Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Author Interview with Jesse Anderson, author of Trailer Park Juggernauts

I've had a lot of fun reading Trailer Park Juggernauts this past week. It has been nice to take a break from school every so often and indulge in variety of superpowers and interesting characters. There was such a wide range, I had to know what was behind some of these stories. Jesse Anderson was kind enough to answer my questions about his work and his inspiration. His answers were as fun and interesting as his short stories! So read on to find out more about Jesse. 

1.  Where did your inspiration for hillbillies with superpowers come from? Some of them had a DC or Marvel Comics feel to them. Did you read comics when you were younger?

My father gave me and early copy of Spiderman when I was three or four that I’m sure would be worth thousands now but I turned it in to a coloring book. I’ve never really been into the “graphic novel” but I can see the allure, and you’re not the first person to make the comparison. As for inspiration, I grew up in the backwoods of Alaska and I’ve worked in the oilfield for ten years; redneck/hillbilly character studies have never been in short supply.  

2. Have you ever considered turning some of your short stories into full length novels?

Of the stories subsumed within Trailer Park Juggernauts, no. Every time I tried to expand one it felt as if I was cheapening my original idea with filler. I’ll get there though. I have two projects between now and my first full length novel.  

3. You write very well from such a variety of settings, from Alaska to the South. The descriptions and colloquialisms seemed very realistic. Have you lived in or visited most of the places you write about?

Yes. I’m not quite sure if I could set a story someplace I’ve never been. I’d be lying at least and giving an inaccurate portrayal at best. 

4. Some of your stories were about common paranormal beings like angels and the devil (although you always managed to make them very non-ordinary), but others were very unique, like the man who uses alcohol to fuel his powers. Do you intentionally choose a power or being to write about, or do the ideas just come to you spontaneously? 

The man who uses booze to fuel his powers came to me when I wondered what an evil version of Popeye would be like. You know; spinach is to Popeye what rum is to Super Sport. All the other ideas were spawned by idle speculation. Anytime I intentionally tried to choose a power it felt trite, so I just let my mind wander. It’s a clich√©, but it works. If a notion makes me laugh, or at least smirk, I explore it. 

5. What authors have inspired you? Which authors are your favorites?

I know I’m supposed to say that I’m a fan of Hemmingway and Vonnegut, and I own books by each, but I’ve found that I only read them when I’m feeling pretentious. To be honest, I like trashy novels. I’ll reach for anything that can be considered the literary equivalent of an action movie. They’re fun, but in no danger of ever winning an award. George R. R. Martin is an absolute ninja and right now I’m wading through that never ending saga by Robert Jordan. 

6. Do you have any interesting rituals or tricks when you write?

I need to be distracted. I write in the middle of the living room with my iPod blaring all sorts of incongruent music into my head. It’s hard to focus, or maybe imagine, otherwise. I haven’t tried to figure out why that is, and I don’t plan to because it might point towards a need for medication.  

7. Do you have any other projects you're working on right now? Can you tell us about them? 

I’ll publish a follow up anthology of short stories sometime in 2013, but I think I’m going to put together a collection of satirical essays first (David Sedaris did it so I don’t see why I can’t). The essay was my first love (as odd as that sounds) and I’d like to revisit that writing form. I just posted one here if you’re curious: www.thevelveteenmaraca.wordpress.com. Other than that, I have a five thousand word outline for my first novel and all sorts of delusions as to where I’ll go from there.