Sunday, November 29, 2015

Where are They Now? Interview with Scott Cole

by Anthony Trevino

Scott Cole is one cool cat. I had the pleasure of meeting him at BizarroCon 2014 and he’s been an awesome friend ever since. His work makes me think of what if Brian Yuzna and Stuart Gordon made the jump from film to writing, and if you haven’t had the pleasure of reading SuperGhost yet, then get on that! It’s an excellent read that’s as scary as it is gut-bustingly funny. 

AT: So, to kick this off, I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to do this, and was the Frizzi 2 Fulci show as awesome as I think it was?

SC: Thanks for asking me to take part!

Yeah, the Frizzi 2 Fulci thing was indeed pretty great. I’ve been a Fulci fan for so many years, and the idea that I would be able to hear the music from some of those classic films performed live is something I never really expected I’d have an opportunity to experience. The fact that they played my city as one of only 5 North American shows made it feel even more special.

I got to see Goblin twice (2 different configurations of the band) in 2013, so there was an odd sense of balance in my musical brain getting to see Fabio Frizzi now.

If the rumors about John Carpenter touring soon prove to be true, my head’s going to explode. Here, take this poncho.

AT: Oh, man, I’m so jealous. I had a similar experience when I saw Faith No More in 2010. There’s this great surreal feeling you get when something that never before seemed tangible suddenly becomes real. If Carpenter tours for Lost Themes I’m going to line up at that venue now.

How’d you end up being a part of last year’s New Bizarro Author Series?

SC: I had been wanting to submit something for a while, but really never felt comfortable writing something longer than a few thousand words. I had always just considered myself a short story writer. I figured it out eventually, though. And once I did, I started coming up with tons of longer-form ideas.

Anyway, I finished the first draft of SuperGhost just before heading to my first BizarroCon in 2013. When I was there, I sort of inadvertently pitched the book to Spike Marlowe, and a couple months later, after some revisions, I sent her my official, more formal pitch. She liked it, and we moved forward from there. Next thing I knew, I was at my second BizarroCon launching my first book and thinking of ways to promote it.

The entire NBAS experience has been a great one. Now I’m looking forward to the incoming group of books, yours included.

AT: Thanks, that’s great to hear, man. I think you knocked it out of the park with SuperGhost. For a book about a giant incorporeal Frankenstein’s monster and ice cream it’s as funny as it is horrifying.

Let’s talk a little bit about promotion. I know you’ve been hitting the pavement pretty hard in terms of spreading the word. So, looking back on last year, how was your experience promoting the book? Also, do you have any phantom gummy arms left?

SC: Thanks, man! I’m glad SuperGhost has struck a chord with as many people as it has. It was a lot of fun to write, and I’m really happy with the way it turned out.

Promoting the book has been a lot of fun, too, but also a little tricky, in that you need to find the right balance between getting the word out, but not being too spammy about it on social media. I tried a bunch of different things—some were more successful than others, and some were more exciting than others. But it was fun getting a little press, doing interviews, vending at cons, and also coming up with contests and small scale tie-in products.

I’m a fan of weird toys and cool limited edition trinkets, so I knew I had to do something along those lines for SuperGhost. One thing I did, which you mentioned, was to create limited edition SuperGhost candy. It’s actually a hard candy in the shape of a hand and arm that I had a local company produce, and then I designed a header card to make it look like something you might buy off a rack in a store. I had a few of them with me at last year’s BizarroCon, which I gave away at my reading/performance (people had to drink shots of “Super” Ghost Pepper hot sauce to win them). The rest have been doled out as prizes over the course of the past year. They’re all gone now, I’m afraid. 

I also had Killin’ Me Softly design and produce super-crazy-limited edition plush SuperGhost keychains, which turned out really cool. Those were available as prizes in the recent SuperGhost September contest.

AT: Damn, I should have taken that pepper sauce challenge. Oh, well, my stomach is weaker than rice paper anyway.

So, with all these great promotional items and the SuperGhost September contest, it looks like you had the promotional aspect on lock down. Was there anything you weren’t able to do to get the word out there, but really wanted to?

SC: Before deciding to do the candy, I originally wanted to get little glow-in-the-dark plastic phantom limb keychains made—actually, I found a number of people willing to do them for large amounts of money, and one person who could do it for a reasonable cost, but simply didn’t have time. I might have to revisit this sort of idea in the future.

I also teamed up with Little Baby’s Ice Cream for a co-promotional giveaway thing over the summer. I had hoped to convince them to do a SuperGhost flavor, but unfortunately, time and logistics were against us.

Other than that, there was certainly some press I hoped to get that just didn’t pan out, and some scheduling things that didn’t work out. But for the most part, I did what I could and had fun doing it.

AT: If the keychains ever do work out, I’ll take five! All things considered, I think you’ve done an amazing job getting the word out there, man. Kudos.

What words of wisdom would you like to pass on to this year’s NBASers?

SC: Think big. Be cool. Promote who you are as much as, if not more than, the books you’re trying to sell. Work together. Support and promote each other. Use the fact there are 9 of you and  the fact that you’re spread across several different continents to your advantage. Know that there will be times of doubt and frustration, and be prepared to push through them. Have fun.

AT: One more question and I think we can wrap it up. It’s a bit generic, but since I loved SuperGhost, I wanted to ask what do you have in store for us next?

SC: At the moment I’ve got a few different things in the works, but I generally don’t like to reveal too much about works-in-progress until they’re essentially finished. That said, if you like weird horror and grindhouse movies and 80s sci-fi/action stuff, you’ll probably like what I’m cooking up for the future.

AT: Totally understand. I’m sold based on that short teaser alone. All right, Scott. Thanks again for taking the time to do this!

SC: No problem. Thanks so much for asking me to take part. And best of luck to you and the rest of the New Bizarro Authors. 

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