THE TOUGH QUESTIONS
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 was happy and elated that my publisher let me add some new scenes of sick romance and wild grotesquery—the stuff makes me laugh when I think of other people reading it. The final polishing I did in my place in Jersey overlooking a Home Depot parking lot. I see arrests, fights, and so many pleasantries from my window.
Can you briefly describe an experience that played a role in how you wanted to develop Quizzleboon?
Every hurt, horror, hangover and nightmare of my life went into this thing, in some way or other. I did once live on a communal farm in upstate New York, where I learned the aesthetics of dirt. The people there were ingenious conservationists, creative dressers, and quite unique in their healing techniques. Another time, back when I was a kid, a girl at the Skate Inn tripped and fell against the foosball machine. The metal rod went into her eye.
If you could ask any deceased artist one question, what would it be?
Hey Faulkner, why did you really tell young writers not to write with their glands?
Do you think fiction has any function or purpose outside of the entertainment realm?
Fictional thinking is important for anybody who wants to stay sane. The more fiction you read, the more you come to understand the possibilities of the mind, and how to stay sane.
Of all the entertainment media available, pick a SUB-GENRE and explain why you like it or hate it.
Maybe you enjoy cosmic horror disaster films. You can choose from any type of media (film, books, music, etc.)
I like personal zines, and my favorite zinester is Cindy Ovenrack, the anarcho-feminist who writes Doris. She’s punk rock. She writes of her life on the fringe. She is honest. That’s enough for me.
I’m also a k-pop fanatic. All the great American music I’ve shoved to the side in favor of Orange Caramel, 4Minute, Mamamoo, Sistar, Sunmi and Shinji and the rest. Maybe I love it because its got dancing in it, and because the female voices remind me of my mother singing me to sleep as a child.
Which book do you think is overrated?
Middlemarch—no, just kidding, I’ve not read Middlemarch, and have no idea what Middlemarch is about. I did read The Exorcist. I disliked the book but loved the movie.
Can anyone be a “good” writer?
Like all media, genre fiction is trendy; what is one literary trend that you despise? Is there one that you think is interesting?
I may have rolled my eyes a few times at the stuff once called alt-lit, and I may even have sighed while trying to read some bona fide GL stuff. If you don’t know what GL stuff is, don’t worry. I’ve heard of dinosaur porn—that sounds a bit too cuckoo for anybody, but King Kong, on the other hand, was very tender with his maiden, so who knows.
Which book or other piece of art do you think is underappreciated? (misunderstood)
Welcome to Oakland by Eric Miles Williamson, the “redneck with a PhD” is the great book nobody seems to know about. And I’m equally surprised that Eugene Marten has received such small credit for his masterpieces.
John Oliver Hodges wrote Quizzleboon, a novel out now from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. John’s other books are The Love Box, a collection of dark stories that won the Tartt First Fiction Award, and War of the Crazies. His stories have appeared widely in online and print journals. He lives in New Jersey.