Interview: Sandman Slim’s Richard Kadrey

There are tons of great new books in speculative fiction being released this month–get your credit cards ready! I’ll be spotlighting a few in the coming days. You can also read earlier mini-interviews with author Cherie Priest (Dreadnought), Jennifer Estep (Venom), and Kalayna Price (Grave Witch).

Next up is Richard Kadrey whose highly anticipated sequel to last year’s awesome Sandman Slim comes out on Oct. 5 through HarperCollins. It’s called Kill the Dead: A Sandman Slim Novel. I had a chance to ask Richard a couple of quick questions as I put together my new Fiction Affliction column for (check it out for the full list of urban fantasy releases, sci-fi releases, Young Adult paranormal and epic fantasy releases coming in October.

KILL THE DEAD is the highly anticipated sequel to last year’s Sandman Slim, which vaulted to Barnes & Noble’s “Best Paranormal Fantasy Novels of the Last Decade” list and is in development as a film for Dino de Laurentiis. James Stark, who finally escaped hell after eleven years as a hitman, chased down his enemies in Sandman Slim. Now, he’s been hired as Lucifer’s bodyguard while the Hot Guy oversees his movie biography—and that Czech porn star might not be what she seems. There also might be a zombie army on the way to muck things up.

I asked Richard about the pressures of writing a sequel to such a successful book, and here’s what he had to say.

RK: “Sandman Slim’s success was a blessing and a kick in the ass. It meant that people wanted the second book, but it also meant that it had to not suck. Kill The Dead turned out to be the hardest book I’ve ever written.
“First, I’d never written a sequel before. It turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. Diana Gill, my editor, helped me figure out how to create a story that continued from where Sandman Slim left off, but wasn’t too obscure for people who hadn’t read it. 
“Second, I’d never written anything that even hinted at a mystery plot. Looking back, trying two new things at once probably wasn’t the best idea I ever had. But I finished it and so far it seems to be getting a pretty good reception. The idea of making Kill The Dead more of a mystery than Sandman Slim was something I planned from the beginning.
“I contracted for three books and I don’t know if there will be any more after that so I planned to make each book a little different. Sandman Slim is kind of an old-school Jim Thompson, Richard Stark-type crime novel, the kind that were pretty common from the ’40s all the way up to the ’70s. As I said, Kill The Dead is a little bit more of a mystery. Book three, Aloha From Hell, will be more of a fantasy quest story. Stark has to go and find something to save Alice and pretty much everyone else in the universe.
“With any luck, I’ll get to do more with Stark down the road. Dino De Laurentiis is developing a Sandman Slim movie, so if the books end with number three Stark might still have an afterlife on film.”

Have any of you read Sandman Slim? What’s up next on your TBR pile?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

2 thoughts on “Interview: Sandman Slim’s Richard Kadrey

  1. I picked up Sandman Slim on release day, and didn’t put it down except to shower and sleep.

    Next on my TBR list? … Kill the Dead. Duh.