Joe Ricker is a former bartender, innkeeper, and cab driver currently teaching English. Esquire referred to him as “a man of letters who’s gentle in the way that only the toughest hard-asses can be.” His fiction has appeared in Deadfall: Crime Stories by New England Writers, The Hangover, Rose & Thorn Journal and Thuglit. He blogs at www.iceshack.wordpress.com and www.theopiate.wordpress.com
“Closer” is a story of revenge, but it’s also a great story of love and sacrifice. What attracts you to these themes?
Mostly, I’m looking for a level of compassion that is generally foreign to acts of murder and violence. More importantly, I want my characters to develop something more substantial than superficial atonement. Revenge provides the motivation for violence, but love and sacrifice provide an element of pathos in the characters.
Your bio describes you as, “a former barkeeper, innkeeper and cabdriver currently teaching English.” How do these experiences inform your writing?
I worked ten different jobs during the two years I was in graduate school. Different occupations and experiences help me find characters that ring truer and give me better insight into the workings and labor that people rarely pay attention to and take for granted, not to mention the story possibilities. The waiter getting stiffed on tips may walk through a dinner rush with a machete. Someone stuffing boxes at L.L. Bean may shove a rattlesnake into a package, etc.
What are you working on now?
Currently, I’m expanding my creative thesis from grad school, revising an old novel, and finishing a collection of crime stories. I’m also trying to pay more attention to my blogs: www.iceshack.wordpress.com and www.theopiate.wordpress.com.