PDB: Can you pitch THE STORM GIANTS in 25 words or less?
‘How does a life of violence, from childhood on, affect your ability to be a parent, spouse, or human being? Oh yeah: there’s a decapitation.’
PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?
In music, lately been revisiting Miles and Bela a LOT – of the topical & current I love Adele’s pipes (and everything else about the child). Jason Moran & DJ Spooky rock it as well.
In books, have rediscovered Charles Fort’s Book of the Damned, and my goodest oldest friend Marcus Aurelius.
In terms of the whippersnapper stuff, and the genre we espouse: EVERYONE should read Trent Zelazny’s Too Late to Call Texas, Josh Stallings’ Beautiful, Naked & Dead, and of course everything Anthony Neil Smith has ever written.
Don’t watch too many new movies – Am at that awkward stage in my perambulations wherein I’m no longer a movie maker’s target audience, but haven’t stopped pushing air in and out my cakehole. Yet.
If YouTube counts as ‘movies,’ let’s list 300: the PG Version, and the Gangnam Style parodies – notably the one in Klingon, and the Big Trouble in Little China ‘Lo Pan Style’ version.
BBC made a mini-series a little while back that’s really cool: a 21st Century update of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, appropriately entitled Jekyll. No plot spoilers – suffice to say it’s quite an achievement, and a minor gem worth watching.
PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?
PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?
Building novels is the limit of my present ambitions – writing for the page suits well enough. Street Raised has been optioned twice, but I’m not holding my breath waiting for Hollywood to clamour at my door.
PDB: How much research goes into each book?
For the Kindle revamp of my first novel Street Raised, spent a year-and-a-half trolling chat rooms, blogs, and YouTube & Tumblr posts dealing with the East Bay of 1984, which is the novel’s setting. Google Earth Street View proved to be a godsend.
Stagger Bay required research as well, particularly for the sequence at the School – while I’m no stranger to the effects of gunfire, I referred to friends who were expert in what would happen when high explosives and automatic weapons were used in such close quarters.
The Storm Giants demanded a refresher course in human anatomy. I know first-hand some of the realities of physical trauma, but consulted with folks who’ve seen lived on the crazier side and had the knowledge.
PDB: How useful or important are social media for you?
Extremely. More than ‘useful’ or ‘important’ – the ebook and social media are Siamese twins, though the ebook would probably be the stunted lolling head the surgeons must excise in order to save the sturdier doppelganger: Facebook could exist without the Kindle, but the Kindle couldn’t thrive without Twitter, Goodreads, and their ilk.
PDB: What’s on the cards for the rest of 2012/13?
One night when I was a little boy my dad came home drunk. He sat in the dark on the edge of the bed me and my brothers shared, and told us it was time we knew the truth: we weren’t really human beings. Dad and mom were actually advance scouts for the alien Overlords, here as a Fifth Column to prepare the way for when the Invasion went down. And we were their spawn, bred in bouts of boredom between their various nefarious tasks.
My brothers cried, but I was enthralled. It explained so much! But of course I came to realize it was only another harsh jest from a man who always considered himself a wit even when he was the only one laughing.
What if a boy received that news and never stopped believing? A child growing up in the Bay Area of the ’60s in a dysfunctional family of spun, twisted geniuses. By less than fortunate happenstance spending his boyhood up in some of the rougher sections of Oakland , on intimate terms with the Beat illuminati of San Francisco , outlaw bikers, black revolutionaries, and local personalities of renown.
That’s my next book project: semi-autobiographical, firmly rooted in time and place, and yet with slipstream elements of black humour veering into sci-fi. With an explosive period in history as backdrop, this coming-of-age novel will deal with a boy utterly convinced that he isn’t even the same species as the people he moves amongst. And of course the unanswered question: is he delusional, or is he an alien spy on the monkey planet.
After that, a novel about a young woman in the Travellers in the ’70s, pulling grifts and scams on her way to escaping ‘the Life’ with her infant son. Harsh and dark, but definitely as much chick lit as noir. What can I say? I want to see if I can finagle an appearance on The View before I take the dirt nap. Every guy should be on that show at least once, I reckon.