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?
My favorite scene in VIOLENCE DAVE was written at 2 in the morning, with the sweltering heat just pouring in and Children of Bodom blasting into my headphone speakers. Wife slept behind me on the couch, having dozed off to the sound of my hammering at the keyboard, the way I usually get when I get into one of those “Yeah! Yeah, get some!” moments.
The scene doesn’t pop out, not so much at first: I mean, it’s got a cool set piece going for it and the setup’s kinda interesting, but5 that’s not what I was trying to pull of; instead, I was going for rage. Not the red-hot kind that comes and goes, but the sustained, white-hot thing that burns in you like the heart of a star. The kind of rage that makes a man bite dog. The kind that makes you hit the gas and ram into a car, just because the fucker in the passenger seat might speed off.
In short, that thing that exists between the good ole ultraviolence and the hate-annihilation of the soul. I think the Germans would call ig Gotterhassen, but what do I know?
Can you briefly describe an experience that played a role in how you wanted to develop VIOLENCE DAVE-HEARTLESS?
The Greek Army loves exercises. Especially when those involve greenhorn rookies just two weeks into training who have no clue how to go about it and need to do it just the once and look good doing it.
I got dragged into one of those exercises back when I’d started my tour of duty, thrown into an APC and told to ‘go, you little shitheel, just go, go go!’. So I got thrown in, along with six other people, just as clueless as I was, to roll and rattle in the back of an armored vehicle, then pushed out into the light as the thing clanged open and ordered to ‘TAKE THAT HILL, GO GO GO!’
And we ran, two hundred meters up, six clueless idiots and two professionals, bobbing and weaving even as some tank driver made his Leopard turn and swivel up the hill, dud rounds going off all around us as we played at war and then…I fell.
It wasn’t a long fall, but the hole was deep, probably left over from some mortar exercises. I made no noise, just… tumbled down, slammed into the dark and clawed up, only to see the flares and the smoke bombs go off, as the mock shelling started in earnest and I knew that not one of us had any clue what we were doing.
Some officer grabbed me by the collar and dragged me out, told me I was dead, but then sent me back in line with the rest of the forward team so my guess is, that I got better. I decided I wanted to play Dave out pretty much like that officer: a worn out, overwhelmed man, forced to watch the same old dingbats die and die and die again, hoping that, just this once, it would get better.
If you could ask any deceased artist one question, what would it be?
I’d ask Kurt Vonnegut for any good stock options. The man put his money into Dow Chemicals and it settled all four of his kids for the rest of their lives, so clearly, he knew what the hell he was doing.
Do you think fiction has any function or purpose outside of the entertainment realm?
Not when it’s topical, no; not when the writer is trying to satirize an extremely specific event on their social media feed which pissed them off at the moment, or when they resort to buzzwords. And certainly not when the piece itself dates itself with slang or (god forbid) memes.
But fiction has always played an important role in our lives. Hell, Wagner gave Hitler all his best ideas. Alan Turing almost lived on the pulps and I can’t prove it yet, but I think Aristotle and his contemporaries would often get into fistfights over whether or not Hercules was allowed onto the Argo after all.
Fiction gives us an outlet, personifies our morals and represents all the things we love and find reprehensible at the same time. So I guess you could say it does have a place beyond the realm of entertainment, but only with certain provisions.
Of all the entertainment media available, pick a SUB-GENRE and explain why you like it or hate it.
Comedy Horror movies. The more childish and immature, the better. Ash VS Evil Dead is the best of the lot, but really: any story involving some solid ick, good body horror and a lot of clever humor that isn’t just a whole bunch of screaming means I’m gonna love the crap out of it.
Horror’s such a droll, grim genre. The more you get into it, the more everything either turns into cosmic disasters or personal tragedies or slasher fare, filled with people who can’t take a damn joke. Then again, it’s understandable that not everyone can pull off some proper dark humor, nevermind commit it to paper.
It takes equal parts talent, balls and sheer, bloody minded perseverance to write a proper horror comedy that will horrify and entertain you all in the same breath and I am in awe of every single one of those weirdos who can make it happen.
Which book do you think is overrated?
The Voynich Manuscript, which I think is just an elaborate trolling attempt from long-long ago to just mess with the future spacemen that would try to pry its secrets.
But if you want a more substantial answer, I would have to go with Macchiaveli’s El Principe. Not because the book isn’t any good, but because it has become the go to guide for every petty person with even a hint of power, who want to disguise their cruelty and incompetence as p[arts of some ‘master plan’, when in truth the book was written by a struggling artist who needed the money and knew how to write to placate his audience.
Actually, I’d ask Nicolo for stock options, as well. Those two would make one hell of a team.
Can anyone be a “good” writer?
I don’t think any writer considers himself to be any ‘good’, really. Other people can tell them and the press, the media, the Pope himself could sing their praises, but secretly, I think that every writer thinks that they are just one bad day away from everyone ousting them as a fraud, just from making a living by putting words on paper.
Then again, that’s just me and maybe I just confessed to wasting my life.
Like all media, genre fiction is trendy; what is one literary trend that you despise? Is there one that you think is interesting?
I can’t stand any literary trend that thinks it’s too smart for its audience. Dime-store ‘magical realism’ without any hint of the good old Borgesian bait and switch is a good example (did the fairies really save my relationship, even though they didn’t even show up? Is this place really magical, even though nothing happened for 20 thousand words already?) or one of my recent pet peeves, ‘post-horror’ which wasn’t even a genre, but a halfway smart-alecky attempt at rechristening horror movies so pseudo-intellectuals could pretend they enjoyed them.
But a literary trend I find interesting has got to be normalism. Apparently it’s a thing, showing stories of people in solidarity, going up against a common foe. Think of it as the reverse of you & me against the world. And while I can’t help but feel that we’ve seen this before in so many other stories (StarShip Troopers springs to mind), I can’t wait to see how the authors are going to spin it.
Which book or other piece of art do you think is underappreciated? (misunderstood)
Man, that’s a long list you got there. I could tell you about how Ward Moore got shafted, with Greener than You Think becoming so obscure it was forgotten, or how Thomas M. Disch ended up into obscurity because people can’t appreciate a good darkly humorous story if it ran up to them and smacked them upside the head.
So instead, I’m going to try a new angle and go with Kago Shintaro and, specifically, Anamorphosois no Meijuu. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but the entire thing has so many gross, weird and downright insane moments (right up to the very end) where it stops being stomach-churning and turns into pure, goddamn genius. Also, he has this short story about what becomes of foreskins and aborted babies that’s kind of fucking hilarious, especially if you’ve ever worked with really young kids.
Konstantine Paradias is a writer by choice. At the moment, he’s published over 100 stories in English, Japanese, Romanian,German , Dutch and Portuguese and has worked in a freelancing capacity for video games, screenplays and anthologies.People tell him he’s got a writing problem but he can, like, quit whenever he wants, man. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize