Pulp friction

Joel Rose has spun a great line, from his days as a Kojak scriptwriter to the release of his second novel Kill Kill Faster Faster. But just where does the line between fact and fiction lie?

Words: Damien Love

With stints as a film and television scriptwriter under his belt. Joel Rose is familiar with the concept of The Pitch. So. as his second novel is published. we request frotn the native New Yorker a transatlantic soundbitc for our readers back home.

‘l'hhm. well.’ he drawls. 'it‘s a Hair tragedy. It‘s heartfelt. it's explosive. it‘s true to emotion. it's true to me. it‘s true to life . . . It’s a love story with a pulpish base. It's a triangle of two guys and a woman and their love for each other . . . and I guess their hate. too.‘

Ahh. the eternal triangle. friends - btit. as the more perceptive may glean from the novel's title. Kil/ Kill l’usu'r l‘tlS/Ul' ain‘t exactly soft-focused. In fact. the author‘s synopsis could be further summarised: ‘Imir ...pulpish . . . love. . . hate.‘

Joey ()ne-\\'ay. cx-junkie. semi—impotent. sex- obsessed. w ife-murdcring. self-loathing father of two. has written his way out of a life-sentence. The play he wrote in jail became a Broadway hit. drawing the attention of .\larkie Mann. producer of TV‘s hippest cop series. and Joey fitids himself on parole. juicing tip the scripts for Mann‘s show. Out of the slammer and into the glamour. All he’s got to contend with is the pressing burden of his past life. feelings of not fitting into his new one. nor particularly wanting to. and the rage swimming about inside him. Oh. yeah. and the guilt he feels over his brain—twisting affair with Mann‘s e\-prostitute wife lileur.

94 THE LIST i‘~

flirt. ifi’xil

’I wanted to get it out . . . there it is. All the violence and all that old heroin shit. The red haze . . . l have this bad place that sort of takes me over and I'm not proud of it.’ Joel Rose

_& Joel Rose: putting the pulp back into fiction

Rose presents Kill Kill . . . monologue. prose blunt and rhythmic a concise. syncopated montage Rose attributes to his experiences at the legendary DC. Comics as the protagonist numny observes himself through an occasional red haze. The fluttering audible in the

background comes courtesy of the hovering wings of

fate as Joey slides relentlessly toward something that‘s not redemption.

Had he done nothing else. Joel Rose would possess many cool tokens through his association with the mighty Kojak. Like in the movies. he became a scriptwriter after years of working his way through school. ‘My dad was a waiter and he taught me the ropes.‘ he says. ‘I was really good at it and I

loved it. I walked out of restaurants with a lot of

money every day. Then he said to tne one day: “We didn‘t work this hard for you to be a waiter."

Rose found work typing tip manuscripts. eventually told the scriptwriter he could do better and got the job. From there it was on to Miami Vice. which provided some of Ki/l Ki/l . . .‘s surface details. No. Markie Mann is not particularly based on Michael Mann. but Joey and Joel share a soul.

‘Joey One-Way is me.‘ says Rose. ‘lt’s also (the late) Miguel Pinero. one of the first writers on Miami live. a real good friend of mine. He wrote this play while he was iii Sing-Sing that went to Broadway. But I wrote it from my heart. I opened it up and I needed to. l was going through a bad period. I wanted to get it out and . . . there it is. All the violence and all that old heroin shit. The red haze . . . l have this . . . bad place that sort of takes me over and I‘m not proud of it.‘

On the other hand. it should be remembered that Joel Rose reads Dr Seuss to his youngest daughter.

Kill Kill Faster Faster by Joel Rose is published by Payback Press at £6.99. Rose and Kevin Williamson are at the CCA, Glasgow on Thurs 8 May at 7pm. See Book Events.

as Joey‘s interior

The write Stuff

Harry Ritchie is keen to stress he is not related to Shane Richie, Lionel Richie or Nina Ricci. The former Sunday Times literary editor has a new book The Last Pink Bits, about the British Empire ’5 remaining colonies.

NAME: Harry William Ritchie. AGE: 39.

PREVIOUS JOBS: l was more or less a student for nine years which I think is some world record. I did English Literature at Edinburgh University and a PhD on the literature of 19505 England when at Oxford, which became my first book Success Stories. Ironic title, given that the book was remaindered. I also took a year out and was a hospital theatre orderly specialising in bladder disorders and vasectomies. Oh yes, and I had to singe anal warts which stank. l was a van driver for a wine merchant but I resigned/was fired when I drove into a wall.

ROUTE TO BECOMING A WRITER: I did day-dream as a young boy of becoming a writer. I also wrote adolescent poetry and I remember winning a prize for a very bad poem when I was at Edinburgh University. I only did the PhD because I knew it was the only way to get subsidised research for a book.

DAILY ROUTINE: I’m terrible in the mornings. If I do an hour or an hour and a half, I’m overjoyed. l trap myself in the house either reading books or writing about them so that I never leave the house prior to 7pm.

INFLUENCES: Oh boy. P. J. O’Rourke, Kingsley Amis because technically he’s brilliant and was a very funny writer, Nick Hornby because he's kind of a mate and because he unapologetically writes about very ordinary experience and popular culture.

AMBITIONS: I guess I've done them, by getting a job in journalism and writing a book. I’d like to see Raith Rovers win the Premier League.

FEARS: Being tortured for information I didn't have in the first place. Root canal treatment. Rangers winning ten in a row.

INCOME: Do other people give you precise figures here? Mmm. I earn enough.

I The lost Pink Bits {>75 Hill": Pitt hit? is {HIM/final .‘r. Hotlrkv' A 9': 2:.51’ifi‘fi at Ii? 99