JEFF STRAND: Hi, Nick! Thanks for talking with me today. My assistant tells me that you have this new book out called THE APOCALYPSE OF PETER. How much did you get paid for it?
NICK CATO: I'll still have to work the day job, but should be able to order a large pie sometime this October. How did your publisher treat you with your latest release, A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO?
JS: I asked to be paid in the blood of a thousand squirrels. They said “Sure, no problem,” but I have yet to get my barrel of blood. I’ve got it written down on my to-do list to start brainstorming ways to seek vengeance. Anyway, this Peter apocalypse book...if I wanted to know what it’s about, what would you tell me?
NC: I'd tell you it's about a young seminary student, his senior citizen buddy, and a 4-piece all girl rock group and their adventures at the beginning of the end of the world. It's told in three parts, with the third being the strangest thing I've written yet.
JS: Wow. That sounds way better than my book.
NC: Well aren't you just TOO kind. What's the scoop on A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO, and is this your first shot at reaching a younger audience?
JS: It’s my second. Way back in 2001, I published ELROD McBUGLE ON THE LOOSE, about the wacky, zany, and/or crazy mishaps of a 7th grader. It was written for a younger audience than A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO and there’s no gore, but it’s got a lot of the same self-referential stuff, and there’s a quiz at the end of each chapter. A.B.D.F.V. is at your local bookstore or your local internet right now from Sourcebooks, and it’s about...actually, this answer is running a bit long. Could you ask me what the voodoo book is about again so it doesn’t seem like I’m too long-winded?
NC: Sure! What's the scoop on A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO?
JS: It’s about this one kid, and he’s all like “My teacher’s all like, you get an F on this test!” and his friend is all like “You should get a voodoo doll of him!” and the kid is all like “Nah” and then the book ends. I believe the editors hired some ghostwriters to pad it out a bit, so that he does get a doll and an entire book’s worth of very bad things happen, but I didn’t read it.
NC: You don't take me for an author who doesn't read his own works...but then again Ed Wood didn't exactly watch his own movies. Any plans to read this in schools or over-crowded shopping malls?
JS: Yes and no, respectively. So, we’ve known each other since 2004. Maybe it was 2003, but I think it was 2004. In what ways has this friendship increased or decreased the quality of your life?
NC: Well, on one hand, to this day I can't enter a bookstore without at least one person coming over for an autograph and asking "Hey, aren't you the guy who co-wrote that testicle-themed chapbook with Jeff Strand?", and on the other I can't leave a bookstore without a mob of people waiting outside, trying to kick my ass for co-writing that testicle-themed chapbook with Jeff Strand. So I guess my life has become much more interesting since co-writing that testicle-themed chapbook with you.
JS: You know that “I say po-TAY-toe, you say po-TAH-toe” thing? Well, I know that “Cato” is pronounced like “po-TAH-toe,” but before I heard you say it out loud I always thought it was like “po-TAY-toe,” and even though I know it’s wrong, I still say “CAY-toe.” I can’t stop myself. You’ll always be Nick CAY-toe to me. I’m so sorry. Do I suck?
NC: Nah--everyone calls me "po-TAY-toe" anyway so I'm used to it. As long as they don't call me Shirley I'm fine. So I hear you're going to be a Guest of Honor at NECon this summer (for those who don't know, NECon is a writer's convention in Rhode Island that's 10% writer's convention and 90% liver-damaging drinking party). Congrats...and will you be doing anything special for those in attendance?
JS: I’ll be offering creepy lingering hugs to all NECon attendees upon request. And if they bring the materials and a sewing machine, I will make them a hat. (Fine Print: I do not know how to make a hat or use a sewing machine.) So you’re a publisher AND an author, but it seems like you’re more of an author these days. Do you prefer one over the other?
NC: I like both, but lately my writing has been taking off a bit more so I've been spending much more time with it. My press, NOVELLO PUBLISHERS, is on the verge of expanding and possibly doing 3-5 titles per year beginning in 2013. We may also be releasing our first full length novel this winter. There's a lot of work involved with a press but I'm a workaholic so I find it fun. (BTW: I may be bringing some hate material with me to NECon...)
JS: Hate material? What does that mean? Do I need to be fearful about NECon now? Who hates whom? What kind of terrifying tease is that?!?
NC: DOH! I meant HAT material! I don't hate anyone...well, except for the yuppies who've invaded the neighborhood I work in, but otherwise I'm quite the happy fellow. And speaking of sarcastic anti-yuppies, any plans for a 5th Andrew Mayhem novel, even though you finally shut us all up with the long-awaited 4th installment, LOST HOMICIDAL MANIAC (ANSWERS TO "SHIRLEY")?
JS: I guess we could fix your typo, but then I’d look kind of silly asking whether I need to be fearful about NECon. I’d guess that there will eventually be a fifth Andrew Mayhem novel, though not in the near future. Right now I’m more inclined to bring back George and Lou from WOLF HUNT, but there will be at least three original novels before I do any sequels.
NC: Well, you can do a 5th Mayhem novel AND keep it original, thus killing two gerbils with one toilet paper roll. But either way more Strand in any form is always good news. I've never blog-toured before. Do you find it as mentally tiring as a regular book tour...and if you haven't had a regular book tour, pretend you have for the sake of this question.
JS: A blog-tour is about .00000000016% as tiring as a regular book tour. I’m sitting here on a comfy recliner writing this, and if nobody shows up to the website to read it, at least I don’t have to sit there feeling awkward and self-conscious. Do you think this interview has gone on long enough, or do you want me to ask you one more question?
NC: Perhaps one more and then we'll both go grab a couple of Yoo-Hoos.
JS: Yoo-Hoos are gross. Why don’t you have a manly beverage, like a Dr. Pepper or something?
NC: OKAY folks I believe this stop on the blog tour has concluded! Can you tell us the best place to get a copy of A BAD DAY FOR VOODOO?
JS: It should be in the Teen Fiction section of your local bookstore, or you can get it from the online bookseller of your choice. What about THE APOCALYPSE OF PETER?
NC: The usual online booksellers (amazon, B&N) and at cooler horror conventions up and down the east coast this summer and fall!
Well, thanks for stopping by ANTIBACTERIAL POPE, and I wish you success with your new YA venture!
(ABOVE: That's Jeff in his annual stint as host of the Bram Stoker Awards)