Today's participant in this ongoing series of rapid fire interviews with horror writers is MP Johnson. MP Johnson has had his face peeled off no less than three times – all before reaching the third grade. Of course he grew up to write bizarro horror stories.
He’s been chased through the back alleys of Beijing by a Chinese hooker and a gang of knife-wielding thugs. He’s laughed off muggings in the shadows of Amsterdam. He’s fought robot monsters beneath the streets of Berlin and dined on cheese with the natives on top of the Andes. He’s smashed boards in grimy basements while accompanied by notorious punk bands, been in Fourth of July street fights and eaten sandwiches in New York’s sleaziest sex clubs. And he’s straight edge.
His bizarro horror fiction has been published in more than 25 underground books and magazines, including Bare Bone, Cthulhu Sex and Black Petals. He is the creator of Freak Tension fanzine, the longest running (and possibly most sporadic) horror and punk zine in the Midwest. He also writes for punk music magazine Razorcake.
He is a B-movie extra whose roles have included a drug dealer who gets shot in the stomach by legendary action hero Rudy Ray Moore in “It Came from Trafalgar.” He’s also an aspiring drag queen and mixed martial artist. He was born in Wisconsin and lives in Minnesota.
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I’ve cried at the end of no less than three Justice League cartoons. I party harder on ice cream than most people do on beer. I popped out of the womb and wrote my first short story on the doctor’s forehead with my bleeding umbilical cord. My most recent short story is available in Diabolic Tales III. It’s about a trashed teddy bear doing battle against a blade-loving drag queen named Kutrina Glamslice.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I try to leave the technical stuff to the librarians. I just write stories about monsters.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Harlan Ellison, William S. Burroughs, Clive Barker, Glenn Danzig.
What are you reading now?
We Live Inside You by Jeremy Robert Johnson. It’s an unusual collection of short stories in that it moves so elegantly through many genres: science fiction, horror, bizarro, crime and straight up literary fiction. “States of Glass” just blew my mind.
How would you describe your writing style?
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Nothing fancy. I get up in the morning and start pounding on the keyboard. My writing habits are pretty normal. I disembowel a foetal pig and say the magic writing words once a week, just like everyone else.
What’s your favourite food?
Macaroni and cheese. But I’ve turned into a bit of a snob. I can’t do the powdered stuff anymore. Let the kids snort that shit. I need a blend of fancy artisan cheeses over handmade pasta. Or, at the very least, the stuff with the squishy cheese muck in a pouch. But not powder.
What’s your favourite album?
I’m going to cheat and say the Misfits coffin box set. As a kid, I would jam a Misfits tape into my walkman and go trudging off to school, through the snow, letting those tunes invoke endless monster movie marathons in my brain. I always found safe harbor in that music, no matter what sort of bullshit life was throwing at me. I’ll never get sick of that stuff.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
Find writers who are better than you and get their input on your stuff.
Fame and fortune, or respect?
Shit man, I just want to have fun.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of my debut book, The After-Life Story of Pork Knuckles Malone, which came out earlier this year from Bizarro Pulp Press. Usually, I write short stories. My previous attempts at longer works had failed miserably. This book actually started out as a short story. I tried to leave it at that, but it kept taunting me, calling me back to add more and more. There was just more story floating around in my head and I needed to get it down on paper, and I think it works really well. From the reviews, it seems like readers are digging it too.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
The After-Life Story of Pork Knuckles Malone is about an evil psychic ham that goes on a rampage through Wisconsin. It has cannibal hippies, Nazi flies, rabid drag queens, underground monster fight clubs and all the other things you know and love about Wisconsin. My next book is called Dungeons and Drag Queens. It’s due out next year from Eraserhead Press. It’s an epic fantasy story, like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, except with drag queens… so much more fabulous.
You can find out more about me at www.freaktension.com.
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