Hi, folks! Today, we’re continuing our Quick Q&A series by speaking to Larry Weiner, the author of Paradise Rot. The two of us are both represented by the Forsaken imprint of Booktrope, and so we have lots of cool stuff to talk about! Read on to find out what happened…
Tell us about your latest release – what’s it called and what’s it about?
Here’s my blurb because it rawks: Kyle Brightman—late of the advertising industry and soon-to-be-late of the 5th floor psych ward—has a job offer he can’t refuse. A new resort in the Caribbean is looking for an art director. Kyle soon finds himself on the Isle of St. Agrippina working alongside a beautiful copywriter with an icy handshake. Questions arise: Why does the resort management team sport spray-on tans in the Bahamas? How can the resort offer such cheap vacation packages? What does one do with vats of Astroglide? To get the answers, Kyle must first navigate a series of wildly unpredictable events with a cast of even more wildly unpredictable characters, including a seductress jungle assassin, her partially paralyzed talking Chihuahua, an Ivy League Rastafarian seaplane captain, Kyle’s ex-psych ward roommate, a former Haliburton mercenary, and a French tavern owner with a fondness for goats, all set to the greatest hits of the 70’s. Pablo Cruise never felt so right.
What is it about the Booktrope/Forsaken model that attracts you to it?
It’s a cold, dark world out there in self-pub land. It’s good to have the backing of like-minded folk who have the same thing in common – making Larry rich.
Take us through your writing routine – how do you get things done?
No matter where I am or what I’m doing or what shit I have going on, I must have 1,000 words down by the end of the day. No exceptions. I read the previous day’s work. I then look at my “rolling outline” which is really a summary of what I’ve written so far to get an idea on narrative flow. And I drink at least 3 quad shots a day.
What would you say is the biggest misconception about writers and writing?
That we’re all drug fiends. It’s bullshit. We’re all alcoholics. Also, that it’s easy. I get that a lot. “Oh, I wish I could sit around and write books all day but I have to swirl this pot of Pho for my customers.” (That’s my friend Thuy, who owns a Pho place.)
What’s the best bit of reader feedback that you’ve ever received?
JUST FINISH IT. Also, take it easy with the pop culture references. I tend to use those a lot, like David Lee Roth uses hair plugs. See? Dammit.
What’s next for you? Where do you plan to be in 3-5 years?
World Domination Plans: Keep writing. Books, comics, screenplays, anecdotes, quotes, blurbs – to just keep providing grist for the mill and life my head up in a couple of years and see what havoc I’ve created.
What was the last book that you read and what did you think of it?
The Martian by Andy Weir. THAT FUCKER. The book is so good that I hope he slides under a gas truck (not really). He took the most boring elements of science and made them live or die scenarios – brilliant!
Who’s your writing hero, and why?
Hunter S. Thompson because he was a seriously fucked up man who managed to write with heart and velocity and kindness and rage and humor.
Do you have a day job? If so, what is it, and how do you fit your writing around it?
I won the lottery. I worked in advertising for 18 years as an art director. Then I met a woman with a 4 year-old who said, “My job is too hard (she was a doctor) to manage the kid and the house alone – why don’t you quit your job and do that?” I didn’t even clean my desk out.
How do you get the word out about your work?
I’m a shameless whore. Tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram, blogs, guest blogs, readings, giveaways, Pinterest, YouTube book trailers – whatever opportunity there is to make it all about me, me, me.
Tell us a little bit more about your trilogy – what can readers expect to see?
I’ve lost control of it. It’s become this funky inorganic thing that grew like a boil. First it was high–functioning zombies. Then vampires and zombies and zompires. Then it became zombies, vampires, aliens and Hindu gods – all trying to eat people and kill each other and have lots of sex. It’s a beautiful mess. Good soundtrack though – 70s pop.
You design your own cover images – how difficult is this to do? And at what stage do you start to visualise covers?
I looooove designing the covers. I’ve done a shit ton of design over the years, professionally. I knew for the trilogy I wanted to feel electric like what Ralph Steadman does for Hunter S. Thompson – and for it to be illustrated. Many iterations later, I came up with this weird amalgam of tribal line work and horror sketches and paint. Seems to work.
What’s your favourite horror novel of all time?
Can you write us a short story in 2-3 sentences?
How the fuck he was going to get the dead mule out of the elevator was a mystery to him. The lobby floor was rapidly approaching, so he hit the emergency button. He crept out of the elevator through the ceiling crawl space.