He's been in hibernation for a while, but Seamus Cooper, author of The Mall of Cthulhu, is back!
We sat down for a wide-ranging conversation over a couple of beers. (Yes, we are technically the same person, but it seemed only fair that we each get a beer.) The transcript follows.
Brendan Halpin: So what are you working on?
Seamus Cooper: Well, I've got one and a half books done at this point. One, Terror at the Shore, is a Lovecraftian tale of terror in a beach resort town...with a secret.
BH: So you're the Lovecraft pastiche guy? Is that it?
SC: Nice. Mall of Chtulhu is not a Lovecraft pastiche. It's a comic adventure with a Lovecraftian background. And Terror at the Shore is not a Lovecraft pastiche either. But there are Lovecraftian elements, as there are in about 30% of horror fiction. And, the other book is a sword and sorcery parody tentatively entitled Blomi: A Sorcerer's Tale.
BH: Blomi. Well, that's mature.
SC: It's also full of fart and poop jokes. And gore. And some heartwarming moments, too.
BH: I thought I was the heartwarming moments guy.
SC: Yeah, well, I guess you've contaminated me.
BH: So what ever happened to the Mall sequel, Dog Walk of the Dead?
SC: Well, as you may remember, your need to make money kind of put that book on the back burner for a while. And now as I look at it, I think it might be fatally flawed. Also, in the years since I started that book, I feel like zombies have pretty much been done from every angle by better writers than me or you. I'm no longer sure what my take would add to the genre. Also I think the magic stuff I wrote in that book is stupid. And, finally, I'm just not sure I had the chops to sustain a series at that point. I'd like a do-over.
BH: So we'll never see Ted and Laura again?
SC: I wouldn't say that. I am cooking up a multi-generational supernatural detective saga involving a lost book and a lost album. Ted and Laura may need to solve the modern-day version of that.
BH: So who's doing your books?
SC: Well, Terror at the Shore is out on submission right now. But, you know, it being summertime, nothing's really happpening in publishing. I should know something soon. I think I may need to do Blomi myself.
BH: Tee hee!
SC: You know what I mean. Publish it myself. Ebook style. Like you did with Worried Man and Forever Changes.
BH: So when's this happening?
SC: Soon. I'll have more info once I find out what's happening with Terror at the Shore and how that publisher, assuming I find one, feels about me doing Blomi myself.
BH: You really have to stop saying that. Say "publishing the sword and sorcery book on my own" or something.
SC: Okay, whatever.
BH: So, great! I've missed your work!
SC: So much that you started doing my stuff.
BH: What do you mean?
SC: I mean you've gone from bittersweet family dramadies to a book about a teen superhero, that thing you're writing with Emily dealing with some kind of science fictional event, the book you're writing with Trish which is also about superheroes, and the book about the girl who disappears.
SC: Interstices? That's a terrible title!
BH:I like it.
BH: It's a working title.
SC:Anyway, my point is that you created me as your kind of genre fiction alter ego, and now you seem to be writing only genre fiction.
SC: Yeah, exactly. And...? And what? Am I going to continue to exist, or are you gonna integrate me into your personality like in Three Faces of Eve?
BH: Uh. Nothing in my life is like Three Faces of Eve. But, I mean, I don't know. I think you're more of a tongue-in-cheek kind of guy. Enter the Bluebird is not tongue in cheek at all. I feel like it took me a while to develop the confidence to write genre fiction without my tongue in my cheek.
SC: Which doesn't answer my question. It kind of seems like I'm taking over, creatively speaking.
BH: Well, I like to think of it as I'm embracing all my interests in a more public way. I have spent some more time in geeky circles, playing RPGs and going to New York Comic Con and such, and I feel at home in those settings. Comic books and horror novels were the things that hooked me on reading, and more and more I feel like those are the stories I want to tell.
SC: You are totally ducking my question. Why continue to use your name at all? I've got some credibility in genre fiction. It seems to me that if I'm taking over creatively, my name should be on the marquee!
BH: (takes a gulp of Troeg's Perpetual IPA)
SC: How's that beer, by the way? (sips Cisco Indie Pale Ale)
BH: I like it better than yours.
BH: It was the last one! Anyway, your name will be on the marquee for at least two of these projects. But since both Bluebird and Interstices have teen protagonists, it seemed to make sense to have my name on them.
SC: Terror at the Shore has teen protagonists.
BH: Yeah, but...but...You've got a book and a half done, I've got a book and a half done, and we can't put all that stuff out under one name in a short period of time.
SC: Hmmm....I'm not buying. I think you're just vain.
BH: I definitely think this song is about me.
SC: I'm not impressed by your pop culture references.
BH: Says the guy who wrote the line, "Whatchutalkinbout, Cthulhu?"
SC:Well, yeah. That's one of my pop culture references.
BH: All right, this is starting to feel self-indulgent.
SC: Starting? You're interviewing yourself. That's pretty much the definition of self-indulgent.
BH: Okay, so what should people do if they want to stay informed on what's going on with your writing?
SC: Well, I guess they can watch this space. I also just started a facebook fan page, so they can go like that too.
BH: Great! Well, thanks, and good luck with all your projects!
SC: Same to you!