|cover by Bryan Coffelt, original photo by Nicole Michaelis|
Michael Seidlinger, author of MY PET SERIAL KILLER, tagged me in the "Next Big Thing" interview series, wherein authors answer a series of ten questions about their upcoming books and then tag other authors. Cool, I'm in. I have two books coming out in 2013, THE GIRLFRIEND GAME (short stories, Word Riot press, summer) and THE HANGMAN'S RITUAL (novella, Civil Coping Mechanisms, fall):
1) What is the title of your latest book?
I have two books coming out in 2013, THE GIRLFRIEND GAME (short stories, Word Riot press, summer) and THE HANGMAN'S RITUAL (novella, Civil Coping Mechanisms, fall)
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
THE GIRLFRIEND GAME is short stories so the ideas come from different places. Many come directly from nightmares, like the story "Rat Beast," which was first published by Mud Luscious as a limited edition chapbook. The title story, in which the narrator and his girlfriend play a game where she lets men flirt with her in bars and then he "steals" her from them (with disastrous consequences in the instance described in the story), was inspired by how a girlfriend and I would sometimes pretend in public that we didn't know each other and were meeting for the first time.
THE HANGMAN'S RITUAL, which is about a guard/executioner working alone in a private prison hidden in a residential building in Manhattan, also comes from a nightmare I had. Many of the details are inspired by an office job I had in New York from 2005, right after I graduated from college, to 2009. It is also influenced by the William Sleator novella SINGULARITY and the movie OLDBOY, which influenced the nightmare that inspired the book.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
THE GIRLFRIEND GAME: Various, because it's stories. Maybe absurdist dread or melancholy pornography.
THE HANGMAN'S RITUAL: Psychological horror.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
For the title story in THE GIRLFRIEND GAME, I like an actor named Jeff Ward for the narrator. He's good-looking but relatable and he can play a sympathetic fearfulness as well as convincing anger. For the girlfriend, my friend Sophie Kargman, who is an actress.
For the narrator of THE HANGMAN'S RITUAL, maybe Damien Lewis from HOMELAND. I don't know. I don't really picture the character, I sort of see through his eyes.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
THE GIRLFRIEND GAME: Weird shit happens in many different ways and places.
THE HANGMAN'S RITUAL: A man hired to work as the executioner in a secret prison learns that the prison is not what he thinks it is.
6) Who published your book?
Word Riot Press and Civil Coping Mechanisms are the guilty parties here.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
The first draft of THE HANGMAN'S RITUAL took about six weeks, and revisions happened off and on over the course of six months while I was working on TV stuff.
The short stories I've written over the last ten years.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
THE GIRLFRIEND GAME has stories that are inspired by or influenced by the stories of Alicia Erian, Harlan Ellison, and Ian McEwan.
THE HANGMAN'S RITUAL... I don't know, there's some William Sleator in there as I mentioned earlier... some of McEwan's THE CEMENT GARDEN... some of Rupert Thomson's THE BOOK OF REVELATION.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
In the case of THE HANGMAN'S RITUAL, depression.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
THE HANGMAN'S RITUAL is weird. I was not in a good place when I wrote it. It has people and animals encased in huge blocks of lucite, kind of like this but bigger. It also features a Shit Man and a hanging room and swallowed fingers.
THE GIRLFRIEND GAME tracks my life as a writer over about ten years. I wrote some of those stories in college, maybe even in high school, and others in the last year or two. I'm very proud of them. It's interesting to read the older ones. It's like someone else wrote them. I wouldn't know how to write them today.
You can pre-order THE GIRLFRIEND GAME and support indie literature for the moment via Word Riot's Kickstarter page for the book.
Okay, now that I've done my questions I'm going to pass it on to the excellent young writer Ben Spivey. Keep an eye out for his post in the coming days or weeks.