, even my editor liked it a lot.
What’s the current project in progress? How’s it going?
I’m juggling a couple of projects, but the one that seems to be ahead its call Two Iguanas Lounge and it features a couple of the characters from the short story: Lizards Lounge (a short story you can find in the book: Black Pills & Red Bullets) In Two Iguanas Lounge, I’ll introduce a private detective by the name of Troy Declan Molloy and a Lieutenant by the name of Samira Andrade, these two team up in order to take down a serial killer who’s terrorizing a small Arizona town. It’s going a bit slow. We’ll see how it turns up, in the meantime; I’ll be uploading to my website, some short- stories, and my ramblings as usual.
What’s the best thing about writing?
Bedding all the women who find the broke-ass writer irresistible. Kidding, the best thing about writing is coming up with bat-shit crazy scenarios in which your characters can play and then having people read it. It’s magical. Writing is a lot of fun, you can’t beat that.
Meeting women who don’t fall for the broke-ass writer. Kidding, (somewhat). The worse is trying to get the story to the right audience. That’s brutal.
What are the last five books you have read?
- Lee Child’s Night School
- Hollywood by Charles Bukowski
- Re-read Elmore Leonard’s Rum Punch—brilliant book.
- You by Caroline Kepnes—well plotted, well written.
- The Sellout by Paul Beatty—quite possibly one of my favorite books from 2016
Who do you read and enjoy?
Love Elmore Leonard, Christa Faust is phenomenal, Charles Bukowski always kills it, Junot Diaz inspires, Stephen Hunter knows his shit, Dennis Lehane thrills and so does Michael Connelly. I really wish Diablo Cody would write another book, because whenever I need a chuckle I grab my copy of her book Candy Girl, and I swear; whatever pages you land on in that book, you’ll sure to find a giggle or two.
Is there any one book you wish you had written?
Zero Saints by Gabino Iglesias— mind-blowingly good.
Favourite activity when not working or writing?
Falling in love from a plane without a parachute. A. k. a. Reading, hanging out in dive bars or watching Netflix.
In a couple of years’ time…
Hopefully I’ll have a few more books; therefore I’ll—hopefully—have a few more readers.