John has submitted a couple of stories to The Yard: Crime Blog, and we have enjoyed reading his work.
We contacted him, and asked if we could do an interview, and he was glad to answer our questions.
What led you to start writing?
“Blessed (or afflicted) with synesthesia, boundless imagination and desire to make and unmake things, I’ve always had a creative spirit. I was also a born chatterbox until my parents had the inspiration to shut me up by setting me in front a typewriter at an early age. Both synced with my love of gadgets and gift of gab I guess. If I’m writing, there’s definitely never a dull moment.”
Your stories here on The Yard, tend to lean toward the Police Procedural. Is there anything that draws you to this sort of story?
“A serial victim of gun violence, school gun violence, and police overreach, I have opinions on the matter. I’ve also made the odd acquaintance of criminals, at times maintaining uncomfortable friendships in order to get a front row seat to sociopathic behavior. But certainly my stories also involve elements of love, family, abandonment and victimization – cops and robbers can’t exist in a vacuum.”
Do you draw from events in your life?
“Verbatim in creative nonfiction. In fiction I may use events I’ve witnessed or play off experiences of acquaintances I’m privy to, getting inside their heads to explore what it must be like or have been like for them. Despite whatever sets me off to writing, I’m most engaged when the narrative arrives at twists and turns I hadn’t expected. Maybe they were too?”
What writers do you read, or feel influenced by?
“I read and re-read two of the best crime novels ever, Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song and Capote’s In Cold Blood (along with Breakfast at Tiffany’s, also tangentially crime fiction). There’s so much I learn about writing from them. But Dickens, Clemens, Steinbeck and Anne Frank inspired my earliest efforts.”
What are your writing goals?
“Completing my novel drafts is high on the list. I have three in various stages of development. But as one can’t live on revision alone, writing stories and creative non-fiction keeps me primed.”
How often do you write each week?
“It varies, but when developing new material, four hours a day max. When editing or revising, I may work around the clock. The past year while adapting to the triple whammy of the Covid lockdown compounded with record heat and forest fire pollution, I immersed myself in editing a set of recently unearthed love letters missionaries exchanged circa 1880 – now posted on a personal website http://loveletters.quest/
Do you have any advice for other writers?
“No, but I can share my mantra: No page is intentionally left blank
– someone caved to writer’s block. Even if no one will pay for your writing
– you still have to sell it. Writing is literally “lip-syncing for your life”
– and don’t f@#$%k it up! as Ru Paul would add”
We want to thank John for his work and letting us question him a little bit. Here’s his Bio:
John Haymaker’s recent stories and queer nonfiction appear in various online journals including Hawaii Pacific Review, Across the Margin, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Yard: Crime Blog and Bull & Cross. Chinese to English translations appear anthologized in Chinese Literature (Beijing) and Pig Iron Press (Youngstown) and online at Bewildering Stories. John writes from the SF Bay Area. Find him online at http://johnhaymaker.com/
His stories here at The Yard: Crime Blog are Riders on the Storm and Izzy’s Demise