Please welcome Richard Lange (Angel Baby) as part of my series with The New Black anthology authors! He stopped by to talk about his story “Fuzzyland”, and more!
Will you tell us a bit about your story in The New Black and what inspired you to write it?
“Fuzzyland” is from my first collection, Dead Boys. I’m not sure what, in particular, inspired it. I wanted to write about Tijuana, I wanted to write about a fire, and I wanted to write about where my sister and my nieces lived in San Diego. I put all of that together, and “Fuzzyland” came out. For the record, my sister is an upstanding citizen and great mother who has never smuggled drugs across the border. The title is the name of a long-gone Tijuana whorehouse I once stumbled into.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? Will you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’ve always been a writer, but I didn’t start getting paid for being one until a few years ago. After graduating from USC film school, I dicked around with screenplays and a novel that I couldn’t even get an agent for. At a certain point I put all that aside and started over, writing short stories. I did that for years and years, getting rejected again and again. I got my first story published when I was 34. Ten years later my first collection was published. I worked in magazine publishing before I started writing full-time. I hope I don’t ever have to go back to it.
What do you like to see in a good story, and what authors or novels have influenced you the most in your work, and your life?
I like to see someone paying attention to more than just plot. I want something that has depth and rhythm and truth and demonstrates a love of the possibilities of language. Some important books in my development as a writer have been In Our Time by Hemingway, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver, On the Road by Kerouac, Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson, and lots of stuff by Richard Price and Elmore Leonard.
What do you enjoy most about reading, and writing, dark fiction?
I never set out to write “dark” fiction. I’m not even sure my fiction is dark. I’m just writing about the world as I see it through my prescription. Everyone’s is different.
What’s next for you?
My novel Angel Baby comes out in paperback at the end of May, and I have new collection of stories, Sweet Nothing, out next February from Mulholland/Little, Brown.