REVIEW AND INTERVIEW: That’ll Be The Day with S.W. Lauden

Cover for That’ll Be The Day: A Power Pop Heist
by S.W. Lauden

There’s always that one sibling. It seems there’s one in every nuclear pod. In That’ll Be The Day: A Power Pop Heist by S.W. Lauden, we’re introduced to Jackson Sharp the moment he breathes free air for the first time in a long while. Only he may not be breathing it for much longer thanks to his brother, Jamie, who has a heist in mind that’s sure to make any fan of the Beatles froth at the mouth. Should things go wrong, Jack will end up right back in the bowels of Oklahoma State Penitentiary, where neither of his siblings ever care enough to visit.

With a setting near Tulsa, Lauden’s toe-tapping, gritty novelette is like the Outsiders on a punked-up, rockabilly high. It’s a smooth crime story with a playlist sure to get a song or two stuck in your head while you read.

That’ll Be The Day drops June 18th. Boogie on over here for your copy. My interview with the man himself, S.W. Lauden, is below.

S.W. Lauden

WHITEHURST: Besides short stories featured in anthologies, you’re the author of three books in the Greg Salem series and two Tommy and Shayna novellas. Why write a novelette?

LAUDEN: I didn’t exactly set out to write a 17,000-word story, but I always knew it would end up somewhere between a short story (5,000 words) and a novella (30,000 words). My other books have all been published by indie presses, but I’ve been interested in the idea of self-publishing for a while. With a story like That’ll Be The Day: A Power Pop Heist—an odd length and a super niche-y subject—I decided it was time to give it a whirl.

WHITEHURST: What was your inspiration for That’ll Be The Day?

LAUDEN: Late last year I got offered the chance to co-edit an essay collection about power pop with Paul Myers (it’s called Go All The Way and Rare Bird Books will publish it this October). Re/discovering bands like Raspberries, The Knack, The Records, Shoes, The Shivvers, Dwight Twilley, The Bangles, Teenage Fanclub, Fountains of Wayne, New Pornographers, etc. quickly became an obsession. I didn’t plan for my power pop research to also become a crime novelette, but I’m really glad it did. It was a blast writing about the Sharp brothers, their failed music career, and the life of crime that followed.

WHITEHURST: Your knowledge of music, bands, and instruments is solid. What’s the story there?

LAUDEN: Most of my life has been organized around music. I had older brothers that got me into classic rock and heavy metal as a kid, before I discovered punk in junior high. From there I was off to the races, listening to a lot of glam rock, post punk, new wave, power pop, alternative rock, Brit pop—you name it. I started playing drums in bands in high school and didn’t stop for any real length of time until my early 40s. I got to make a few records and tour, etc. Given all that, I suppose it’s no surprise that a lot of my crime fiction revolves around music and musicians.

WHITEHURST: What’s next for you?

LAUDEN: I recently played drums on a record for an LA-based garage rock/power pop band called The Brothers Steve. We’re self-releasing a limited run of vinyl in late July, but songs will start popping up in various places between now and then. We definitely won’t be touring (too many adult responsibilities for anything crazy like that), but we might play a couple of shows here and there.

Info at https://www.thebrotherssteve.com.

WHITEHURST: Thanks for stopping by for a chat!

LAUDEN: Thanks for reading the book and inviting me to your blog!

BIO: S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series including Bad Citizen Corporation, Grizzly Season and Hang Time. His Tommy & Shayna novellas include Crosswise and Crossed Bones. A new novelette, That’ll Be The Day: A Power Pop Heist, will be released on June 18, 2019. S.W. Lauden is the pen name of Steve Coulter, drummer for Tsar and The Brothers Steve. More info at http://swlauden.com.

Book Review: An Average Curse (Book 1 of The Chronicles of Hawthorn)

Book Review: An Average Curse (Book 1 of The Chronicles of Hawthorn)

Fantasy is that genre that always sticks with you. It’s a brain freeze that never quite thaws, a Starburst fruit chew that glues itself to your teeth, and a pair of kick ass slippers that never gets tossed – no matter how many times you’ve slipped your smelly bare feet into them.

Wands dripping with sexy magic are one reason why that taste never leaves, as are iron swords and sparkly elves, mystical lands readers will never actually set foot on, and dreams of conquering boiling evil; they’re all reasons why we get turned on by the genre. In those worlds, which many authors actually map out, readers find spells, prophecies, elves, ogres, fairies and all the rest. And it’s the best.

Hawthorn-2

In Rue’s recent fiction novel, “An Average Curse (Book 1 of The Chronicles of Hawthorn),” readers will find almost all of this, including a map. Unlike other fantasy tomes, however, (where 25 pages go toward describing the local fauna), this is efficient fantasy – punchy and light, but never missing a beat. While written for the young adult crowd, it’s not a bad read for grownups either. Most of us adults have revisited Harry Potter, Narnia, the Hobbit, at some point. This is that kind of fun, especially for those of us into stories of youth and experience.

In the first Hawthorn book, readers are introduced to Flynn, Hazel and Po. These three friends always seem to have something going on, and find themselves knee deep in the thick of trouble before too long. The book is a magical trip inspired by New Zealand’s Maori culture – and deftly navigates fiction, mythology and reality. You can tell Rue did a bit of research here.

And, thanks to her, the fantasy realm is another spell richer.

Those who like fantasy, with a hot helping of magic wands included, and strong female leads ala Hunger Games and Vampire Academy, will find An Average Curse a worthy addition to their genre bookshelf.

Check out the newly released second book in the Chronicles of Hawthorn, “Key to the Journey: A Magical Adventure,” right here.