Sunday, July 8, 2012

Scott Mallory and the Cupcake Monster

Scott Mallory makes monsters cute. He really does. That's really all you need to know.

But it wouldn't be fair to leave it at that. So I'll add this: If you don't have a copy of his children's book Bad-Off Boris and the Cupcake Cave-In, then stop reading now and go buy a copy.

Done? Okay, now read the interview and get to know this genius.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

Bad-Off Boris and the Cupcake Cave-In is about a little cupcake man whose bad luck gets worse. The story literally started out as a dream. I knew I wanted to make it a children's book so I added more accessible elements for younger readers-classic monsters and sweets. I also thought since those elements were two of my favorite things that it would appeal to kids of all ages. I reached out to artist, Rob E. Brown, who did the artwork on my novel Tales of a Washed-Up Neverwas and asked him if he'd be interested. Rob has done some incredible horror stuff, so I was hoping he'd take on the project. I also knew it might be a challenge to pull back or adapt his style for kids. What he first sent me blew my mind. I knew we had something pretty cool that wouldn't talk down to kids, but of course some parents might not give the book a chance because it wasn't your typical, cutesy characters and themes. The reaction has been very positive so far.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

Staying true to yourself to overcome loss and adversity.

What would be your dream project?

I love film and comic books and always wanted to be involved in those industries, so I may be working on my dream project now. I'm writing a Horror-Western graphic novel and hope to get Rob to do the art.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

Well the only other project that I have is my radio novel Tales. It was my first effort and I learned a lot while doing it, like editing. My original manuscript was 660 pages long. I eventually cut it down to 258 pages. After it was published, my idea for my website was to post the chapters/stories that didn't make it into a "Cut Tales" section. As I went back to retool and polish I realized there was a reason those chapters didn't make the book and that I should stick to my gut. Radio was my first career and I always knew (or convinced myself that I knew) what I was doing, with writing I always question myself. I'm very unsure as I write the piece, but once it's done it's done. I'm very satisfied and proud of the finished project.

What inspires you to write?

A thought will get in my head and not let go until I write it down or explore it more. I don't write because I want to, I do it because I have to. It's like desperately trying to sleep while hearing a dripping faucet. That damn thing's not going to shut off until you scribble down notes or bang on the keyboard.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

I always loved reading C.S. Lewis and Stephen King, but I'm also heavily influenced by comics and film. I love Quentin Tarantino! His stuff is an attack on my senses, like a kick to the head that I need. I was lucky enough to interview him once when I was still doing radio and he met all my expectations.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

You have to have the proper building blocks but once the ball is rolling you're kind of along for the ride. I'll have a plot and outline most of it, then something that I never thought of will influence the writing, add a nuance, or take an altogether crazy left turn. It blows my mind how organic the process can be.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to

I always have projects, it's getting to them that's the problem. I've got the graphic novel, another children's book that's pretty fleshed out, a horror anthology, horror novel, superhero comics... The question is when will that dripping faucet get me off my ass?!

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For more information about Scott Mallory and his work, visit http://www.blackcloudbooks.com/