Nyogtha Volume I, Issue XXIV
Tagline: Hanging out with Christopher Moore
This week we’re going to the same format we did with Mick Mercer, when he dropped by to babble with me. This week we have author Christopher Moore in the hot seat.
For those of you who aren’t aware of Mr. Moore’s work, let me flash you back to my 8th grade year, when I first encountered his book, Practical Demonkeeping. I was visiting my grandparents in Florida, picked up the hardcover edition and devoured it in 2 days. It was amazingly funny and told the tale of a small California town named Pine Cove and about the 48-72 hour period in which a demon named Catch came to town and started eating people. Of course, my favorite part was seeing Howard Phillips Lovecraft running a greasy spoon cafe.
Since that summer, I’ve grabbed every book Chris has ever written and loved them all. His first is still my favorite.
For those of you who have had the misfortune in life to have never read his works, you have two options. The first is to set yourself ablaze using napalm and a match. The other option is to pick up one of the following books:
Practical Demon Keeping
Island of the Sequined Love Nun
The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove
Lamb : The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal
Fluke, or I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings
The Stupidest Angel, a Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror
Mr. Moore was kind of enough to take time out from his palatial Hawaiian estate where he spends his days where I believe he spends his time scaring tourists and fans away by spreading the rumour that his home is built on the graves of those that died in Pearl Harbour. Or not. Maybe I just dreamt that. Still it makes for a good story about him, doesn’t it?
But now, for what you really came to see. Two dry, serious mature authors debating about the matters in life that matter most like Philosophy, Theology, and solving the world’s problem. Oh wait. No, you came for an interview that’s just slightly silly, didn’t you.
Congrats, you’re in Luck.
AL: Thanks for doing this Chris. I read your first book, Practical Demonkeeping in the summer between 8th and 9th grade (I’m 27 now if you want to feel old) and loved it. It was a great mix of comedy and horror and still one of my favorite books of all time. What prompted you to write it?
CM: I had been writing short stories for years, but I realized that I would never make a living with short stories, so when I decided on a setting for the novel I picked the little town where I lived. It became a comedy horror story because that’s what I found I was good at.
AL: I know there was talk about Practical Demonkeeping being optioned into a film by both Disney and Sony. What exactly happened with that?
CM: They hired a bunch of people to write scripts but never green-lighted the film. It’s still in development with Sony, I think.
AL: You seem to do a lot of research in your books. Either that or else you are the greatest Trivial Pursuit player of all time and need to join the pro tour if such a thing exists. From little things like dropping that Pope Leo XI was tried for sorcery in Practical Demonkeeping to all the work that must have gone into studying Native American beliefs for Coyote Blue. How much time to you spend researching beforehand or do you just come to a point in a book where you go, “I wonder if…” and run out to your local library to see if something actually occurred in history or folklore that would tie in nicely to your work?
CM: I usually research for about six months for each book. Some books, like Lamb, my gospel book and Fluke my marine mammal book, took longer to research. I usually do research both in the field, traveling to the setting and talking to people in the situations I’m writing about, and with books and the internet.
AL: A lot of your books tie together with locations and characters repeating. Practical Demonkeeping to Bloodsucking Fiends to The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove to The Stupidest Angel for example. A lot of authors nowadays seem to lack continuity in their work unless it is expressly made as a trilogy or the like. What makes you come back to Pine Cove, or reuse old characters?
CM: I usually go back to Pine Cove when I’m under deadline and don’t have time to go somewhere to research. People seem to like having the characters wandering through the different books, so I’m happy to do that for them.
AL: You’ve had a lot of publishers. Simon & Schuster, St Martin’s Press, Avon, and Perennial. How does one shift publishers and what all does that entail?
CM: Actually it’s only three. Avon and Perinea are both under Harper-Collins, as is William Morrow, my hardcover publisher. It’s no big deal to change publishers, you just have to turn down their offer on your next book, then go get an offer from someone else. I moved from St. Martin’s to Simon Schuster because of money, and to Avon from S&S because S&S didn’t promote my books the way I thought they should. I’ve been with some branch of Avon for ten years now.
AL: In regards to Lamb The Stupidest Angel, did you get any “OMGWTF! Sacrilege!” letters from people whose Religion prevents them from having a sense of humour, and if so, what was the weirdest/funniest one?
(Note: Here is an actual Review off Amazon.com for you:)
The worst book I’ve ever read., March 3, 2005
Reviewer: E. Byer – See all my reviews
Never judge a book by its cover! The cover looks sweet, charming even
heartwarming. The story was awful. I did not expect dead people sucking brains out of the living at a Christmas party. Absolutely disgusting in every way.
CM: Actually, that’s the only one that I’ve seen. Honestly, I got maybe two letters out of 6000 about Lamb that were negative, and both were from people who didn’t read the book. Most people of faith love the book. With Stupidest Angel the subtitle was “A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror” and there’s a warning on the first page that there’s going to be sex, cussing, and cannibalism, so that reader was — uh, let’s say — not paying attention.
AL: You use a lot of myth and folklore in your writing. Is there a particular folk tale/myth/ancient religion/Jabberwock that you have yet to use in your writing that you want to eventually?
CM: I’d like to eventually do a book set around African folklore and one about the Dreamtime in Austrailian Aboriginal folklore.
AL: What made you choose to write a vampire novel (Bloodsucking Fiends)?
CM: It was actually chosen from several ideas I submitted to my editor at S&S. I put it in as a throw-away idea and he picked it. It turned out to be the most fun book I’ve ever written (the writing process, that is) because I didn’t have any obligations except to tell a good story in a funny way. I’m doing a sequel to it the fall. The idea for the story came from a script I wrote and performed on radio when I was a DJ in the late 80s.
AL: For Fluke, what inspired you to do a book about Whale songs, and have you ever tried to feed aquatic mammal hot pastrami on rye? I imagine the baleen makes it tough for them.
CM: I just wanted to be around whales and the people who study them, and the best way to do that was to write a book about it. And it was great. I’ve never tried to feed anything to a marine mammal. I’m sure they’d like pastrami though.
AL: Any hints as to what your next book is?
CM: It’s a comedy about death and parenthood.
AL: Where are your three favorite places to dine at, and what do you normally eat when there?
CM: I like Sushi Blues, which is a sushi bar in Hanalei, Hawaii, where I eat a salad with cajun ahi sashimi, Quiznos subs, which is a fast food chain, where I eat a salad with beef and cheddar on it, and Longee’s in Lahaina, where I usually have Portugese sausage and eggs. I’m all about the cholesterol.
AL: When on a book tour has there ever been a town or city that has made you go, “I never want to go back there!”?
CM: Yes, Cleveland and industrial Michigan (Detroit area). I got this “how dare you be successful” vibe from people there that I’ve never gotten anywhere else. I’m not saying I won’t go back, because it’s been a while and things can change, but there was bitterness that reminded me of why I left industrial Ohio thirty years ago and never regretted it. And every time I go to Houston. Houston has air that’s so dirty I get a sore throat for four or five days after I leave there, and the last two times I’ve been there it’s been in the high nineties with ninety-something percent humidity. The people are nice, but Houston sucks.
AL: Are you a mittens or a gloves kind of guy?
CM: I’m a “live in the tropics and don’t go anywhere where you need either” kind of guy . But I do wear gloves when I weed-eat and do other yard work.
AL: Which writer has been the LEAST influence on you?
CM: LOL. I wouldn’t know that, would I? I can tell you who influenced me negatively — that is, I tried to write in a way that was diametrically opposed to how they write: Judith Krantz
AL: Have the residents in your hometown back in Ohio erected a Golden Statue of you or some other form of idolatry to signify you rise and success?
CM: They don’t even know who I am.
AL: If all the giant animal type monsters got together and duked it out for the right to destroy any large human city of their choice, who would win: Cthulhu, Godzilla, King Kong, Gamera, or would a dark horse come in and steal the show?
CM: Wow, I’d have to go with Cthulhu, because he has dark and indescribable powers beyond just kicking buildings down. And you never see the zipper in his suit.
AL: If they rebuilt the Six Million Dollar Man today, how much would inflation have driven Steve Austin’s final cost to?
CM: I think you’d be in the billions. I think Honda spent something like 900 million developing that Asimo robot of theirs, and all it can do is walk up and down steps and bring you a coke. I think you’d be into big money for Steve Austin powers.
AL: Have you ever considered adapting one of your books to graphic novel form or letting a company make one into a comic book?
CM: I’d love that, but I’ve never been approached to do it.
AL: If you could punch any one person anywhere in their anatomy just once, who would it be and where?
CM: Sean Hannity, in the mouth.
AL: If you had the ability to solve any one global problem or strife, but in order to do so, you had to eat this kitten over here, would you be able to do it, and if so, what problem would you solve?
CM: I’d eat a kitty to solve overpopulation. (Thinking that this would help solve famine and disease as well.)
That’s it! Nothing else to see here people. Interview is over! What? You were expecting some sort of grand climax? Nope. Too bad. However, I do strongly suggest you buy one of Christopher Moore’s books off of Amazon.com via the above links. Either that or check one out from your local library and watch yourself get hooked. You can also visit Mr. Moore’s home on the web at http://www.Chrismoore.com
Alas, no folklore or urban legends for you this week. But you did get introduced to an excellent (and very funny) writer. That’s life: checks and balances.
Well since my guest this week is a fan of spicy sushi salads, I thought I’d make one of my own for you. It’s not the Cajun Ahi suggested by Chris above, but then I felt I should be a little more original.
Turbot Sashimi Salad with Wasabi
14 ounces very fresh thick turbot, skinned and filleted
11 ounces mixed salad leaves
8 radishes, thinly sliced
For the Wasabi:
1 ounce rocket/arugula leaves
2 ounce cucumber
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon wasabi paste from a tube, or 1 tablespoon wasabi powder mixed with 1.5 teaspoons water
1. First make the dressing. Roughly tear the rocket leaves and process with the cucumber and rice vinegar in a food processor or blender. Pour into a small bowl and add the rest of the dressing ingredients, except for the wasabi. Check the seasoning and add more salt if required. Chill until needed.
2. Chill the serving plates while you prepare the fish.
3. Prepare a bowl of cold water with a few ice cubes. Cut the turbot fillet in half lengthwise, then cut into one-fourth inch thick slices crossways. Plunge these pieces into the ice-cold water as you slice. After 2 minutes or so, they will start to curl and become firm. Take out and drain on kitchen paper.
4. In a large bowl, mix the fish, salad leaves, and radishes. Mix the wasabi into the dressing and toss with the salad. Serve immediately.
Last week I wrote a review of Haunting Ground and also treated you to a new Retrograding.
In Games, Liquidcross goes anti-Semitic and Sarah Graves got suckered into playing Resident Evil Outbreak 2.
In Comics, Matt Morrison quits Marvel comics cold turkey, and Mike Maillaro reviews Superman vs. the Flash.
In Music, Botter expresses his love for Coldplay with a whimsical sonnet. Or not. And while you’re all having a lazy Memorial Day weekend, Gloomchen, myself, and some mutual friends will be enjoying circus freaks and creepy houses. Because we are cooler than you.
In Movies, McCullar, Sutton, and Campbell jizz themselves over Star Wars, while Kubryk loathes it.
In Wrestling, Grutman says goodbye and Eric S really loves Dr. Who. He really loves it. Not enough to have sex with a Dalek. But he sure is fond of it.
Another week, another column and another chance to make you all fatter. Or in this case, much healthier. Eat the fish! It’s good for you!