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Christopher Irvin talks BURN CARDS

Mirna Fowler believes she has been cheated in life, growing up in a broken home alone with a drunken and gambling-addicted father. Now she works at a small hair salon in Reno, doing her best to survive while she saves money for school. Hoping to get a degree that will take her places.

But in the wake of her father's death, Mirna inherits his extravagant debt, an amount of money she can never repay. As her fractured world begins to crumble, the search for the truth sets her on a path where life hangs on her every move.




Gerald So: What led you to write Burn Cards?

Christopher Irvin: First, it was a story I wrote in a LitReactor class, Tough Dames, taught by Christa Faust: "Bet It All on Black", that would eventually be published in Thuglit. After the class was over, I took the short story and expanded it with a novel-length outline...but I didn't do too much with it at the time. That was early 2012. The second thing was attending NECON for the first time later that summer. I was just getting serious about my writing and wasn't sure what to expect. NECON blew me away – the passion and generosity of the writers I met – the NECON family – it was a wonderful experience. I think I slept a total of ten hours over the course of the four days. I returned home Sunday evening, crashed, and got up at three in the morning to write. I've been doing so ever since.

Gerald: How does the concept of burn cards -- which are discarded during games and not revealed to the players -- relate to the story or the characters?

Chris: Burn Cards takes place in Reno, Nevada. The protagonist, Mirna Fowler's, life and actions are greatly impacted by the gambling of those around her – both in terms of "actual gambling" at casinos and in the decisions they make. A significant result of the gambling is that Mirna literally feels discarded – whether it is the loss of her childhood, or her constant struggle to better her life.

Gerald: What's the best book you've read lately?

Chris: I'm really enjoying Kelly Link's new short story collection, Get In Trouble. Her writing is incredible and the stories really sneak up on you.

Gerald: What's next for you?

Chris: As of today I can't say too much yet – but I have signed a contract for my next book. I'm also collaborating on several comic projects (Bent Eight and Expatriate being the two I've shared the most online). Hope to have more news soon – but overall I'm very excited for this year.

Gerald: Thank you and continued success, Chris.


Christopher Irvin has traded all hope of a good night’s sleep for the chance to spend his mornings writing dark and noir fiction. He is the author of Burn Cards and Federales, as well as short stories featured in several publications, including Thuglit, Beat to a Pulp, and Shotgun Honey. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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