Jim Wilsky recently published his first novel, Blood on Blood, with Subnose Press, which in a short time has established itself as the premier publisher of independent crime fiction.
The novel concerns two estranged half-brothers who race against time (and each other) trying to find the jewels from their father’s last big heist.
Wilsky coauthored the book with Frank Zafiro. Jim took time away from his busy schedule to chat with Noir Nation‘s Eddie Vega about his collaboration with Zafiro and how the publishing deal with Snubnose Press came about.
Noir Nation: How did you celebrate the publication of your first book, Blood on Blood. Did you do anything that might end up in a police report?
Wilsky: Heavy, heavy drinking. I mean, you know, record setting stuff. All I needed was to be half falling out of a fishing boat down in Key West going for Marlin and I would have had the full package going… except the writing ability of course.
Noir Nation: Tell us about the collaboration process with Frank Zafiro. How did you divide the work? How did you resolve artistic differences?
Wilsky: Let me just cough this up right away. Without him, this project never would have gotten off the ground. I’ll forever be in his debt for pushing me along without training wheels and then letting go without me knowing. You know how it goes, you turn around and there is nobody there. All of a sudden, you’re riding that bike. That’s how it was. Lots of self-doubt on my part. We talked about the story, bounced things off each other, drew profiles of both brothers, developed an excellent outline and stuck to it. For the most part anyway. We made several directional changes along the way but the main frame of the story was there from beginning to end. Again, Frank supplied so much in terms of experience and advice – as a mentor he’s unmatched. What made it much easier still for me was that Frank and I have known each other for quite a while. We were very familiar with each other’s work and style. We just seemed to click without trying to click. We alternated chapter between the two brothers and it was so much fun. I couldn’t wait until the new one came to me.
Noir Nation: Your publisher, Snubnose Press, has become the coin of the crime fiction realm. How did they come to publish your book.
Wilsky: They are definitely on a roll but we’re sure to screw that up for them. How? It’s amazing what some serious groveling and begging can accomplish. Seriously though we were extremely fortunate. We had a lot of folks point us in that direction and we couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.
Noir Nation: How are you marketing Blood on Blood? Are there any special secrets you’d like to share? Any back doors in the online marketing Matrix? Just between us?
Wilsky: We’re taking the shotgun approach, hitting it from as many different angles as we can. The old something is bound to stick if we keep throwing things. To be honest, I should be asking you the secrets because I sure as hell don’t have any secret weapons. You might as well be asking Boo Hadley as me. Frank is so far ahead of me in the social media side of things it’s not even funny. I can sell and market some things for sure – but I’ve never sold a book, let alone a book of mine. Let’s talk afterwards….
Noir Nation: Do you socialize with other noir writers? If so, does it help your creativity? Or hinder it?
Wilsky: Great question and absolutely I socialize. As much as possible. I have been so, so fortunate to meet and talk with some very talented people over the years. They have befriended me, schooled me, given me a chance with a short story, supported and actively campaigned for me. With this book in particular, we’ve had people that don’t know me from Adam and they have stepped forward without a blink. At times I have to check myself because I’m the type where I could spend too much time shooting the shit and not enough time writing. Sometimes I have that fear that a writer will see an email from me and roll his or her eyes – and sigh. There’s a balance there between being sociable and being a huge p
ain the ass to other folks. I think it’s just like so many other things with life. Everything in moderation right? Except beer.
Noir Nation: Blood on Blood is an eBook. Will there be a print edition?
Wilsky: Yessir, September 1, 2012. We only need you and the Noir Nation staff to buy 100 copies or so and we’ll be off to a good start.
Noir Nation: What do you think the future holds for eBooks? For print?
Wilsky: Well, I think the future is now as far as eBooks go. But I also have a soft spot for holding a book and I think probably, maybe, hopefully that there will always be old farts like me around. I guess. The other day, I wrote a guest post over at Chris Rhatigan’s blog, Death by Killing. The post was about Larry McMurtry and dealt with the issue of books. The kind on a bookshelf. The kind I still like to hold.
Noir Nation: Do you use online social media to create awareness of your work? If so, which platforms do you think work best? Are you likely to find readers more on some than on others?
Wilsky: Again, Frank is all over it. I’m a caveman when it comes to that. I don’t tweet, twitter or flutter. I should and I will soon I suppose, but hey, as long as one of us is connected that works for me – for now. There is no question that the world has turned over on me and I’ll need to keep up. Plus I’m not totally living in the dark ages. I got a Nook recently for Dad’s day. Wow, I want to tell you. To me, that’s like holding the control panel to the Mars rover or something. Very cool.
Noir Nation: Tell us about your literary influences.
Wilsky: I have eclectic tastes and I probably like some things that purists would turn their noses up at and call commercial or pedestrian. I don’t get that whole thing. I read for enjoyment not for impressing anybody else with my reading list and sometimes I enjoy things others don’t, well oops, sorry. It’s all over the board with me as I said but McMurtry is numero uno. I really like Baldacci, Michener, Ludlum, Koontz and yes dammit, Grisham. Let’s not forget Zane Grey either. A ton more that I didn’t mention too. I was a huge King freak for a long time, not so much anymore. I’m still amazed at how prolific he was – and is. I’ve always felt that writing is just like art. You might like oil, I might like charcoal, you might like realism and I might like abstract. I’m sure as hell not going to sniff at you because you like Norman Rockwell or something.
Noir Nation: Is there a question you’d like me to ask that I did not ask?
Wilsky: No, I don’t think so. Besides I can hear loud snoring already. Thanks so much for having me Eddie. Really appreciate this.