Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Interview with Phronk, author of "Stars and Other Monsters"

I am pleased to welcome Phronk, author of Stars and Other Monsters, to my blog! Check out his work on Amazon!
Hello, and welcome to my blog! So to start off, what made you decide to take the plunge into the world of publishing?

Thanks. I've published some writing under my real name (Mike, hi, nice to meet you), but I decided to self-publish under my fake Internet name after:

1) Finishing a novel in an oversaturated genre that would seem unimpressive to agents and publishers (though hopefully not to readers).

2) Seeing Hugh Howey's Author Earnings reports (http://authorearnings.com/). I'm a scientist at heart, and real data makes me drool. Flawed as it may be, the data shows that there are a crapload of people out there reading self-published novels. The number of people matters more than the money; it means writers can write whatever bizarre stuff they want, and a lot of readers are perfectly capable of finding that stuff, without anybody else getting in the way. If that's what they choose to do. I still love you traditional publishing, don't hurt me.

2. Tell me about your book.
Stars and Other Monsters is about a paparazzo and his dog getting kidnapped by a vampire with a crush on a movie star. Then a lot of people get hurt and die and are miserable. It's a romantic comedy.

3. I see that your book has vampires. What do you think separates your work from other vampire novels?

There so many d*mn vampire romance stories out there. But there are also so many d*mn "Twilight sucks, so let's do the opposite" stories out there, in which vampires are basically just hungry land sharks eating everything in their path, so, not really vampires.

My novel takes every vampire cliche, turns it on its head, and puts a stake through it, but then coddles it and loves it, maybe even kisses it a little. I have a complicated relationship with cliches, see.

Because I do love vampires. There's something about vampires--creatures that are thiiis close to being human, but also need to kill humans to survive--that both repulses and attracts us. And that's really the deep-seated core of horror fiction.

4. Who, if anyone, inspired you to write?

I'm like everybody else: I grew up reading Stephen King. I was probably fourteen when I first started reading him, and even though I have a horrible memory (see next question), I still recall the tiniest details that fascinated and horrified me. So I figured it might be cool to write down my own fascinating and horrifying ideas.

5. Do you have any interesting writing habits or quirks?

I have a waterproof notepad in my shower for writing down ideas that I think up while I'm getting sudsy.

6. Was there anything in particular that influenced the idea for this book?

If I ever knew, I don't really remember. Looking back objectively, when I started the book, I was lonely, watching a lot of True Blood, and the only thing that made me happy was hanging out with my dog. All that probably had an influence.

7. Can we expect more books from you?

Certainly. I have a short story coming out in a few weeks called Strangers at a Funeral. It takes place in the same world as Stars and Other Monsters, though it isn't directly related. A sequel to Stars and Other Monsters has also formed itself in my head and is starting to gnaw its way out, so I better get that taken care of soon too.

Off-beat questions

I see you're from Canada. [Who's] your favorite Canadian music artist?

Oh that's hard. We're pretty lucky when it comes to music. Right now I'll say Tegan and Sara. People in other countries might just be hearing about them now, but look up their earlier stuff. There's just so much emotion in their voices. Uuungh, if I could bottle that depth of feeling and put it in writing, I'd win at Amazon.

2. There's a lot of vampire fiction out there. What is your favorite vampire novel and why?

I enjoyed the hell out of Draculas by Blake Crouch, Jack Kilborn, Jeff Strand, and F. Paul Wilson, even though it's one of those "let's do the opposite of Twilight" novels I made fun of earlier. Every page oozes with evidence that the authors had a blast writing it, and it doesn't waste time with boring stuff like "plot" and "character development." Plus, look at that name. Calling vampires Draculas, it makes me laugh every time I see it. LOL.

Oh wait, I just remembered that I Am Legend exists. I Am Legend is my favourite vampire novel.

Stars and Other Monsters description

Stan Lightfoot is the perfect paparazzo. His dog, Bloody, can track down anybody, anywhere, which comes in handy whenever a celebrity involved in a juicy scandal tries to avoid public attention. He's about to get the perfect picture--a real privacy-invading winner--when he runs into a vampire who ruins his life.

From the dark and vulgar mind of Phronk splashes a neo-vampire trip through nightmare America, full of movie stars and other soulless creatures, mind-numbing romantic comedies, and a Wal-Mart in every town.

When the vampire reveals a celebrity crush of her own, Stan finds a way to keep her from eating him. Helping a murderous monster screw a movie star wasn't exactly what Stan had in mind when he got into photography, but it'll buy him a few days. Can he find a way to escape a creature with god-like power before she reaches her destination?

Probably not.

Simultaneously a parody of and a tribute to crappy vampire romance novels, Stars and Other Monsters is a fast-paced and blood-soaked urban fantasy with twists you'll never see coming.

"It steams ahead like a locomotive hell-bent on arriving straight to its destination, then switches tracks when you least expect it, resulting in a wickedly entertaining and surprising trip."
-- Cal Chayce

Author Bio

Phronk wrote Stars and Other Monsters.

Phronk writes a lot of odd things, actually. He wrote a PhD dissertation about the psychology of horror films. He gets paid to write about technology and abuse words like "synergy," "leverage," and "utilize." Buy enough of his novels and he'll stop inflicting that on the world.

Phronk also wrote Baboon Fart Story, an experiment in publishing. Here is some nice stuff that famous people sarcastically said about Baboon Fart Story:

"Arguably the highest achievement of humanity. [...] A bot could not have done a better job!" -- John Scalzi

"Its artistry in the face of 'normality' is awe-inspiring." -- Alan Baxter

"He is presumably smart enough to know better." -- Charles Stross

"Let's just say I like the idea of self-publishing even less now." -- Adam Christopher

"A master of modern Dadaism." -- Daniel Abraham

Phronk is also the creator of Putting Weird Things in Coffee, which is a blog about putting weird things in coffee.

Phronk has four nipples and doesn't care about fonts.


  1. I have this love/hate relationship with writing vampires as well! And how can you not care about fonts?
    Fun interview!

    1. Thanks! Haha, the font thing is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I agonize over fonts like anyone else (especially on a book cover), but a lot of people take it a bit too far. Like, is Comic Sans really that offensive? I once got quoted in the BBC about this, somehow: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-10689931 .

  2. I do too! I actually love the idea of vampires, though I myself can get fatigued of the subject, especially vampire romances. Yeah, I thought it was a great interview as well. Thanks :)