Today’s interview is with Eugene Uttley. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself.
Thanks. Just flew in. Arms are tired. Haha. Hello. I am Eugene Uttley Esq. & I live in the Midwest of the USA, where I hold down a modest jobby job to pay the bills, which is not difficult considering I live alone and have no dependents.
At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer? (When did you write your first story, for example?)
I have always written creatively. My jokes, however, have whiskers on them.
Tell us about your writing process.
I have been writing the same comic novel for over fifteen years now, and it’s coming along grudgingly, I’ll tell you. It’s this character Roger who hasn’t left me alone over the years. So I’ve got him on a bus on the way to Albuquerque….
What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?
Humor. Postmodern humor. I mean, that’s not a genre, but… literary fiction?
Humor should be a genre, although I prefer it to infuse all genres. We need more laughter in the world. What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about one issue lately: demystification of mental illness towards more comprehensive mental health education and against the stigma of violent behavior or tendencies with schizophrenia in particular.
What is something you cannot live without?
The toxic byproduct of plant metabolism: O2. No. Um. For me, it’s aripiprazole. Without it I experience mental torture. It’s truly agonizing, and fatiguing beyond measure. I try just to sleep.
I used to work as an administrator for a community mental health center, so I know what atripiprazole is. When you are not writing, what do you do?
When I am not writing, I am generally sleeping or working or both.
Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?
Oh, yeah. Great question. Writing Way Out helped me put a lot behind me. Like, “This is something that happened to me,” as opposed to, “This is something that is happening to me.”
That is a great way of looking at it. I find writing to be very therapeutic myself. Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?
The three brothers with their own language in The Diamond Grenade have to be loosely based on the Beastie Boys, the way they minstrel show with instruments and all, but basically just rapping insults at the audience in their own language. So hiphop influences, certainly, pop culture of the turn of the millennium. But as far as inspiration goes, I feel like the really worthwhile writing kind of wants out. You’ll be like, “whoa, I only got so many hours in the day to be making stuff up with the word processor.” And your muse won’t listen and will keep pushing you for all you’re worth.
Yeah, you’re a writer for sure. I’ve definitely has similar experiences. What sort of research do you do for your novels?
Well one of my books, The Boon, isn’t a novel at all, but since you said research, I thought to mention that research is what The Boon is. Very ongoing and sometimes stream-of-consciousness loose progression of topics for momentary mention or investigation, in a narration like a reacher’s reading journal. But my novellas and such do not require research. They are tissues of fiction.
If someone who hasn’t read any of your work asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?
Reading The Boon is a bit of a chore. But the good news is that very soon there will be an audiobook. Way Out is a more straightforward memoir, albeit not chronological and framed as a biography. The Diamond Grenade is revolutionary of course – good fun to read.
Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?
That’s interesting. They say in life we sometimes recycle the same interpersonal dynamics and run the same situation through different sets of friends. I find myself recreating a situation in which I just made a faux pas but nobody was paying attention to me, anyway.
Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?
Oh, the characters take over. They’ll do what they’ll do, it seems, when you’re writing a few hours a day or more, you know… But I maintain a brisk course of events.
Making characters do what you want is a lot like herding cats, in my experience. Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer? Why?
You try to keep in mind that the notes are calling the shots, but eventually you’re just trying to keep up with what has to happen next.
Absolutely. What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?
I prefer to sketch caricature. Events practically overshadow character in The Diamond Grenade. If there’s depth of character, it stems more from the reader’s feelings about the perpetrations of the characters than from much lingering in the narration on how anybody actually feels about anything. Well, the POV is of a couple of the main characters. If that makes any sense.
It does. Do you head-hop?
I have heard of this head-hopping of which you speak, but have yet to really wrap my mind around it. I believe that, yes, in The Diamond Grenade I head-hop from one narrator’s into another’s POV.
Where can readers find you and your books?