Wednesday 1 July 2020


It's a pleasure to welcome Steve Lauden to the blog today to answer a few questions on his latest book, Good Girls Don't.

That'll Be The Day its predecessor was enjoyed a year ago, thoughts here 

I’m about to read your latest book, Good Girls Don’t: A Second Power Pop Heist. Can you pitch it to a potential reader in 50 words or less?

Couple of musician brothers from Oklahoma. Jack’s an ex-con, Jamie owns a record store. An eccentric multi-millionaire offers to fund a reunion album for their band, but in return they have to help him steal rare rock ‘n roll memorabilia. This time around they’re after a specific guitar in Hollywood that pits them against a violent gang of rival collectors. (Exactly 50 words!)

How long from conception to completion did Good Girls Don’t take?

I write these books to be quick summer reads, like the power pop songs that inspire them and act as their soundtrack. Because of the shorter length (about a hundred pages each), I’m more conscious of pace. At that length, there isn’t a lot of room for exposition and tangents. The plotting mostly happens in my mind, where I chew on the concept for about a month (sort of slowly telling myself the story) before I sit down to write out a quick outline. From there the first few drafts come relatively fast. Next I have two old friends give me unforgiving and often hilarious feedback. Then it’s more revisions before I send it to my editor, Elizabeth A. White. Revise and finalize.

What was the question again? Oh yeah…the whole process took about five months.

Was it a smooth process or were there many bumps in the road along the way?

I’ve never found writing fiction particularly easy, but with the narrow focus of these books I feel like I’ve at least given myself a foundation to work from. I believe (hope!) both books stand on their own, but the main characters and the universe they inhabit are pretty fully formed, which leaves me more room to explore the individual storylines and, of course, all the associated music.

I believe it’s your seventh work of fiction. A few of your books seem to have the backdrop of music to the plot, I’m guessing it’s an important part of your life. Do you perform yourself, or are you just a fan?

My entire young life was shaped around music. My parents weren’t huge music fans, but my two brothers—8 and 9 years older than me—definitely were. They got me into hard rock and heavy metal really young, which became my foundation. From there I discovered punk, new wave, college rock, alternative music. I took up drums as a tween, played in countless high school and college bands, and eventually signed a couple of record deals in my twenties (S.W. Lauden is my nom de plume; Steve Coulter is my nom de drum—neither are household noms). I recorded a few albums and got to tour parts of the world. It was all a lot of blurry fun.

I did that “professionally” for about a decade (although we were mostly broke since we never sold many records) before hanging it up 15 years ago. I started publishing crime fiction in the interim, but recently returned to recording and playing the occasional show, mostly for fun.

Which is a long way of saying, I guess I “write what I know.” In my mind, the music industry is the perfect environment for crime fiction with all the shady characters, back room deals, sex and drugs and alcohol, huge egos, and high stakes. I’ve written and published stories that didn’t revolve around music, but it doesn’t come as naturally for me.

Can you remember what your first published piece was and when?

Funny enough, the first short story I ever published was about (surprise!) a murderous rock band. This was back before I published my first Greg Salem punk rock PI novel, Bad Citizen Corporation. The story got accepted by none other than Tom Pitts, when he and Joe Clifford still ran Out of the Gutter. The story is called “Dead Beats” and was recently republished in the excellent Rock-N-Noirror anthology from 10th Rule Books.

Are there any unpublished gems in your bottom drawer?

I wrote a psychotic, sprawling alternative history of rock and roll in the early 2000s. More literary fiction than crime. I’m guessing that one will never see the light of day.

Other than that, I’ve written two more recent novels. I’m trying to decide if I should self-publish them, like the Power Pop Heist novelettes, or shop them around, like my previous books. Also working on some more music non-fiction, in the vein of the essay collection I co-edited with Paul Myers last year, Go All The Way: A Literary Appreciation Of Power Pop.

What’s the best thing about writing? The worst?

My favorite part of writing is coming up with crazy stories and letting myself think them all the way through. The hardest part about writing is taking those ideas and translating them to the page in an interesting way.

Moving on….

What are the last five books you’ve read?

·       The One And Only Ivan by K.A. Applegate—Recommended by my 10-year-old daughter. It was great. I believe it will be a movie soon. I’m going to read the sequel, The One And Only Bob, next.

·       All I Ever Wanted: A Rock ‘N’ Roll Memoir by Kathy Valentine—Go-Go’s bassist. She wrote their hit “Vacation.” I based a story on that song for the Murder-A-Go-Go’s anthology curated by Holly West for Down & Out Books (the collection was recently nominated for an Anthony Award).

·       Agency by William Gibson—I’ve dug his writing since a German psych rock guitarist I know handed me a copy of Neuromancer in the late 90s.

·       Mark Rothko: From The Inside Out by Christopher Rothko—One of my favorite painters. I read a lot of rock bios, but not a lot of artist bios. This one was written by his son, but maintains a critical distance. Dense, but fascinating. Not a beach read.

·       Diary: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk—This one was recommended by the Amazon algorithm. I’ve read a few of his other books, but hadn’t come across this title from 2004. It’s a really interesting concept for a novel, and he’s obviously a great writer.

Favourite activity when not working or writing?

I read a lot, more non-fiction than fiction these days. I like documentary films, especially about music. I recently watched all of “Jazz” by Ken Burns, which was pretty mind blowing. And I just saw the new documentary, “Rolling Stone: The Death Of Brian Jones,” by Danny Garcia. My wife and I binge every new season of “Bosch” that gets released. I also often ride my bike around the foothills where I live—that’s when I clear my mind and come up with a lot of my short story and book ideas.


What’s your favourite vegetable?

I really like the smell of roasted fennel. Mouthwatering.

When did you last have a physical fight?

Been quite a while since I got clobbered. Even longer since I threw a punch myself. You can do the math.

Have you ever been thrown out of a bar or a club?

Yes. Many. Too many, but also many years ago.

Do you have any tattoos?


What was your first pet’s name?

Teddy. He was a beautiful, peaceful mutt.

What’s the worst meal you’ve ever eaten?

Revenge. It was cold and bitter.

Do you have any irrational fears?

I am eternally suspicious of leftover food. I may have been poisoned in a previous life.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

I like the sensation of paddleboarding out onto a lake by myself.

When did you last tell a lie?

My Good Girls Don’t pitch at the beginning of this interview was actually 60 words—not 50. I feel so dirty.
Many thanks to Steve for his time.

You can catch up with him at the following haunts




Good Girls Don't is available now

In this follow up to That'll Be The Day: A Power Pop Heist, the Sharp brothers head to Los Angeles for a recording session at a legendary studio. Bullets fly when they steal a famous guitar from a Hollywood music store, crossing paths with a violent gang of rock & roll memorabilia collectors. The brothers soon find themselves racing across the country to protect their family and save their own skin.

Praise for "Good Girls Don't: A Second Power Pop Heist"

"Lauden sets this crime thriller series to a brilliant soundtrack featuring music royalty. The Beatles and The Who. Lauden reminds you of the songs and lets the tempo take you for a ride. Dwight Twilley, Mathew Sweet, and Raspberries. Each story moves forward like a song. Spanning Austin, Memphis, Hollywood, and back, these books take the reader on a feverishly fun ride through rock & roll history." — Marietta Miles, "May" and "Route 12"


  1. Great interview - thanks, both. I like the musical theme of this one. And it's not just the title; I like the'musical' plot and characters, too. And the non-fiction about power pop sounds fascinating, too. Thanks for telling us about that one.

  2. I enjoyed that - and a background in the music industry always tempts me in a book setting. On to your review now...

  3. Col – Thanks for posting this interview. The idea of the fast-paced, 100-page novel intrigues me. I am seeing a lot of shorter fiction in this genre. A new trend?

    1. Elgin, maybe. Over the past few years, I've noticed a lot of author's books increasing in length and getting more bloated. Maybe it's the new breed, paring things back