And now for something completely different.
For this "Fiction Friday," you, dear readers, will experience Poor Reflections' first author interview. ...but it's probably not like any author interview you've read before. I have interviewed mystery writer, Jay Mims.
As I was reading his first book, THE FIVE SANTAS, I realized that his descriptions pleasantly reminded me of an old text-based adventure game from the 1980s. You know...the ones that Sheldon Cooper always tries to get his friends to play. Just to let you know how much of a geek I am, I would totally play text adventures with Sheldon Cooper. For about two minutes. Because that's about how long it would take for him to kick me out because I was playing it wrong.
I asked Mr. Mims (it's fun to call him that) if he would be willing to be interviewed as if he were playing a text adventure. He agreed, because he's about as odd as I am. The following interview (which quickly reached the point of delightful ridiculousness) is the result. Enjoy!
(* For those of you who are unfamiliar with text adventures, they are games without any graphics, heavily relying on the writer's description and the player's imagination. The player would have to type commands that he or she wanted his or her character to perform--usually something simple like, "Take beaver" or "Kill troll with beaver." Because a text adventure interview can get confusing (ya think?), I have noted what I have said ARC (that's ME) and what Jay Mims has said with JM (that's not me). If I appear to be speaking in third person, it's because I'm emulating a text adventure. And talking in third person is what text adventures would do if they were people. Ok---on with the most bizarre interview ever, with the awesome Jay Mims! Buy his books!)
ARC: You have arrived in a strange, yet awesome blog, with no memory of how you got here. The exit is blocked by a strange, yet awesome blogger named RUTH. She doesn't look like she's going to let you pass without a fight, and you won't hit a girl. There is a large sparkly orange SIGN here, and also a TURTLE. Your obvious exits are NORTH, EAST, and CANARY YELLOW.
JM: Look at SIGN
ARC: The sign is large and sparkly. It reminds you of a disco traffic cone...if that were a thing. It reads, "He must answer questions ten, ere the blog exit he see. I know that doesn't rhyme. Shut up. I'm here to axe you some questions. The turtle's name is Sam. Don't touch him. He'll give you the Samonella." After all, it is a large sign.
JM: Say "Hi Sam" to the TURTLE
ARC: Sam the turtle says, "Don't touch me. I'll give you the Samonella."
JM: Turn NORTH
ARC: You have reached the North Pole. The air smells like peppermint, and also it's kind of cold here. You should have worn an ugly Christmas sweater. There is a Santa Claus here. He is holding a toy AXE and looking pretty confused.
JM: Tell SANTA hello. Ask SANTA why he looks confused.
ARC: "Tell" is not a verb I recognize.
JM: Say "Hello" to SANTA.
ARC: Santa smiles knowingly at you, then looks down at the axe. "Why am I holding this thing? Do you want it? I KNOW that you do!"
JM: Take AXE from SANTA
ARC: Santa hands you the axe and whispers, "Use your powers for good," before vanishing in a puff of green and red swirly smoke. You are alone in the cold, holding a toy axe for no apparent reason. You assume there's a toy workshop or some kind of Santa village somewhere nearby, but it's too cold to go exploring. At this rate, any Santa villages you see will probably be the lovely visions you have right before hypotherming to death. Yes, hypotherming is totally a word. Never mind. Your only exit is SOUTH, back to the strange, awesome blog.
**Your score has gone up 100 points**
JM: Head SOUTH
ARC: "Head" is not a verb I recognize.
JM: Walk SOUTH, keep head lowered to chest and mutter about verbs.
ARC: You are back at the strange, yet awesome blog. The exit is blocked by a strange, yet awesome blogger named RUTH. She doesn't look like she's going to let you pass without a fight, and you won't hit a girl. There is a large sparkly orange SIGN here, and also a TURTLE. Your obvious exits are HYPOTHERMIA, EAST, and CANARY YELLOW.
JM: Ask RUTH "Do you want to ax me a question?"
ARC: Ruth says, "Bring me something I can axe questions with."
JM: Walk EAST
ARC: You are in a twisty maze of passages, all alike. Ain't nobody got time fo dat. Better go back the way you came. Your obvious exits are GO WEST, YOUNG MAN.
JM: WALK WEST! RUN AWAY FROM THE TWISTY MAZES!
ARC: You are back at the ...oh, you know the drill. Your obvious exits are HYPOTHERMIA, RUN AWAY!, and CANARY YELLOW.
JM: Offer RUTH axe.
ARC: "Offer" is not a...oh, okay, I'll take it.
Ruth accepts the axe and says, "This is how it works. If you want me to axe you a question, you hand me the axe. Since you already did that once, I'll go ahead and axe you a question. Do you have any snazzy introductions you'd like to offer at this time?"
JM: Two psychics bump into each other one says to the other "Well you're fine, but how am I?"
Thank you so much for having me here Ruthalicious.
ARC: Ruth says, "You're welcome. Don't call me Ruthalicious. I'm holding an axe!!" She looks down at the axe. "But I guess you'll need it back if you want me to axe you more questions."
JM: Takes axe back
ARC: A random Christmas ELF wanders in.
JM: Waves at ELF saying "Hello!"
ARC: The elf ignores you completely.
JM: Gives AXE to RUTH.
ARC: Ruth takes the axe and says, "Now you're getting it. Tell me a little bit about yourself. I know that's not a question. Shut up. Well, answer my not-question and shut up. Simultaneously."
The elf hops on Sam's back, and the turtle and elf fly off into the distance.
JM: I'm Jay, I'm a mystery writer by trade, though I also enjoy making macramé. I like meeting new people, am a huge fan of Christmas movies, and might have an unhealthy obsession with the tv show He-Man.
ARC: Ruth hands the axe back to you. She wonders if the elf will catch the Samonella now.
JM: Hands the axe back to RUTH
ARC: Ruth accepts the axe with a flourish and asks, "What's your favorite Christmas movie?"
JM: This is going to sound out of left field, but I have three: Favorite Christmas Carol interpretation is "The Muppet Christmas Carol" because The Muppets and Michael Caine FOR THE WIN! Favorite musical is "White Christmas" and favorite Santa is, I'm not being sarcastic, "Ernest Saves Christmas"
ARC: Ruth nods with interest and said, "I didn't expect that. I mean, the Muppets, yeah, but I didn't peg you for a 'White Christmas' fan." She hands you back the axe.
JM: Hands RUTH axe.
ARC: Ruth takes the axe and pretends she's going to maul you with it. But it's just a toy. "You said that you're a mystery writer. What projects have you worked on, and *LOADED QUESTION ALERT* are any of them Christmas themed?"
JM: I DO! I have two mystery novels, with a third due out October 15th. My first novel THE FIVE SANTAS is a Christmas mystery! The smarmy detective, Dan Landis, is working as a security guard over the holidays when he stumbles across the body of Santa.
He recruits his partner, Abbey, to help him catch the killer. It's a race against time as Dan has to stop the Kringle Killer, solve the mystery, and find an appropriate gift for Abbey.
Book 2 THE CULT OF KOO KWAY picks up where SANTAS left off, but also tells the story of how Dan met Abbey.
Book 3 will have Dan and Abbey take their friend Doc to a cozy bed and breakfast to spend a nice, quiet New Year's Eve together. Until the body shows up. It's called THE GRAY GHOST INN.
ARC: Ruth hands you back the axe and looks as though she's dying to axe you a follow-up question. A mysterious blue box materializes nearby.
JM: Hands AXE to RUTH while casting glance at BLUE BOX.
ARC: A mad man sticks his head out of the blue box. He looks around and sheepishly says, "WHAT? This isn't the North Pole!" Then he goes back into the box, and it disappears.
Ruth looks longingly in the direction of where the blue box once stood, then shakes her head to clear it, accepts the axe and says, "Where was I? No. That's not the question. The question is, "Are you planning more for the Dan Landis series?"
JM: I have 13 books planned in the series. BUT, that's only if people like them. Right now I've got a quartet lined up, what I'm calling "The Oncoming Storm" series.
ARC: Ruth says, "And I thought *I* was obsessed with Doctor Who," and hands the axe back to you.
JM: YES! THANK YOU! YOU, RUTH, ARE THE ONLY PERSON TO GET THAT!
ARC: "YES! THANK YOU! YOU, RUTH, ARE THE ONLY PERSON TO GET THAT!" is not a verb I recognize.
Hands axe to Ruth
ARC: Ruth accepts the axe and asks, "So if Dan Landis invited you over to hang out, what would the two of you do?"
JM: I'd imagine watch episodes of MOONLIGHTING. Barring that, we'd go out to a bar where Dan would prove to be the GREATEST WINGMAN EVER! Or I'd be a mediocre wingman. Either way it would be LEGENDARY!
Or we'd go out back and project DOCTOR WHO against the back of the house.
ARC: Ruth says, "Watch out ladies!" and throws the axe at your face.
JM: Catches AXE
ARC: A reindeer trots in. His nose is red and glowing.
JM: Points and says "RUDOLPH!"
Hands AXE back to RUTH because he doesn't throw things at girls either.
ARC: Ruth says, "Thanks for not hurting me. So, what would you get Dan Landis for Christmas?"
The reindeer whistles "You're a Grand Old Flag" and trots away.
JM: Dan is a sophisticated kind of nerd, so I'd lean toward a red shirt that has "EXPENDABLE" on it.
Alternatively, I could get him a TARDIS USB splitter.
ARC: Ruth chuckles and hands the axe back to you.
JM: I have both of those, FYI. Hands AXE back to RUTH
ARC: Ruth takes the axe. "That's because you're awesome," she says. Then she asks, "How many questions was that? I'm bad at math."
JM: I don't know.
7 I think.
ARC: Ruth shrugs. "Doesn't matter. It's my blog. I can change the rules. I have a toy axe. Your argument is invalid." She starts to hand the axe back to you, but pulls it away and says, "psych!"
She asks, "Is there anything else you really want to tell us about your writing, Dan Landis, yourself, or life in general?"
And by "us" I mean...me...and the invisible pony in the corner.
JM: Oooh PONY!
I really enjoy writing, and it's kind of weird because I've found myself constantly improving. If you read book 3, THE GRAY GHOST INN, you'll notice a significant improvement over book 1 THE FIVE SANTAS.
I realize my books aren't for everyone, but if you are interested in a low-key mystery, with interesting characters, and an ever growing and maturing story, then you should totally take a chance on me. To quote Abba.
ARC: Can't go wrong with Abba. Well, since I have read THE FIVE SANTAS, I can say that I'm eagerly awaiting THE GRAY GHOST INN. FIVE SANTAS was very entertaining. Ruth eyes the toy axe and throws it and all the rules out the window that just appeared from nowhere.
So let's talk about THE FIVE SANTAS! What did you like, dislike, any piercing questions you might have?
ARC: Who's interviewing who here? I like the characters. You have a wonderful grasp of characterization, which makes me wonder how much of you is in Landis, and vice versa.
In other words, he's very believable. Like an alter-ego.
JM: It worries me how much of myself is in Dan. I'm not going to lie about that. I like to think Dan is what I would be if I just listened to every bad idea that came to mind.
ARC: Hahaha! Sounds about right. Yet it usually works for him.
JM: Dan's probably the easiest character in the cast to write for. I think Abbey or Doc are the hardest. For two different reasons: Abbey is highly intelligent, but she doesn't do pop culture references, so I end up struggling with something to say.
ARC: How does the rest of the world communicate?!
JM: DON'T KNOW! I have had to interact with non-nerds recently, and I sometimes feel like I'm speaking Klingon. I'm just like "Something something Honey Boo Boo?"
Because when in doubt just make all statements into questions.
ARC: Ha! What about Doc?
JM: Doc is difficult because he's mature, wordly, and always uses $5 words. I have to break out the thesaurus then.
ARC: What's an example of a word Doc would use?
ARC: How would Dan Landis define that?
JM: Father Mulchahy's sense of humor (From M*A*S*H)
ARC: Tell us (the pony and me) where we can find your books.
JM: You can pretty much find them anywhere books are sold. Amazon and Barnes and Noble carry them, and if you want, Barnes and Noble can order the physical copy for you.
Most indie bookstores either carry them or can order them for you.
You can also get 'em on ebooks, including on Smashwords, the one-stop-shop for ebook publications.
ARC: Awesome. The pony will order them today! There's one more question I have to ask before I let you exit this blog.
JM: I'm all aglow with excitement!
ARC: Do you believe in Santa?
JM: Totally! I still leave out cookies. Though, in fairness I also have the memory of a goldfish, so when I come downstairs I go "Oooh cookies!" eat said cookies, and then later marvel that Santa ate his cookies.
ARC: So, basically, Santa thinks you've left him a plate of crumbs.
JM: Yes. It's really no wonder I keep getting jipped. I get like socks, a straightened yo-yo, some string, a Rubic's cube that's been solved. Which, if you don't know, is just a block. A BLOCK IS NOT FUN!
I did get a game of Battleship, but since my only company is a passive-aggressive Dalek named Steve, it's not as much fun as you'd think. He keeps going "I HAVE EXTERMINATED YOUR BATTLESHIP! EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE!"
ARC: You can build with a block. "I built a small cube-shaped tower. Don't knock it down, Steve."
JM: Yes, but if there's only block then I've mostly built a mild inconvenience.
ARC: I build those all the time.
I'd love to build a cube shaped fort and be all "BWAHAHAHA! I NOW HAVE A FORT! YOU CANNOT SEE ME!"
ARC: The invisible pony can see you. The invisible pony SEES ALL.
JM: THE INVISIBLE PONY IS THE SILENCE!
After that, the interview kind of went downhill into a nerdy conversation about Doctor Who....
MANY THANKS to the talented Jay Mims for his time...and also for being a great sport and trying a WAY different (and somewhat obnoxious) kind of interview. You can read his blog at http://themimsey.blogspot.com/.
I highly recommend THE FIVE SANTAS. Happy Christmas in July! Dan Landis for president!
Oh, and it's a good thing that Mr. Mims didn't venture off into CANARY YELLOW. He was likely to have been eaten by a Grue.