In Your Next Beach Read, we want to introduce you to a new author every day in June in the hopes that you’ll find the next book you want to take with you to the beach, the pool, or the comforts of air conditioning.
Today’s author is John King, author of Guy Psycho and the Ziggurat of Shame.
What’s your name and where are you from?
John King, Orlando, Florida.
How long have you been writing? How did you start?
Thirty-two years. I started by telling stories with my Star Wars action figures before a long, disgraceful period of writing pornography.
Who are some of your influences?
Douglas Adams, Natacha Atlas, Mary Blair, David Bowie, Lewis Carroll, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Lee Hooker, Grace Jones, Binnie Kirshenbaum, The Marx Brothers, Kenneth Patchen, Sylvia Plath, Marcel Proust, William Shakespeare, Walt Simonson, Frank Sinatra, Patricia Smith, Tom Waits, P. G. Wodehouse, Virginia Woolf
What is your book about?
An alcoholic lounge singer has to re-enact the epic of Gilgamesh inside a mountain in Tennessee.
Where did you get the idea?
The title came to me in a dream.
How long did it take you to finish it?
Is this your first book, or have you written more than one?
This is my first completed book.
We all like to write about people we know, even if we never name them. Who are some people who inspired characters or situations?
My father, me, me, me, and me. The others are a secret.
What’s your favorite scene in the book?
The ocean voyage, just before the pirate battle.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever got?
Instead of dwelling on rejection, get excited about the next story you write—advice given by Henry Hughes.
What’s the worst?
A writer has to write every day.
Where can we buy your book?
He holds an MFA in fiction writing from New York University, and a doctorate in English from Purdue University. His work appears in the anthologies 15 Views of Orlando, Other Orlandos, and Condoms and Hot Tubs Don’t Mix, as well as in journals, such as Gargoyle, The Newer York, and Painted Bride Quarterly. He lives in a secret location in the lesser Orlando area with his wife, cat, and a cadre of robot duplicates.