Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Neil Crabtree-- Believable Lies

Neil Crabtree lives and writes in Miami, Florida. His stories have appeared in online journals,, and The ending story in Believable Lies, "Papa's Girl", appears in print this October in American Fiction: Volume 11, 2010 from New Rivers Press. In addition to the story collection Believable Lies, he has written a novel, Rooster, and is working hard on the second novel.

"I grew up in the 60's and I don't think the hippie days ever really go out of you. My stories run in a cycle from hippie stoner days through adult life into an old age where seniors are offered rewards for Early Termination. There are 19 stories in all, and none of them are cutesy-poignant Readers Digest stories. But there's plenty of humor, and I take a hard look at our modern times. Readers will find some of themselves in my characters."

"The stories in Neil Crabtree’s debut story collection Believable Lies are bold, risky, and wildly entertaining. Trust me—you’re going to be carried away to a more vivid and compelling world than the one you’re living in. You’ll be laughing so hard you won’t realize you’re crying. No one should be this good, or this funny, the first time out. Neil’s genius is his ability to uncover the sadness that underlies the comic and the grandeur just below the surface of our sorry lives”. —John Dufresne, author of Requiem, MASS., Is Life Like This? and Johnny Too Bad, from W.W.Norton, NY.

Question: What will eReaders like?
Answer: Short stories are great for the Kindle or Nook or iPhone/iPad, for any of the readers. You get a blast of good fiction like a shot of espresso, and get to see different characters in different situations. And short stories are more familiar, like sitting around with a friend and swapping tales. It's like having room to smile and wave my arms around while I talk. In a novel, the structure and sheer size are geared to getting to know people slowly, and to see a history develop. Believable Lies will give you a jolt from the first page. "Live Band Tonight" opens with rock'n'rollers, The Voice, and the Bryllcreem Conspiracy.

Question: Why did you go indie?
Answer:  The opportunity to reach readers is incredible. The amount of ass-kissing is greatly reduced. Sitting around waiting for rejection slips can take the heart right out of you. And getting an agent is harder than before. I write the worst query letters ever, and my synopsis of my novel is 18 pages long. So, I suck at the basic approach to getting into print. I remember sending out a story to and hearing back from Laurie Seidler that night! I became a devout fan of indie right there.

Question: Who are your favorite authors in your genre?
Answer: Genre is another agent term I have trouble with. My novel is a comic-literary-thriller. At my five minute Pitch Session with a very good agent at a MWA event in Florida, I tried, and failed, to explain what that meant. Believable Lies is easier. It's a story collection, worked on for years, that's been read and vetted by some excellent writers and editors. My favorite story writers would be John Dufresne, Dennis Johnson, Dennis Lehane, David Foster Wallace, Amy Hempel, Junot Diaz, Jonathan Franzen, and the classics we all love, Tolstoy, Joyce, Hemingway, Faulkner, Wodehouse.

Believable Lies is available for $2.99 at

and at for $2.99

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