A length of stout rope, cyberpunk #flashfiction, denizens of hell & @AidenTruss
Welcome Aiden Truss, author of a new horror novel GAPE from Siren’s Call! He braved the sea to come visit me in my wee cabin in the woods! Having been sick this week, I had to scramble and do some last minute cleaning but I think we are going to have a good time.
Aiden! Thanks for hopping over here and chillaxin’ here at my cabin in the woods *kicking the bloody handled ax under the couch*. Sorry the black plastic garbage bags, I was doing some cleaning up in the area, needed to get rid of some
neighbors fall leaves before winter came! Do come in!… Let’s talk about you and let everyone know about GAPE!
CG -Tweet the book: You are challenged to tweet a synopsis of the book to include your tweet handle, GO
AT – Gape is the story of a girl & a demon; how she deals with #Power, how he deals with #Humanity, and how both #Survive
CG – Introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you. (As in tell us something NOT in your bio, give us a dirty little secret not having or having to do with your writing – please take the chance to not take yourself to seriously and enjoy!)
AT – I once owned nearly all of Anton LeVay’s ‘works’ in book form. I parenthesis that word as although I was hugely impressed at the time, I eventually realized that most of it was nonsense and just superficial regurgitation of the writings of others. For those not in the know, LaVey was the founder of modern Satanism. And, I did in fact consider myself a follower of its tenets. I even ran a fairly successful website and message board for other followers of the ‘Left Hand Path’. The whole thing didn’t really bear any intellectual scrutiny though, and I backed away and found something more worthwhile to do with my time.
My online name at this time was ‘Astolath’ as everyone seemed to adopt a moniker that was demonic sounding. As far as I know, the name didn’t exist before then, as I just played with the name ‘Astaroth’ from Dennis Wheatley’s To the Devil a Daughter. Astolath subsequently became one of the main characters in Gape.
Before you ask, no there were no animal sacrifices, orgies or blood-drinking sessions involved. The whole thing is actually a lot more prosaic than that. I distance myself from the whole adventure now – unless I’m asked to reveal a dirty little secret in an interview.
CG – Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into? Oh I know, I would love it if you took up my flash fiction challenge – no less than a short poem and no more that 500 words with the prompt of “Apple/s” since Fall is here (Yes this could work with romance, mystery, humour, textbooks on quantum physics.. own it, title it and GO!) This can even be a Haiku, just have fun!
AT – Science fiction is the genre in which I really wish I could write. In a work-in-progress I pastiche William Gibson’s cyber-punk style in a short passage I’ve expanded on this slightly: (CG – Gibson is on my list of literary gods, so have at it!)
Trixie Template awoke on the rectangle of sweat-drenched temper-foam. That last confrontation with the NSMC’s ICE had left her spinal cord throbbing with the painful, screaming echoes of the encounter. Her prefrontal cortex felt bruised and numbed, making thought and movement difficult, and preventing her from lifting her head from the cold wet mulch of her bed.
She was aware of an insistent bleep-bleep-bleep from somewhere in the room and with an aching slowness the cracked, tiled ceiling over her came into some sort of focus. In her peripheral vision, she could also now see the reflection of a pulsing green light on the wall next to her. Her trusty old Ono-Sendai 6 cyberspace deck was still switched on next to her; it was still connected even if she wasn’t.
Despite her physical and mental state, she tried desperately to lean over in order to jack-in and find out what had happened to her. It wasn’t just the ICE that had fried her, there had been something else in there too, an AI of immense power. She’d glimpsed it in the last nanosecond before her consciousness was scattered like light dancing on rippling water. An image or an avatar of some sort; gargantuan, overwhelming and crystalline, it towered over her like a cliff face. Its eyes peered into her mind, exciting the neurons to a state of agitation.
It opened a monstrous mouth and she had thought that she’d be swallowed whole in its gaping maw. Instead it whispered to her in a deafening basso rumble, ‘OWE ESS ESS!’ and vanished from view as she lost all perception.
Trixie couldn’t quite force herself upright. Leaning on one elbow she waved her hand pathetically in the direction of the console, her fingertips brushings its chromed edge but unable to find purchase.
It was then that she remembered the apple. She’d ‘acquired’ it from the black marketer down in the southern sector of the sprawl just the day before. Such items were expensive and highly sought-after and the organic Granny Smith in her possession would cost over one hundred credits at a susmart vendor. Now its value was purely as an essential fuel for her drained body. She’d eat the apple and then try again to move from her slough of self-imposed despond. Relaxing back into the mattress, she squirmed her way onto her other side and managed with a mighty effort to rock over onto her front.
There in front of her was the apple. In the semi-darkness it looked black with tiny points of light dancing across its skin, reflected from the pulsing console light. Slowly and numbly, she brought her arm up level with her face and reached for it.
The first attempt was unsuccessful as her depth perception failed and she only managed to brush the fruit with her fingertips and knock it slightly further away. Her eyes stinging with tears, she uttered a pathetic “Fuck!” and steeled herself to try again.
This time she managed to paw it toward her face. It took several further attempts at this flailing motion before she finally felt the apple next to her cheek and for a while she just lay there feeling its coolness against her skin. Next came the really hard part: holding the damn thing so that she could eat it. Focusing with every last bit of energy in her body, she grasped it, pulled it close to her mouth and bit into it hard.
The biting action had two instant effects. It released a small river of tangy juice down the side of her face and it also release the two bio-engineered digi-worms that had been waiting patiently to enter her system. One immediately made its wait toward her digestive tract to release a cocktail of soporific chemicals into her bloodstream while the other began burrowing upward through her soft palate, seeking the shortest route to her brain.
CG – You’ my friend are fast becoming someone whom may go onto my “Authors whose brainpans I want to lick” list! That was just awesome!
CG – Your main character is a homeless girl. How does this impact the story compared to the other books with the same denizens within the demon realm?
AT – Rose was partly inspired by a girl that I saw on the bus one day – a goth girl that reminded me a little of the character of Death from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic books. I knew that the main character had to be a young female, just to impart that feeling of helplessness and even weakness. Of course Rose is much stronger than she seems and has arguably seen more of Hell in her life than Priest has. She’s vulnerable but has a hard streak that allows her to both confront her past and to deal with whatever Priest throws at her. Other books that I’ve read within a similar milieu all seem to have male protagonists when in my experience, woman are far more pragmatic at dealing with the vagaries and vicissitudes of life.
CG – If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?
AT – Full cast!
Priest – Ben Whishaw: He seems to have an unworldly sensibility that would be great for the role. Even in the last James Bond film (he played ‘Q’) he seemed like a fish out of water.
Rose – Mary Elizabeth Winstead: She just had such a great goth/punk look in Scott Pilgrim Vs the World. In my mind’s eye, she looked like the perfect Rose.
Astolath – Glenn Jacobs (AKA Kane from WWE): He wouldn’t need any make-up would he! He’s a great big guy, but also has a degree in English Literature, so I’m sure he’d bring something great to the role.
Eldredd – Simon Pegg / Rosamund Pike: Obviously this is a dual role for chunks of the book/movie. Simon Pegg is a great comedian and actor and Rosamund Pike manages to be seriously sexy whilst bringing gravitas to whatever she’s in.
Sinn – Nick Frost: Because he’s best when he’s with Simon Pegg (and vice versa). I love everything they’ve done together, from Spaced to The World’s End.
CG – Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing (as in what candy / snack food / drink / 80’s hair band you break out in song too when you just cannot figure out the next line to write and that bitch of a muse is off on her own hunt)?
AT – Nothing exciting – just endless cups of coffee and non-stop music. If I’m alone, I turn the music up on my hi-fi, but if there are people around me then I pop my earbuds in and rely on my iPod. I’ve got pretty catholic tastes in music, but mainly veer toward the heavy end of the spectrum. Gape was mainly written to the accompaniment of Dream Theater’s A Dramatic Turn of Events and Marillion’s Sounds That Can’t be Made albums. And yes, I’ve got a healthy respect for 80’s hair metal too, so there was probably some Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi and Warrant there in my playlists too!
CG – What do you do when you’re not writing? (ie: What festive things do you do for fun? What things do you do when you make yourself have fun, and what is on the top of your list to do when you actually take two days for you (and family)
AT – When I’m not writing, my main pastimes are reading, music and video games. I have a huge collection of consoles and games and especially like the horror-related titles such as the Castlevania, Resident Evil and Silent Hill series.
(CG – you and my my honey would get along big time! Heck all of us would, see.. creeping up there to the “Authors whose brain pans I wanna lick” pile.. I know I know CREEPY, I swear I am safe! Anyway, I love RE though, and he likes it but I’m the one that beat RE4 on the Wii one night in bed. I couldn’t sleep! He is my retro-gamer man! We fell in love over Silent Hill playing, well that was one of the things we did!)
AT -I live pretty close to the O2 arena so go to quite a few gigs as well. Most recently I saw Iron Maiden and in December I’ve got my ticket to see Black Sabbath there as well. Other than that, I prefer my own company most of the time. I love visiting museums and even old churches and cathedrals. Though I have no faith, I love wondering through Norman and Gothic architecture. I admire the human endeavour behind such buildings.
(CG – I spent my junior and part of my senior year romping around Europe just taking photos of gargoyles, churches and cathedrals. The is something inspiring, and it has nothing to do with religion, I agree!)
If I had to choose a favourite place to be with the family, it would be Fethiye in South West Turkey. I’ve been going there for years and have many friends there. It’s a very different but very welcoming culture. And they have some of the best food in the world.
Oh, and failing any of the above, you’ll find me in one of London’s great pubs! (CG – Huzzah)
CG – During the zombie apocalypse, what fictional character would you want watching your back?
AT – That would have to be Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead. I’m a fan of the comic books and the TV series and he always seems to know what to do.
(CG – I love Rick, I am hoping I will love him like I did in Season 1&2 this year because in S3 I wanted to strangle him many times. I love the comic series too, and I adore him in tha one. But I am a Daryl girl, and I realize it is a TV only character, but I can’t help it, I adore Daryl! Here is one for both of us!)
CG – If your book was a meal what would it be? Meat and potatoes? Vegetarian? A light nouveau cuisine?
AT – Gape would be the ‘Endless Slab’ option at Tony Roma’s restaurant. They make the best ribs I’ve ever tasted (I’m a big carnivore!) and for a set price, you can just keep ordering racks of ribs all night. I wrote Gape in short chapters as I like to read in short digestible chunks. I’ve only ever managed three and a half racks of ribs, but I reckon that Gape is consumable all in one sitting if you really apply yourself.
Let’s make this a real Cabin Goddess “Interview and a recipe”
CG – Create a drink (with or without booze) representing your book in name and ingredients
AT – I took advice from a cocktail-loving friend about what might make a suitably dark cocktail. We decide to name this one…
- A large measure of decent cognac (preferably Remi Martin XO)
- A generous splash of Cherry liqueur
- A dash of lime juice
- Two lychees
- Serve in a cocktail glass
I’ve been deliberately imprecise in my measurements. Let’s just say that one should be generous in all things. If you’ve got the consistency correct, it should look like a couple of eyeballs floating in a glass of blood!
“Make Mine a Meal”
We all need a meal to go with this great read… a horror book? I am not sure I want a recipe, keep it clean, I have been trying to get Siri to answer the great “How do I clean blood off indoor outdoor carpet without leaving trace evidence?” Answered for two phone models, she hates me. She really does…
AT – There’s only one meal that goes with Gape and that’s an ‘All-day Jumbo Breakfast’. It’s so good that even arch-demons demand it from room service at the swankiest hotels. It’s also a really popular meal in the UK at any time of the day.
Two eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato and bubble. Joseph’s Café, Stoke Newington High Street, Hackney, London. 1 November 2005. Photographer: Fin Fahey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Four rashers of bacon
- Two fried eggs
- Two Cumberland Sausages
- Fried mushrooms
- Fried tomatoes
- Baked beans
- Hash browns
- Black pudding (optional)
- Bubble and squeak (optional)*
- A big mug of sweet tea.
*check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_and_squeak for an explanation of this one.
CG – FAST and FURIOUS – Don’t pause just answer what comes first to mind
- Beer, Wine, Shot Glass and a bottle or perhaps blood?
- Beer – more precisely, real ale. My favourite is Golden Glory!
- Coke, Pepsi or Angels Tears?
- Coke Zero mixed with Angels Tears. (CG – You are now officially on my “Authors whose brain pan I want to lick” List)
- Train, Plain or Ice Cream Truck?
- Helmet, Baseball Hat or Scalp?
- Scalp – I keep mine short!
- Killer clown or Clown killer?
- Killer Clown – ever since Stephen King’s IT.
- Kill Kit or Weapon of opportunity?
- Kill Kit – preferably Kurgan’s two-piece sword from Highlander.
- Working stiff of a Demon, Succubus or Angel?
- It would have to be Succubus.
- Duct tape or Zip Ties?
- How about a length of stout rope?
- Chainsaw arm or shotgun leg (gotta throw a zombie apocalypse related question in here! 🙂 )?
- Chainsaw arm definitely. I can’t wait for the new Evil Dead movie with Bruce Campbell!
CG – Anything you would like to add… appearances, upcoming releases, where I can find someone to adjust the algorithms for my time machine?
AT – I’ve got an upcoming launch event and signing for Gape at Piranha Comics in Bromley (the town where the opening of the novel is set), on the 28th September at 12pm.
Thank you so much for coming today! Don’t worry about me and my time machine, buddy. But mark my words, if I make it to Roman times? I am heading to England… can you say.. total family tree annihilation muwahahhaha.. Just kidding! Thanks for being on the blog! 🙂
Well guys, what do you think? Aiden is just awesome! The book (started reading it) is really great so far and doesn’t that drink look scrumptious? You can make it with a blueberry-cran for the kids for a Halloween party!
When Rose woke up in her favourite shop doorway, she was resigned to yet another day of hunger, struggle and abuse. This was life on the streets after all.
What she wasn’t prepared for was a visit from a demon, an invitation back to his temporally insubstantial sanctuary, and forced to take sides in a battle involving most of the denizens of hell. Oh, and a boat trip down the river Thames.
After a disappointing start to the day, things were about to get a bit more interesting…
Genre – Lit-Fic -Horror
Length – 326 pages
Publisher – Siren’s Call Publications
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