Sunday, September 20, 2015
A Brief Q & A with Garnett Elliott, author of Dragon by the Bay
David Cranmer: In your latest novella, Dragon by the Bay, you seem to have found the true cause of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, right?
Garnett Elliott: I don't want to commit any major spoilers here, but let's just say it was not due to tectonic activity as people claim. Generally, it's not a good idea to steal things from the lairs of Chinese dragons, as they have both a strong sense of propriety and a direct influence over natural forces. Especially when pissed off.
DC: There's definitely a homage to Big Trouble in Little China.
GE: Oh yeah. The movie was originally written as a western, and being a huge fan, I'd been trying to track down the original script on the net. When I couldn't find it, I decided I'd just go ahead and write my own version. It's not the same story, mind (so no lawsuits, please), but it's got a lot of the elements. Also, like the movie, it's been heavily influenced by Shaw Brothers kung fu films.
DC: Tell us a little bit about the plot.
GE: It's a buddy story, of sorts, packed with action and supernatural elements. The protagonist Carson Lowe is the son of missionaries to Kwangchow, so he speaks Cantonese and isn't a total fish out of water when exposed to Chinatown. But the real hero of the story is Liang Man, or "Manny," a chubby dumpling chef with as much courage as Kung Fu skill. Together, they go up against the corrupted Taoist immortal Twin Fury Xue, and his evil henchman Nine Serpents Hsien. The next to last chapter is a battle royale.
DC: You mention the Shaw Brothers. Any particular film a favorite?
GE: Since the arrival of Robert Rodriguez's awesome El Rey Network, I've been treated to dozens of Shaw Brothers' flicks. My favorites involve the 'Venom Mob' actors, most notably 'The Five Deadly Venoms,' 'Crippled Avengers,' and 'The Kid with the Golden Arm.' The stories are inventive and the athleticism on display will make your jaw drop.
Another fun fact: My connection to Kung Fu movies predates El Rey. Back in 2001, my sister's house was used as a location set in Jet Li's The One. It's not a great movie by any stretch, but it sure was fun watching wire-work stuntmen make forty foot leaps from my niece's bedroom!
DC: What's next for Garnett Elliott?
GE: Well, I've got a story landing in Craig McDonald's anthology Borderland Noir, due out in October. Among others, it features work by Ken Bruen and James Sallis (of Drive fame), so I'd say I'm in good company. I'm also planning to start on a new Drifter Detective novelette entitled Two-Trick Pony.
DC: There are rumors it's curtains for Jack Laramie, The Drifter Detective. What can you reveal?
GE: You know what they say about rumors . . . though the full title of the novelette is Two-Trick Pony: The First and Last (?) Cases of Jack Laramie.