How Long is a Piece of Rope: Anthony Neil Smith

Yellow Medicine by Anthony Neil Smith is available from for $0.99

and UK Amazon for 69p

Anthony Neil Smith is the author of Psychosomatic, The Drummer, Yellow Medicine, Hogdoggin’, and Choke on Your Lies. He is also the publisher for Plots with Guns ( and Director of Creative Writing for Southwest Minnesota State University.
1. YELLOW MEDICINE is way better than a kick in the crotch with a sharp-toed designer heel, but one day I’d really like to be as good as Chester Himes.
2. You will just love my book if you enjoyed watching tragic things happen to others but if you’re a fan of sunshine, goodness, and mercy, steer well clear

3. A big bowl of “Stop!” comes from the barrel of a gun (followed by a side dish of regret).

4. How do you see the role of food in the contemporary thriller and where does YELLOW MEDICINE fit into the spectrum?
I like tacos a lot. And I watch/read a lot of Anthony Bourdain, even his crime novels. I like to talk about food in books. In YELLOW MEDICINE, Billy grills some juicy steaks. I do that, too. Art reflects life. Also, I like eating meat. Talking about eating meat in fiction is good. That guy who wrote the book EATING ANIMALS about being a vegetarian? That sucks.

5. How would it affect the direction YELLOW MEDICINE takes if the action were moved wholesale to the set of Glee in chapter 7?
Well, that’s the chapter where Billy’s sort-of girlfriend gets a gig for her psychobilly band in the big city. It turns out to be a fake gig arranged by terrorists to kill her whole band (just read the fucking thing), and then Billy finds his first beheaded coed. So, if that happened on GLEE, I’d be happy to see that episode. Multiple beheadings and a gothed-up, glammed-out Lea Michelle holding the machete.
6. When you’re writing, would you rather look out at the sea, or in at your thoughts?
My books are me writing down the movies in my mind, and if I look out the window, there’s no sea. Just my neighbor’s vinyl siding. So, my thoughts, although I one day hope to move to the north shore of Lake Superior where I can stare out at the water for decades.
7. When writing, do you start at the beginning and keep going, or start at the end and work back?
I start at the beginning. The ending comes along somewhere in the middle. It takes getting there to realize it. Sometimes I’ll have clips in my head, jumbled up, and I have to put them in the right order later.
8. A great villain or a great hero?
Shit, I think YELLOW MEDICINE’s Billy Lafitte is both. Depends on the character, though. A great boring hero is boring. A great complicated hero, well, I’m sold. And villains need to trick me into thinking they’re kind of good sometimes. That whole “Jacob and The Smoke Thing” from LOST comes to mind.
9. YELLOW MEDICINE will change the way a reader looks at Minnesota crime fiction.

10. How long is a piece of rope?
Always eight feet, seventeen inches. Except when it’s not.


~ by danholloway on July 1, 2011.

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