Hi everybody! Today I am donating my incredibly valuable blog real estate to a worthy cause: promoting a book I love! One that I didn't actually write! (I know, right?)
I got a free copy of Zeus is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure from Michael's publicist a few months back. I liked it so much I had my pseudonymus friend Seamus write a blurb for it.
Here's the publisher's synopsis:
The gods are back. Did you myth them?
You probably saw the press conference. Nine months ago, Zeus's murder catapulted the Greek gods back into our world. Now they revel in their new temples, casinos, and media empires—well, all except Apollo. A compulsive overachiever with a bursting portfolio of godly duties, the amount of email alone that he receives from rapacious mortals turns each of his days into a living hell.
Yet there may be hope, if only he can return Zeus to life! With the aid of Thalia, the muse of comedy and science fiction, Apollo will risk his very godhood to help sarcastic TV producer Tracy Wallace and a gamer-geek named Leif—two mortals who hold the key to Zeus's resurrection. (Well, probably. Prophecies are tricky buggers.)
Soon an overflowing inbox will be the least of Apollo’s troubles. Whoever murdered Zeus will certainly kill again to prevent his return, and avoiding them would be far easier if Apollo could possibly figure out who they are.
Even worse, the muse is starting to get cranky.
Discover a world where reality TV heroes slay actual monsters and the gods have their own Twitter feeds: Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure!
And here's my Goodreads review: I loved this book. The Greek Gods have returned, and a couple of mostly hapless humans are caught up in forces that are mostly beyond their control. It's hilarious throughout: the fourth wall is shattered to dust, and yet the story remains engaging--this is no mean feat, and something I really admired about this book. But all other considerations aside, it's a really fun and funny book that reminded me of the best of Christopher Moore's early work. Highly recommended to fans of fantasy and humor.
Here's Michael's nice headshot:
So, without further ado, here are my questions and Michael's answers!
1. Other than Zeus is Dead, what's your favorite appearance of the Greek Gods in popular culture?
This is a tough one, because I honestly haven't seen many appearances of the Greek gods in pop culture. I've avoided reading/seeing the Percy Jackson series (I became aware of it in 2008/2009 midway through writing Zeus Is Dead, and I didn't want it to influence me), and I'm really picky about how the pantheon is portrayed. I suppose that's part of why I wanted to write my own take on them. I wasn't too pleased with the portrayals in the new Clash of the Titans movies. I have a vague recollection of seeing Disney's Hercules and being disappointed with all of the changes made there, and Troy and the just-released Hercules movie with The Rock have stripped away the gods altogether. So it's a toss-up between the original Clash of the Titans (which, while not perfect, an enjoyable tale), and a book by Dan Simmons called Ilium, which is a sci-fi take on the gods that's as intriguing and intricate as those familiar with Simmons would likely expect. But unlike Zeus Is Dead, it's not a comedy.
Wow, I really sound like a myth snob here, huh?
2.What writers did you read as a kid?
On my childhood bookshelf you'd find books by Roald Dahl (Fantastic Mr. Fox was an early favorite), Lloyd Alexander (I loved the Prydain Chronicles, and gave copies to my niece as soon as she was old enough), Beverly Cleary (do kids still read The Mouse and the Motorcycle?) Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes was a late-childhood favorite that continues on into college until the strip ended) and, of course, a number of mythology books by various authors whose names I don't remember. Oh, and Tolkien, of course, once I was old enough. I don't think I'd even heard of The Hobbit until 4th grade. Oh! And, as a teen, Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (and others) as a teen.
3.You're publishing with Booktrope--I'm intrigued by their new publishing model. Can you talk a little about the process, how it works,and what your experience has been?
My experience has been great so far. It was a blast to work with people as excited about the book as I am. When I signed on with them (after the usual query & manuscript review process – which took about 6 or 7 months), a creative team was formed consisting of a book manager, an editor, a proofreader, a cover designer, and a project manager (whose job it is to keep all of us on task and on schedule). None of these people are forced to be a part of the team – if they choose to be on it, it's because they believe in the book, and that makes for a great environment to work in. They also have a share in the royalties, so they have a vested interest in making sure the book does as well as it can.
After self-publishing two other books, it's taken me a little time to adjust to working with a team. I'm still vital to the marketing process, but I no longer have to do everything, and I've got the added confidence of the people on my team backing up my own belief in the book.
4. Are the razorwings the result of a special love or hatred for cats?
Neither – at least not in those extremes. I like cats (and in most cases prefer them to dogs), but I don't have any for pets. When I created razorwings I was trying to think of something that would both be cute and terrifying at the same time in order to maximize the comedic potential. (Wow, that just sounds hilarious when spoken of in such terms, doesn't it? "Yes, you see, the coefficient of comedy is inversely proportional to the…") Kittens are insanely cute, but insanely destructive. So hey, why not make them poisonous, give them bladed wings, and make two of them spring live from the corpse of any one you try to kill?
5. Reality TV figures prominently in Zeus is Dead. What are some of your favorite reality shows?
Ah, you mean Monster Slayer (where Jason Powers travels the country slaying the monsters that returned soon after the gods)? Reality TV itself isn't my thing, but if the Greek gods appeared in our world for real, you can bet there'd be some reality TV about it. That said, I do sometimes enjoy shows like Mythbusters, Junkyard Wars, and Dirty Jobs. (I wrote Jason Powers as a cross between Mike Rowe and Hercules.) I can do without anything where people get voted off or people get attention for being complete ***holes to each other.
6. If the Greek gods did return, to which one would you pledge your fealty?
Tough call. My personal favorite of the pantheon is Apollo, but Dionysus is a fun guy, Hermes has got the sense of humor, and there are surely fringe benefits to serving Aphrodite. I'll have to get back to you on this one…
7. Which Greek god is the biggest douche?
Ares. Easily. Sure, the Romans liked him, but the guy's big on chaos, blood, and war for its own sake. He's also a god that doesn't really get too much coverage in the myths beyond being a personified concept, so I enjoyed filling him out more in Zeus Is Dead.
8. Who would win in a fight, Zeus or Odin?
Zeus. He's got the lightning thing going for him. That's a ranged weapon, and he can stroke at Odin before the old guy can even get close. Even if Odin gets his hands on some ranged weapons of his own, the guy's missing an eye. He's got no depth perception! No contest.
Well, there you have it, folks. Apart from the free book, I haven't gotten any compensation for any of this: I'm really doing it because I love the book. Maybe you will too! Check it out!