Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am currently writing a gonzo journalism series that combines my personal experiences with real journalism. In addition to each novel in the series, I am writing an article to submit to law reviews. “Mouschwitz”, my latest novel, is my third. The previous two are called “Hell’s Angels Revisited” and “Fear and Loathing in the Mormon Church”. I am currently finishing up my fourth novel, entitled “Bartians”, about the queer Southern experience.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is named “Fear and Loathing in Mouschwitz”. I based it on my real life experiences working for Disney and in the entertainment industry. I have been greatly inspired by the people who have come forward to share their stories about sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, and so I am now sharing mine. Additionally, while I was at Disney, I worked on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, and I thought writing the novel in a gonzo journalism style would be a nice homage to Hunter Thompson’s gonzo legacy.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I pre-write for years and years before I start the actual manuscript. Once I start with the manuscript, I’m at my computer for 15 hours a day, often up late into the night. I’m a real work horse when it comes to writing. Also, it helps to keep a joint around for inspiration. Anything is on the table, really.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Hunter Thompson is a huge inspiration. I grew up loving the beat writers – William Burroughs, in particular – and I often try and emulate the maniacal poetry of his work, often using his cut-up method. Probably because my background is in theatre, I am massively inspired by playwrights: Suzan-Lori Parks, Edward Albee, Tony Kushner, to name a few. I used to type out Albee’s plays when I was younger, word for word, just to feel what it was like to write amazing plays like he did.
What are you working on now?
I am just finishing my fourth novel in the gonzo journalism series, “Bartians”: Fear and Loathing in Terrence Malick’s Cortices, about growing up queer and in the South. The title comes from the word people use to describe people from the city where I went to high school, Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The city has been used by many artists, including filmmaker Terrence Malick, as a token of Americana and the good old days. My experiences in Bartlesville were, I’m guessing, quite different and quite darker than Terrence Malick’s, and I want to provide visibility to how difficult life for queer people in the South can be. After that, I’m starting my fifth novel “Fear and Loathing on the 2020 Campaign Trail” and a collection of plays.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Check out my blog for my latest updates. I post “deleted scenes” and book previews all the time. Http://raindropsonrosesmedia.blogspot.com.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Your writing is often a reflection of the live you choose to live. The best thing you can do for yourself is to live a life worth writing about. Take risks. Have something to say that will mean something to other people. Don’t be afraid to get your nose dirty for a good story.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The playwright Steven Dietz, who I had the extreme pleasure of working with, has a philosophy: write what you don’t know. So many writers try to write about what they know, but great authors explore the unknown.
What are you reading now?
“The Master Builder and Other Plays” by Henrik Ibsen.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m working hard to raise awareness for my book and promote discussion about sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. As someone who is not a celebrity, it has been an eye-opening experience to see how little people will listen to you when you come forward with your own story about harassment. I will be doing some podcasts when it gets close to awards season, and I have been speaking with a few reporters at THR and Variety about my experiences. We are trying to get enough word of mouth out about “Mouschwitz” to get an article published.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Allen Ginsberg’s collected poems
Any play anthology with Brecht’s “The Caucasian Chalk Circle”
And Chelsea Handler’s “Are You There, Vodka?” for shits and giggles.