Author Interview: Stephen Kozeniewski, author of Braineater Jones


Publisher: Red Adept Publishing, LLC

Publication Date: October 9, 2013

Book Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Braineater Jones wakes up face down in a swimming pool with no memory of his former life, how he died, or why he’s now a zombie. With a smart-aleck severed head as a partner, Jones descends into the undead ghetto to solve his own murder.

But Jones’s investigation is complicated by his crippling addiction to human flesh. Like all walking corpses, he discovers that only a stiff drink can soothe his cravings. Unfortunately, finding liquor during Prohibition is costly and dangerous. From his Mason jar, the cantankerous Old Man rules the only speakeasy in the city that caters to the postmortem crowd.

As the booze, blood, and clues coagulate, Jones gets closer to discovering the identity of his killer and the secrets behind the city’s stranglehold on liquid spirits. Death couldn’t stop him, but if the liquor dries up, the entire city will be plunged into an orgy of cannibalism.

Cracking this case is a tall order. Braineater Jones won’t get out alive, but if he plays his cards right, he might manage to salvage the last scraps of his humanity.

Interview: Q. How did writing this book affect you?

The actual writing process?  Well, it was cathartic.  The book I wrote immediately prior to BRAINEATER JONES was deliberately cold, clinical, and structured.  So part of the process of writing JONES was shaking that off by and using every hackneyed, cliché writing trick I could think of and writing the purplest prose east of the Mississipp’.  The resulting novel is what happens when you throw ALL the spaghetti against the wall.

Q. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Editing, I suppose.  Once I’ve written a book I get sick of looking at it again for an author edit, and then again for a post-beta reader edit, and then again for a content edit, and then again and again and again.  Yes, kids, even the most egotistical among us can get sick of looking at our own words after a while.

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

As in sequels?  No, no sequels are in the works for BRAINEATER JONES.  My second, unrelated novel THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO is out now thanks to Severed Press, and my third (but first written, confusing, I know) EVERY KINGDOM DIVIDED will be coming shortly from Permuted Press.  And I’m just putting the finishing touches on a science fiction novel about a ballerina as we speak, although I don’t have an ETA on when that’s going public.

Q. What are you currently reading?

RAISING CHAOS by Elizabeth Corrigan

Q. Please tell us your latest news (book-related or not!).

My condo association just signed with a new property management company!  And as president, I get to oversee the whole changeover!

Q. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Interesting to who?  Interesting to me?  I can’t imagine a writing quirk being interesting to anyone else.  LOL.  Ummm…I’ve been told that the way I use dialogue is unusual and borderline confusing.  You probably won’t see it in any of my published work because it’s been edited out but I usually construct dialogue with a comma, then the tag, then a capitalization for the continuation of the sentence.  “For instance,” the author said, “This construction.”

Q. Please tell us a fun-fact about yourself!

Fun fact, fun fact, let’s see...I once had the tip of my index finger bitten off by a snapping turtle.  Pro tip: from a chelonian perspective, the human finger is very similar in appearance to a worm.

Q. Is there anything you haven’t written about that you would like to in the future?

Ooh, good question.  I’ve always wanted to write about the 1683 Siege of Vienna.  It’s probably one of the most fascinating stories in history and hardly anybody knows about it.  Did you know we would have neither coffee nor croissants if it hadn’t been for that battle?

Q. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Fly.  I understand the trick is to throw yourself at the ground and miss, but so far I haven’t been able to master it.

Q. What gives you the most joy in life?

Spending time with my wife and kitties.  And pot.  Or, ideally, my wife, kitties, and some pot.

Q. Which of your characters would you want to be and why?

That’s a good question!  I was actually thinking just recently how tough of a choice this would be since all of my characters are dead and feculent.  It’s pretty easy to choose which ones I WOULDN’T want to be…  But I suppose if I had to pick one, I would be Lazar.  He seems pretty on the ball.

Q. How do you like to spend your spare time?

I actually spend most of my spare time these days asking book bloggers to do reviews and interviews.  That sounds jokey but sadly it’s the truth.  Between the day job, the writing, marketing the writing, heading the condo board, and running the household, I don’t have a lot of real spare time.  Sometimes I force myself to stop and paint models for a while.  Mindless mechanical work can be soothing to the brain.

Q. How did you come up with the title?

The main character is an amnesiac, so he has no memory of his real name.  Out on the streets when he’s recognized as a zombie the street people call him the most derogatory epithet possible: “braineater.”  Then when he goes to stay in a hotel for the night he has to sign something in the guestbook so he chooses “Jones.”  (It could just as easily have been “Smith” or “Jackson.”)  And so he becomes Braineater Jones!

Q. When did you know you would be a writer?

On a dark and foggy night when I was sixteen, I stepped out into the mean streets of Edmonton, Alberta, without looking both ways.  Out of nowhere, a double-decker bus came careening towards me and I froze in its headlights like a rabbit.  Then, without warning, a man pushed me out of the way at the cost of his own life.  That man’s name…was William Faulkner.  As he lay there, his life’s blood ebbing out of him, I leaned down to grip his hand and hear his final request.  He said, “Son, I’ve always regretted being a writer because I’m so damn bad at it.  I mean, have you read THE SOUND AND THE FURY?  It doesn’t even make any damn sense.”  Here he paused to lean over and spit some sputumous blood out of his mouth.  Then he turned back to me and concluded, “Don’t make my mistakes.  Don’t become a writer.”  And so, naturally, I did.  Out of spite.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I know you have a lot of choices, not just in reading materials, but in all the things you could be doing with your free time.  You could be watching Game of Thrones in your living room or the latest blockbuster in the movie theater.  Heck, you could be spending quality time with your loved ones or be out painting the town red.  Instead, of all the things you could be doing, you chose to read, and all of the books you could be reading, you chose mine.  That’s truly humbling and it fills my heart with a level of gratitude that can’t adequately be expressed in words.

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