And here's another author interview for your reading pleasure!
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Josef Matulich is an author, special effects artist and costumer. Josef’s latest novel, Squirrel Apocalypse, is a horror comedy of the intersection of the War on Drugs and GMO killer squirrels. His Arcanum Faire trilogy, a horror/comedy of sex, magick, and power tools, was published by Cincinnati’s Post Mortem Press.
His flash fiction has appeared on the Wicked Library podcast and the compilation “44 Lies by 22 Liars” by Post Mortem. He won the Context Flash Fiction competition its last year. Josef’s short plays have been performed around Central Ohio and a horror/comedy screenplay of his is currently in Pre-Production Hell somewhere on the Coast.
When not making up funny/scary stories, or manning the Help Desk of a Fortune 100 corporation, he assists his wife Kit in their semi-haunted vintage & costume shop.
Chris Day had a perfect life… when he was twelve years old. Twenty years later, he is divorced, unemployed, and desperate to get through to his twelve-year-old daughter, Liv. He hopes his grandmother’s dairy farm in Crickson, California will be a good place to start a new life. Chris spent his boyhood summers in mischief and squirrel-launching there with his two best friends, Olivia and Rafael.
Today, the dairy farmers grow marijuana to make ends meet, and the local radio station broadcasts the movements of the DEA to help them stay one step ahead. His grandmother’s obsession with squirrels has turned to a crusade of extermination. Olivia and Rafael are still in town, but nothing like the kids he dreamed of coming back to. Liv is sneaking out of the house late at night and Grandma has a collection of squirrel torture porn and homemade explosives. Pets and livestock are disappearing at an increasing rate.
You really can’t go home again, especially when it’s being eaten by GMO killer squirrels.
Grab your copy here!
Who are you and what do you write?
My hope is that my final label will be “Renaissance Man” instead of “Unstable Dilettante”. I grew up on a farm with cattle, pigs, etc. and spent a large part of my youth wandering the woods. I always had a fascination for the macabre and the odd, to the point of collecting bones & fossils into a cache in a rift on the hillside. Would love to see the faces of the new owners that found that. With the move to the Big City, I took the opportunity to build monsters & masks, perform street mime, & other horrors.
What I write now is primarily horror/comedy with an emphasis on physical action and little creatures.
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
There was a group of us oddballs in high school that gathered together in study hall and wrote amusing essays or stories to share amongst the lot of us. My drama teacher had me write a parody of Sesame Street which was performed in front of the whole school. I had the role of the rodent equivalent of Big Bird, complete with the rubber rat nose I made.
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
It has been sporadic. My first professional sale was a humorous article disguised as a letter to the editor in Science Digest my freshman year of college. For several years, it was bits and pieces: RPG systems & supplements; short plays; two commissions for horror/comedy which have yet to see the light of day. Bouts of melancholy and entirely too exciting life events sucked up the remaining time. Things finally gelled when I sold my first novel to Post Mortem Press in 2014. Since then I have published three more novels through small presses.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far? And the most enjoyable?
Communication and the struggle for a proper accounting from publishers of both fiction and gaming products has been ongoing & debilitating. Many writers are going through that right now. Many publishers will also gaslight as a tactic to avoid authors’ demands. This plays Hob with the minimal amounts of positive self-image and sanity we have.
My best moment of game writing came when a playtest group for a new project accidentally quoted from one of my previous projects without realizing I had been the author. To have a piece of my work becoming a part of popular culture, no matter how small, was even better than getting paid.
Would you go back and change anything?
I would write more and publish/produce with many more groups. There’s a natural desire to graft yourself onto a group of creatives as part of an extended non-blood family. My luck with that has proven little better than that with my flesh and blood relatives.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? And 10?
I hope to be a proper hybrid author, publishing my backstock & other items myself while working my way up the publishing food chain. There’s also the distant hope of getting some of my stories produced as films or TV programs. “Squirrel Apocalypse” is a natural successor to “Sharknado”.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
I would say never wait for input, keep grinding away at it. I once had a big name author painfully agree to look at my chapters. I waited for several months for her to get back to me on a middle chapter while she was hoping I had just forgotten about her.
And most importantly...
Ketchup or Mayo? Ketchup, definitely. Like some people I know, it’s only at its best after being burnt and mistreated.
Night or Day? Night. Easier to sneak up on people.
Inside or Outside? Grew up spending loads of time outside, then I got a computer.
Dogs or Cats? Thylacines
Twitter or Facebook? Most of my friends are on Facebook, but I sell more books on Twitter.
e-book or Paperback? It’s nice to have the heft of an actual book in your hands. You can also throw a paperback at your thylacine when it’s chewing the furniture without fear of breaking the screen.
Sun or Rain? I burst into flame under direct sunlight. The rain is quite soothing.
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? My first three novels were all written by hand. I’m training myself to use the laptop on first drafts for speed.
Comedy or Drama? Always Comedy. God is a comedian, playing to an audience afraid to laugh.
Chips or Chocolate? Chocolate chips will do.
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