Thursday, December 22, 2011

Interview with Richard Buzzell

Richard Buzzell enjoys discovering and highlighting the drama that exists in everyday life. Ministry of Morgasm is his first foray into the genre he likes to refer to as “sophisticated pulp.” His previous work, the Wall Street “gang of spielers” novel ZombieStop Parade has been favorably reviewed by the likes of Midwest Book Review, Hartford Books Examiner, San Francisco Book Review, The U.S. Review of Books, Bookpleasures, and The New Podler Review, among others.

Q: Why did you choose to become a writer?

A: I tend to have a wandering mind and a lust for drama, and producing entertainment is one of the few things either of those traits is good for.

Q: What was the hardest part about writing this story?

A: Portraying the female characters was obviously a challenge for me. I’m sure I couldn’t have done it without years of experience at convincing women to open up to me about their personal lives. There are a lot of interesting stories out there for anyone willing to listen.

Q: What do you like most about this story?

A: I like the way the conflict is subtle and sophisticated and yet still provides dramatic impact.

Q: What do you think that readers will like most about this story?

A: I’m not sure. I’m hoping that some readers will appreciate the daring subject matter. I’m certainly hoping that some readers will enjoy the sense of fun in the story. I expect there’ll be a wide range of responses and not all of them positive. I’m okay with that. The story is intentionally provocative so I’d be disappointed if there aren’t at least some critical reactions. This is one of the advantages of being an indie author – I have the freedom to take the kind of chances that a publisher wouldn’t approve of.

Q: How would you describe your writing style?

A: I like to describe it as a “fast fiction” format that respects the desire of busy readers to get to the point. It derives more from oral storytelling than from literary conventions. I try to get every line to have a “speakable” quality to it. A lot of filler gets removed this way and that allows the story to move along fairly quickly.

Q: What inspired you to write this story?

A: There wasn’t any specific point of inspiration. I just started writing to see where it would go and it all came flowing out. The story surprised me as it developed. That’s a fun way to write.

Q: This story is quite different from your previous work. How do you choose what you want to write about?

A: I start with an engaging character and then I need an intriguing topic and then I need to be able to deal with it in a manner that is both innovative and entertaining. This is how I get interested in writing a story and that interest is what motivates me. Mostly I’m trying to write something that hasn’t already been done by a horde of other writers

Q: Do you think you’ll ever become a mass-market bestseller?

A: I can’t see that happening simply because I don’t produce that type of writing. I’d be satisfied to be able to reach a small audience that appreciates my distinctive style of work.

Q: Do you think that this story would be a good choice for a book club discussion?

A: I can’t imagine how it could not generate some of the liveliest discussions that most book clubs have ever had.

1 comment:

  1. John MIchael CummingsDecember 23, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    re: book review request by award-winning author

    Dear Indie eBooks:

    I'm an award-winning author with a new book of fiction out this fall. Ugly To Start With is a series of thirteen interrelated stories about childhood published by West Virginia University Press.

    Can I interest you in reviewing it?

    If you write me back at, I can email you a PDF of my book. If you require a bound copy, please ask, and I will forward your reply to my publisher. Or you can write directly to Abby Freeland at:

    My publisher, I should add, can also offer your readers a free excerpt of my book through a link from your blog to my publisher's website:

    Here’s what Jacob Appel, celebrated author of
    Dyads and The Vermin Episode, says about my new collection: "In Ugly to Start With, set in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, Cummings tackles the challenges of boyhood adventure and family conflict in a taut, crystalline style that captures the triumphs and tribulations of small-town life. He has a gift for transcending the particular experiences to his characters to capture the universal truths of human affection and suffering--emotional truths that the members of his audience will recognize from their own experiences of childhood and adolescence.”

    My short stories have appeared in more than seventy-five literary journals, including North American Review, The Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Chattahoochee Review. Twice I have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. My short story "The Scratchboard Project" received an honorable mention in The Best American Short Stories 2007.

    I am also the author of the nationally acclaimed coming-of-age novel The Night I Freed John Brown (Philomel Books, Penguin Group, 2009), winner of The Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers (Grades 7-12) and one of ten books recommended by USA TODAY.

    For more information about me, please visit:

    Thank you very much, and I look forward to hearing back from you.


    John Michael Cummings