Brought to you by OBS reviewer Angie.
Hamilton Waymire: The story didn’t have any particular movie or book as its model or inspiration, if that’s what you’re asking. I simply had two ideas that I wanted to bring together in one tale: the bittersweet memory of a past love (and the difficulties of coming to terms with it), and revenge. In terms of the latter motif, as well as the overall style, I’ve definitely been influenced, in a general way, by a certain type of storytelling. Mickey Spillane’s novels, especially *I, the Jury*, come to mind here, as do Carroll John Daly’s early Black Mask stories, like “Knights of the Open Palm”.
Angie: Did you write this with a Film Noire influence in mind or was it something else?
Hamilton Waymire: I can’t say that I did. Don’t get me wrong: I love Film Noir; it’s my favorite movie genre. But I didn’t see “Old Flames” in black and white before my mind’s eye. It was very much a colorful story, bathed in the magnificent if treacherous sunlight of Southern California.
Angie: There were many clichés that reminded me of Dick Tracey – era story writing. How did you decide what to include as dialogue, what felt ‘natural’ for your characters?
Hamilton Waymire: The story makes intentional use of a number of clichés (actually, I prefer to think of them as tropes, which sounds so much more sophisticated and suggests that they’re there on purpose rather than because of lazy writing), like the tough private eye who must go it alone, the macho posturing, the gratuitous violence, and the double fisted shooting. By using these tropes (see what I’ve done here? very sly, huh?), I tried to anchor the story in the tradition of the pulp era, even if the action takes place today. In keeping with the commitment to the pulp style, I made an effort to paint my characters somewhat larger than life — and that includes the dialog. People never talked like Spillane’s Mike Hammer or Daly’s Race Williams, but these guys weren’t going for realism; they were going for drama at breakneck pace, and their choppy and exaggerated dialog underscored that drama. I tried to make that work in a contemporary setting.
Angie: Who do you picture when you see Romy in your mind? What actors would you like to see portray your characters?
Hamilton Waymire: For Romy, Scarlett Johansson, fifteen years from now. (Hey, Hollywood, that doesn’t mean you’ve got to wait fifteen years to make the movie! I’ll take anybody else if the money’s right.) Floyd Hunter is Nick Nolte, thirty years ago. Okay, I can see it might be a little difficult casting the movie according to my preferences…
Angie: If you were to make a full-length book out of this story, how would you change the plot or developments?
Hamilton Waymire: I haven’t really considered it — some plots just seem to be destined for short stories, others for novels. But perhaps “Old Flames” could indeed be expanded. In that case, the early romance between Floyd and Romy would probably get its own subplot, told in flashbacks, and Floyd would get to do more investigating, with a fair chance for the reader to figure out who the villain is.
Angie: We like to get to know our authors outside of their work, and have a few fun questions we’d like to ask feel free to answer as many or few as you like.
Angie: Do you listen to music when you write or do you prefer quiet?
Hamilton Waymire: I love music, and I love making music myself, but I need complete silence for creative work, whether it’s writing fiction or philosophy (my day job).
Angie: What kind of music do you enjoy?
Hamilton Waymire: Classical music, especially Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky. Electropop of the 1980s. The Beatles, the Stones, Joe Cocker. R.E.M., almost anything by Madonna, some of Gwen Stefani’s songs. French Chansons,
notably Georges Moustaki, Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, and Georges Brassens.
Angie: What people, living or dead, would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?
Hamilton Waymire: Winston Churchill, because he was a great man, period. Jennifer Aniston, because she was wonderful in *Friends* (and I have a crush on her). Ross MacDonald, who for me is the greatest American mystery
writer, because I would love to hear his advice. Grace Kelly, because she was the most beautiful woman ever, and I’d simply look at her all night (even if she had spaghetti sauce on her chin).
Angie: What advice do you have for someone who is trying to become a published author?
Hamilton Waymire: Write, write. write. Then write some more. (Now if I could only take my own advice…)
Angie: Would you prefer a vacation in the mountains, on the beach, or somewhere else?
Hamilton Waymire: I’m definitely a beach person. Fortunately, I live a mere ten minutes from the beach. My wife loves the mountains (which aren’t very far either), but I get altitude sickness, so that’s a bit of a problem sometimes…
Angie: When you were little how did you answer the question “What do you want
to be when you grow up?”
Hamilton Waymire: That’s easy. I wanted to be a Kung Fu fighting secret agent. I still do.
Thank you to author Hamilton Waymire for an amazing interview!