1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
I think I caught the bug back in elementary school; I was a big comic book fan all through grade/middle school and got the itch to tell stories around that time. Throughout high school I wrote short stories and had my own comic strip in the school paper about a deranged stick figure that prompted my art teacher to recommend I see a therapist… That’s probably when I knew I was cursed/blessed with a writer’s life.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
I’d definitely say I was a huge spy fiction junkie when I was in high school/college (Fleming, le Carre, etc.) and I also enjoyed the classic sci-fi writers (Asimov, Verne, etc.) when I was younger. I’m still a fan of those writers but I’ve gotten more into authors like Bukowski, Burroughs and Selby, Jr. in recent years.
3. What was the inspiration behind your novel The Spartak Trigger?
As a big fan of both action thrillers and transgressive fiction, I wanted to write something that effectively fused the two genres, creating something as entertaining as possible with an extra layer of satire that made the work more readable and original while mocking its own shortcomings. In essence, I was wanted to do a self-contained parody of spy fiction with simplistic, straightforward prose that would serve as both a deconstruction of and tribute to genre tropes.
4. Will we ever see any of these characters again?
I am working on a sequel right now actually… It’s a little different structurally/tonally than The Spartak Trigger but retains a lot of the same stylistic elements and overall sensibilities.
5. Why make a lead character as offensive as Shane Bishop is? Was there a particular reason for it?
I’ve always enjoyed anti-heroes in fiction and, particularly in the neo-noir genre, the central characters tend to be naturally unlikeable, which makes their ‘character arcs’ easier to follow/plan out I suppose… I wanted to have Bishop undergo the antithesis of that, becoming even more of a jerk as the story went on, but he ended up being about the same, which I suppose belies the archetype somewhat anyway haha.
6. Were any of the characters personalities or emotions taken from real life?
I’d say certain elements of Bishop’s detached sensibilities come from people I’ve encountered but I definitely don’t know anyone as awful as him in real life thankfully.
7. What other genres would you like to try your hand at?
I recently finished a more straightforward thriller that I’m hoping to find a publisher for in the near future. I wouldn’t mind looking at doing some alternate history down the road as well.
8. What would you do if you were Shane?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one – he’s definitely not a character whose skin I’d like to be in any time soon! I suppose if I were Shane my destiny would be pre-determined by the narrator so I’d just go along for the ride much like he does.
9. Was there any intended symbolism behind the fact that the villains were just as involved in cyber crime as they were in actual, physical crime?
As we’ve seen this year/month, cyber terrorism is most definitely something we’ll be dealing with for quite some time. I didn’t set out to echo what was happening in real life but I originally thought that doing something with hackers/online criminals with grandiose ambitions a la a Bond villain would be unique and, as it turns out, I was completely wrong unfortunately.
10. Would you like to see The Spartak Trigger as a film or TV show? If yes, who do you want to play your characters?
I think Josh Brolin would make a good Bishop; he has that rugged leading man/action hero quality but is also capable of adding depth to seemingly-one-dimensional characters and he conveys a sense of vulnerability in his characters that I think would suit the role well. For Svetlana, I think Milla Jovovich would be great and I’d probably go with Michael Fassbender to play Kirill as I think he could be very funny/effective in a role like that. Luke Edwards would be the obvious choice to play The Wizard haha.
11. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
I’d obviously love to be able to write full-time but I’m not sure how realistic that is this day and age… As long as I can continue to put out something every year or two and keep the Bishop series going in one form or another, I’d be cool with that.
12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
Part of me wishes I’d stuck with music as a hobby (used to play bass in rock bands) but it’s tough to have a more fulfilling side-gig other than this!
13. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next?
Right now I’m working on the sequel to The Spartak Trigger, which will see Bishop returning to the U.S. and engaging in more bizarro hijinks.
14. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?
I’d actually have to say Alan Moore for this one. His creative process seems so unique and off-the-wall, it’d be extremely interesting to see him develop something firsthand.
15. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
- I was once in a Poison tribute band for almost an entire year
- Even though I’m Canadian, I’m a terrible ice skater
- I still know all the words to the McDonald’s Menu Song from the 80s
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