So Orrin Grey was kind enough to tag me as part of this whole “The Next Big Thing” thing that’s goin’ around the flippity-flappity intarwebz these days. And I know, given the title, that the premise is to talk about one’s NEXT big thing, but as my (hopefully) next big thing is still in agent-revision mode, I’m going to talk about my newest big thing. More below!
A Pretty Mouth, which is sort-of a collection and sort-of a novel told via short story, just came out in September from Lazy Fascist Press. All the stories are about different generations of a degenerate, incestuous, aristocratic English family, and each piece is (to a certain extent) a pastiche of a popular literary style of the time.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wrote a story, “The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins” for an anthology called Historical Lovecraft that was being put out by Innsmouth Free Press. Somehow they accepted it! Anyways, at the time I envisioned the story as a standalone picaresque about incestuous twin necromancers, but when I was watching some Blackadder the Third on Netflix one evening, I got an itch to do a Blackadder-style treatment of the Calipash family. Thus, when Cameron Pierce contacted me (after the original “Twins” story was re-published in The Book of Cthulhu, ed. Ross Lockhart) asking if I’d thought about doing more Calipash Twins tales, I had a pitch oddly ready to go. Fate!
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Powell’s apparently shelved it under “Horror,” but I dunno? Lazy Fascist is a Bizarro imprint, and since that’s as broad as any other genre I’ll stick with that. But I shall note that there is a definite Lovecraftian streak throughout the entire work.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
There’s a zillion characters in the book, as it’s a collection! But some things are certain: The first story, “A Spotted Trouble at Dolor-on-the-Downs” is a Jeeves and Wooster tribute, and thus I would do my best to recruit Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie to reprise their roles in there, because they’re the best. Then I’d probably cast Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Alethea and Alastair Fitzroy as they already have an excellent rapport going as rich, entitled twins who like to sex up one another all the time.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The tagline on the back is “The Secret History meets Re-Animator in this tale of sex and science” which sums up the title novella about as well as anyone could in one sentence! By which I mean, if that description makes you excited, you’ll probably like the biggest chunk of the book (and hopefully the rest!).
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither. A Pretty Mouth was published by Lazy Fascist press. As for my next book, I will take this opportunity to be all excited again about my recent signing with the delightful Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. She now represents me and will be shopping my novel Come and Take the Cure, a weird Western, once I get her those aforementioned revisions.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Well, this isn’t easily answered as “Ivybridge Twins” was written in October of 2010, if memory serves, and the rest was written between, I think, November of 2011 and June of 2012.
Usually I write at a nigh-glacial pace but the novella I did in two weeks. The muse, she and I hung out for a while there, but she then moved on and I’m now back to pulling words out my brain like teeth from an exceedingly strong-gummed person.
8. What other books would you compare this to within your genre?
That’s tough as Bizarro is genre-spanning, and the individual stories within my collection, as I said, take some part of their from and content from time-appropriate literary genres. Here’s a brief rundown:
- “A Spotted Trouble at Dolor on the Downs”: Wodehouse’s Jeeves stories
- “The Hour of the Tortoise”: Victorian pornographic novels like those serialized in The Pearl; Gothic nonsense like Wuthering Heights
- “The Infernal History of The Ivybridge Twins”: Tom Jones, The Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph
- A Pretty Mouth: Restoration comedy like “The Rover” as imagined by John Huges
- “Damnatio Memoriae”: This story I mainly wrote to piss off Robert E. Howard’s ghost
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I have no idea, other than it was what I wanted to be writing at the time, so I did it.
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
The cover. Just look at that shit. It rules, and it would make a lovely addition to anyone’s bookshelf, frankly. Buy it for everyone you know! Please!
Okay! Thanks, Orrin—this was a lot of fun. As for who I’m tagging, I’m only tagging one writer as she’s worth five at the very least: S.P. Miskowski, author of the Shirley Jackson Award-nominated Knock Knock, and the novella Delphine Dodd. Check out her blog this time next week for her Next Big Thing!