The Title of Your Work or Group:
a) The Alternate Reality News Service (six collections of short short stories in the form of humourous fake news)
b) The Transdimensional Authority (three novels)
Where are you from?
I’m from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It’s had the potential to be the greatest city in the world for my entire life – perhaps some day it will get there.
In what genre do you write?
I dedicated myself to writing humour when I was eight years old. My Web site (Les Pages aux Folles) contains topical satire and surreal cartoons. The books I have had published in print combine humour with speculative fiction (mostly science fiction, but also occasionally fantasy and horror).
In your own words, what is your book about? If you were not the author and trying to explain this awesome book you just read to a friend, what would you say about it?
My latest Alternate Reality News Service book is called What the Hell Were You Thinking? Good Advice for People Who Make Bad Decisions. The easiest way to explain it is that it is a collection of humourous science fiction advice columns. The hardest way to explain it would, I suppose, be to suggest that you read the book.
My latest Transdimensional Authority novel is Random Dingoes. Two agents of the organization are investigating a drug ring selling something that is rumoured to allow people to see into various dimensions without the patented equipment. They work their way up the drug ring’s chain of command and are about to arrest the leader when…they are thrown out of the universe. Apparently, somebody has invented time travel; every time it is used, they get thrown back to the point where they entered the dimension. They must team up with a Time Agency agent to find and stop the time traveller before he completely unravels causality in that reality.
I cannot guarantee that you will like my books, but I can guarantee that you will not have read anything quite like them. Are you feeling adventurous?
What is your writing style? Do you follow all guides and rules? Synopsis, outline etc. or do you just sit down at the computer and type to see what happens?
In reviews, my writing has often been compared with that of Douglas Adams. While this is flattering (after all, I’m a fan of his work), my voice and sensibility are quite different from his; better examples might be Monty Python’s Flying Circus and the Marx Brothers. At first, this may seem like an unlikely combination, but they both taught me two lessons that affect my work to this day: 1) maintain a high volume of comic elements, and; 2) use all of the comic devices at your disposal. The first point is important because the reader soon learns that if he doesn’t get a specific bit of humour, another will be along soon; as long as the reader gets most of the jokes, he won’t begrudge me some of the more topical or obscure or flat out strange ones. The second point is important because writers who use only one or two comic devices can become predictable, and surprise is one of the main characteristics of humour.
I break rules all the time. I make up words. I switch fonts mercilessly. I tear down the fourth wall and reduce the chunks to atoms. I am prepared to do anything and everything to get a laugh. I’m a writer. I’m not proud. My writing is full and rich, with lots of things going on all of the time; I am starting to have people tell me that they find things in it on the second reading that they missed the first time. Imagine how much more they’ll find on the thirty-seventh reading!
As the stories I write get longer, I find I need to know where they end, and all of the major plot points to get me there. However, because there is so much detail in the journey, I find that I have a lot of room for improvisation.
Have you ever written anything and thought; " The world has got to see this!" ?
I have been writing for a long time; for most of that period, I didn’t put much effort into making it public. I figure my apprenticeship lasted twenty or thirty years. I am now at the point where I am confident in my ability and believe that my writing would entertain a lot of people. So, I guess the answer (immodestly) is: anything I have written in the past decade or so.
Do you have an editor and Cover Designer or do you do this yourself?
For my self-published Alternate Reality News Service books, I designed the covers, then paid artists to execute them. The Transdimensional Authority books were published by Elsewhen Press; I suggested an initial cover design, then went back and forth with the publisher and cover artist until we were all satisfied. (It is rare for an author to be allowed input into the creation of the covers of her or his books; I am grateful to Peter Buck of Elsewhen Press for this.)
Who is your favorite author. Not just someone that you read a lot. I wanna know whose book you read that made you suddenly know that if you didn't do this for the rest of your life then you would never be happy.
These are really two questions. My favourite author is Thomas Pynchon. His writing is a feast of words, and often riotously funny to boot. Brilliant, brilliant stuff.
However, the writer who made me want to be a writer when I read him was Art Buchwald. Here was a writer who spoke truth to power, and in a most intelligent and entertaining way. For many years, I wanted to be a newspaper humour columnist because of him (a form which would eventually work very well on the Internet). It was only when that avenue was very obviously closed to me that I started exploring writing humour in other forms for other media.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I love just about all aspects of the writing process, so, if that is what this question is about, I would have to say no.
If this is actually a question about whether or not my writing is challenging for readers, I would say that some might not be able to keep up with all of the cultural allusions I throw into the mix. However, this shouldn’t be a major impediment to anybody enjoying my writing; as I pointed out earlier, if you miss a joke or two, another one will be along soon enough.
Do you write your characters or do they write themselves through you?
TRUE STORY: I was talking to an actor/producer friend of mine about how we approach writing. He said he started with characters, threw them into a situation and then saw what they did. I said I started with story, theme and other ideas and developed characters who did what I needed them to do within the parameters set by those elements. He asked me what I did if the character I created didn’t want to do what the story I wanted to tell demanded. I told him that I changed the character. He shrieked, “YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” But, of course, I can.
Whatever gets you to the end of the work works. Readers don’t know (and, let’s be honest, most don’t care) about the process by which you wrote something. All they care about is whether or not they enjoy it.
Do you ever write yourself into the characters?
Arguably, every character in a writer’s work is a different aspect of who they are. But, no, I don’t consciously create characters who are just like me. If anything, I try to create characters who are not like me; frankly, that’s a more enjoyable exercise of my imagination.
Is writing your full time job or are you "Keeping your day job"? So to speak.
Writing is my full time job. But, then, I have a very supportive patron.
If you could go back in time and meet one famous person or legend in history, who would it be?
The man who invented the Q-Tip. There’s genius there.
There are millions of new books released every year. What in your mind makes yours stand out from all those millions in your genre?
Actually, there are only two or three humourous science fiction books published every year. Even if I’m the worst of the bunch (and, I do not believe I am), my books would still be in the top five!
In the world of Indie, marketing is very difficult, especially if you don't have the funds to pay for it. Have you found a great free way to market your work that you think other Indies will benefit from?
I wish! I’m still struggling with that issue, as we all are.
Link to find and follow Ira's work:
WEB SITE: Les Pages aux Folles
FACEBOOK WRITER’S/FAN/WHATEVER PAGE: Ira Nayman’s Thrishty Friednishes