Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Interview with James Marshall

James Marshall's short fiction has appeared in numerous Canadian literary magazines: Prism International, The Malahat Review, Exile, The Literary Quarterly, and Prairie Fire. One of his stories was nominated for the National Magazine Award for fiction, the M&S Journey Prize, and it was a finalist in the 22nd Annual Western Magazine Awards, 2004. A collection of his short stories, Let's Not Let A Little Thing Like The End Of The World Come Between Us, was published by Thistledown Press in 2004, and it was shortlisted for both the 2005 Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Caribbean and Canada Region) in the “Best First Book” category, and the ReLit Award for short Fiction. His first novel, Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies, is published by ChiZine Publications and due out in Spring, 2012. James lives and writes in British Columbia, Canada.

I reviewed Ninja versus Pirate featuring Zombies a few days ago and author, James Marshall, has agreed to an interview.

Julie-Anne: What first made you decide to be an author? Were you one of those kids that was always writing wee stories at school?

James Marshall: I didn't really start writing until my last year of high school, but I knew I was going to be a writer quite a while before that. I used to have really elaborate daydreams, listening to a Walkman on long road trips to visit relatives in another province in the summertime. Even then I wanted to live in a world of my own rather than this one.

JA: Was there any particular author that you feel helped you make the decision to sit down and write your first book?

JM: My first book was a collection of short stories that were "literary". I wanted to prove I could do the sort of thing that people consider "art" before I started to do the sort of thing that people consider "genre". I wouldn't say there was one author that inspired me to sit down and write, but I think writers like J.D. Salinger and Chuck Palahniuk gave me permission to write the way I did in my short story collection.

JA: In Ninja versus Pirate featuring Zombies, you instantly get an idea of what you're getting into from the 1st sentence. How difficult was that sentence to write? It was sort of difficult to read just because of the sheer size of it.

JM: That sentence was actually pretty easy to write. It was inspired by Plato's Parable of the Cave. I already had a pretty good handle on my main character's voice, so I just had to change the cave to fit the novel and show everything from the protagonist's wacky point-of-view.

JA: One thing I really enjoyed in Ninja versus Pirates featuring Zombies was the humour. Is it based off your own sense of humour or did you taker inspiration from other places? If so, where?

JM: It's definitely based on my own sense of humour, but the BBC version of "The Office" was a big inspiration too. I loved the way Ricky Gervais' character would try to be politically correct and wind up being even more politically incorrect. I really wanted to try to do that too.

JA: How did you come up with the names in Ninja versus Pirates featuring Zombies?

JM: Guy Boy Man's name is supposed to make him emblematic of all mankind. He's funny and charming, but he's also flawed, perhaps irredeemably so. I wanted Baby Doll15's name to suggest an online component to Guy's world, which is meant to harken back to the Prologue, where Guy Boy Man saw everyone chained up in front of a giant LCD display, bashing keyboards and shaking wireless mice.

JA: What can we expect from GuyBoyMan next?

JM: Guy doesn't really show up much in the second book until near the end. If you want to stay up to date with Guy, your best bet is HowToEndHumanSuffering.com. From there, you can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

JA: What do you think of book to movie adaptations?

JM: I like them, in general. I definitely don't have the negative opinion of Hollywood that some writers do. I really hope to see my work on the big screen some day.

JA: Have you thought about who you would want cast in a movie adaptation of Ninja versus Pirates featuring Zombies?

JM: I know this sounds crazy, but for some reason I imagine Will Ferrell in the role of Guy Boy Man and John C. Reilly as Sweetie Honey. I know Guy Boy Man is sixteen-years-old and Will Ferrell is in his forties, and I know Sweetie Honey is African-American and John C. Reilly is white. I still think it could work.

JA: Do you have any authors you would recommend to me or my readers?

JM: My friend, Yasuko Thanh, has a collection of short stories coming out this Spring called "Floating Like The Dead". Also, my publisher, ChiZine Publications, has a lot of really cool titles.

JA: Finally, my random question of the moment, do you read online comics? If so, which ones? I'm always on the lookout for more :D

JM: I'm sorry I don't!

So there you have it lads and lassies. I'd like to say a huge thanks to James Marshall for agreeing to the interview and thanks to all you readers out there. I hope you enjoyed it!

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