Friday, May 13, 2016

A Conversation with Crime Novelist Anonymous-9

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with Anonymous-9

We are delighted to welcome author Anonymous-9 to Omnimystery News today.

Anonymous-9 recently had her crime novel Hard Bite (Down & Out Books; April 2016 trade paperback and ebook formats), first released as an ebook original, published in trade paperback, and we had a chance to talk more about it with her.

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Omnimystery News: We hear you just got your rights back from New Pulp Press to go with Down & Out Books. What happened? What gives?

Photo provided courtesy of

Anonymous-9: My three-year contract for Hard Bite was up and Jon Bassoff, who founded the company and nurtured it into a fine imprint, had to sell because of health problems. Jon had to decide between writing his own books and publishing other writers. He chose writing, and that was the right choice. Everybody encouraged him to do that for himself. So the company was sold to people who treated me very nicely, but meanwhile, the sequel, Bite Harder was with Down & Out Books. Eric Campbell is the publisher over there and my experience is that Eric bends over backwards to keep his authors happy. The door was open, and it seemed like a good idea to keep the series under one roof. So I signed with D&OB, along with Les Edgerton, Robert Randisi, Trey Barker, Frank de Blase and many more.

OMN: You have nearly 200 organic reviews on Amazon for Hard Bite, which is a big number for a digital book originally published out of Scotland by Blasted Heath. How did this happen?

A-9: Hard Bite is just a little book, but it's had nearly 50,000 downloads on Kindle. The premise is so unique — a paraplegic serial killer and his pet monkey targeting hit-and-run-drivers in Los Angeles — that people can resist it when they see it. Once they read it, they also like to review it. So I'm lucky. I've never had to ask for a review. People just do it.

OMN: How did you come by the pen name Anonymous-9?

A-9: I was and still am a novel editor and book doctor under the name of Elaine Ash. I didn't know how this hardboiled, experimental fiction was going to be received. I hated the idea of a fake name, so I came up with a variation of Anonymous that could be branded with a hyphen and the number 9. It sort of rolls of the tongue, don't you think?

OMN: What's it like writing about a monkey?

A-9: Easy. I just imagine a person with the maturity and self-control of a three-year-old and the motor skills of an Olympic athlete. Sid writes himself from there. But seriously, I stay away from cutesy. Capuchin monkeys are trained as assistance animals for quadraplegics. They perform live-saving and life-enhancing duties for humans every day. An assistance monkey can dial 911, retrieve medication, open bottles, fetch water with a straw and hold it while a person drinks. They do dozens of other things too, make decisions, and provide comfort. It can be lonely in a wheelchair, and monkeys provide companionship, communication and stimulation. Life is never be boring with a monkey in the house.

OMN: Where did you come up with the idea for a paraplegic serial killer and his monkey?

A-9: It all started with hit-and-run drivers in Los Angeles. Dean and Sid exclusively target hit-and-runners who have evaded the law. It's a huge problem in Los Angeles and I was the victim of a driver who pulled out in front of my motorcycle, saw me go down, and sped away. I was lucky I wasn't killed. Thank God for Arai helmets. I was sent flipping and rolling down Pacific Coast Highway with my bike screeching right behind on the pavement, throwing showers of sparks. Revenge prompted Dean and Sid to form in my imagination.

OMN: What's the most important thing you've learned as an author?

A-9: First I learned the rules and then I broke them. I learned to always keep an eye on the action, and to keep the plot moving. I love to write about my characters' likes and dislikes, and what they're thinking about, but it has to be tempered with the plot actually moving along. I learned balance. The thing that other artists don't face that writers do is dependency upon imagination when it comes to critiquing one's own work. I'm not talking about creating the work, I'm talking about assessing it. Musicians can listen to playback. Sculptors and painters can look at their work, outside of themselves, and compare it to other works. But a writer has to envision what's on the page, and due to imagination kicking in unbidden, you can think more of the story is down than is actually there. I'm writing a book on self-editing for writers as Elaine Ash, and that's the basis of it. Meanwhile, you can see if I took my own advice with Hard Bite and Bite Harder.

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Anonymous-9 is the pen name of Elaine Ash, and was invented as a blind for her hard-hitting, experimental short stories. When people liked them, the name stuck. Born in Canada and now a citizen of the United States, she writes in Los Angeles, parties in Texas, and traces her DNA back to Vikings in Scotland.

For more information about the author, please visit her website at and her author page on Goodreads, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hard Bite by Anonymous-9

Hard Bite by Anonymous-9

A Dean Drayhart Crime Novel

Publisher: Down & Out Books Print/Kindle Format(s) Print/Nook Format(s)

The hit-and-run driver took everything — his wife, child and legs. Now a paraplegic, Dean Drayhart unleashes payback on suspected hit-and-runners in Los Angeles with helper-monkey Sid as his deadly assistant.

Dean's gentle, doting nurse knows nothing about what he's up to and when Sid tears out the throat of a Mexican Mafia member, Marcie is kidnapped in order to force Dean's surrender.

Armed with nothing but his wits, Sid, and a sympathetic streetwalker named Cinda, Dean manipulates drug-cartel carnales and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department in a David-against-Goliath plot that twists and turns to a heart-pounding finale.

Hard Bite by Anonymous-9. Click here to take a Look Inside the book.

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