Meet Scott Cole
Tiffany Scandal: Scott, how's it going?
Scott Cole: Great! It's a new year, so I recently shed my moss and twig layer, and revealed my new 2015 peanut butter layer to the world. It's crunchy. I'm very excited.
TS: You're a part of this year's New Bizarro Author Series. How'd you come across bizarro? And how'd you find out about NBAS?
SC: Well, I've always been a fan of weird stuff.
I was into horror from a relatively young age (I remember seeing The Shining when I was 7 or 8, and previewing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre at age 9 because I wanted to watch it with friends at my 10th birthday party). Eventually I discovered things like Surrealist art, Monty Python's Flying Circus, films like Eraserhead, and so on, and something about the weirdness of these things really struck a chord inside me. And so from that point on, I was always seeking out the strange corners of all kinds of media (not that I ever gave up my love of the horror genre).
Knowing this, a friend of mine asked me at some point (in 2006 or 2007, I believe) if I was familiar with the term "bizarro fiction". I wasn't, so I looked it up online, and found Carlton Mellick III's website, and a few publishers like Eraserhead Press and Raw Dog Screaming Press. I fell in love immediately, ordered a bunch of books, and have been reading bizarro ever since.
I was aware of the NBAS pretty much from the start of it, and I think it's great way for a press like Eraserhead to introduce new writers and give them a year to sort of find their footing in the world of publishing.
Reading bizarro helped get me excited about writing again after a bit of a lull, and eventually I realized that the NBAS would be something to aim for. So, achievement unlocked!
TS: Tell me about your book SuperGhost.
SC: SuperGhost is the story of a mad scientist who is posing as a therapist for people who suffer from Phantom Limb Syndrome. In actuality, he has devised a way to steal their phantom limbs (which are literally the ghosts of their missing appendages), and then assemble them into a giant multi-limbed ghost-monster. And then, of course, the amputees must find a way to band together to defeat this monstrosity.
I sometimes describe it to people as Frankenstein meets Pacific Rim, but weirder. Others have compared aspects of it to Ghostbusters. There's some horror, some sci-fi, some humor, some social commentary. I think it's a lot of fun.
TS: What inspired the story?
SC: I can't really point to any one thing that necessarily inspired it from the start, at least not consciously. I'm struck with random story ideas, or at least images that eventually lead to story ideas, all the time. I keep a notebook of ideas, titles, phrases, images, and so on, which I'll go back to if I'm stuck for something to write about.
I'd had the idea of a mad scientist sticking phantom limbs together lurking in the back of my head for a while, but wasn't sure what to do with it. And I had an idea involving the Meatball from the second half of the book at some point too. But I never got around to writing either of them as stories.
This was also at a time when I was struggling to figure out how to write something a bit longer than my previous work. I always just considered myself a short story writer, with most of my work being about 2500 words or less. But I really wanted to get into the NBAS, and I knew I'd need to write a novella in order to do that.
Finally, something clicked, and I realized these two story ideas would work well together, and maybe I could expand the story and turn it into something novella-length. Of course, I was in a movie theater when I had this Eureka moment, and I spent the duration of the film with my mind racing.
Not long after that, I started the actual work of writing SuperGhost. And once I was into it, I realized that the idea of people overcoming disabilities or setbacks was a real inspiration. It was fun to combine a serious idea with some of my great genre loves, like mad scientist stories, Cronenbergian body horror, and Japanese kaiju movies, and create something new.
TS: NBAS is intended to be a huge learning experience for new authors. What do you hope to get out of this opportunity?
SC: If you think of the bizarro scene as a college, the NBAS is kind of like freshman year. It feels exciting and welcoming and validating, but at the same time, it's really just the beginning of something that will be both challenging and fun.
It's amazing to have a book out through Eraserhead, and it's a really nice thing that there are people who specifically look to the NBAS each year to find new writers. So we've got to take that ball and run with it.
The biggest thing about this whole experience is finding and making connections with readers, as well as other writers. Convincing someone to drop some of their hard-earned money on a book by someone they've never heard of is easier said than done. So I'll be doing my best to continue making those connections as time moves forward. I'll be doing some more giveaways this year, as well as other fun things to try to reel people into the wonderful world of bizarro fiction.
TS: If this book could make it into the hands of anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?
SC: Well, my ultimate goal is to reach everyone on the planet who can read. Seems feasible, right?
Short of that, I don't know. I could list every writer or filmmaker whose work I've enjoyed, but that would really stretch the length of this interview out to something pretty unreasonable. It's true, though. I'd like to get this book into the hands of as many people as possible.
But, narrowing it down... I would love to know what a 1950s Ray Bradbury thought of SuperGhost. Or the Monty Python guys. Or Takashi Miike.
TS: How can we stalk you online?
SC: Twitter (@13visions) and Facebook (/scottcole13) are best for announcements, musings, and random photos and posts about whatever day-to-day strangeness I encounter.
I've got a website too, because I'm fancy (www.13visions.com). I really neglected it for a while, but lately I've been trying to post there a little more often. Some of my art and graphic design work can be found there as well.
TS: Closing thoughts/statements?
SC: I'd just like to say thanks to you, Tiffany, for the interview, and thank you to anyone who picks up SuperGhost. (And triple-thanks to anyone who reviews it!) I hope you all enjoy the ride.
Oh, and don't forget to eat your vegetables.
There you have it, ghouls and gals. If you dug anything (or hell, everything) about this interview, mosey on over and snag yourself a copy of SuperGhost today. Available in both paperback and kindle editions.
Keep it creepy.
Tiffany Scandal is a writer, Suicide Girl, photographer, and resident crazy cat person. Her second book, Jigsaw Youth, will be out on March 11th through Ladybox Books.