Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Meet my Newest Guest: Rayme Michaels!

I want to welcome Rayme Michaels. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.
Tell us about your latest release.

It’s called Screw the Devil’s Daiquiri, and it’s a dark, urban comedy meets psychological drama. It’s a novel that deals with things such as narcissism, childhood trauma, PTSD, the loss of innocence, feelings of emptiness, avarice, death, sex and the trap and pitfalls of living a self-absorbed life. It’s also a very surreal and absurdist book, very Rabelaisian in nature – like me. It’s for any fan of the show Californication.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

My favourite villain is the Joker, namely the Joker of Alan Moore’s classic graphic novel, The Killing Joke. I think it’s such a brilliant masterpiece. The Joker sees the human predicament for what it is, every second of his life, that is, as being completely and utterly absurd. He’s a character that has reached Heidegger’s call to consciousness, just like the protagonist in my new book, and wants to completely consummate himself and the entire world with the chaos of this reality that is so potent to him. The dispersing of his perspective into the world, no matter how horrific the means, gives him nothing but sheer elation, and from this joy comes that iconic laugh of his, a laugh which stands completely antipodal to Batman’s solemn, austere demeanor. Both characters are dark, but in completely antithetical ways, and I love the dynamics that can forever be played out by that Ying-Yang dichotomy.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

That’s a really hard question. I’ve written three books now, and I loved writing all my characters. I guess the character I’ve enjoyed writing the most is Jackie in my new book: an insane maniac of a co-worker, mistress and office tramp, all-too-eager to get whatever she wants out of life and ready to do whatever it takes to get it. And she relishes in destroying and devouring anyone whom she is paranoid might be stepping on her toes and getting in her way. In the case of my new book, that poor new victim of hers is my lead character, John Hazel. I love that which is outrageous and over-the-top, and that’s exactly what Jackie is.

3.) What genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

My first and third books are comedies (though very different types of comedies and very different in style), but my second book, Red Love, is a dark, gory, romantic vampire thriller. I don’t feel that I chose any of my books’ genres, however. I feel they chose me. I always loved comedies, yet, when I was a kid, from age 9 to 12, I was obsessed with horror movies. Then, when I was 21, I read Vittorio the Vampire by Anne Rice, and I was blown away by it. The impact it had on me always stuck, I think. And, at the same time, being a philosophy graduate, Red Love (which, like my first book, Incorrigibility, is a novella), was a great way for me to express my thoughts on the human race and vent out my disdain for it. But Red Love is a warning that if you let your misanthropy get the better of you, you can go insane, just like my lead character, Paul. I have him express my disgust for the severely stupid side of humanity, but, being an immortal vampire drunk with power, he goes too, too far. As for writing comedies, I’ve always had a knack for making people both laugh and think, and I really enjoy doing both of those two things with my writing.

4.) What are you working on now?

It’s a secret.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I loved writing wacky short stories when I was in grade three, which is when creative writing was introduced to me. I have always had a wild imagination and always greatly enjoyed exploring and reveling in it. I remember, from then on, my short stories and even poems making people laugh. I wrote my first poem when I was nine (in grade four), but it wasn’t one of humor; it was about having a crush. I was pretty much just happy to make words rhyme. But I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, so you’ll find elements of that in my books as well. When I was ten, in grade five, I wrote this insanely long 27-page short story (single spaced) called Animals of the Fire for a creative writing unit we were doing over the course of a few months. Everybody else in the class had only written a few pages. I just couldn’t stop writing; I kept wanting to add more and more to the story. It became an obsession.

I got serious about writing when I was 22. I started writing screenplays. My first book, Incorrigibility, was my third screenplay, written on and off between, I think, ages 22 and 24. I decided to turn it into a short novel, years later, in late 2011, when I was 30. My screenwriting was heavily influenced by Kevin Smith. I’ve always been fascinated by contentious characters and bawdy, dialog-driven humor, so Incorrigibility is fueled by just that kind of style, with barely any narrative. My newest book, Screw the Devil’s Daiquiri, has a lot of both dialog and narration. I highly enjoyed writing it from the moment I sat down to begin writing its first scene. 

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

From people, movies, philosophy, and generally from my hyperactive mind.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

Well, my newest book is autobiographical in many ways. I pretty much put myself out there in my writing. I think I’d be the person a lot of them would expect to meet.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

Impersonations. I used to play the electric guitar too.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

I never got advice about being an author. I just kept at it.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

That would have to be my favorite philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. I would show him my Master’s major research project, which was on his first essay of On the Genealogy of Morals, a book which hastened me on my path of academic study and opened my mind to so much. I would also try to convince him that his views on women as expressed in Chapter Seven of Beyond Good and Evil, from aphorism 232 to the end of that chapter, are completely wrong and inane. I would also tell him about my books, of course, and thank him for the incredible influence he had on my life.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

Wow! Now that’s a tough question! Songs that have always spoken to me are Voodoo Child by Jimi Hendrix, Rain by The Beatles, The Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel, Tired of Waiting for You by The Kinks, Dazed and Confused by Led Zeppelin, Time and Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd, Runnin’ With the Devil by Van Halen, Simply Irresistible by Robert Palmer, Love Buzz by Nirvana (a cover song, actually), Alive and Release by Pearl Jam, Basket Case by Green Day, Common People by Pulp, Sick and Beautiful by Artificial Joy Club, Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve and Got You Where I Want You by The Flies. Sorry, there’s no way a music lover and rocker like myself can narrow it down to only one song.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

A bald eagle. I’ve always wanted to be able to fly.


Excerpt:

He looked all around, and all he could see were fools dancing on the pulse-beat of nothingness as they plummeted towards death on a giant ball of dirt that would eventually be swallowed up by a black hole that was once our sun. All he saw was people utterly desperate for an escape from a reality that to him was even more potent inside that hole called a nightclub than in the outside world, far away from that shelter and stomping ground of showoffs, prima donnas, fashion junkies, phonies, drunks, skanks, snobs, cock-teasers, posers, bullshitters, alpha males, pimp and gangster wannabes, etc., etc., ad nauseam. That reality being, of course, that none of them mattered, and that if God did exist, he didn’t give a damn about any of them or any of this. Our inner need to touch eternity was just a futile desire, and not even the power of love, as great as it was, could assist us in fulfilling it. The meaninglessness of it all was far too potent for John to be able to drink or dance away. Eventually, we are all forgotten, and that was something that no amount of booze or shitty music could ever make him forget. Sure a hot she-demon followed him around, but he was still a realist, after all. He just assumed he was schizophrenic.

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