I’m so very honored to welcome Robert Brockway back to Bookwraiths today. (You can read his first interview here!) As frequent visitors already know, I’ve been enjoying reading the author’s punk rock fantasy series, Vicious Circuit, as can be seen by my reviews of The Unnoticeables, The Empty Ones, and Kill All Angels. Naturally, I’d encourage everyone to go find these books and give them a try for yourself, because I think you will enjoy them as much as I did. But enough from me. Let’s hear all about it from the author himself!
Thanks for agreeing to return to Bookwraiths. You are now in a small minority of authors who have felt comfortable doing so.
You’re very comfortable. Thanks for having me.
The concluding volume of the Vicious Circuit series was released back in December, 2017: how would you introduce the series to a new reader, and what can frequent readers expect from this installment of the series?
I’ve been going with “punk rock horror fantasy,” because actually describing the series accurately is just too hard. Still, if you go into the books with “punk rock horror fantasy” in mind, I think you’ll, well… I can’t guarantee you’ll love it, but you’ll at least be mentally prepared for it. Frequent readers can hopefully expect closure, answers, and a bit more weirdness, but I can guarantee they’ll get murder by go-kart.
Any overall themes or messages you attempted to convey in the overall series?
Quite a lot, but chief amongst them was the idea that humanity’s weaknesses can also be our strengths. We’re messed up, debased, confused little freaks. But there is power (and maybe even beauty) in both accepting and celebrating that fact.
Looking back, are there any scenes or themes which you discarded, or cut out of the series that you wish you had kept or enlarged upon?
If anything, maybe there are some parts where I should’ve held back! Of course, there were cut materials here and there. For example: the whole series originally started in a burned-down Portuguese brothel during the Carnation Revolution, instead of a punk club in NYC. But there’s nothing we left out that I regret omitting. I’m all for building up and then paring down.
Any plans for additional stories based upon these characters or the concepts you created here?
Nope, that was it! Now, just in case some brilliant and pressing idea comes to me, I’d like to reserve the right to go back some day. But generally speaking, this is finished. The whole series was conceived of and sold as a trilogy — I was starting the third book by the time the first came out – so it always had an endpoint in mind. If you’re the type of reader that only reads a series once it’s finished, first of all: Please don’t do that. That just helps ensure the series never gets finished. But second: this one’s in the can, so feel free to start!
What are the most important lessons that writing the Vicious Circuit has taught you about yourself, or the publishing industry in general?
As for myself: I’ve learned to pull back on the reins a bit. My premises get big in a hurry, and I want to explore every aspect of them, but that’s not always what’s best for the book. I’m trying to get leaner, more straightforward. I made some progress with that on this series, and I look forward to learning that exact same lesson again for the next book I write. And then again… and again. For everything I do, forever. As for the publishing industry: I’ve learned that maybe you shouldn’t sell an entire series all at once. That’s all I’ll say about that.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Who and what would you say are your biggest influences?
From everything! The world’s too big to have a small, single pool of inspiration. I’ll pull from books, poetry, music, games, movies, TV, this fluffy dog I saw one time – whatever you got, I’ll work with it.
What projects do you have currently in the pipeline?
A shared universe anthology of apocalyptic horror shorts (think Wild Cards or World War Z), and a peppy space opera action/comedy. I’m all over the map this year.
What are you reading at the moment (fiction and/or non-fiction)?
Victor LaValle’s The Changeling. Related note: I might quit writing forever. I’ll never be this good.
What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?
I am actually three children standing on each other’s shoulders, pretending to be one single adult.
What are you most looking forward to in 2018?
The elaborate reveal that all of reality after 2016 was a terrible prank that got out of hand, and the pranksters are very sorry.
Where can readers find out more about you?
I am omnipresent. I’ve got a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and five years worth of articles and columns of wildly varying quality in the Cracked archives. I think I might even have an Instagram account. God only knows anymore.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ROBERT BROCKWAY is the author of The Unnoticeables and The Empty Ones (books 1 and 2 of the Vicious Circuit) and is a Senior Editor and columnist for Cracked.com. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife Meagan and their two dogs, Detectives Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. He has been known, on occasion, to have a beard. Visit him online at robertbrockway.net.