Pssssst.... did you see the new, freaking awesome trailer for Apocalypse Weird made by the one and only Eric Tozzi?? Isn't it cool??
Today my Apocalypse Weird author guest is Forbes West, author of Nighthawks at the Mission and Once Upon a Time in Temecula. Forbes was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and graduated with a Master's Degree in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach. He's here today to tell us about his story set in the Apocalypse Weird world, a one of a kind project started by a guild of independent authors who got together and decided to make their own brand world (more info on AW at the end of the post).
Welcome to CHIMERAS, Forbes!
EEG: How did you get involved in the AW project?
FW: I was screwing around at my old job and I started to harass Nick Cole online after harassing Michael Bunker online from work and then one thing sort of led to another and I got a cease and desist letter from Nick’s lawyer and then I got an invitation to join up after I ignored that cease and desist letter because I won’t be ignored both of these men appeased my aggression.
Nah, in all honesty, Nick Cole and Michael Bunker liked my stuff from my book “Nighthawks at the Mission” a lot and they were like “bring the motherfucking thunder” and I responded with a simple “What up. I’m down. ” Maybe not in so many words, but you know, that’s how it, you know, basically worked out. They liked “Nighthawks at the Mission”, they wanted me in. And I’m in all in for this. Nick, Michael and Tim Grahl have come up with something golden for the ages and I’m so happy to be in on the ground floor of this thing as we build it up into a legendary monstrosity of literature. I don’t think there’s been a more interesting array of ideas that are connected since the early days of Marvel and this is some special shit. This is a wildfire that’s gonna burn up the internet.
EEG: Tell us a little bit about your AW story and its premise.
FW: Mine’s called “Medium Talent” and it's about a young woman named Wendy Wicker who owns her own boat and works small jobs throughout the abandoned Florida Keys that are covered in very satanic looking undead and Lovecraftian abominations that rise out of the sea. She’s a former artist, she has an adopted family to take care of, and she gets off on killing. A simple job she pulls transporting a couple of terrorists out of Key West flips her life around and sends her down a spiral that slowly reveals to her some nasty little secrets of her actual life and the universe itself. I like to think it of post-apocalyptic noir in the David Lynch sense of the term “noir” meaning “shit’s gonna get weird fast”. It’s also an homage to Hemingway’s “To Have or Have Not”, the book, not that 50 year old Humphrey Bogart hitting on a 19 year old the whole time movie.
EEG: Is it true that you own a house in Japan?
FW: Yes, I damn well do. You don’t think I do, you go and talk to Bunker- I sent his family Japanese goodies and stuff and IT WAS VERY WELL RECEIVED AND EVERYBODY LIKED IT AND THEY DIDN’T EXPECT IT. WHY DOES EVERYONE THINK-
Ahem. Yes, I do. Let’s- erase that. Skip that first part. Yes, I do. We bought it in 2012. It’s in Shizouka Prefecture, about five hours south by drive from Tokyo, close to Mt.Fuji. It’s mostly green tea farms around us and beyond that some dense forests too. The Pacific is about a twenty minute walk away if walk next to the river.
EEG: Oooh, that sounds beautiful! Why Japan, though, what do you love about it?
FW: It’s not a paradise on earth by any stretch of the imagination but it’s a great place nonetheless. I love the fresh food (Tuna is the best in Shizouka, it's the freshest in the country, they catch the big mothers in the waters outside the prefecture).
I love that drinking a beer at 10:00am with breakfast is A-OK. And that breakfast is raw tuna over rice and that tuna was still moving 15 minutes ago. I love the fact you can still smoke in bars without in being an issue and that bar food is some of the best food you’ll ever have. I love the people who are unfailingly polite, I love my in-laws, there. I love that it rains in Japan when it never does in California anymore. I love that vending machines look like they are twenty years in the future compared to us with a variety of drinks that aren’t just Coke or Diet Coke.
I love that Tommy Lee Jones’s face stares out from every vending machine and billboard because he is the Boss of Boss Coffee (a Japanese brand you never see in the States). I love that down the road from our house is a temple older than the USA. I love that there’s bullet trains that I can take from Shizouka to Tokyo that lasts 45 minutes when a car ride is 5 hours. I love that you can leave your door unlocked at night anywhere, including Tokyo and that a bike being stolen was front page news in my adopted hometown and that a liquor store being robbed was national news even though no one was hurt and nothing was unique about it.
I love that a car is nice but unnecessary. I love that gas station/rest stops are some of the best places to be and that you want to stop off at one instead of needing to stop off at one. I love that everything has a mascot (Shizouka’s is an Ultraman type character, the police have a bear in a police uniform, a moving company has giant ants, JAL has Pokemon). I love that its culture is always an unfolding mystery for me. I love everything about Japan.
EEG: LOL, cars are nice but unnecessary in Europe, too. I miss that. Tell us about your book Nighthawks at the Mission, the premise and what inspired it.
FW: “Nighthawks at the Mission” was supposed to be a simple young adult adventure novel but I sort of fucked that up and it became something a little bit deeper. The simple premise of it is this young woman from California, Sarah Orange, lives in a reality where we in our own modern time can enter into another world called The Oberon through a portal in the South Pacific.
The Oberon has become the real final frontier and once she finds out she’s got nothing left at home because her boyfriend is a piece of shit and her mother is a real piece of work, she decides to sign up and become one of the many American settlers who have decided to move to and colonize this place that’s half Lord of the Rings, half H.P. Lovecraft nightmare. She wants to go in order to start again and also get money- the place is filled with orichalcum, a special mineral found on The Oberon that allows people to use magical powers.
But as she’s there, she finds out some dark truth about her dead sister who had gone before to The Oberon and has to face down a terrorist threat from people and Ni-Perchta (the indigenous beings that live in The Oberon) who don’t want the colonists to be around. Oh, and there’s a lot of alcohol and adderall being used and lots of zombies that live in these abandoned but very high tech cities scattered throughout the countryside. In its way, it is of a deconstruction of the Young Adult genre at the same time. I look at everything she faces and inject some horrid reality into it.
EEG: What is your best quality and what's your worst one?
FW: I think my best quality is I can think out of the box and I can generate different ideas when I write and be cordial and polite and professional. I think. I could be delusional about that. The worst one is I doubt my work too much but I think that’s just something of a cross that every writer has to bear.
EEG: What inspires you?
FW: Alcohol and marijuana. Seriously, though it's just marijuana. And lots of travel. I like going to new places and talking with people and people watch at the same time and sort of peak into realities I hadn’t experienced before. I get inspired by bad movies and thinking up ways I could have made them better as a sort of mental/artistic exercise- and that if bad movies (and bad books) could be made and published, I can do the same too. That’s a low bar to get over, I know. But it’s sort of true. I also get inspired by wife the eternal optimist. She knows the sky is the limit and she pumps me up every time to go at any project with everything I got and not to settle for doing what others are doing.
EEG: Wife always knows best! ;-) Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Forbes!
Intrigued by Apocalypse Weird? Then read the first book, The Red King, by Nick Cole, which is completely free and sets the world of Apocalypse Weird. You can also sign up for our mailing list to make sure you don't miss the big launch on february 23rd. And you can join us on Facebook, too. Michael Bunker also has a great post about Apocalypse Weird on his blog.
Author Hank Garner is also doing a series of podcasts on Apocalypse Weird: last week he interviewed Nick Cole, and this week Hank just posted a new podcast in which Michael Bunker talks about his AW book, Digger, the first in his Texocalypse world.
And if you are a writer and you would like to take part in the Apocalypse Weird project, Nick has a wonderful post where he explains how to apply.
Apocalypse Weird Authors:
Ellen Campbell (editor)