Saturday, November 26, 2011

MWW Day 2: John M. Daniel's Guy Mallon

Day two of the Mysery We Write Blog tour and W.S. Gager has me doing all the work. Not sure how that happened. Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered to win my latest escapade, A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES. Today I’m interviewing Guy Mallon, a man who knows a lot about words. He was in publishing for many years. I have the pleasure of getting it first here. BEHIND THE REDWOOD DOOR by John M. Daniel has only just been released. I do know how to get a scoop! Let’s start easy. Tell us a bit about yourself, Guy.

Guy: Thanks for taking the time to interview me, Mitch. It’s good to meet you at last. I’ve heard a lot about you. You seem to get into some tight scrapes as a crime reporter. How did you did you ever decide to get into such a risky business?

Don’t get me started. Besides, I’m the one asking the questions here, remember? So. Take two. Tell us a bit about you.

Guy: Okay. So, yes, I love words. I guess what I’m proudest of is my collection of Western American poetry, first editions. That’s what got me into the publishing business in the first place. And what got me out of it, eventually.

What happened? Got tired of publishing? Got tired of poetry?

Guy: I’ll never get tired of poetry—good poetry, that is. But I gave up publishing when I moved to Jefferson County back in the late 1990s. Publishing was too dangerous, believe me. I should have chosen something safe to do for a living, like crime reporting. Just kidding. But really, as a small-press publisher I was threatened and chased by thugs in Las Vegas and marched through a tropical jungle at gunpoint by a cocaine smuggler, I had a ton of books dropped on my body by a religious fanatic, and had my warehouse burned down by an arsonist. So I quit, and moved to Jefferson County, to help my wife run a used bookstore. Something gentle, right?

Well, from what it says in John Daniel’s new novel, BEHIND THE REDWOOD DOOR, you may have settled down, but you haven’t stayed out of trouble. How do you get drawn into another mess?

Guy: Well, a friend of mine, Pete Thayer, got killed, stabbed in the throat and left to bleed to death beside a dumpster out back of the Redwood Door Saloon, on Friday the thirteenth of August, 1999. You would have liked Pete, by the way. Investigative reporter, like you. Anyway, I got talked into taking over his job as editor of the weekly paper, and that turned out to be a dangerous job to have. Target of a lot of small-town grudges. Or maybe I’m just a trouble magnet. That’s what my wife says.

Now Guy, your bio and experience sound a lot like the man behind the pen, John M. Daniel. What makes you special?

Guy: A lot of people point out the similarities between John Daniel and yours truly. We both used to work in bookstores. We both admire formalist verse. We both are married to smart, kind, businesslike, beautiful women who happen to be partial to gin. And of course we were both small press publishers. But Daniel has kept his nose clean. He writes bloody murder, but he goes into a coward’s crouch at the slightest offense. Me special? I don’t think of myself that way, but damn it, sometimes you have to take a stand, right?

Now I don’t want to be offensive here, but trouble might follow you because people might make a bit of fun of your height. Hey, don’t get mad. Just wondering if that has anything to do with it?

Guy: Mitch, my friend, I’m glad you used the word “height,” because height is something I’m proud of. Whenever some jerk asks me, “How short are you?” I answer, “I’m not short. I’m five feet. Five feet tall.” I can spot a jerk by the way he looks down on me from above. Jerk…am I allowed to use stronger words here? No, I guess not. The word I would use if I could pinpoints where the sun don’t shine. Heightists, I call them, and they’re trouble. Let me tell you something—

Okay, on to safer subjects. Tell me about your wife? Was it love at first sight? Did you have to rescue her?

Guy: Carol is the best thing that ever happened to me. No, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but when she walked into my store and offered to help with the publishing business I knew she had something I needed in my life. Carol is five years older than I, eight inches taller, and a whole lot smarter. Rescue her? No, I’d say she’s the one who rescued me.

How did she do that?

Guy: I’m not proud of this, but I once made a bad business decision. I don’t mean bad for business. I mean unethical, bad for my soul. Carol left me for that. Left me stranded. She moved out and away from my life. I decided then I had to straighten up and fly right. Which I did, and she took me back. I consider her my grace and savior. Other than that, she has bitched at me ever since for having an addiction to trouble. I’d like to think that’s tamed me down a bit. But it’s the kind of cure that has to be practiced one day at a time.

Thanks, Guy, for stopping in. Maybe we can get together and do a little bourbon sipping some time soon. I’ve been thinking about putting my memoirs together. Would you be able to pull some strings to get them published?

Guy: I’m out of the publishing business, and have been for over ten years. In the meantime publishing has changed a lot. But I’ll tell you what. Talk to my friend Wendy Gager. She might be able to find a way for your tales to get into print. Meanwhile, Mitch, thanks again for chatting with me. I have a feeling you and I see eye to eye—so long as I’m standing on a chair.

To read more about Guy, check out John’s website at Remember Behind the Redwood Curtain has only just been released. Be the first to read about it. Tell the bookstore your friend Mitch Malone recommended it.

John M. Daniel has worked as a bookseller, a free-lance writer, an editor, an entertainer, a model, an innkeeper, and a teacher. He and his wife, Susan, live in Humboldt County, California, where they are small-press book publishers. Susan enjoys gardening, John enjoys writing, and they both enjoy living with their wondercat, Warren. He now teaches creative writing for Humboldt State University Extended Education. His thirteen published books include four mysteries: Play Melancholy Baby, The Poet’s Funeral, Vanity Fire, and Behind the Redwood Door, recently published by Oak Tree Press.


  1. Just put "Behind the Red Wood Door" on my list of books to obtain and read soon.

  2. Loved the interview. Interesting post.

  3. This was fun. I love reading these posts where Mitch interviews a character in the author's book. Good post, Wendy and John.

  4. Hi John,

    Your Guy did a great job with Mitch. He's a good interviewer, but sometimes he tries to trick you into saying something you shouldn't.


  5. Great banter! And "Publishing was too dangerous, believe me..." was wonderful!

    So enjoyable!


  6. Great interview, Wendy and Mitch. Helps to have a trained reporter handling the questions. (But of COURSE John would have you do most of the work -- he's a publisher as well as an author, and we all know publishers exist to coax work out of writers.)

    To those who may have clicked over to see W.S.'s post on my blog, I apologize. The magic "schedule this for 11:59 PM on 11/25" didn't work and the first thing I did this AM was discover that. It's up now, and it's a great piece/

  7. Once again, great interview! I truly enjoyed both Mitch and Guy. What a fun blog.

  8. Loved Mitch's interview of Guy! Great post, you guys.

  9. I really enjoyed this interview between two feisty guys. If they ever got together, I'd love to be there. But I wouldn't sit too close to them. They might start throwing things at each other.

  10. Heightists...too funny!

    Great interview, Wendy and John.

  11. Thanks, dear friends, to all of you. And thanks to Wendy—and Mitch, I sure enjoyed talking to you, too.

  12. Guy, what an adventurous life you lead! I'm sure I'd see a lot looking down into your eyes. Hilarious! Thanks John and Wendy.

  13. John, thank you for sharing Guy with us all. He was such fun and even Mitch enjoyed the "interview."

    I'm glad you are enjoying Mitch's technique!

  14. Thank you, thats very interesting information. I need to share with my friends