Thursday, January 21, 2010

Author Interview w/ Lance Carbuncle

Lance Carbuncle is the author of two of the most wonderfully wicked self published novels I have ever read - Smashed, Squashed, Splattered, Chewed, Chunked, and Spewed and Grundish and Askew (which I named as one of my favorite reads of 2009).

We have a bit of a history together, going back to a giveaway contest he held in the not-so-distant past for Smashed. I like to think I won a copy of that novel fair and square, but something tells me that moderating TNBBC had a lot to do with it (Thanks Goodreads!) From there, I co-hosted an author chat session with Lance to promote the release of Grundish (of which he graciously sent me a review copy), and now he has taken the time to be interviewed for you, my faithful followers. If you are not familiar with Carbuncle's novels yet, I guarentee by the end of this post, you most certainly will want to be!

Lance, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to showcase you and your novels. And now....Let the questions begin:

What is the life of a writer like?

Well, it’s quite the rockstar life. I usually wake up around noon and drag myself out of bed around one. Sometimes I discover that, in an intoxicated stupor the night before, I have ripped the urinal off of the wall of my favorite watering hole and dragged it home. For breakfast I’ll slaughter a small animal and eat its raw flesh. I find that fresh blood and flesh help me to combat my hangover and general ennui. Once I feel that I have recovered from my excesses of the night before, I will typically go out on my third floor balcony and waive to my adoring fans. Sometimes I hang one of my younger children over the balcony by his or her feet just to shock onlookers. Usually there is a several hour nap after I greet my fans. Scattered throughout the day there will be lengthy bathroom sessions during which I tend to my hygiene needs with an expensive Japanese toilet that cleanses me with warm water and gentle bursts of air. Once cleansed I have one of my harem tend to the most vile of my needs. And then I’m out the door, hitting parties and bars and consuming ungodly amounts of absinthe, model airplane glue, fried foods, and controlled substances. And, then, once in a while, I write books. In addition to the above, my life includes a lot of firearms, dead hookers, illegitimate children, and ransacked hotel rooms.

Um, okay, all of the above is a steaming load of bullshit. The author description that I usually give is (although tongue-in-cheek and self deprecating for comedic reasons) fairly accurate. My about the author blurb usually reads something like this: “The Dr. Reverend Lance Carbuncle was born sometime during the last millennium and he’s been getting bigger, older and uglier ever since. Carbuncle is an ordained minister with the Church of Spiritual Humanism. Carbuncle doesn’t eat deviled eggs and he doesn’t drink cheap beer. Carbuncle doesn’t wear sock garters. Carbuncle does tell stories. Carbuncle’s stories are channeled through a pathetic little man who has to work a respectable job during the days in order to feed the infestation of children in his house.” That’s mostly the truth. I’m a 41 year-old man with a houseful of children (triplet 5 year olds, a seven year old, and three older step-kids who are now adults). I am an ordained minister, but that was just done as a goof because anyone can become ordained. I have never worn sock garters. And I do work a respectable job during the day (don’t ask).

To answer the question, I don’t know what the life of a writer is like. I work, I’m a family man, and I write in the small amount of free time that I can find. I would love to write full-time but, unfortunately, my day job pays the bills much better than the writing. So, until Oprah endorses my books or Quentin Tarantino buys the rights and makes my books into movies, I don’t’ have a very good answer to your question.

At what point did you realize that you were destined to put pen to paper, and can you remember the first story you ever wrote?

In fourth grade a friend and I did a comic strip called Rufus and Roland for our school newspaper. It was a poorly drawn strip that mostly ripped off the Cheech and Chong movies. It was totally inappropriate for elementary school kids and I have no idea how we got away with it. That was probably my earliest creative writing endeavor.

In high school I had an English teacher who really taught me how to write properly. He was a great influence and I truly respected the fact that he would wait for senior girls to turn eighteen and then he would date them. We’ll just call the teacher Rod. Rod encouraged the class to write short stories (when he wasn’t encouraging freshly legal girls to slob on his knob). I think that the first story I ever wrote was for Rod’s class and it had something to do with a guy who lived in a garbage dump and ate rats.

Who are you most influenced by?

It’s hard to say. I started reading a lot of Stephen King when I was a kid. I’ve always liked the way Stephen King tries to tie all of his books together. Frank Zappa did the same type of thing with his music. So, between King and Zappa, I have picked up a fondness for the whole idea of an artist’s conceptual continuity. As far as my humor, I read a lot of Mad magazine and National Lampoon in my teenage years and thus fostered a true appreciation for inappropriate and irreverent humor. In high school I picked up on Kurt Vonnegut and have been deeply influenced by him. I also really like Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Mark Twain and Jack Kerouac. They have all influenced my writing in one way or another.

Describe each of your novels in 5 adjectives.

I think I’ll have to just let the title of my first book, SMASHED, SQUASHED, SPLATTERED, CHEWED, CHUNKED AND SPEWED speak for itself (okay, so that’s six adjectives, sorry).

As far as GRUNDISH AND ASKEW, I would describe it with the following adjectives: gritty, dark, damp, mephitic, and twisted. Oddly enough, these are the same adjectives that I use to describe my underpants.

Which of your novels are you most proud of? Was one easier to write than the other?

I’m equally happy with both novels and, as far as the content, do not favor one over the other. Smashed was a lot easier to write as the story was pretty well formed in my head before I started writing it. Plus, Smashed was just plain fun to write.

What are some of the positives and negatives of being a self published author?

I love being an independent author. I have complete creative control over the process and content and do not need to worry about deadlines (other than those that are self-imposed). If I have a creative vision, then I can follow it without having to worry about whether it will result in sales or profits. For me, writing books is not about making a living; instead, it is really about expressing myself through my art and, hopefully, touching others through my words and fucked-up thoughts.

I also like that, as an independent author, I have to stay on top of marketing my work. One aspect of my marketing is to work up good word-of-mouth buzz about my books. Being independent and having no real marketing budget to speak of, I mostly encourage my readers to spread the word about my books. A consequence of this promotional technique is that I am constantly hearing from my readers about my books. I love corresponding with my readers and hearing how my work has affected them. Some authors don’t like having to promote their own work. I actually enjoy getting the feedback from my readers, though.

Is there a third novel in the works, and if so, can you tell us a little about it?

I have a third book brewing in my brain right now but have not put much of it down on paper. But here’s what I have so far. The next one is a feel-good, coming of age story of Davey, a pigeon-toed boy with a crush on his substitute teacher and the silly things he does to try to win her heart. With the help of his best friend, Talulla, Davey does his utmost to woo the comely substitute teacher. But, ultimately he realizes that he actually loves Talulla, and everything ends on a happy note with Davey and Talulla walking into the sunset, hand-in-hand, and ready to discover the wonders of young love. Okay, not really. If I wrote that story, I would want to repeatedly stab myself in the face with an icepick.

I do really have a third book forming in my head. I just have to force myself to get going on it again. It seems that I need a period of time to recover from the final editing process of a book before I can fully dedicate myself to working on a new book. I think I’m nearing the completion of the recovery period from Grundish and Askew and I am starting to get the itch to write again. What’s the book going to be about? I can’t really give an intelligent answer to that right now.

What does your writing area look like?

It’s a shameful disgrace. Actually, I have two writing areas. I have an office at home with a big cluttered desk. Between the shit that I leave laying around and the stuff that my kids throw on my desk, it’s impossible to find anything. The only thing that matters is that in the center of my desk there is a partially cleared area for my laptop.

I also write at work during my lunch. I wish I could say that my office at work is cleaner but it’s not. I lock the door to my office at night so that the cleaning crew cannot get in. The only time that my office is cleaned or dusted is when my wife comes in, calls me a slob, and then tidies up for me.

What is your take on E-books and E-readers, as an author and reader?

I’ve never read an e-book. I want to hold the hard copy and look at actual pages. I’ve had other authors offer to send me pdf copies of their books and I’ll usually ask for the actual book instead. Maybe I’m getting stuck in my ways as I get older, but, there’s just something that doesn’t seem right about books in the electronic format. It’s like trying to breed a dog with a cat. It just ain’t natural.

What authors/ novels/ websites would you recommend to our audience?

I’m not going to bother recommending mainstream authors or books as those will already be fairly well known. Instead, I’d rather give a shout out to some other independent/self-published/small press authors that I’ve enjoyed. There are a lot of good small press books out there that are worth checking out if people are looking for something different or cutting edge. I would recommend checking out some of the following:

Mykle Hansen- Help! A Bear is Eating Me! and Rampaging Fuckers of Everything on the Crazy Shitting Planet of the Vomit Atmosphere

Robert Kroese- Mercury Falls

David David Katzman- Death By Zamboni

Marcus Eder- Rorschach’s Ribs. Also, check out Eder’s band, Strawfoot, on Myspace Music or for some good rockin’, dark, alt-
countryish jams.

Those are just some of the independent authors that I have read an enjoyed recently. There are more good independent authors’ books rated and/or reviewed on my profile. Check them out and support independent authors.

Well, there you have it, folks! Straight from the computer keys of Lance Carbuncle! Be sure to check out his website where you can get a great deal on his novels -


  1. Great interview! I really need to get my hands on one of his books sometime.

    I have an award for you over at my blog!

  2. Great interview-his books rock and I am betting he's a pretty terrific guy. And no, I'm not his wife, related to him and don't even know him personally.