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Interview with Jordan Krall

by Rhonda Wilson

 

Jordan Krall is the author of numerous titles within the Bizarro genre, including King Scratch and Piecemeal June. Krallís stories are a mix of horror, crime, sci-fi, noir, and of course, the bizarre. 


RW: Hey Jordan! Thanks for taking the time to do a short little interview for our Monster Librarian Readers. 
 

JK: Thanks for having me. 
 

RW: Can you please tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you got your start in the writing industry? 
 

JK: Iíve been interested in being a writer for more than half my life. Actually come to think of it, it was probably even longer. I remember making books about robots when I was very young and if my memory serves correctly, they were nonfiction stories. However, I didnít pursue writing seriously until about 2007 and thatís when I hooked up with Eraserhead Press. 
 

RW: Bizarro seems to be a genre that can be difficult to define and a lot of people don't understand. How would you define the genre?
 

JK: Itís the genre of the weird and it overlaps with many different genres like horror, humor, SF, adventure, noir, and even romance. The main characteristic is its weirdness. In many cases it gets lumped in with surrealism or experimental fiction but bizarro is not the same. (Though there is often surreal elements in bizarro fiction)
 

RW: For someone looking to check out the Bizarro genre, would you say that the best place to start is the Bizarro Starter Kits or the Magazine of Bizarro Fiction? I know you have had works published in both.
 

JK: The Bizarro Starter Kits are the way to go. They give a great overview of the different authors and styles involved. Also, there is information on each author that will explain what their influences and interests are. Iíd recommend picking up both kits (ďblueĒ and ďorangeĒ) and from what I hear, there is another Starter Kit coming out soon. 
 

RW: Bizarro is fairly closely connected to the horror genre and sometimes even considered a sub-genre to horror. How do you feel the two are related?

 

JK: Many bizarro writers are associated with the horror genre so maybe thatís why itís seen as connected. Also, I believe that horror has been the one genre where an author can get away with a good amount of weirdness. However, there are some bizarro writers who donít write horror. So horror and bizarro are not the same. 

RW: I know some authors go special places to write or have to have music playing. How do you prepare yourself for a writing session and how often do you write?
 

JK: I donít have a special place to goÖ and I donít really have any rituals. Sometimes I do listen to music but depends on what Iím writing and what Iím in the mood for. I do some sort of writing everyday whether it be making notes, working on an outline, or actually writing the story. 
 

RW: Throughout the years, who/what have been your writing inspirations?
 

JK: Most of my inspirations are other writers. Seeing what they can do really motivates me and inspires me to create something just as moving or entertaining. When I was much younger, the writer that probably had the most effect on me was H.P. Lovecraft not so much in his writing style but just in his ideas and approach to horror. Also, Clive Barker definitely opened my eyes to what horror can do and how far the author can go. William Burroughs was a big part of what I was reading in high school and probably inspired me to stray away from approaching storytelling in the traditional way. In my adult years, I still find inspiration in reading stuff like Lovecraft but also Thomas Ligotti, Elmore Leonard, and Edward Lee. They are all different in their use of language and plot but I find all three of them amazing. Their output is still inspiring. Other than that, one thing that inspires me is my childhood. I donít even mean things that have specifically happened to meÖ but rather things that I remember or have observed. Places and people and the way I perceived them as a child which may or may not be accurate. Nearly everything I write has some essence of my younger self in there. I still remember dreams (and daydreams) Iíve had as a child and those often find their way into my writing. 

RW: Your first novella released was Piecemeal June, however I recall reading somewhere that your latest release, King Scratch, was actually the first book you ever wrote. Was there a particular reason that King Scratch came out so far down the road in your career?
 

JK: King Scratch is very chaotic. I recall when I started with Eraserhead Press, they didnít really like it so I just shelved it and worked on Piecemeal June. But as the years went on, I took a liking to King Scratch again. I was approached by Black Rainbows Press about publishing something and I decided to give them KS to see if they liked it and they did. I edited the thing a little bit and added some related stories in the form of appendixes but for the most part, itís exactly as I wrote it (I think it was from 2005-2006).  
Iíve gotten some good feedback on it so far. Honestly itís probably not the best representation of my work being that most of what I write is a bit less chaotic. But King Scratch is still a good read if you like sleazy, weird off-the-wall noir. It like a 100 mph runaway train ride straight through New Jersey hell of squid and moonshine.
 

RW: How do you feel you've evolved as an author throughout the course of your writing career?
 

JK: Iíve probably learned to be more focused (hence the change in my writing from King Scratch to my current books). Itís difficult to pinpoint exactly how much Iíve changed but I know that I try to consciously improve dialogue from project to project. Like every other author, I look at criticisms of my previous books and try to improve upon them.
 

RW: You currently have four books out, the two novella listed above, Squid Pulp Blues, which is a collection of three novellas in one, and also Fistful of Feet. Can you tell our readers a little bit about each book? 
 

JK: Piecemeal June was my first book and itís essentially a love storyÖ with a lot of gross body-horror in the form of an alternate world of butchered flesh. Thereís some humor in there, too. Itís not for everyone but it seems to be my best-selling book. Squid Pulp Blues is a trilogy of novellas that all take place in the same NJ town. The stories are crime fiction but really strange. And donít worry if you donít like crime fiction. Many people have said they loved the book even though they donít usually like that type of story. That brings me to Fistful of Feet which is my homage to spaghetti westerns. People have said that they hate westerns (books and movies) but loved FoF. I loved hearing that because it means I can write an interesting story that can appeal to a wider audience regardless of what subgenre Iím working in. The book isnít pure western, though. I was also inspired by the Italian giallo genre of film as well.

 

RW: Difficult question time! Of your four books, which is your personal favorite, and why?

 

JK: Ha! Well, that is difficult. I guess my favorite is probably Fistful of Feet but maybe thatís not fair because thatís the last one I wrote. Itís more developed and mature so yeah, right now itís my favorite. 
 

RW: You've said that Fistful of Feet is your favorite book of what you've written. Would this also be the same book you would choose for a new Bizarro reader to start out with when wanting to check out your work?
 

JK: If the person can get past the fact that itís a western, yeah. But I might actually suggest Squid Pulp Blues first. There are three novellas in there so it can be read in three short doses and will give someone a good idea of the style and rhythm of my writing.
 

RW: Throughout all of your books there seems to be a continuous squid theme. Did you have a tragic squid incident at some point in your life or is there another reason for this "obsession"?
 

JK: Iím not really sure where the obsession came from. I have an obsession with deep sea life (and the ocean) in generalÖ but itís a love/hate thing. Iím often fascinated by it but also grossed out and frightened at the same time. Recently I saw a horseshoe crab when I took my son to the aquarium and it was one of the most disgusting things Iíve ever seen. Iíve seen horseshoe crabs before as a child but there was just something about seeing it now as an adult that made me cringe (and want to smash the thing to death). 
 

RW: In addition to the squids, your books have some VERY "unique" characters in them. Could you describe a few of your favorite ones to our readers?
 

JK: One favorite is the Hard Candy Kid from Fistful of Feet. People have told me that he was their favorite character. He was a really fun one to write. Also, the Haberdasher from Squid Pulp Blues. He was a cool guy.
 

RW: Do you have any new books coming out soon and/or are you in the process of writing anything new?
 

JK: Eraserhead Press will be publishing TENTACLE DEATH TRIP sometime later this year or early next year. Itís a post-apocalyptic muscle car raceÖ. Itís like Mad Max/the Road Warrior combined with the Cthulhu mythos. To be honest, though, itís not really a Cthulhu mythos book. It will not be part of the ďcanonĒ but Lovecraft is so engrained in me that some elements just appeared naturally. You donít need to know anything about Lovecraft or even like Lovecraft to enjoy TENTACLE DEATH TRIP. All you need to know is that there will be cars, tentacles, mutants, violence, and more tentacles. And then it gets weird. 
After that, LegumeMan Books is going to publish my bizarro hardcore horror novel PENETRALIA next year.  
Oh, and this month Bucket Oí Guts Press is putting out a chapbook I co-wrote with Ash Lomen. Itís called BLOW-UP THE OUTSIDE WORLD.
 

RW: Where is the best place for our librarians and readers to find out more about Jordan Krall on the internet?
 

JK: Check out my site http://www.filmynoir.com but you can also go to http://www.bizarrocentral.com and http://eraserheadpress.com. You can of course go to Amazon to read some of the reviews. Sometimes thatís a good way to see if my books are the types of things you want to read (and hopefully they will be!) 
 

RW: Thanks again for enlightening our readers a bit about the Bizarro world and in particular, your books!
 

JK: Thank you! 
 
 

 

 

 

 

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