If you were allowed to give one argument as to why the world should read your work, what would that argument be?
What a question. The easy answer is: Don’t. I write vulgar garbage. There’s your fuckin’ content warning. That’s for this community of yours. What I tell people I know (other white Americans mostly) is ‘It’s not for you.’ And it isn’t. I really don’t have any of those wholesome Law & Order/Bosch American values. If I’d been born 20 years earlier, I would’ve been a regular at Plato’s Retreat. People in France are more likely to appreciate what I do. John Paul Belmondo would have dug what I do. He’s dead, though. So, I digress. Occasionally, I’ll tell a close friend. ‘You’ll fuckin’ love it. It’s so me.’ But that’s rare. And honestly, I’m about as good at self-promotion as I am at earning money. For context, I live in a tiny shithole apartment with a healthy roach population.
What do you hope to accomplish as a writer?
I’m looking to become less relevant.
So far, I’m off to a good start. Most people in your community don’t even recognize me as a writer, although I’ve been on the scene since All Due Respect was new (and under very different management). Mostly people know me as the asshole who created Switchblade. You might be scratching your head wondering what Switchblade is. It isn’t exactly well known, and certainly isn’t respectable. When SB came on the scene in 2017, there weren’t a lot of fiction journals around. Now there are several prominent ones. (Although, they’re starting to die off again) So it filled a niche of sorts. Switchblade served as a fifth tier CF writing credit to pad authors’ resumes behind AHMM, Ellery Queen, Thug Lit, Tough (in that order respectively) It was best known as a knock-off of Thug Lit. More specifically, the B-movie/porno version of the great Thug Lit. If you look over any issue of Switchblade from the aesthetic to the logo to the format of a noir poem, short fiction and flash fiction—you’ll see SB is a complete facsimile of Thug Lit (only not as good) Even the editor’s note has the same look, tone and temperament. Hard to tell them apart—except for the quality of course.
Unlike Thug Lit, (which was tough as nails but was never ideologically incorrect/offensive to anyone) Switchblade has a bit of a nasty reputation. Mainly for the capitol crime of Misogyny (I would do custom photoshoots with scantily clad models for the issue covers) Now, we all know men who photograph beautiful women usually hate beautiful women, and so the crime of misogyny made a lot of sense to an entitled (never challenged) boys club of white men hijacking activism from women and POC to leverage it against a cis straight white male for said crime (featuring sexy cover art almost as salacious as Hard Case Crime’s without being justified by having Lawrence Block and Stephen King in the publishing catalog) When people in your community confront me (“Call me out”) on this—(picture some very serious-looking, pissed off badass writer dudes with dad bods and sleeved tats looking at me like a Catholic Priest would glare at a known Pagan)—I always keep it 100. I tell them yes; I was a member. But not the leader. I tried to get out, but they threatened my mother.
What compelled you to be a writer in the first place?
Well, I wasn’t particularly good at anything, and I never worked hard at anything. Whoever you are, if you’re reading this (probably by accident) while you were off getting your MFA, I was jerking off to cyber porn. (Remember me, every time you tell someone you worked so hard.) Writing seemed like an extension of daydreaming. As a guy who’s adept at taking up space and wasting time, it seemed natural to ejaculate unimaginative, vulgar musings onto the page. And ultimately, the way I see it, just because you write it down, or even get it published, doesn’t mean it’s for anyone else. Nothing I write is really for public consumption. Luckily, nobody reads it anyway, so it works out.
What are some writing tips you would offer new/beginning writers?
1. Get your MFA. That way you can list it in your bio.
2. Join the right church. I’m not talking the Catholic church, or The Church of Scientology or whatever. I’m talking about the Democratic party. If you belong to the other (red) religion, you’re a blasphemer against the writing community. If you’re a political atheist (also a blasphemer—same thing as red, really) you’re also wrong. There’s one choice: The blue religion. If you’re not part of it, you will be ostracized, and also made fun of. Also be aware of updates and terms of service: “live and let live”, is now “live according to the party”. And if you’re a boomer that thinks if “Outrage Culture” was the prevailing ideology back in ‘66, The Rolling Stones would have been cancelled—keep it to yourself. Just nod your head, and don’t give them a reason to say “Shut up boomer” (…or we’ll tell everyone you’re a Republican, whether you support abortion or not) As a gen Y guy, I do feel for the boomers.
3. Awards. Try and rack up the nominations to be added to your query letters to NY5 agents. (along with publishing credits from important fiction journals). You’ll get these by writing well. Also, by carrying yourself appropriately, and making the right friends in the congregation. (see #2)
4. Join a writing community on social media. Because the goal should be to sell your books to other writers. You want to befriend and interact with as many writers as you can. That way you can jerk each other off, while you all simultaneously work on your commercial Rizzoli & Isles mystery/thrillers for the NY5.
5. Write stories in present tense. All the cool kids are doing it.
6. Never be afraid to ask someone important what your opinion is. Remember when you’d had enough during lockdown, and just had to go out and risk infection at the barbershop to get your squared away normie haircut, in the middle of the pandemic? Well, outward appearance isn’t the only important facet of fitting in. Remember that people who say “I agree, but…” are simply wrong. The correct answer is “I agree.” But don’t feel like (if you’re confused as to what your opinion is) you can’t reach out and ask for help. DM (if you’re in good standing with the congregation, you can DM people. Despite rumors of important members of the clergy stating they “don’t play the DM game”) another like-minded author who “just wants to fit in” like yourself, with a question. And hey, don’t be afraid to even reach out to someone higher up in the congregation with say a blue check mark—someone who likely knows everything about being an intellectual. Just say “hey person, (‘hey man’ is to presuppose a pronoun—although a subjective colloquialism, still very wrong) I was just wondering how I feel about…” You’d be surprised how willing other people in the congregation are to help. And hey, remember to have fun. (they can help you understand what “fun” is also)
7. Never take advice from an uneducated slob like me.
If you had a chance to see one musician/group live in concert, living or dead, who would it be and at what point in their career would it be?
Great question. This is a no-brainer for me. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in Henry’s or Mother’s back in ’68 (time travel would be needed as my father hadn’t met my mom for years to come) inside The Bullring—a section of Birmingham, England. To watch the world’s first proto-metal garage band Earth strike the opening chords of N.I.B. And to hear a teenage Ozzy Osbourne mouth lyrics like “Evil power disappears. Demons worry when the wizard is here”, for the first time, would be the ultimate live music experience for me.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
More vulgar garbage. I have a novella coming out early next year, called The Roach King of Paradise. It’s going to be released as part of a trifecta of novellas, called ‘L.A. Stories’. Also a novel tentatively titled, The Pornographer. Guess what that’s about.
Scotch Rutherford is the unapologetic creator of the quarterly no-limit crime fiction abomination, Switchblade. An independent screenwriter and author, his fiction work has appeared in Pulp Modern, Greasepaint & .45s, The Econoclash Review, The Flash Fiction Offensive, and All Due Respect. He lives in a tiny shithole apartment in Los Angeles (the porno capitol of the world) and sometimes fornicates with women of low moral fiber. His debut novella “The Roach King of Paradise” is set to appear in L.A. Stories: A Trifecta of Grindhouse Novellas. Coming soon from Uncle B Publications. You can follow him at…Actually, don’t follow him. You’ll be glad you didn’t.