I had so much fun doing the last author interview I decided to reach out to another author whose book I enjoyed at the beginning of the year. Mr. Sam Hooker, author of Peril in the Old Country.
I am very happy to have author Sam Hooker on the blog today! Sam is the author of the wickedly funny fantasy, Peril in the Old Country. Sam, thanks for taking the time to answer a few of my questions today.
My pleasure! I derive great satisfaction from ignoring my own blog, and this gives me an opportunity to do that while blogging at the same time. I am Schrödinger’s Blogger.
First, let me say that I loved Sloot. He is a character that stays with you long after you read about his adventures. I feel like Sloot may have been based loosely on someone. If so, could you share more?
Sloot Peril is the result of never having taken a risk. Not even a small one. Every non-fictional person has taken a risk in their lives, even if it was nothing more daring than an exciting sock color with an otherwise drab suit.
I’ve probably put more of myself in Sloot than I’ll ever admit, and I don’t have to. You should see my sock drawer. It’s scintillating.
This is such a standard question, and I feel dorky for asking, it but what was your inspiration for Peril? It is really original, and I can’t say I’ve read anything like it in a long time.
Thanks! I’ve heard it said that all writers cram their first novels with every bit of inspiration they’ve ever had. Where’s that kitchen sink? I think I’ve got room for it next to the cathartic telling-off that my high school Latin teacher will never realize is directed at him.
Of course, this is my second novel, so I managed to restrain myself a bit; however, the inspiration for this one still spans a great deal of the literature and film that have coagulated in the stew of my brain. Dystopian films (anything that Terry Gilliam has ever done), the farcical works of my favorite novelists (Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Roger Zelazny), and sarcastic or curmudgeonly comedians (Dylan Moran, Eddie Izzard) have all put something into the pot.
There seems to be a trend where authors are giving their books soundtracks. If you were to give Peril a soundtrack, what would it be?
I listen to a lot of movie soundtracks and instrumental music while I write. For this book, Danny Elfman’s soundtrack for The Wolfman was on heavy rotation. Eerie, atmospheric, and at times urgent in a way that reminded me I hadn’t murdered anyone in a while.
It’s probably cheating to use another soundtrack for my own, but the only other types of music I listen to are dubstep and Norwegian folk metal, and I hate dubstep.
I personally can’t read, write, and listen to music at the same time. I usually either get pulled into the song that is on or space out when I am reading. Do you listen to anything for background noise when you are writing?
My Spotify playlists are brimming with background music that I can ignore. It’s either that, or I have to listen to my own thoughts. Nothing could be worse for my writing process than letting my brain have something to do with it.
I wanted to be Indiana Jones when I grew up. Did you know that you wanted to be a writer? Did you feel you were encouraged to be a writer, or did writing come a bit later in life?
When I was four years old, I wanted to be a fire truck. That’s not a typo.
Shortly thereafter, I decided on writing. Like most writers, I started a dozen or so novels before I finished one, and now I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. That’s mostly due to my complete lack of skills outside the realm of telling ridiculous stories.
When I talk to writers most have a ton of stories in the bottom drawer of their desk. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I believe the technical term is “oodles.” If I had a dollar for every novel I never finished, I’d just keep starting novels and never finish them. That’s a gold mine! What confluence of magical happenstance landed me with that deal? I probably sold my soul for it. That’s fine, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t using it anyway.
As a book blogger I am always interested in what people are reading. What is on your nightstand at the moment and how big is your TBR (to be read) pile?
I’m presently re-reading Joe Lansdale’s The Magic Wagon, which is one of my five “desert island” books. I was thrilled to get a limited edition, autographed copy last month.
Lansdale and I are from the same part of Texas. In addition to being an amazing writer, he’s a martial artist with a stack of belts as long as my most rambling pastiche. I took lessons from him for a few months while I was in college. He bloodied my nose once during a demonstration (not on purpose, and I release Joe from all liability).
That’s my best fanboy story.
I just finished Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone. I don’t usually go in for YA, but I loved it. I’ve got Christopher Moore’s Noir up next, probably a return to Discworld (Pratchett) after that—I never get through more than half a dozen books before returning to that amazing series—and then Alcy Leyva’s And Then There Were Crows should be delivered. Preorder that now! #shamelessplug
I think 2019 is going to be a deep dive into Tolkien, starting with The Hobbit for the hundredth time, and not stopping until I hit the back cover of Unfinished Tales.
I heard that you have a bit of a thing for stew. So, my last question is: what is your favorite stew recipe?
No one knows how stews start. Over time, the pot has simply been over the fire since before anyone can remember. You just keep adding to it, and hope that someone finishes it off before it starts participating in conversations.
Sam, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions today.
Thanks for having me, and thanks for supporting my work!