About the Book:
Beginning in the streets of Tokyo and ending in the cosmos, Russia is at the center of SCHLOCK. These four stories center around an eclectic cast of characters in the 2010s – obsessed fanboys, Soviet rock stars, English teachers, expats trying to comprehend the Russian Soul, living sex dolls, Australian pub crawlers, and a genetically engineered law enforcement officer whose sole purpose is to enforce patriotism and Russian Soul in the Russian Federation. SCHLOCK!
1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?
When I was a little kid, I used to write all the time. It was always something derivative of what I’d just seen on TV or at the movies. There were definitely dinosaurs involved. It was fun to do. During early adulthood, I would constantly jot stuff down in notebooks, perhaps write up to 20 pages of something, but never finish anything. Everything just kind of fell into place when I’d actually finished something and thought it was worth sharing with others. What interests me are ideas and for me, writing is a means of sharing said ideas. It really doesn’t matter if people know or care that the ideas come from me, the ideas should stand on their own. They are more important than the person who said them.
2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?
If I don’t get writing done in the early morning, then I might as well not do it at all. I try to do it immediately after waking up. In terms of where, I used to write at one small mom-and-pop coffee shop. The coffee there is fantastic, the atmosphere is typically quiet, and I get too distracted working from home. The cliché of the writer wanting to be seen writing in public is apt, but for me it wasn’t about that. I rarely tell anyone I’m writing something until it’s already finished. At home, the temptation to watch TV, grab snacks, take a nap, etc., is too enticing. Those are all, naturally, lame excuses. Of course, working from home is possible.
During the early days of Covid, I set a strict schedule for myself of getting up early and writing immediately after waking up (from home) for 90 minutes. No phone, no laptop, just pen and notebook. I think the idea that a writer must write a minimum number of words per day or must write every day is bull. Write when you want or can, don’t force it. In any case, my favorite two places to write are two specific coffee shops in Kyiv and Almaty. My first book was written between these two spots and my second book was entirely written at the coffee shop in Kyiv.
3: Where do your ideas come from?
It’s more than likely I rip them off from more talented people. In fact, I definitely do.
4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?
Typically, if I try to come up with an idea or force something, then nothing will come of it. I’m usually doing something mundane, like working or watching a boring movie, when an idea will hit me. It’s not usually something I am actively trying to think of. The idea just usually shows up on its own accord. When that happens, I grab my pen and write about 20, maybe 30 pages. After I look at what I’ve got, and I get very confused. From there, it’s necessary to see what can or should be told from the gibberish in the notebook. I tend to then make bullet points with the most basic of information containing the major story beats. Then I fill in the blanks expanding upon those points. Hopefully, it eventually ends up resembling a story. Once there is a finished manuscript, it’s rewritten to the point I can no longer bear looking at it.
5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
I believe it’s called “based fiction,” or simply “based”. As to the second part, I’m not really sure.
6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?
It would be a tremendous privilege to have the characters played by different types of puppets. The kind controlled by strings and the felt ones with hands inside of them, as they can give two very different types of performances. The first puppet that comes to mind is Skeeter from Cousin Skeeter. That is one of the more emotive puppets. The next one is the Matt Damon puppet from Team America as that one gave such an expressive performance. I’m not sure if this one is considered a puppet or not, it might be considered more of a porcelain doll, but it’d be great to get Brahms, the doll from The Boy and Brahms: The Boy II. And Jackie Chan.
7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I typically have a stack of 5 books I alternate between. It’s hard to say who my favorite authors are because often I’ll really like one book by an author but won’t like the rest of their catalogue. Based on how much certain books affected me from a given author, then I’d have to say my favorites are Kelly R. Leys, Cixin Liu, Joseph Heller, Yukio Mishima, and Chris Tucker.
8: What book/s are you reading at present?
At present I’m reading God Emperor of Dune. It’s about a big worm. In terms of worm content, it isn’t as good as Tremors, but it’s still pretty good. Also, on the list is iPhuck 10 by Viktor Pelevin. It’s about a police algorithm that writes novels and also about an iPhuck 10. There’s Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart which is pretty silly. Finally, there is House of Leaves by Daniel Z. Danielewski. I’ve been trying to read it for over a year already. It might be too based for me.
9: What is your favourite book and why?
The book that has been my favorite the longest is Catch-22, but my recent favorites are Antkind by Charlie Kaufman, The Three-Body Problem trilogy by Cixin Liu, and Trapped Weeaboos by Kelly R. Leys. Whereas Antkind is hilarious, The Three-Body trilogy is an existential nightmare and epic in scope and ambition. Trapped Weeaboos, however, is all those things plus more. Reading Trapped Weeaboos is akin to an awakening or religious experience. Kelly R. Leys has tapped into emotions and feelings I didn’t even know existed. New terms will have to be made to describe and understand her book.
10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
Write something really, really generic so you can make a lot of money.
11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
Information about my books can be found on my Instagram page — @schlock_clown