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 Dave K., author of The Bong-Ripping Brides of Count Drogado.
What’s your name and where are you from?
I’m Dave K, and I live in Baltimore.
How long have you been writing? How did you start?
I’ve been writing since I was little; I was an early reader and wanted to replicate the stuff I was reading, so lots of Tolkien and Robert Louis Stevenson and John Bellairs. It felt good to write, and the positive attention I got for it satisfied the goblin brain desire for compliments and recognition that most writers have (and deny).
Who are some of your influences?
John Bellairs, Philip K. Dick, Michael Ondaatje, Ken Sparling, Edward Mullany, Claudia Rankine. This list is ever-expanding, especially as I broaden my reading beyond other white guys.
What is your book about?
It’s about drugs, male depression, and the neo-Victorian abuses of man.
Where did you get the idea?
I came up with the title on a whim (the Count’s original name was Drugula) and decided it should be a mashup of Dracula and Reefer Madness. That didn’t work, but I didn’t want to abandon such a goofy title so I retooled it and tried again, drawing from Victorian problem novels and the studies of Henry Mayhew and Jack London.
How long did it take you to finish it?
I tried to write it in 2013 or so and gave up, then tried again a couple of years later. Once I really got started and attracted interest from Mason Jar, it took me about a year and a half.
Is this your first book, or have you written more than one?
In addition to Bong-Ripping Brides, I’ve written a collection of short stories, stone a pig, and a flash novella, MY NAME IS HATE, both self-published. I’m working on a fourth one as we speak.
We all like to write about people we know, even if we never name them. Who are some people who inspired characters or situations?
A surprising amount of characters and character actions in my work are rooted in stories about professional wrestlers. I throw bits of family history and my own eccentricities in as well, but I try not to concentrate any of that into one character or situation.
What’s your favorite scene in the book?
There’s an apocalyptic dream sequence toward the end of the book that I really like reading aloud, and I like the book’s last line. More than one reader has told me how weird it made them feel.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever got?
Hang out with writers and artists who are better than you. Figure out how to access vulnerability in your work without losing honesty. Root for your friends and celebrate their successes.
What’s the worst?
I’ve been told more than once to get celebrities or influencers to endorse my books; since I live in Baltimore, John Waters is a frequent suggestion. That they think this is a viable option for most people is insane, and the get-rich-quick impulse that motivates their advice is even more insane.
Where can we buy your book?
From Mason Jar Press directly, and it’s always worth checking Atomic Books or Kelmscott Bookshop if you’re in Baltimore.
Dave K is the author of The Bong-Ripping Brides of Count Drogado (Mason Jar Press 2017), and has been published in X-R-A-Y, Barrelhouse, Cobalt, Queen Mob’s Tea House, and [PANK], among others. He is also a large glacier flowing north-northwest from the continental ice along the western coast of Antarctica. You can find out more at his website, where you can also sign up for his newsletter.