What is your book all about?
In 1928, H.P. Lovecraft published a short story, “The Call of Cthulhu,” which told of vast and ancient entities that pre-existed time and space––Beings that waited hungrily just outside of reality, ready engulf and devour our world. The stories are beloved by horror masters like Stephen King and Guillermo del Toro. These tales of Great Old Ones, Elder Things, Dark Gods, and their various hideously unnatural minions have inspired books, graphic novels, films, role-playing games, and heavy metal bands.
And now it’s spawned a comedy.
Take NargLAh. He’s a Shoggoth, an amorphous shape shifter, the lowest of the low at Cthulhu, Amalgamated, the corporate entity that supports the inscrutable aims of the Vast Inhuman Intelligences That Gibber In The Darkness Beyond The Farthest Stars (most of them have titles like that on the org chart). Narg is content working as a Damnation Services-10 in HR (“Human Restraint”). Sure, he was related to one of the Elder Gods, but a little nepotism never hurt any Thing. His life was just wailing and gibbering, right up until his Uncle needed a small favor from his nephew, who is one of the few of his kind to have studied the Hairless Apes. All Narg had to do was go down among the humans…and pretend to be one of them.
Stuffed into a meatsuit, our every-Thing hero finds himself in a small American college in the late 1930s, where intrigue, murder, magic, theoretical physics, hostile shadows, and the occasional nude co-ed are afoot. Aided by his only slightly less-hapless native guide Murph (a dead 70’s surfer dude, also stuffed into the meatsuit), Narg has figure out why he was sent here and what he is supposed to stop; after all, his career is on the line. To his surprise, he grows to appreciate humans and their capacity for love, and along the way, he discovers that it’s possible for a Bad Thing to be a Good Guy, even by accident.
What inspired you to write the book?
The usual stuff…love and death. I’d spent the prior six years working on my historical fiction saga, By the Hands of Men. It came out to just about 500,000 words, six books that covered four continents and two decades. It had required a lot of research to make emotionally and factually accurate, and on top of working and raising kids and moving half-way across the country, I was pretty bushed.
So I took a little time off. And just about when I was thinking, “Man, I’ve gotta get to work on one of those 15 or so novels that are in the back of my head,” my high school girlfriend died, unexpectedly and in pretty sad circumstances.
This young lady had been my first love, my first and forever fan. I had no idea of the extent of her illness, thought I’d have another 20 years to pester her with “hey, this is my new short story/play/screenplay/novel, tell me what you think.” Her loss really kicked my slats in. I had no idea how hard I’d take it. I couldn’t write or do much at all.
Then my mom died six months later.
Yeah, that was a year that kind of sucked. Anyway, when I felt like I could maybe write something, I knew I couldn’t write anything serious.
But I had this one goofy idea I’d gotten just before all the death landed around me. It was inspired by reading resumes on LinkedIn. Everyone, it seemed, was a “Thought Leader” (it was the resume trend of the moment). Forgive me, but I thought it was nonsensical. And, I asked myself, what title could be more fatuous than that of a “Thought Leader.”
The answer, which came to me immediately, was “The Blithering Excrescence From Beyond The Stars.”
The obvious follow-up was “Where would someone with that title work?”
With the Cthulhu organization, of course.
And it kind of took off from there.
What is your target audience for the book?
Fantasy fans who are tired of Orcs and Goblins and Elves and Not-hobbits and Chosen Ones Who Were Prophesized to save the People/Fairies/Peasants Proletariats.
And folks who are looking for a laugh.
What do you hope readers could get out from your book?
First, I hope they laugh, or at least are amused. Second, maybe they’ll be reminded that everyone gets to make a choice about their own life.
What are your future goals/plans for the book?
Well, people liked the first one so much, I’ve written two more.
And I’m working on a fourth.
The first book is on Audio, and the narrator is a scream. I’d like to get them all on audio, and after that, I might take a break to write something a little more serious.
And something more about yourself.
Ah, jeez. “I contain multitudes,” didn’t Walt Whitman say that? I want to be kinder, fairer, and more helpful each day than I was the day before. I want to ride my bicycle across the United States in the next couple of years, knees permitting. And I want to be a better father, husband, son, and friend than I have been so far.
Modest goals, right, but maybe something the readers of Author’s Lounge could support.