Hi Readers! I’ve another wonderful interview with the author Quentin J. Parker about his comedy Mondo Bohemiano.
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Well, for starters, I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, so my hostility is a superpower, not a character flaw. As a child, I was a visual artist with an interest in science and technology. The original Star Trek gave me an appreciation for astronomy, and Star Wars gave me a zest for air combat. Later on, I became a pop culture nerd who was certified to fly a plane before he was licensed to drive a car. Now, by day, I’m just your garden-variety office services manager but once I get home, I’m a Linux-using patrolman of the Internet. In addition, as an older adult, I often find myself repeating the phrase “Holy crap, I’m middle-aged!” and the surprise I say it with hasn’t diminished one damned bit. I hope that covered everything without too many gaps.
2. What inspired you to write?
I wrote and illustrated my own comic books at a young age. This required careful storyboarding, and taught me about editing and pacing. Basically I learned that the thousand words one got out of a picture are easier to edit and use less specialized materials than drawing. So I slowly gravitated to the textual side of self-expression until it became a preference.
3. What inspired your novel?
The same thing that inspires a lot of writing – deep emotional trauma – which makes the story of Nigel Bunnytail (as told in Mondo Bohemiano and later in The Spokadelphian) more autobiographical than I’m comfortable with. But putting pen to paper was way cheaper and more efficient than a therapist in helping me to process my dark thoughts. But I didn’t want it to be about just pain and anguish. I also wanted to acknowledge what gets one through my discomfort. So what started out as a poem was fleshed-out into a short story. This gave birth to a novella, and then I realized I had enough material for a full-length novel.
4. What is the genre?
I’ll say humor because I try to include something giggly in each chapter, or satire because of the shots I take at our culture. But I really dislike hard, defined categories. Very few of the stories that appeal to me fit neatly into a single genre, and that’s how I prefer to write.
5. What draws you to this genre?
I really like it when different and sometimes conflicting genres mix well. Who doesn’t love a horror comedy? You can have your war story, but doesn’t it become a little more interesting if there’s a murder mystery set against it? Or a love story that’s been given some extra bite by the inclusion of some hard adventure elements?
6. How did you develop your plot and your characters?
For the initial draft, I was all about the kitchen sink approach of throwing in everything that I wanted to happen. Then I whittled away plot points that were redundant, or that just didn’t work. Some got shuffled to a story point more appropriate or deleted altogether. Once I was pleased with what was left, I shaped the characters accordingly. One of the bigger and unforeseen developments was that of Styles Parkwater. He was originally imagined to be the gentle and quiet compliment to Nigel Bunnytail’s big personality. But I realized that is was unlikely that these two would be as tight as they were if Styles was as reserved as I had been writing him, so I jazzed him up a bit.
7. What inspired your protagonist?
My real-world thoughts and experiences, mostly. Nigel is my stupendously glorified reflection. Like me, he’s had to learn how to survive without going on a murder spree after putting his faith and trust in lies. How he handles it is not always healthy, and therein lies what I hope is a good story.
8. What inspired your antagonist?
Lies. The lies we tell to those closest to us, and the ones we tell ourselves. And how obsession can masquerade itself as true affection. And how all of these things don’t always originate from a place of malevolence.
9. What was the hardest part to write in the book?
Easily, during the kitchen sink sessions, trying to make all the parts fit together in a readable and digestible way. All the while showing, not telling. Some chapters took months to finish.
10. What was your favorite part of your book to write?
Describing the shared fascination of two sex-obsessed lead characters makes me giggle like an idiot. For the reader, I hope it’s any part where he or she comes to a hard stop and says ‘what the bleep did I just read??’
11. Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
I have a standard nine-to-five job that prevents me from writing for a living. But even if it didn’t, the idea of being a full-time writer is both arousing and terrifying. But lately, I’m not even a part-timer. I’m more like a writing temp or intern.
12. What are you currently reading?
Rereading The Boys and Preacher graphic novels. Then, it’s on to The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois.
13. Who would you say are your favorite authors?
As for novelists, they would be aviation combat authors like Mark Berent and Dale Brown. But I have a special place in my heart for the king of ‘what the hell’, Chuck Palahniuk. Again, I’m all about my graphic novels, where Garth Ennis and Bob Fingerman rock my world.
14. How about your favorite books? What would be your top 5?
A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, First Air: A Novel of Air Combat in the Persian Gulf by Michael Skinner, God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens, The Treasured Writings of Kahlil Gibran by Kahlil Gibran, and The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.
15. What are your future projects, if any?
Presently, I’m working on The Spokadelphian, the conclusion of Mondo Bohemiano. Once that’s done, I plan to keep writing with the same characters, but will take them in a different, more fantastic direction.
16. What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
I’m present on most of the major social media and networking platforms, so whatever works for the reader. @QJParker on Twitter, Quentin J. Parker on Facebook (There’s also a book series page for Mondo Bohemiano) and qjparker502 on the Instagram. Or anyone could just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, if they’re old school like that. Lastly, while there is no dedicated website yet, the Goodreads.com link is Mondo Bohemiano
17. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Understand that writing comes natural for some, but is a discipline for others (most, I would imagine). Know which group you’re in and work accordingly. Also, don’t go it alone. Find a good group of fellow writers. Invariably, their experiences and insights will sharpen your work. You don’t have to take every single bit of advice, just what betters you and your craft. Eat the meat and spit out the bones.
Thank you to Quentin J. Parker for allowing me the chance to interview him. I highly recommend you checking out his novel. – Leticia