To begin I'll say that the writing style is refreshing. It seems to have a brightness that isn't reflected in other stories these days. When I say brightness I mean so that it makes what really is quite a dark, gritty and violent story into something almost enlightening, if you grasp my meaning.
The story is also a wonderfully crafted thing - I often find plot holes in books, and there were none visible here. Even in the movie Inception I noticed a few cracks in the story.
Our two main protagonists are real. I suppose that that's because the world is very similar to our own. Although the circumstances are very different the general principles are the same.
The one criticism I have is that in the middle there was too much information at once - this should have been spread out through the novel more, which would make for a more entertaining read.
I am also running a giveaway for this book. The only rule is that you MUST be following this blog, and for an extra entry you can subscribe to my YouTube channel. Then leave a comment on one of my videos or this blog post with your email address so that I can draw a winner.
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You can reread the interview now:
To begin, have you had any criticism about calling your book Whores? If so, do you think it was warranted, and why?
I haven't had any criticism thus far about calling the book Whores- but that's because criticism of any kind is rather scant at the moment. I hope at some point that it will achieve enough notoriety to garner that kind of criticism- and critical thought.
And calling the book Whores wasn't something I did lightly. The reasoning behind the title goes back to the old Churchill quote, that victors write the history books. At the time of the story's telling, and indeed even at the end, women are being oppressed, and the title characters are referred to and sometimes literally branded as 'whores.' It's certainly provocative, but honestly, so's the book, and it would be disingenuous of me to have called it anything else.
As a child did you want to become an author, and from what age?
I did. Sort of. I remember briefly entertaining the idea as a very small child, in first grade. Of course, I wasn't really literate, then, so my first story was literally a list of Batman villains, without any spaces. I think I intended for there to be some action, but I ran out of room before I got to the story part. And moments later, I went back to trying to weave a paper hat for my then-girlfriend (and I was even lousier at paper hat-weaving than storytelling at that point). But I didn't really get into writing until later. I fell in with a literary crowd. We passed around short stories and collaborated on them. And when my parents divorced, and I found myself writing more, and more, but I always fought against the idea of being an author, if only because my literary hero from a young age was Edgar Allen Poe, a bright guy who went to West Point, had a lonesome, sad life and died young in a gutter, abetted by substance abuse, mental illness or both. He was also poor, and that at least could be sourced to his being an author. So it was something I fought, until I realized that even while I was in college training for a real career that I was never going to stop writing, even if I was banking on earning my keep through other means.
What is your major inspiration, and where did your inspiration for "Whores" come from?
My major inspiration is usually pretty far-ranging, but to paraphrase my fiance, my writing is usually me working through things in my own head. Whores came from the US debates last year, if you're kind enough to call them that, over female healthcare and rights. I have several novels in early draft stages, many of which are available on the website; Whores is the only one that's been finalized and published at the moment.
They all follow some theme that felt important to me at the time. Dag is about environmental issues, corporate culture and unorthodox families; Nexus is a space opera about privatization, exploitation and genocide; The Necromancer's Gambit is about the role of government in an underground world of magicians; and Banksters is about how at home greed and sociopathy are in the financial sector.
I think my other major inspiration is people. I like to write about fantastical and strange circumstances. But at the center of them is people, normal, emotional, irritable and oftentimes irrational human beings. It's just as fascinating to me the way human beings react to crazy happenings as the crazy happenings themselves.
What kind of books do you read, and did you grow up reading?
I am woefully, pathetically underread as an author. Over half of the books I've read were comic books (though to my credit, I'm counting graphic novels, the bigger, longer-form stories, not just individual 22-page issues). I'm a fan of the gritty, the macabre, noir, and pulpy stuff. I read a decent amount of Stephen King in my formative years, and love the first 4/5 of just about anything Lovecraft (I don't know if it's possible to satisfyingly payoff his kind of suspense). And I have a weird soft-spot for the journalism of Hunter S. Thompson, too.
Who do you aspire to be?
I don't know. I'm at a point in my life and career where I've actually met and interviewed some of my heroes- and what they say about not meeting your heroes is generally speaking wise counsel, because those meetings didn't always go well.
And like I said about Poe, earlier, and in the more recent literary influence of Hunter S. Thompson, too, I've also seen a lot of things I don't want to do with my life, or have happen to me. So mostly, I'm just trying to learn from the mistakes of my forebears, and be the best version of me that I can.
Though there is one very notable exception. I got to meet Adam West, the live-action 1960s Batman. And he was so much cooler, and nicer, and more human, than I could have ever imagined. So I guess I either aspire to be the best me I can, or Batman. Maybe both.
Anything you would like to add?
I know you haven't read Whores yet, and my fiance is very worried about me endorsing it to someone your age, but I think you should read it. Maybe not now- that's a decision for you, and maybe your parents. It's ultimately a novel about human beings who just want to be able to live their lives for themselves. They make bad, sometimes rash decisions, but they're really struggling for self-determination, which I think (especially after answering these interview questions) is something we all have in common.
We all have this empty page in front of us, and we don't know quite where we're going with it, but all of us, without regard to age, race, gender or any other way of separating people, deserve a chance to forge through that story on our terms. Having said all that, the novel revolves around violence, sex, and sexual violence. There's also some foul language in there, too. If it was a movie, it would definitely garner an R, a hard R, at that. Some people read Whores and think that it's a book about abortion, but it's not; it's a book about freedom, and having the ability to choose what direction your life is going to take. It's also a book about blowing crap up, espionage and s'mores.