Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to welcome Bob Green, author of TROPEFEST!: Attack of the Killer Cliches to our Friday Spotlight Blog. Bob is a friend of the store and a fellow genre fan—particularly in horror. His book, based on his blog and his critiques of horror films and film tropes, has just arrived to our shelves! We’re happy to introduce you.
Thanks for joining us, Bob! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
My name is Bob Green. It is literally the most boring, milquetoast name in the world. I’ve come to grips with that. I write short essay style critiques of horror films and film tropes and I am the author of TROPEFEST!: Attack of the Killer Cliches. I don’t write fiction because the plot bunnies run from me every damn time. I guess I have a face that scares bunnies. Who knew?
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from your work?
Well, like I said above, I don’t write fiction. Every time I try to write fiction, I mop myself into a corner because I can’t write a plot to save my life. In every scenario I imagine in which I HAVE to write an actual story to save my live, I die horribly. It’s not pretty. Blood and bits everywhere. Stains on the carpet that will never come out. It does horrible things to my sleep cycle. I like naps, so I don’t write fiction.
I DO, on the other hand, keep things light and quick… and snarky… and foul-mouthed… and way too opinionated for my own damn good… by writing short essays about things that I know and love. Primarily, lately, that’s been horror movies and fiction but it could change. So, while you’re not getting a “story” with my work, it’s more like I’m the guy at the bar that doesn’t drink and has to find some way to keep himself entertained besides laughing at drunk people and dodging darts and vomit so he regales you with silly trivia to make his life seem meaningful except he was raised by bikers and longshoremen so children and the elderly should not be within a 3 mile radius of this person talking. It’s more like written stand-up comedy. Sit-down comedy? Whatevs.
What kind of research went into writing this book? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?
Oh, wow. My stuff is ALL research. Because, up until now, anyway, my writing is all about horror fiction and film and the tropes and cliches that drive them into your eyeholes; I want to know what’s up behind them. Why they’re used. Why they scare us. How they add tension. Why they’re fucking stupid. Why screenwriters should be slapped with an oar for using some of them (Leprechaun 4: In Space, man… just… no). In all of it, though, I have to say that my favorite bit of research, so far, has to be about spiders for TROPEFEST 2: Return of the Killer Cliches (coming soon… I hope… still writing). It’s, thus far, the most personally attacked I’ve ever felt by my own writing because it’s one of my own deep-seated fears.
As for stuff I couldn’t include, WHOO, boy. SO much. So much. The book isn’t about spiders. A CHAPTER in the book is about spiders. I left out things like some jumping spider species seeing into visual spectrums that we can’t (like the Mantis Shrimp) and Red Widow (Latrodectus bishopi) males literally repeatedly placing themselves into a female’s mandibles during mating until she eats him. That, right there, is a dude in need of some abuse counseling. I find so many things to include in each essay that it’s often hard to even narrow down examples of the tropes in film. Do you KNOW how many killer spider movies, books, and characters there are? I have a harder time avoiding them in film and fiction than I do in a campsite restroom. (Which is also why I never camp.)
What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out TROPEFEST! ? How did you overcome that challenge?
Really? My biggest challenge to writing anything is my own brain. Bipolar disorder is a bitch and it can derail you. It did, a number of times, while I was getting this book together and out there. It helped that the book started out as blog posts but when you promise your readers an article a week and can’t deliver, it stings.
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
See, now, this is a trick question because I am FULLY aware that my one available book is incredibly niche. It’s non-fiction. It’s about horror movies. It’s decidedly NOT academic in nature. It’s a handful of factual essays, compiled from blog posts, written by an openly gay horror movie fan and that presence is keenly felt throughout the book. It informs my opinions on some level. It may turn people off. On the other hand, who doesn’t like to laugh? Why should factual analysis of anything read like a textbook? Why can’t textbooks be funny? I know I’d probably have learned French better if the textbook read like a Robin Williams concert. As of right now, I could probably be able to ask for a glass of water in Paris and they’d bring me my glass of water with a side order of withering stare and abject disdain for not attempting to speak their beautiful language. They may attempt to beat me to death with a baguette. I would be ashamed.
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Of the whole writing and publishing process? What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?
I just love to write! I love getting ideas out of my head. I love sharing things that I know and love with people and I like to think of myself as a natural-born educator (without the will, drive, or money to get an actual degree). The publishing process, though, is an odd duck because I self-published through Amazon. No one came and asked me to submit a manuscript; I grabbed the reins and made it happen myself. Perhaps this makes me less aware of the trials other writers go through, and I feel guilty about that sometimes. Then again, It was only after TROPEFEST had been out for a few weeks that I had noticed glaring errors, formatting issues, references to other blog posts, pictures that didn’t exist and all of that other crap that made me realize that I should probably not edit my own work.
How important has the New England setting been to your writing?
HP Lovecraft and Stephen King. ‘Nuff said.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
A couple of things: First, READ! Consume the books. All of the books (there are exceptions that I will tell you about in an intimate setting surrounded by very thick soundproofing *ahemivankatrumpahem*). You can’t know what you like to write about if you don’t know what you like to read. Plus, it’s SUPER good for your brain and an educated and literate populace is how we grow as a society. Second, just write. Keep writing. If you get blocked on one story, start another. Write a poem. Write a paragraph. Write a word. Trickle, stream or river, it doesn’t matter as long as they keep flowing.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
TROPEFEST 2: Return of the Killer Cliches is coming. Hide the wife and kids. Other than that, I don’t know. I’m hoping to drum up some Convention and other public appearances but I don’t have a publicist so it’s weird being all “Hey, I’m this guy that wrote a book you’ve never heard of. Let me run a panel or three on horror movies.” I’m also considering writing a collection wherein I retell the Greek myths in my usual sassy style. That’s gonna be FUN!
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
Well, the cool thing about the way I write is that I can pick it up and put it down easily. I don’t have a LOT of free time, but I do have enough to indulge myself in other activities.
What are some of your writing-related hobbies, crafts, addictions?
Does sex count?
But, no, seriously, I enjoy costuming, performing, SO much reading and watching horrible movies. I’m a video gamer. I love comics. I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not GOOD at any of these things (except the reading and the watching… ‘cause, y’know… we wouldn’t be having this conversation, otherwise) but I enjoy them.
I love to travel, but Uncle Bob ain’t got that kinda scratch so it doesn’t happen a lot. Travel is the primary reason I published TROPEFEST to begin with, because I was looking for a fun and creative way to finance a birthday trip for my husband, Scott. I absolutely LOVE fandom conventions. I used to go to Dragon*Con every year. I miss it. I should go back.
I have my cats who are, oddly, needy and refuse to fall into feline stereotypes so I like palling around with them. My husband sometimes makes me leave the house, too, to do other things. I mean, I guess he likes things, too, but since he won’t let me have a monkey, I can’t seem to bring myself to care that much.
What is one thing that most people don’t realize about you?
I’m not a 24/7 stoner? I guess I have this look of “That dude’s always high” because people tend to assume I’m stoned at any given time. I’m only a casual partaker, thank you very much. I’m just easily amused and the giggles are a cruel mistress.
What has been your favorite adventure during your writing career?
It has nothing to do with my writing but I got to spend some time in Manila and Tokyo on a work project. (Yeah, I still have a daywalker job.) It was literally the trip of a lifetime. Someday, children, when Uncle Bob has a day and a half to tell you the story of the 64 hours of overtime travel pay, he’ll fill you in on how it felt to be stranded in Japan for 24 hours and why Japanese Denny’s restaurants will not serve you a Grand Slam.
While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!
I ADORE music but, for real, I cannot have anything but silence as I write. I need to only hear the sound of my fingers on the keys to make me feel like I’m actually accomplishing anything. If music is playing, I’m singing along. There may be dancing. Nobody wants to see my white ass booty-pop. I write in silence as penance for my lack of twerking skills.
Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that must be in the vicinity (or must be avoided) while you’re writing or editing a piece of work?
ALL OF THE DIET COKE! I needs it or I will explode.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?
Get. A. Goddamn. Editor.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
Currently, the only place to find TROPEFEST! other than ABSW is on Amazon.com and their various international sites. I mean, unless someone isn’t telling me something. Or if you’re talking about my blog which is at http://candycoatedrazor.com
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
Well, there’s the aforementioned blog and its presence on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/CandyCoatedRazorBlades/) and Twitter (@CandyRazorBob). I also use it to update my author’s page on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Bob-Green/e/B06Y3MB2M9/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0) and on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16619506.Bob_Green). Because I’m SUPER-lazy.