What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least? What I like best is getting to play make-believe for a living. I never grew out of pretending, I just got better at hiding it, and now all of my readers get to play along with me. What I like least is how no free time actually feels free if you’re not writing. Even if you just wrote a few thousand words and think you’re going to take the rest of the day to relax and recharge, the writer in you is always thinking, “We should really be writing. Don’t you think you should get a little writing done right now? If you have time to relax, you have time to be writing.”
How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing? My family is nomadic, which is a fancy way of saying that we travel the country fulltime, going wherever the spirit moves us. Living the gypsy life turns even the simple things like getting groceries or doing laundry into an adventure, and waking up in a different zip code every day is great for experiencing new settings and hearing new voices. Not to mention that spending eight hours a day trapped in a vehicle together en route from one place to the next really forces you to get to know your travel buddies. Under all of the action, thievery, and sexy-times, Revenge of the Bloodslinger is a love letter to roadtrips. Jubal and Carina are constantly facing new locations, cultural mindsets, and environments as they track down the brujahs responsible for her father’s death. And over time, being in such close quarters and forced to rely on each other to stay alive draws out a friendship that otherwise never would have existed.
You’ve written five novels and are working on a sixth. What’s your favorite time management tip? Honestly, I’m the last person I would ask for time management tips. My process involves a lot of messing around and procrastination, interspersed with seemingly random sessions of intense cramming. I guess the best time management tip anyone’s ever given me is to know how you work and use that knowledge to your advantage. When I get into one of those intense cram sessions, I stick with it until it runs its course. Rabid bears with chainsaws could storm our campsite, requiring my family to flee for their lives, and I would be like, “Yeah, just a minute! I’m almost done!”
Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer? Organic. I usually start out knowing where my characters are at the beginning of the book and where I’d like them to be by the end, then go for it and see what happens along the way.
If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be? You’re not the only person who can write a book, but you’re the only person who can write your book. Really own it, make it yours, pour yourself out onto every page—especially when it hurts—and your story will leave a mark on the soul of everyone who reads it.
Did music help you find your muse with this book? If yes, which song did you find yourself going back to over and over again as you wrote? While I was working on Revenge of the Bloodslinger, I kept coming back to “We are Going to be Friends” by the White Stripes. It’s such a simple, childlike song, and Jubal is the exact opposite of that innocence, but I always imagine him humming it whenever he thinks about Carina. It’s like she draws that loud, ecstatic, unashamed love little kids have for their playmates out of Jubal, which kind of freaks him out and makes him happy at the same time.
But not everybody in the swampy, soggy, feudal future approves of Jubal's vocation. The Guild—the religious fanatics who helped rebuild civilization after the collapse—in particular are waiting for their opportunity to slip the noose around his neck.
Which is why when the renowned Guild knight Carina Xiao—a.k.a. the Bloodslinger—contacts Jubal about an off-the-books job that violates Guild Law, he's too intrigued to say no. He is the best damn thief in the history of the Revived Earth, after all.
Part bizarro ecopunk, part outworld thriller, part odd-couple roadtrip, Jubal Van Zandt and the Revenge of the Bloodslinger is a 150% futurepunk quest for blood and betrayal across the Revived Earth.
How about an excerpt from Revenge of the Bloodslinger?
I clapped my hands together. “Let’s get started. How did you hear about me?”
“Guild files,” Carina said. “Their records on you are full of suspicions, first-person accounts, and rumors. No arrests, no charges, and no incriminating evidence that you didn’t purposely leave behind for someone to find. I investigated Laars Gonzalez’s allegations that—”
She broke off, pulling a well-worn knuckgun from inside her leather jacket and pointing it at the two big guys approaching our booth.
“Don’t take another step,” she said. “Drop your weapons.”
They stopped, but didn’t drop the rust-caked knife or the stunclub.
“Uh-oh,” I said. “Looks like somebody recognized me. I’ll sign one autograph apiece, guys, but then I’ve really got to get back to work.”
The bigger of the two, who looked like he dogfought for funsies on the weekends, growled, “The Guild has no jurisdiction here, knight. The man you’re associating with is a wanted fugitive in Argameri.”
“That’s true,” I told Carina. “Dead or alive. The bounty’s huge.”
She didn’t take her eyes off the bruisers as she asked me, “Why didn’t you say something when I suggested meeting here?”
“Aw, come on, look at these guys! They couldn’t take a cucumber from a slime whore. Besides, I wanted to see what you’d do. Shoot ’em and let’s get back to business.”
“What are you wanted for?” she asked.
“For being better than them. They’re jealous that I sold them out before they could think of a way to do it to me.”
The second guy, whose face was covered in fishhook tattoos, pointed his snapping and sparking stunclub at me. “Your betrayal cost hundreds of Argamerian lives!”
“Really?” I said. “Because I heard it was thousands.”
About the Author
I am invincible. I am a mutant. I have 3 hearts and was born with no eyes. I had eyes implanted later. I didn't have hands, either, just stumps. When my eyes were implanted they asked if I would like hands as well and I said, "Yes, I'll take those," and pointed with my stump. But sometimes I'm a hellbender peeking out from under a rock. When it rains, I live in a music box. But I'm also a tattoo-addict, coffee-junkie, drummer, and aspiring skateboarder. Jesus actually is my homeboy.
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