Justin_Kassab_Akashic

1) Your novel Foamers official release date is March 25th but it’s already doing very well with sales on Amazon, so I must ask: (and if you can’t disclose this for business reasons I understand) have foam mattress companies already approached you for cross promotion? Tempur-Pedic are fools if they haven’t gotten on this gravy train of cross promotion.

They sadly have not yet. I have called them relentlessly. I mean think of the options. A foam mattress made for the end of the world. I’m all for roughing it, but I’m not about to sacrifice comfort in the Primal Age. I was always told write the book then the endorsements would follow. Those folks lied.

2) For readers that have yet to become “Foamer Fans” who and what are “Foamers” in your book?

Foamers are my monsters. They aren’t undead like a traditional zombie. They are still fully alive human beings but they have lost their higher functions making them more or less hairless chimps. They travel in troops, fling poo, and fuck your day up. Kidding about one of the three.

3) In your bio, you mention about how much the job market was horrible (I can relate, I worked at a porn store, while I went to our old school) when you graduated. What is the worst job you ever had?

I can’t match porn store, but I might have done some freelance work in the Romance industry at some point and sadly not as a model. I started working when I was 12 in landscaping and have done just about everything from working in the towel room at a pool to being a managing editor, but I have to say my most soul sucking job was the longest two weeks of my life working for a man who I still hold a grudge for (and his name sake will be the antagonist in the sequel to Foamers) at a Subway. I can’t honestly describe why it sucked so much other than it ended with me flipping him off as I walked out after being fired. Remember never piss off a writer or you’ll wind up dead.

4) You studied creative writing at Wilkes University, besides your teachers, who are some of your literary influences? Also I have a thing for Mohsin Hamid, what I will label ‘a writer crush’ on him. Who is your current writer crush?

I’m in a writer marriage. When I was 13 I fell in love with Terry Goodkind (fantasy series called The Sword of Truth). I have read plenty of people who are better at certain aspects of writing, but if I hadn’t fallen so deeply and totally in love with his ability to kill people I probably wouldn’t have become a writer.

5. Your publisher Kaylie Jones, I believe is a black belt but you have researched survival skills. So I pose this question: 2 minute death match in an alleyway between you and Kaylie Jones…who gets out alive and why?

Hmmm…there is no way I can win this question. I either say she would kill me or I get my ass kicked in real life. Not sure what is worse. An ass whooping or sacrificing my pride.

Kaylie Jones would get out alive, because I would be a gentlemen and let her kill me without a fight. She is publishing my book. It’s the least I can do.

6. I don’t know your age but you seem like a pretty young dude from your pics, I have pondered philosophically if younger writers should stay away from writing The Great Literary Novel (at least young American writers not from the Balkans) and instead write something more playful and fun like YA, Post-Apocalyptic, Bizarro, Horror, etc. until they are at least 30 and have more craft and life experience. Am I being an asshole or do you think there is some merit to this idea?

I’ve read your interviews. You know what you are. However you aren’t an asshole for pointing out that life experience and craft make a better writer, regardless of if they are literature or genre. If you look at the shit I wrote a decade ago it was totally unbelievable, not because it was sci-fi but because of how stupid I was in relationships. The more you experience in life the stronger a writer you will become.

But at the end of the day I write Post-apocalyptic fiction because I like it. When I’m 30 I’ll write what I like then. I’m not worried about being genre or literature. If people want to call what I do genre let them. End of the day we’re all just telling stories.
P.S. I’m 26.

7) I look up to four people: Patti Smith, Richard Sherman, Nick Cave, and Johnny Temple. How does it feel to part of the Akashic Books? They have published some excellent risk-adverse books; they are my favorite East Coast Indie Press and Eraserhead Press is my favorite on the West Coast. It is like Bad Boy and Death Row Records to drop some 90’s hip knowledge but with love and weird books.

Humbling. When god created cool, he created Johnny Temple. Talk about one hell of a human being. He goes from having a successful music career to starting an indie press that basically gave the finger to (Big Five Publisher Name Removed). He’s always walked his own path and no one else’s. For that I have the utmost respect for him, and can’t describe how humbled I am to be a minor part of his legacy.

8) David Poyer did a blurb for your book. I have mad love for Poyer not just cause he’s a hardworking prolific author but because he is a fellow Outline Fascist. I am all about it, besides these goofy interviews, I outline everything I write that is not poetry or non-fiction. What is your stance on Outlining? What did you do for this novel and are the other books in the series planned?

I did not outline for Foamers. I transitioned from screenwriting to fiction during my time at Wilkes and Kaylie gave me the space I needed to find my stride. That stride was tripping and falling on my face repeatedly as I made mistake after mistake. However, now that I have learned how to crawl, I have come to value many of David’s pointers. I am currently underway on book two and doing so at a much better pace and quality due to outlining and a set word count every day. I can honestly see this as an ongoing series that lasts epically long with younger characters taking over the story as time goes on, but no one ever got far putting the cart before the horse.

9) As a musician I have been having fun with doing songs for my own book trailers, literally writing a song about the book. What band would you want to write a song about “Foamers”? The bands Fun. Fall Out Boy, Miley Cyrus, or Bruno Mars are not acceptable answers….though they could give us more Google hits so choose wisely.

I am envious of your musical ability. I can whistle off-key and snap my fingers. I think if I could pick any song out there to be sung by any artist for Foamers the song would have to be Gorillaz Clint Eastwood but covered by Johnny Cash like he had done with Hurt.

Two other ways I use music in my writing is characters and fight scenes. Each of my characters has a theme song. For example Xavier has the theme song Space Lord by Monster Magnet and one of his fight scenes is set to Kid Rock’s Cowboy.

But I mean if it helps hits. I wouldn’t mind seeing a team up between Fun., Miley, Bruno, Fall Out Boy, for the most epic theme song and likely disaster to ever strike a book trailer in the history of book trailers.

10) Last question, what are you working on now?

I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you…

I’m around a third of the way into the rough draft of the second book in The Primal Age Chronicles and am working on some short stories that take place in the Primal Age but in different parts of the country from the books which I’m tentatively calling Stories from the Primal Age. Besides that I have a campy, throw-back, space-based, sci-fi concept I work on to remain sane and spread my eggs into other baskets. I tend to psych myself out working on Primal Age stuff since Foamers doesn’t release until the 25th so the fate of the series is still unknown.

FoamersCover

Here is a great book trailer for the upcoming book you can purchase here on kindle or paperback

You can reach Justin:

Twitter
Facebook
Amazon: Where you should buy the book, it looks cool.

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