I recently had the pleasure of interviewing my fellow Omnium Gatherum author Johnny Worthen. Here’s how it went:
BMK: Hey, Johnny. Thanks for joining me in the woods tonight. Also, thanks for dressing like a pirate. I’m sure this all seems a bit unusual. You can lose the eye patch, though. Seriously, there could be bears out here.
JW: You could have mentioned that earlier. My sword is plastic.
BMK: That’s why I left two axes out here earlier.
BMK: Here’s yours.
JW: This is a guitar.
BMK: Yep. In case we have to play Dead to foil a bear. I’ve always understood that to mean playing the music of the Grateful Dead. Do you know how to play any Dead songs? Because I don’t.
JW: You’d think after seeing so many shows I’d be able to play Dead, but I don’t. I appreciate Dead though. How’s that? I can dance for hours in an eighteen by eighteen inch square of cement bleacher real estate without spilling a beer. I have skills. And a friend of the devil is a friend of mine.
BMK: Bears, wolves… I’m honestly more worried we’ll encounter a skunk, but it’s out of our hands. Tell me about BEATRYSEL before we get sprayed or mauled.
JW: BEATRYSEL is my debut novel, available at Amazon.com. It started out as a love story, but like many love stories, it quickly became a thriller and then, ultimately, a horror. I call it an “occult thriller” because “romance” just isn’t right. The story takes place in Portland Oregon and centers around the life of a modern day Magus, Julian Cormac, who’s fresh out of an insane asylum recovering from the effects of his magick. He dabbled in Theurgy, the art of communicating with gods and demons, angels and spirits. But unsatisfied with the ancient demons, he made his own: BEATRYSEL. Hilarity ensues. Not really. Anyone who’s interested in modern occult philosophy will find the book interesting. Anyone who’s ever been in love will sympathize with it. Anyone who ever had a love affair go bad will understand it. It’s rated R for adult themes, situations and language.
BMK: What inspired the story? Some lady you know?
JW: Not so much my heartaches as others’. I’m a big believer in learning from others people’s mistakes. When a bunch of my friends all had their marriages die around the same time like there was something in the water, I circled the wagons, kept my head down and took notes. Love is a powerful magick and there is a dark side to it. The anger and disbelief of a betrayed lover, the powerlessness of a now unloved spouse, the yearning and pain, the personal halocaust of unrequited love was terrifying to behold. Years later, I explored those ideas and thus was born BEATRYSEL
BMK: What kind of music should be playing while I read Beatrysel?
JW: None. You should give all your concentration to the words. Each and every syllable. There will be a test. However, I have no power over what you do. When writing it, I often had Godspeed You Black Emperor!’s F# A# (infinity sign) playing. The Dead Flag Blues was particularly insidious as was the ever haunting East Hastings. You’ll recognize it from 28 Days Later.
BMK: I probably don’t need to explain that in this part of Wisconsin, we have a LOT of Packer fans. You into football at all?
JW: Packers are cool. They’re the only team owned by their fans. I’m not into pro-sports the way I used to, but I like the Packers.
BMK: Have you ever been lost alone in the woods?
JW: Oh sure. When we first came to Oregon we wandered along a logging road and got turned around. The gray sky gave us no heading, the trees were too tall to see any hills or houses. Coming from a desert state like Utah, it was a teaching moment to be sure. We happened upon a grove of opium pines and waited it out until a VW bus came by and we were truckin’ again.
BMK: What’s something that more people should be afraid of?
JW: The NSA. I lose sleep over that. Everyone should.
BMK: Oh, if you’re hungry I brought snacks in this cooler.
JW: There’s nothing but whiskey in here.
BMK: Yep. Dean Harrison sent that over. What’d you expect? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Barbecue ribs? Steak wrapped in bacon? Bears would LOVE that.
JW: Whisky’s good. I’m a bourbon man, neat, rocks, sweeten with mint. Straight into the veins. I’m good.
BMK: Do you believe in aliens, Johnny? Do ya?!
JW: Yes. One came by the house yesterday selling oranges.
BMK: What about ghosts? Huh?!
JW: Ghosts are trickier. I’ve never seen one, but I can imagine them and every culture in the world has tales. Can everyone be wrong?
BMK: I apologize for being pushy just now. Those questions felt urgent at the time, but now they don’t.
JW: I understand. Happens to me all the time.
BMK: As long as we’re dressed like pirates I might as well ask a pirate question. Who’s your favorite pirate?
JW: Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds. He will kick you into a spinning ship engine, but he’s got a heart of gold.
BMK: He’s my favorite, too. He should punch that stupid doctor more. You know, I often dream of a future where robot pirates rule the high seas. What kind of future do you dream of?
JW: I’d like to see Star Trek, but I think it’ll be Blade Runner. Otherwise, considering we’re 1984 now maybe the best we can hope for is Brave New World.
BMK: Ha! What’s next on the ol’ writing schedule? Maybe something about pirates lost in the woods?
JW: Eleanor The Unseen comes out from Jolly Fish Press in Spring of 2014. It’s a lovely story about a teenage girl growing up in Wyoming. There are woods there. It’s a paranormal and though a stand-alone Young Adult novel, I’ve written and sold three books in that series. After that we’ll see The Finger Trap, a comedy mystery that introduces Tony Flaner, slacker detective going through growing pains and concussions. I’ve got three Flaner mysteries in various stages of completion. After that, I’ve got to sell more. I have another occult thriller called What Immortal Hand I finished this year and I’m toying with a western called Morning at Maiden Cross, but don’t hold me to that. It’s still in the planning stages.
BMK: It’s almost time to conclude the interview so we can really get into this whiskey. Anything you’d like to add?
BMK: Sweet! Let’s drink!
Congrats on the novel, Johnny! And thanks for stopping by the woods dressed as a pirate.
Folks, go read BEATRYSEL. Here it is on Amazon.com, in case you missed it earlier.