Interview with Elford Alley

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Elford, your story Ash and Bone was a great way to kick off this noir anthology. A lot of your work has a heavy noir influence, it was one of the reasons I had to invite you to take part in this compilation. Do you remember the first time you encountered the noir style? How did it affect you as a writer?

The first time I encountered noir was when my mom and sister brought home some movies from the video store. They grabbed Dark City for me because the cover looked creepy. That film had a huge impact on me, from there I saw The Third Man (which led to the discovery of one of my favorite writers, Graham Greene) and Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me, a book so brutal and strange it became one of my favorites. I was obsessed with how dispassionately the narrator described violence, that no matter how dark and unsettling the world can be, to them it's just another day.

Wow, Killer Inside Me is a harsh intro. I like the variety you mention. Noir is a great style to mash-up with various genres. What drove you to tackle it from a post-apocalyptic/dystopian angle?

It just seemed like a perfect fit. The horror of these stories is that no one in a dystopia is ever surprised/shocked by their surroundings. This is the just the way things are. The greatest noir protagonists are very numb to the sex, violence, and corruption that surround them. I mean, look at the world now. The globe is heating up. Diseases that used to thrive only in Honduran jungles are popping up as far north as Oklahoma. We have leadership that seem torn from the pages of a cheap satire. But is anyone panicking?

Yeah, the cynical nature of the noir protagonist is definitely one of my favorite aspects of the style. Which elements of noir do you find the most satisfying to weave into your stories? (i.e. dialogue, characters, narrative, etc.)

The dialogue. Noir dialogue has such a unique flavor. Done right, it's intriguing and fun to listen to. It moves fast, the speakers almost dance around with their intentions, trying to outwit the other. It's a challenge and one I really enjoy.

Do you see yourself coming back to the noir/hard-boiled style in future works? And speaking of future works, what projects have you got on deck for your readers?

Absolutely. I've only really used this for two or three of my stories, but I want to visit this genre again soon. As far as new works, I have a new short story, Lechuza, I'm finishing. I am also starting the follow up to Apartment 239, High Strangeness. I am also releasing a little collection of my plays. I was a playwright for several years before I started writing fiction and discovered Wattpad.

Plays, huh? Very interesting! Can't wait to see that unfold on this type of platform. It's another area of writing that could use more exposure here. Thanks for taking part in our noir anthology!

If you'd like to read more of Elford Alley's work here on Wattpad, check out his featured horror story Apartment 239.

If you'd like to read more of Elford Alley's work here on Wattpad, check out his featured horror story Apartment 239

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