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And now, a special interview with B.D. Kwiatek (a.k.a. Randy Everhard), author of:

"Tattoo of a Naked Lady"

**How did "Tattoo of a Naked Lady" come about?

    I wanted to write a book that felt like a sleazy carnival without being a Geek Love knock-off, so I used hyperbolic sex to get that "stewed, screwed and tattooed" feeling. I came up with the noirish crime plot as an homage to vintage paperback sleaze, which I love. I also liked the idea of a con artist's memoir told as smut, which is the greatest and most lucrative con there is.

**So what's with having the book "authored" by Randy Everhard with you as just a ghost writer?

    That was just me having fun by pretending the book was a real memoir. I don't know if anybody’s really buying the con, though. Most people "tumble to the gaff" right away.

**You seem to be a big fan of the sleaze genre. Why do you think sleaze and pulp stories still fascinate us? Is sleaze a lost art?

    I get a kick out of the titillation coupled with heavy-handed morality. Its the all-American hypocrisy that says you can screw the bad girl but marry the virgin – the whole Madonna/whore complex. It seems the whole point is to reestablish moral order by punishing the overtly sexual woman and rewarding the good girl who keeps her panties on.
    Frankly, I think people dig them more for the kitschy, lurid cover art than the stories themselves. But I dig them because every one I've read seems to have the narrator say something along the lines of "She opened her robe. She had nothing on. She was a real blonde."
    Sleaze is forever. It's all around us now more than ever before – tabloid TV has the same rabid Puritanical morality as old exploitation books and flicks. It's just not as cool. There's no style.

**In your opinion, what makes a good sleazy novel?

    It all comes down to using sex as commerce: prostitution, blackmail, extortion, quid pro quo encounters. If drugs are somehow involved, all the better. And gratuitous lesbianism is just the icing on the cake.

**What where some of your favorite pulp/sleaze novels? and pulp/sleaze genres?

    If we're talking Adults Only sleaze, I'm particularly fond of Orgy Script. It's full of unscrupulous Hollywood bottomfeeders, secret porno flicks and sado-masochism – talk about a lost classic! The Twisted Ones, featuring a line-up of "sexually dysfunctional" stereotypes (lesbian, teen-o-phile, sadist), is a favorite because it bucks the conservative trend by letting each "tormented pervert" find his/her ideal mate in the end (another lesbian, "depraved sixteen-year-old," masochist).
    But when it comes to vintage pulp noir, I like the usual suspects: The Grifters, The Killer Inside Me, The Postman Always Rings Twice. Spillane’s early stuff (I, the Jury and Kiss Me Deadly) is fun. I wrote the "demolition derby sex-a-thon" as a take-off on They Shoot Horses, Don't They? But I'm not a big fan of the original carnival noir, Nightmare Alley.
    I prefer the crime novels to the private dicks because my sympathies usually lie with the outlaws. I also like "shocking exposes" about juvenile delinquents. H.G. Felsen’s hot rod novels are great, too – I found a couple by chance at a local church bazaar.

**As you mentioned, your book taps the spirit of Jim Thompson and Micky Spillane. It also has elements of a John Waters film and nods to Mark Twain's Huck Finn. In a sense, the book almost becomes too brainy to be you typical smut novel. Is this something you intended?

    Absolutely – I wanted to write a Lowbrow novel that is as smart, subversive and in-your-face as a Lowbrow painting by Robt. Williams or Mark Ryden. The best Lowbrow artists deliberately transcend their source material by mixing it up with the whole history of art.
    John Waters, too, is better than the schlock cinema that inspires him, but he understands that sometimes you've got to get down and dirty in order to rise above it. For me that means embracing the clichés of porn and noir to say something about the weird and wild carnival that is America.
    We're a nation of travelers, and Huckleberry Finn captures that best. Lolita, too, is a fantastic "road novel," as is On the Road, of course. Tattoo of a Naked Lady is sort of my twisted contribution to that tradition.

**The sex scenes in the book are so exaggerated that they fall somewhere between bad porn and slapstick--which is the usual style when it comes to sleaze novels. How do you walk that line between arousing and comical? And what about the violence--how does that fit into the equation?

    I don't know if it's me walking the line or the subjectivity of what people find arousing. Some people think the book's very erotic while others think it's laughable. The first 14 or so pages appeared as a short-story in Juggs, so it's "real" smut. Of course, the smut in Juggs is pretty irreverent, to put it mildly. It's not the style most people are used to reading.
    As for the violence, I tried to temper it with humor because I didn't want the violence to overwhelm the sex. After all, Randy’s a lover, not a fighter – he's looking to get paid and laid, not to make trouble. But trouble finds him in the hourglass shape of a shameless dame named Bunny LaFever…

**The characters in the book have amazing (some might say allegorical) names. How did you come up with these? Is the story meant to be a modern-day "Everyman" morality tale, or is that reading too much into the book?

"Allegorical" is a polite way of putting it! Let's face it, they're more caricatures than characters. So I came up with cartoon names. The process involved a lot of mixing and matching until I found names that pop out at you like freakshow banners: BRANDI LUSTRE, NYMPHO SEX-FREAK! SHERRONDA CHERRYBOMB, THE LEWD NUBIAN! ROY RAYFORD QUIMBY, BIBLE-THUMPING HYPOCRITE!
    Actually, I prefer to think of the book as an "immorality" tale. Randy’s not an Everyman but the guy every man wants to be – everybody wants to be the con artist rather than the rube. In this land of opportunity, the easy score is the American Dream and the grifter a national hero. Of course, Randy’s just another sucker at heart, too, but don't tell him that!

To find out more about Tattoo of a Naked Lady, check out this website.

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