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Author of queer, wry sci fi/fantasy books. On Amazon.
Editor of all fiction genres.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Irish Punk Rock Horror: An Interview with Richard Long

Hello hello!

Well, February is coming to a close--the scariest month of the year is almost over. Sigh. However, the gem of the month is HERE: one Richard Long, author of bestseller The Book of Paul. That's right. We have our first ever official CELEBRITY on the blog.

Now, I'd already read The Book of Paul in ebook form. Below is a sample of my reaction when I got an autographed edition from Richard himself.

 This is me, with autographed book, elated beyond belief and human reason. The squealing and jumping up-and-down part, not shown, came immediately afterwards.

Now, as you all know, I like a bit of horror now and again, mostly in the 'Weird Fiction' side of the genre, though offbeat paranormal books also catch my interest. (In the dystopian/horror overlap area, you might remember my interview with sharp new voice JC Eggleton about his book, Brookhavenfrom a few months back.)

I like to feature fellow indie authors not only because I am one, but also because it's a great way for my readers to stumble on awesome things that just might not be on bookshelves near them. Today's feature guest, Richard Long, reads like a big-name published author--which, at this rate, he's going to be--is definitely one of the most unmissable. Without further ado and gushing, please give a warm welcome to Richard Long!

Q: Describe yourself in 20 words or less.

A study in contradictions: Iconoclast. Family man. Dark past. Bright future.

Q: Tell us about your novel.

The Book of Paul is…different. There’s a classic Gothic horror, apocalyptic, good
vs. evil struggle. There’s also a Romeo and Juliet love story. It’s dark, creepy,
kinky and funny. The setting is the East Village of New York in the mid-90s. Paul
inhabits a condemned building in Alphabet City. At first you might think he’s
some crazed serial killer with occult obsessions, but as the story progresses you
realize that there is much, much more going on with Paul than you ever would
have expected or could imagine. It’s a very wild ride.

Q: Horror lately has been about vampires and werewolves. Two of the authors
I'm featuring this month are vamp and werewolf writers, though very excellent
ones. Did 'The Book of Paul' diverge from this intentionally?

Traditional monsters don’t hold any fascination for me, but I like the archetypes
that vampires and werewolves represent. A traditional werewolf is a person,
who, through no fault of his own (other than being in the wrong place at the
wrong time), is condemned to a very long life committing countless murders and
atrocities. He is usually tortured by his “other” self and racked with guilt. I think
that’s easy for people to identify with and easy for a writer to play with once you
take the fur and full moon baloney away.

As for our other fanged friends, once you lose the garlic and coffin mattress
trappings, a vampire is essentially a parasitic immortal being. There are a couple
of those in The Book of Paul, but they don’t tap into some unlucky person’s
jugular for a quick pick-me-up. All this being said, I’m developing the ultimate
vampire/werewolf/zombie epic with my 12-year-old son. Probably a screenplay.

From author's website. If you think the cover is gorgeous and elegant, wait until you get to the prose...

Q: You have a very unique tone and writing style, and I don't say that often.
Which writers inspire you?

I’m most inspired by Irish playwrights. Enda Walsh. Martin McDonagh. Beckett.
My style of writing, particularly the way I balance humor and horror, is more
related to their work than any novelists I’ve read.

Q: Paul has a cruel sense of humour, and while readers love him, he's an
ambiguous character at best when it comes to morality. Did writing about
his ...unique approach to solving problems... ever bother you?

Sure, some of the things Paul does are completely reprehensible. I’ve cried on
more than one occasion while writing scenes with Paul. On the other hand, he’s
the more fun to write than any other characterthe ultimate gleeful villain. He’s
exceptionally smart, sophisticated, wise and very funny. Writing Paul is like
taking your Id off the leash.

Q: You mix Celtic folklore, druidism, an illuminati-like society, violence, rock
chicks, and a healthy dose of societal critique in "The Book of Paul". How did you
make such an eclectic idea work?

I don’t write from an outline. It all just comes spewing out from some unlimited
reservoir of oddness. I only write about things that interest meand I have
exceptionally eclectic and varied interests: mythology, ancient cultures, religion,
philosophy, occult lore, science, conspiracy theories, dystopian scenarios,
contemporary society. One of William’s lines that I really like is: “I want to know
how things work.” I want to know how people “work”, particularly marginal
characters like the ones in this story. People on the fringe.

Q: Was anything in 'The Book of Paul' inspired by contemporary issues in

When I first moved to New York City I lived in the East Village/Alphabet City
neighborhood where most of the action takes place. It was a lot of fun, and very
scary at times, back-in-the-day before gentrification. So that edgy quality and the
darkness of the particular lifestyle I was living inspired the general mood. The
tattoo/piercing culture was also influential. The tribalism. The fascination with
pain-pleasure. Outside of those cultural aspects, I’m fairly convinced that we are
on the precipice of a seismic upheaval called the Singularity. Apocalypse soon!

Yes, he really is this terrifyingly handsome. No, he's not actually Paul. Maybe. Kind of. We're not sure yet. 

Q: What do you plan to write or publish next?

I’m finishing the first volume of a YA fantasy series called The Dream Palace and
then it’s back to the sequel of The Book of Paul and a screenplay of The Book of

Q: Which foods do you absolutely hate? 

Sea urchin.

Q: What would you do if you ran into Paul in real life?

Buy the man a drink. Cozy up on the barstool next to him. And just listen for as
long as he wanted to talk.

Naturally, you already know you can't live without the book. Buy it here on Amazon. Keep in mind that The Dream Palace, also by Richard, is coming soon!

Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the good kind of crazy. Find me on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr. A review of The Hobbit is coming, as well as more info about The Loved, The Lost, The Dreaming in paperback. Spring is going to bring a fantasy theme with it--interviews with fantasy authors, content related to fantasy films and reviews, and some political commentary--the phuquerie you've come to expect from me. Keep checking back to see those surprise posts, too. This is your darling SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

1 comment:

  1. Michelle, thanks so much for the great feature. You are so awesome!


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