THE TOUGH QUESTIONS-with Bob Freville
Without telling us what your favorite passage / scene in the book is, can you describe how it felt when you wrote it? Was there anything unique about your writing set-up when you wrote this passage?
I remember picturing myself in mid-air, crotch full of explosives and head reeling with information that I shouldn’t have known. What was unique about the passage in question and, really, the entire experience of writing the book was how drastically it differed from my last one.
When I wrote “Battering the Stem,” no research was required because it was so heavily steeped in the culture of Brooklyn, a place I know and whose people I am intimately aware of. “Celebrity Terrorist Sex Bomb” was the polar opposite in that I knew I had to learn things that I had only a remedial knowledge of beforehand.
If you’re writing about stuff like Islam and the history of terrorism in America, you want to be damn sure you’ve got all the facts. It was an exciting time, cranking out these words all hell-for-leather in the middle of a pile of non-fiction books and realizing that for everything I was making up, the stuff that was absolutely bug fuck was the stuff that was actually real.
Can you briefly describe an experience that played a role in how you wanted to develop Celebrity Terrorist Sex Bomb?
The genesis of the book came from reading about the TSA agent who fucked up and let Kim Kardashian and Kanye West around security checkpoints because of their celebrity. It started me thinking about how terrorists would be able to exploit that kind of fame in order to get explosives on an airplane. I started from there and the rest almost wrote itself.
If you could ask any deceased artist one question, what would it be?
I’d ask Charles Bukowski how he got so far being such a cunt and then I’d follow his rules on how to be a successful cunt in a world that rewards cuntiness.
Do you think fiction has any function or purpose outside of the entertainment realm?
I think fiction can be more important than so-called news. It can certainly function as a moral compass, a social commentary and a sign of things to come. When he wrote “Brave New World,” people read Aldoux Huxley’s book as science fiction, but if we look at the morally-retarded and drug dependent society we now live in, the man was clearly a better prognosticator than that stupid fucking rodent they pull out once a year.
Which book do you think is overrated?
Catcher in the Rye.
Can anyone be a “good” writer?
Anyone can be good at something, but greatness is a freak of nature. Greatness is like the blood moon, you’re only likely to see it once in a lifetime and, even then, you have to have very keen eyes in order to glimpse it.
Which book or other piece of art do you think is underappreciated?
Battering the Stem from Bizarro Pulp Press, of course.
Bob Freville is the author of Battering the Stem and the forthcoming collection, The Network People. His work has appeared in Deadman’s Tome, Creem Magazine, Akashic Books, Infernal Ink Magazine and others. He lives with a tuxedo cat in a crummy apartment overlooking a crumbling Babylon.