This interview took place on a stormy Florida afternoon in August 2016.
Who the hell are you?
One of Florida’s finest. Humbly speaking, of course. Finest what remains to be determined.
Why did you start writing novels?
I’d had the notion in mind for probably twenty years, but nothing compelled me to sit down and do it. In that time I’d done plenty of writing, for commercials and movie scripts. Just never a novel. It seemed daunting.
But, about a year ago, a number of things fell into place and inspired me to write KILLERS, BIKERS & FREAKS. First, I was reading a book by an internationally published and acclaimed author. I couldn’t get into it and, frankly, couldn’t believe someone had actually published the book. I felt like the author just mailed it in. I said to myself ‘I can do better’. Pretty arrogant of me. But, the seed was planted. And, I felt I had to at least attempt to back up my claim.
Second, I was getting frustrated making movies. I still love to make them, but they can be too collaborative. The idea of creating and releasing a story without having to deal with so many other people and opinions seemed so refreshing.
Third, I learned about the thriving e-book scene. It became obvious that authors were reaching large audiences without relying on publishing houses. Another enticement.
With all that in mind, I started plotting KILLERS, BIKERS & FREAKS. I thought the idea of evil men roaming around in black executioner hoods and axes terrorizing a town would make a good story. So, it grew from there.
Who is Walt Asher?
Walt Asher is the hero of KILLERS, BIKERS & FREAKS. They say write what you know, so I did. I made Walt and infomercial writer living in Florida. That’s what I am. Only I don’t have executioners trying to kill me...yet.
Unlike many crime fiction and Florida fiction protagonists, Walt has no background in law enforcement, military, investigative services, or journalism. So, when he gets in lethal trouble in KILLERS, BIKERS & FREAKS, it’s a bigger challenge for him to get out of it. But, he’s smart, noble, resourceful, and he has the weapon of words. Simply put, he takes his talents for selling on television and applies them to saving his own ass.
What can readers expect from your books?
A fast, entertaining read. An engrossing plot. Breathtaking action sequences. Corruption and conspiratorial intrigue. And given my love for cult movies, there will always be dangerous and insane elements. I like to push things just over the edge. An example from KILLERS, BIKERS & FREAKS would be Artimus, the Napoleonic leader of the Panhandle Rippers bike gang. I also try to make the characters different and interesting, but still relatable. For instance, DG, Walt’s friend on the river, is a biker and illicit businessman. But, he’s also a good friend and in many ways a good man. And, despite his redneck-ish biker existence he actually descends form the Florida Good Ole Boy network. So, he’s kind of like Florida royalty.
Who are your writing influences?
It’s a wide range. I certainly kneel at the altar of John D. MacDonald and his Travis McGee series. You almost have to if you’re going to write Florida crime fiction. He set the bar high. In that vein, I also devoured Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen books. James Ellroy is the best writer alive. Harry Crews is the best dead writer in my opinion. Not crime, but very Florida and Southern. Flannery O’Connor as well, while we’re on the topic. I also got hooked on Adam Hall’s Quiller books. Those are amazing.
Is Walt Asher a one-off character or will we see him again?
You’ll see him again. KILLERS, BIKERS & FREAKS is the first novel in a planned Walt Asher trilogy. Will he exist beyond that? Probably. The second Walt Asher novel is already in progress. And, you can get the first Walt Asher Novella for free on my website, AndrewAllanBooks.com. The novella takes place a few months after KILLERS, BIKERS & FREAKS, but it can be read first if preferred.
Are you really an infomercial writer? Is that really a thing?
I am and it is. Those things don’t write themselves. Infomercial marketing and production companies hire me to write their spots and shows to sell their product.
What infomercial would I know that you wrote?
Forever Comfy. NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop. I’ve even worked on a few of the Snuggie ads. I’m sure you’ve seen some of my products on the shelf at your local Walgreens.
What’s the craziest product you’ve written about?
I’ve written a bunch of bra shows. It’s now an area of writing expertise.
Your Author’s Bio says you make wild cult movies. What’s that all about?
I’ve directed a horror feature film called BRAINJACKED, produced Herschell Gordon Lewis’s latest feature film, THE UH-OH! SHOW, and am currently co-directing an insane feature film called BIGFOOT MOB BOSS. And, it’s as ridiculous as the title sounds.
I also run Cult Movie Mania, a cult movie DVD label and the website DailyGrindhouse.com.
Are you writing anything else?
Yes. Besides the Walt Asher books, I’m also writing my Florida Voodoo series. It’s more horror/supernatural/fantastic and heavily influenced by my love of cult and exploitation movies. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Last question. What are your favorite Florida haunts?
I split my time between Clearwater and Gainesville. And like Walt Asher, I love the Rainbow River up in Dunnellon. I do getaways to Melbourne, St. Augustine, Jacksonville, and Fernandina Beach on the east coast. Usually I’m hunting for records and books.