I was interviewed yesterday by author PR Johnson.... about PIZZA!
I was interviewed yesterday by author P.R. Johnson as part of the book launch for his debut novel, "Habeas Corpseus.". (Available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon) Here is that interview (including pizza!):
1) You started writing at an early age. Can you recall any specific incident that really led you to that decision?
In 7th grade, I wrote my first original story called, "The Night is Young," and brought it into school for everyone to read. My classmates liked it so much they encouraged me to write more. Every weekend throughout 7th and 8th grade I wrote a new story, just for my classmates to read on Monday mornings. My teacher encouraged it so much, she would even go to the front office and photocopy the stories so each student could have their own to take home. I even had a friend start drawing front covers of all my stories, which would be stapled to the front of the printouts. So I think the “in-school popularity and quasi-celebrity” status I received in junior high because of my short stories was what fueled the fiction machine for me. I still have every story I wrote during those 2 years, EXCEPT that very first one. Someone spilled water on the only copy and the paper disintegrated.
2) You are also into a great deal of diverse music (including your own band). How has music influenced your writing and vice versa?
I write exclusively in a genre called Rock Fiction, which is a sub-genre of Musical Fiction, when a single song, an entire album, or the span of a band/artist’s complete work is turned into fiction, using the literal lyrics to directly create the plotline and story arc, and usually the title of the book/story is taken directly from the song/album that the work is an adaptation of. (Yes, this is a real genre … Wiki it, lol)
My 3 published novels:
1. “Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts” is based solely around the music of God Lives Underwater, with the title of the novel taken from something lead-singer, David Reilly, said to me one day.
2. “Welcome to Parkview” is based exclusively on these songs, as if these songs made up a single, cohesive album: Billy Joel – “Piano Man,” Neil Diamond – “I Am… I Said,” Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – “S’twisted,” Jesus Jones – “I’m Burning,” Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – “Cut Up,” REM – “World Leader Pretend,” Pigface – “Satellite,” Tool – “Bottom,” Pink Floyd – “Paranoid Eyes,” Nine Inch Nails – “The Becoming,” Faith No More – “Ricochet,” The The – “Bluer Than Midnight,” Front 242 – “Sacrifice,” The Mars Volta – “Televators,” Genesis – “Lilywhite Lilith,” Thirty Seconds to Mars – “Escape,” Blue October – “The End,” & Taco – “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”
3. “Yours Truly, 2095” is a direct adaptation / novelization of Electric Light Orchestra’s concept album, “Time,” with the title of the novel taken from the name of track #3 on the album.
My 2 published short stories:
1. “Outside of Heaven” (which is in the anthology “A Matter of Words”) is an adaptation of Moby’s song, “Spiders,” with the title of the story taken from a line of lyric in the song.
2. “The Whaler’s Dues” (which is in the anthology “A Journey of Words”) is an adaptation of Jethro Tull’s album, “Rock Island,” with the title of the story taken from the name of track #8 on the album.
Now, the vice-versa part: my band, Transpose, wrote our second album, called “Retribution,” as a concept album based on a short story I had written. Instead of trying to get the story published, we decided that it would be the lyrical content of our new album. The album is a cohesive linear piece of music, with dialogue, characters, a plot line, a climax, and resolution. It’s like listening to a story with a backing score.
3) You’re an unabashed Stephen King fan boy. Any other major influences on your writing?
Again, I’m going to go back to music and song lyrics. However, if we are trying to get away from the music influence in my writing, I would say, Stephen King, Clive Barker, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, David Cronenberg movies, and anything that exists “just slightly to the left of reality,” like Twilight Zone and David Lynch.
4) Any specifics you can give us on any upcoming projects that you’ve not shared yet?
I currently have a new short story, and the next novel, both in the outlining stages right now:
The short story that I am working on for the 2017 anthology, “A Haunting of Words,” is going to be an adaptation of Porcupine Tree’s album, “Fear of a Blank Planet.”
My next novel is about the 8 months my wife was deployed to Djibouti, Africa, and left me home alone with two toddlers. Tentatively untitled, it’s going to be a comedic-military novel, almost in the style of the film Mr. Mom with Michael Keaton, about the learning curve and craziness that ensued during those months. I’m hoping to have a 2017 release schedule for that.
5) Which, if you HAD to absolutely choose, would you focus on more: writing or music?
Music. Music is my first love, and I feel like being on the stage with a microphone in my hand, is where I truly belong. Maybe that’s why everything I write is based on music. Since 1996 I have been in 4 different bands, who have all toured extensively, and have released a total of 7 albums. I’m still in 2 of those band now, but if I had a magic Genie who would grant me stardom in music, or stardom in writing, I would take the music—but I would continue to write novels on the side!!! Don’t think by choosing one, the other would ever go away! Ha!
6) I had the fantastic opportunity to visit you and your lovely family a year ago. On my way there, you sent me a text asking if I minded ‘hamburg’ on my pizza. This begs the questions a) “Hamburg”? Seriously? Are you un-American? Maybe secretly Canadian? And B) Being a man of mostly good taste, we can certainly agree that NY style pizza is what will solve all of humanity’s problems, correct?
I am 50% Canadian. My mother is 100% Canadian, and just became a citizen of America in 1999. She was born and raised in Moncton, New Brunswick Canada, so I guess that term came from growing up with her. She moved to America when she was a teenager, and met my dad. And I would agree that NY Style Pizza has a good shot at solving all of humanity’s problems. However, there is a pizza joint in the city where I’m from (Lynn, Massachusetts) called Fauci’s Pizza, and they have the best pizza I have ever eaten, hands down.