I’m Tom Halford, and I’m the author of Deli Meat, a dark comedy crime novel. As a teenager, I was a big fan of the crime genre, and my parents would often watch or read cozy crime. My novel is a parody of the cozy genre, but I hope that it’s also just a solid crime novel with plenty of twists and turns.
In 2016, I finished a PhD in English Literature and Language at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Although I enjoyed the novels and critical works that I studied, they were all hyper-serious. In contrast, I wanted to write something grotesque and antic. That’s sort of where Deli Meat came from.
My wife and I have two amazing kids, and we both work in ESL at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland. I hope that working in ESL helps my writing by making me more attentive to language and sentence structure.
Deli Meat is published by Crooked Cat Books, and I’ve been happy with how they operate. The best thing about Crooked Cat is that they create a positive community of authors who all do their best to help each other out. I think that without the other Crooked Cat people, the experience of having my first novel published would’ve been a disheartening one. It’s a lot of work to publish a novel, and there is very little reward.
I do have a few favourites who I follow on social media. Sam Wiebe (@sam_wiebe), the Canadian crime writer, who is based in British Columbia tweets about crime fiction, and I find that he offers plenty of insight into crime fiction. There’s an American crime writer named Thomas Pluck (@thomaspluck),and I find his tweets to be really entertaining. A lot the Crooked Cat authors are great, too. I don’t want to single anyone out, but Val Penny (@valeriepenny) is a pretty generous with shout-outs for someone who has a solid following.
A few of my brothers are also on Twitter, and they’re pretty supportive too. But they’re not writers. Actually, now that I think of it. One of them created a fake account with the name Unprocessed Meat (@H8RsBH8N), and he’s been participating in #vss365. I think he created this account just to razz me and to poke fun at Deli Meat, but he’s just having fun with it. Everyone who reads this should follow him. That’d be hilarious.
I do my best to support other authors. It’s tough trying to get your name out there and to sell books. I have a Youtube account, where I do interviews with other authors or I review books that I have enjoyed. I’m the Humanities Review Editor for the Journal of Newfoundland and Labrador Studies. I try to make sure that books about Newfoundland and Labrador find an audience.
I had the opportunity to read the opening of Joan Livingston’s next Isabella Long mystery. She’s got a really engaging narrator for that series. If I can recommend another Crooked Cat author, I think it’d be her, but I’m also a fan of Alex MacBeth’s The Red Die and Tom Ward’s Dead Dogs and Splintered Hearts . Those two books have drawn me to Crooked Cat for different reasons. I love that MacBeth’s book is set in Mozambique, and I found Ward’s Dead Dogs to be extremely dark. It’s hard to pick only a few Crooked Cat authors because we all work together really well and in picking one person out, you leave out others.
Before I finish, I have to do a shout-out to one of my favourite books that I’ve read in a little while: An Exile’s Perfect Letter by Larry Mathews. It’s one of those books that gets you thinking about life and art, but it’s just a lot of fun. Midway through, there’s a twist that I found to be truly unexpected. This turn of events got me thinking about the crime genre and how an average person experiences the aftermath of violence.
You might be wondering where you can buy Deli Meat. Well, you can buy it in a house; you can buy it with a mouse; you can buy it in a box; you can buy it with a fox; you can buy it here or there; you can buy it anywhere; you can even buy it in a car. Buy it! Buy it! Buy it on a train; you can buy it in a tree. Buy it in the dark or in the rain, with a goat or on a boat. Buy it! Buy it!
Ah-hem. It’s available at Amazon
Thank you for having me, Jessica. I really appreciate it.
(author photo credit: Johnathan Lander)