Thursday, May 09, 2013

How I Came to Write This Book: STIFFED, Rob Kitchin


How I came to write this book ... Stiffed by Rob Kitchin

Stiffed is a screwball noir set in New England about a group of friends trying to get rid of a dead body but, in so doing, plunge themselves into deeper and deeper trouble.  There were two inspirations for the story.  The first was a single line that I stumbled across - ‘Friends help you move, true friends help you move bodies’.  A light bulb immediately sparked into brightness.  The second, was a blog post by Donna Moore that I’d been thinking about for a while in which she gave her definition of noir:

“Noir fiction has our protagonist spiraling down into the pit of despair, thrown there by a mocking Fate, who then stands at the edge of the pit shoveling dirt onto the head of the protagonist until he is half-buried. Fate then throws the shovel down into the pit and the hapless protag reaches out for that glimmer of hope, only for it to whack him on the head and kill him.”

From these two seeds I had my premise:

Take an ordinary guy.  Put him in an impossible situation by giving him a dead body and a very good reason not to go to the police.  Add his friends.  Dump a ton of crap on them.  Keep dumping crap on them until they’re buried up to their eyeballs.  Give them a glimmer of hope, then dump more crap on them.  Wait until they’re buried alive then give them a small shovel.

I had the first chapter written within a couple of hours.  Over a weekend I mapped out the rest of the story, aiming to keep the narrative fast paced and humorous, with lots of action, twists and general mayhem.  This is basically achieved by throwing in a bunch of bad guys and ensuring that the central character and his friends face or commit just about every crime on the statute book in a twenty four hour period in an effort to get rid of the body and keep themselves alive.


An initial review by Paul Brazill does a good job of capturing the essence of the tale: “Stiffed is a massively enjoyable, fast-moving and very funny black comedy of errors that comes across like Hitchcock’s The Trouble With Harry directed by the Coen Brothers.”  Though some might say it is more Farrelly Brothers than the Coens.

Check out SPINETINGLER for some additional praise for STIFFED.

STIFFED is published in paperback, kindle and other formats by SNUBNOSE PRESS. 

1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

Rob - So nice to see you here! And congratulations on the release of Stiffed. I love your description of the way you put this plot together, and I like Donna's description of noir too. Thanks for sharing what went on 'behind the scenes.'