Friday, June 22, 2012

Writers With Day Jobs: Steve Weddle

You'd think, from his answers below, Steve Weddle is a man of few words. (except for the one rant) But Steve puts out not only a steady stream of high quality fiction, but also acts as editor of Needle magazine, keeps one of the more active and sarcastic Twitter feeds, and dishes out advice and rants over at Do some damage along with a host of talented crime writers.

Steve brings his typically blunt and funny demeanor to his answers here, so let's not delay and hear what Steve Weddle has to say about Day Jobs, writing, and the billion dollars it would take for him to quit.

-What do you do as your day job?
I work at a newspaper

-When do you find time to write?
When I’m deep into a book, I get up a couple hours earlier than usual.
Also, weekends. Notes in moleskines, backs of envelopes. Whenever and wherever I can.

-Has your job or coworkers ever influenced a story?
I’ve used work knowledge for characters, building up a backstory.

-What would it take for you to quit and write full time?
One billion dollars.

-Do your coworkers know you write? Do they know you write dark crime fiction?
I don’t know.

-What do they say about it?
Not a damn thing.

-Do you think people respect writing as a job, or does it come off as less "work" than a labor or office job?
I think, like most anything, people tend to have less respect for what YOU do and expect you to have more respect for what THEY do.
You write? Feh. That’s easy. I work at a dry cleaner. You work at a dry cleaner? Feh. I work at a restaurant.
No one really has any idea how tough things can be for other people.

-Be honest, if you wrote full time, do you think you'd be disciplined about it?

-What job, other than writing, would you most like to have?
I’d be pretty good playing second base for the Nationals. I just don’t care much for the travel schedule, so that’s out.

-What has been your best job? Your worst?
The job I have right now is the greatest job anyone could ever have ever.
By the way, on my first day as a Walmart employee, my supervisor gave me a twenty-five cent raise. That was pretty cool.
When I was in high school, I mowed yards and rake leaves. That wasn’t much fun. I also worked at a convenience store. My hours were five in the morning until 11 at night. Those made for long days. I didn’t much care for that.

-When do you find time to read?
In the mornings, before work. Also, in the evenings after work. Also,the weekend.
Michael Dirda of the Washington Post said folks would ask him when he found time to read. His response, “When you’re watching TV.”

-Have you ever, or maybe how often, have you considered quitting and shacking up to write novels, money issues be damned?

-What is your ultimate goal with writing? 
I have to have a goal? Crap.

-Given what you've earned writing, dividing it by the hours spent, what would you say is your hourly wage as a writer?

I don’t consider it work. This isn’t my job. I don’t take a wage from writing.

 You have become quite the fixture in crime fiction circles with Needle and Do Some Damage, editing anthologies, doing interviews. Does this all fall into that "not work" category? Or do you see promoting yourself and other writers as part of the job of being a writer?
I don't know about this "fixture" thing. If that means I plan to be around for a while, then that's fine.

Anything I do with other writers is because I think more folks should read their work. We're doing Tom Piccirilli's new on in the DSD book club. I love his books and think this one is great. Is it work getting that set up and wrangling folks? Nah.

And NEEDLE exists so more folks can read stories by more folks. What is super cool is that agents will email me saying they read so-and-so in NEEDLE and do I have that writer's email address. Happens quite a bit, lately. And that's fantastic. That's better than what I ever could have hoped for. That sure as hell doesn't feel like work.

And having been able to work with so many talented folks with the magazine is amazing. I don't mean John Hornor Jacobs's art work alone. Or just the reading and editing from Matt Funk and Stephen Blackmoore and Dan O'Shea and Naomi Johnson. Those folks are amazing and top notch. What's really amazing, as well, is the writing we've had. From
the first issue, which had that cool short from you, to all those you can find listed on the website and all those upcoming.

Look, Chris F. Holm makes a big deal out of the fact that he asked me something about "The Hitter" and we talked about it and it ran in NEEDLE and a little while later was selected for BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2010. That was all Chris. He says "Steve Weddle did" this and
that. Look. Steve Weddle didn't do jackshit. Just like the stories in NEEDLE are all the work of the authors. I just try my best to help folks get these stories to a wider audience, if I can. This isn't anywhere close to what I would consider work. People send in stories and we share them with more people? Hell, that's what I ought to be doing, isn't it? Isn't that what we all should do more of? Promote stuff we like? Try to help deserving folks out? Speaking of which, John's THIS DARK EARTH hits shelves soon. It's my favorite of his books.

I don't see promoting other writers as being part of the job of being a writer. I see it as part of the requirement for being human, you know? You care about something, you let people know. You tell them to read Holly West's DIARY OF BEDLAM and Stephen Blackmoore's CITY OF THE LOST and Chris F. Holm's WRONG GOODBYE and Hilary Davidson's NEXT ONE TO FALL and Frank Wheeler's THE WOWZER and Chad Rohrbacher's AZREAL DECEPTION and on and on.

Oh, and as for, I get to share blog space with people who have talent. How cool is that? And sometimes I get to follow instructions from The Doctor, who said in some episode or another of Doctor Who, "There's something that doesn't make sense. Let's go and poke it with a stick." So I get to do that, poke things that don't make sense. Which I quite enjoy.

- Now that you've had a taste of it with Needle, would you ever make publishing a full time pursuit if you could make it work financially?
Well, now that's starting to sound like work, isn't it?

-Do you have a spouse/partner that would support you writing full time?
My spouse has supported much dumber ideas of mine, yeah.


Paul D Brazill said...

Spot on.

Chris said...

Is it just me, or should Weddle's day job be Professional Interviewee?

Thomas Pluck said...

You crack me up, Weddle. But yeah, giving up the glass tit sure ups the writing output...

Steve Weddle said...

Thanks for the invite. Really dig the series.

Thomas Pluck said...

You crack me up, Weddle.