Randall Banner is the world famous author of such books as Flash/Back, Down/Town, Night/Light , Come/Back and his forth coming book Untitled Manuscript. … taking time from his coffee addiction and keyboard pounding he recently took some time to answer a few questions for the readers here at Book Reviews and More.
1. Randall it has been said that author's do not like answering question. The reason they are writers is because they have questions to ask. Considering that why would you agree to a 20 questions interview for a blog from Canada?
I'm not 100% sure. How's that for honesty? Someone in my publicist's office forwarded the request along and I agreed. I don't remember why. But I don't think it matters at this point, does it? Here we are. Have at me.
2. What is the stupidest question you have ever been asked in an interview?
Jesus. Probably "Where did you come up with the idea for" and then fill in the blank. Believe me, if writers knew where their ideas came from in the first place, do you think for a minute we would actually TELL you? This is precious stuff we're hoarding and we're not about to reveal the location of the pot of gold. That said, I have no idea. I don't understand people who have to ask that question in the first place. I can't help getting ideas. They assault me all hours of the day. If you're asking that question, then there's no answer I can give that will satisfy you.
3. You are known as an author that has a cult following, and loyal fanbase, with each new book there is indication that your star is about to rise. How do you handle the disappointment each time when it fails to happen?
You know, I'm just really grateful for my fanbase. Those people just keep reading away and I'm glad my work connects with them.
4. You consider yourself just another keyboard pounder sitting in a Construct Coffee, somewhere in the world, banging away at the keys, dreaming of the best seller. Once you achieve that goal how do you think it will feel?
I imagine it's going to feel like I've been held underwater for a thousand years...and then someone finally lets me breathe.
5. What does your writing process look like? Takes us through the steps from idea to publishing?
It's been different for each book. The only common element, really, is this little bit of admittedly juvenile superstition - I don't title a book until it's finished. Until they're done, they're all just called UNTITLED MANUSCRIPT.
6. What was your favorite book to write and why?
Probably Come/Back. I feel like I really nailed the mother character in that one, and people had been saying, "When the hell is Banner going to write a female character who isn't a male fantasy figure or a bitch-on-wheels?" And I think I did it in that book.
7. Can you give us any hints about your current work Untitled Manuscript?
Are you kidding? I can't even tell you the title!
8. You are known to be a regular gym guy, you have a regular schedule and program. What if your favorite aspect about physical fitness or gym life?
I have every last damn second of it, to be honest with you. I've never been particularly athletic or physically inclined, but I just turned 35, and I'm told that everything goes downhill at that point. From a sheer paranoia perspective, I figured it was time to start taking care of myself.
9. What is your relationship like with your parents? Were they early supporters of your creative leanings?
They were fine. I mean, I think it's tough for parents to look at their child and see that kid going off in a direction that they know could be difficult. Writing books is hard; selling them is harder; making a living at it is harder still. So they never really discouraged me, but they never really encouraged me, either. It was a lot of, "You're very talented, dear" - which is what all parents should say - but also a lot of, "What are you REALLY going to do with your life?"
10. What is your biggest personal goal you have achieved? How did you go about pursuing that goal?
Getting my second book published. Because it's one thing to get that debut - you're still new and shiny and the publisher loves you because there's infinite possibility in a debut. But once that first book comes out, you've suddenly got a track record. For good or for ill, there are expectations now, and that second book can be tough to get moving.
11. What is your biggest first? Why?
Well, the first book, I guess. That's where it all started.
12. Do you have any unpublished earlier writings that if you were to achieve international stardom you plan on going back and publishing?
Nah. Most of my early stuff is shit. It was all turned down, and quite rightly.
13. If so can you tell us a bit about them?
14. Which authors and books could you recommend to readers who have already read your complete published works?
That question always sounds to me like, "Who else writes like you?" And I'll tell you a secret: Authors like to fool ourselves that we're all unique, special snowflakes. So it's a tough one. But someone once said one of my books was like a combination of Tom Perrotta and this children's author Barry Lyga. So, maybe give them a shot.
15. If you could have a conversation with any person historical or fictional who would you pick and why?
Well, this may sound strange, but… My great-grandfather. He came over from France after WWI and by all accounts was just a fascinating guy. I would love to write something about his life.
16. Your books are available digitally and that leads to bootleg distribution. What are your thoughts on digital rights and suggestions that eBooks should have slight changes so they can trace leaked copies back to a specific buyer?
I try not to think about the nuts and bolts of the business too much. I write books - other people deal with that other stuff. But, you know, to me it comes down to simple decency. It's not even a matter of law. It's just about being polite: I didn't give you permission to copy my work, so please don't do it. How difficult is that? I mean, really?
17. Which book and authors have inspired or influenced your work?
Um… Chuck Palanihuk. Don DeLillo, man. Oh, man, yeah. Wallace, there's a big one… And let's see… Probably Paul Griffin, too.
18. If you had not become an author what do you think you would be doing these days?
Whatever it is, I'd be bad at it because I'd be drifting off into daydreams about writing.
19. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books to read again and again, what books would you want with you?
Well, as crazy as it sounds, the first four would have to be mine. Because I would want to fix them, assuming I have all that time! And then probably INFINITE JEST and WHITE NOISE. The three LORD OF THE RINGS books. Might as well teach myself Elvish, right?
20. What advice would you give to young aspiring authors and artists?
Be damn sure this is what you want to do with your life. It's not easy.
Very interesting conversation Randall, thanks for taking the time. Oh and by the way Randall Banner is the main character in Bary Lyga's first adult fiction novel Unsoul'd.
Books by Randall Banner:
Books by Barry Lyga:
I Hunt Killers:
I Hunt Killers (2012)
Game - I Hunt Killers #2 (2013)
Blood of My Blood - I Hunt Killers # 3 (2014)
I Hunt Killers Short Stories:
Lucky Day (2014)
Career Day (2012)
Neutral Mask (2013)
Blood Boy (2014)
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (2006)
Boy Toy (2007)
Hero Type (2008)
Goth Girl Rising (2009)
Archvillain #1 (2010)
The Mad Mask - Archvillian #2 (2011)
Yesterday Again - Archvillian #3 (2013)
Other Books By Barry Lyga:
Graphic Novels in Your Media Center: A definitive Guide (with Alison A.W. Lyga - 2004)
Wolverine: Worst Day Ever (2009)
MangaMan (with Colleen Dorren 2011)
After The Red Rain (2015)
The Secret Sea (2016)
Short Story Project 2017
The Ghosts at 95
Loving The University
The Ideas of March
Pulse vs. the Killing Fiend
Who Done It? (2013)
Author Profile and Interview with Barry Lyga
Author Profile and Interview with Randall Banner