Friday, September 17, 2010
A. R.'s Interview with Jordan Krall
Week two of my interview series comes crashing in on ya with bizarro author, Jordan Krall. He writes bizarro, horror, and crime fiction. His work has been praised by Edward Lee, Tom Piccirilli, and Carlton Mellick III.
A. R.: Hi Jordan. Thanks for being my guest. A lot of horror fans, including me, don’t know anything about bizarro fiction. What separates bizarro from straight-up horror?
J. K.: Not all bizarro is horror. Bizarro fiction in general means fiction that is weird to the max. Think the literary equivalent of cult movies. There’s bizarro humor, bizarro SF, bizarro horror, bizarro westerns, bizarro fantasy, etc. As far as bizarro horror vs. the traditional kind, bizarro horror is a lot weirder. You’ll get strange characters, plots, and settings that you just won’t see in your average horror story. You will get the unexpected.
A. R.: I love cult movies! By the way, how was the Horrorfind convention? You know I’m dying to hear about that. Explain to those who don’t know what Horrorfind is.
J. K.: This was my first trip to Horrorfind. It’s a weekend convention that is mostly based around actors and directors in the genre but this year they had more writers such as Brian Keene, Joe Lansdale and Jack Ketchum. It was a pretty cool event. The bizarro authors that attended were a part of the BIZARRO POWER HOUR which was sixty minutes of craziness. It was me along with Andersen Prunty, William Pauley III, and Eric Mays. Greg Hall (of the Funky Werepig) also joined us. The reading went really well except for two dumb assholes getting offended at my use of the word “flesh-pistol”! Anyway, other than meeting some fans and selling books, we also drank a lot and made fun of people.
A. R.: Tell us a little about the books you have coming out or if one of your books just came out, and where you're going as far as content.
J. K.: My most recent book was KING SCRATCH. It’s a really twisted crime fiction story involving human flesh moonshine, Abe Lincoln, car crashes, and squid. I also just had a chapbook published called BLOW UP THE OUTSIDE WORLD. I co-wrote it with Ash Lomen. It’s a SF story that takes place both in space and in a sleazy grindhouse theater. As far as content, so far each of my books has been pretty different from the last one. I have similar themes and imagery but the subgenre differs. My next book is TENTACLE DEATH TRIP which Eraserhead Press is publishing. It’s a post-apocalyptic novel, sort of like Mad Max meets the Cthulhu mythos. Cars, tentacles, violence, tentacles, and more tentacles.
A. R.: What books/short stories/authors influenced you, and why?
J. K.: From an early age, H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard were both big influences. As I got to high school, I also got into J.G. Ballard (mostly his novel CRASH) as well as William Burroughs. Then came Elmore Leonard, Thomas Ligotti, and Edward Lee which have all had a big effect on me as an adult writer. Elmore Leonard has influenced me mostly in terms of the actual writing and structure. Most writers should look at how he writes dialogue.
A. R.: I love Lovecraft, Edward Lee and Elmore Leonard! What are your favorite macabre movies, and what do you think about the state of the macabre flick today?
J. K.: I’ve been a horror fan since I was a child. Some of my favorites include Psycho, Messiah of Evil, Halloween, Halloween 3, Videodrome, Suspiria, Video Violence, New York Ripper, Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive, Vacancy, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, and a lot of other Italian horror/giallo films. Today’s horror movies are hit and miss for me. There are too many shitty straight-to-dvd movies being made that makes it so difficult to find something good. The horror flicks that hit theaters are usually disappointments.
A.R.: I agree. What are your thoughts on Print on Demand and e-books taking over?
J. K.: Print-on-demand is cool for people who want to start a small publishing business but it also gives people with no talent or work ethic the chance to clog the internet with their crappy books. E-books are okay but I don’t read them that much and personally, I think it’s just a way of big publishers to be able to make more money without having to dish out the cash to print actual books. I’m hoping it’s a fad that’ll just fizzle out. As a reader, I’d much rather have something tangible to show for my money. As a writer, I want something physical I can show off to people who come to my house.
A.R.: Do you write full-time or do you have a full-time job? What education did you acquire for this work?
J. K.: I have a full-time job as a teacher. I have a degree in Elementary Ed and certifications in Special Ed and History. I’m about midway through grad school so I’m hoping to get my Masters relatively soon.
A. R.: Did you sign with a publisher or self-publish?
J. K.: I signed with a publisher. I mostly work with Eraserhead Press but have also worked with Black Rainbows Press and Bucket O’ Guts Press.
A. R.: Are you a crafter (must get paid for your stories) or are you an artist (does it for the love of the genre)?
J. K.: I guess a little of both. It depends on who is accepting my story. If it’s a small anthology, I might be a little less concerned about payment. I do love the genre and don’t let the financial part get in the way. Of course, maybe I think that way because I do it as a side job so I’m not relying on the cash my writing brings in.
A. R.: Will you ever podcast your stories or write a graphic novel?
J. K.: I’m pretty inept technically so someone would have to do the podcast for me. As far as a graphic novel, I am writing a weird little comic strip with David W. Barbee. If someone else offered to draw a graphic novel for one of my stories (FISTFUL OF FEET would make a great graphic novel as would PIECEMEAL JUNE) I would definitely do it. So anyone interested should get in touch with me!
A. R.: Inept technically here as well. What do you envision for the future of the bizarro genre, as far as getting the word out to the people who aren’t familiar with it?
J. K.: It’ll get bigger and bigger. I envision there will be bizarro conventions all over the country (right now it’s only in Portland once a year) and then all over the world. People will refer to it as a genre just as often as they mention horror or SF. You will see celebrities showing interest in bizarro, too. You’ll see movie adaptations.
A. R.: What is your Web site and blog address so we can check out your work?
J. K.: My main site: http://www.filmynoir.com
My blog which is updated more often: http://jordankrall.wordpress.com
JORDAN KRALL BIBLIOGRAPHY
PIECEMEAL JUNE / Novella / Eraserhead Press / 2008
THE BIZARRO STARTER KIT BLUE (anthology) / story “The Longheads” / Bizarro Books / 2008
SQUID PULP BLUES / Novella Collection / Eraserhead Press / 2008
FURNITURE FANGS (zine) / story “Taboric Light Beer” / D.I.Y. zine / 2009
THE MAGAZINE OF BIZARRO FICTION Issue 1 (mag) / story “The Pistol Burps” / Bizarro Books / 2009
FISTFUL OF FEET / Novel / Eraserhead Press / 2009
THE MAGAZINE OF BIZARRO FICTION Issue 2 (mag) / article “The Weird, Weird West” / Bizarro Books / 2009
KING SCRATCH / Novella / Black Rainbows Press / 2010
BLOW UP THE OUTSIDE WORLD (co-written with Ash Lomen) / Chapbook / Bucket O’ Guts Press / 2010