Tell us a little about your book.
While some might consider A Greater Monstera dystopian fantasy, it is better described as a psychedelic fairytale. William S. Burroughs and Lewis Carroll are reference points. In exploring key themes, I chose to incorporate multimedia elements. One scene features 65 full-page illustrations while another references a web address hosting an original musical composition that I co-wrote and orchestrated. A third scene incorporates an animated sequence viewable online.
The nihilistic protagonist takes a strange drug trip while riding the L train into the bowels of Chicago. His mind shatters into shards that slice through layers of reality, and he breaks through into an Underworld of living gods and mythology where genetic material has come loose and blows like pollen in the wind. He struggles to survive and retain his sanity while encountering many outrageous creatures. His final evolution occurs in what might be the strangest circus ever imagined.
What inspired you to write this book?
I try not to get in the way of my subconscious. I believe the most profound creativity can arise from our unconscious mind, so I allowed myself to follow a writer’s trance, similar to the kind that Robert Olen Butler describes in From Where You Dream, writing in notebooks for almost four years. Without forcing it, I saw the story develop organically and began connecting all the pieces in my imagination. It wasn’t until I actually felt that I could see entire work four dimensionally that I translated everything to the computer. Then I spent another three years crafting, organizing, and refining the material through fourteen drafts. My inspiration was to allow all the deepest inspirations of my entire life, the things known and unknown to me, to dictate the story. These elements include my nature and my beliefs about civilization, philosophy, politics, and culture, including literature itself.
Have you published anything else?
I published my first novel Death by Zamboni, an absurdist satire, in 2000. It has been a bit of a cult success, now on its second print run and still available on Amazon.com and in a handful of stores in Chicago. I had a short story published in the now defunct Bridge Literary Magazine. I was also a music critic for several years, writing for Tailspins music magazine.