INTERVIEW: Danger Slater, Author of ‘I Will Rot Without You’

Danger Slater, the author of Bizarro Fiction books like Love Me and DangerRAMA, has been kind enough to accept an interview about his newest novel I Will Rot Without You. We’ve also discussed a bit more about his writing process, influences, and the Bizarro world in general.


To start it all off: thank you so much for accepting an interview, Danger. We at Cultured Vultures really appreciate it. How have you been doing?
It’s morning right now and the room is cold, but I’m still in bed and under a blanket so it feels nice. Got my computer open. Headphones on. Listening to good music. Filling out these interview questions. I’m doing alright.

With the release of I Will Rot Without You what do you think has changed in your writing since your first published novel?
Oh man. I’ve gotten better in every way. Hopefully. I’m not one of those writers who find something that “works” for them and then decides to just coast along, doing the same thing until forever. I am an artist who is constantly working on his art. It’s been 5 years between my first book and this one, and I’ve had several other novellas and dozens of short stories published between then and now. And each of those was a stepping stone towards the creature I am now. And I Will Rot Without You is just another stepping stone towards the artist I will becometomorrow. This is the best I could do and all that I have to offer for the person I am now. By the time I’m 1000 years old, I will be THE BEST WRITER EVER! Also, I plan to live to be 1000 years old.

What did inspire you to write? Is there any specific author you think that – without his or her influence – you wouldn’t have become a writer?
Well, the desire to create had always been built into me in one way or another, but I believe that impulse is in everyone, to varying degrees. I was always drawn to writing in various forms since I learned to read. I was really into books as a kid. And movies too. Still am. When I was 18 I read Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. That book hit me somewhere special. It haunted me. That’s when I realized I wanted to write books. I wanted to make something that could affect somebody as much as that book affected me.

With that said, what got you into the Bizarro Fiction genre?
This same story is kind of shared by everyone who got into Bizarro who wasn’t there at its genesis, which is to say, I was LOOKING for something different. Looking for something weird. The “bizarre” aesthetic exists in lots of other visual art forms, painting and movies and television (like Adult Swim) especially, and I was and am a fan of that stuff. It’s the kind of stuff I was creating too, except in book/story form. It was hard-going, finding stuff at the local Barnes and Noble to sate this desire to read WEIRD stuff. So I took to the internet. This was in 07 or 08, I believe. Back when most people were still weary of putting their credit cards online. I kept seeing names pop-up on Amazon. Mellick. Donihie. Hansen. They had these crazy book titles and the descriptions sounded even crazier. I bought, I believe, The Bizarro Starter Kit (an anthology) and a Carlton Mellick book, The Menstruating Mall. I had another “a-ha” moment, much like I did the first time I read Vonnegut. I thought to myself, “I am home.”

I Will Rot Cover Art
Art provided by Fungasm Press

What was your process while writing I Will Rot Without You?
It took a lot of self-examination of all my failed relationships mixed with some examination of what makes relationships blossom in the first place. So there’s that aspect of it. As far as the actual writing goes, I rewrite as I go, sometimes agonizing on paragraphs/sentences for days and days before I’m happy with them. It’s a frustrating process, but when you finally break through and everything clicks, that moment is perfect. Pure catharsis. Then it’s back into the trenches, into the shit, to do it all over again.

Would you like to add anything more about the essence of your novel? Perhaps talk a bit about the exploration of love in a very dark and extreme setting, the horrible things we do unto others and to ourselves in the process, the significance where the story takes place, so on and so forth.
There isn’t much in I Will Rot Without You that isn’t a metaphor for something else. Some of it is pretty obvious, like the fact that his body is literally falling apart without his ex-girlfriend in the way that one would be mentally falling apart. Other things are more subtle and subdued. Writing is a way for me to purge myself of my own emotional baggage. Or maybe that’s not true, because all that baggage is still there. Maybe writing is more like just showing people your baggage, and through reading, I’d hope that people can identify, and say “I have that baggage too! Someone understands!” Those universal places where we all meet: sadness, hope, fear, love. OH and you have to be entertaining. Make your book interesting. That’s probably the most important thing of all. Nobody wants to read your diary. Fuck your baggage if you can’t entertain people.

What do you usually do before you start writing? Is there any specific routine you have to complete, otherwise nothing seems to come out?
I do. I have a little ritual I like to do before I write. I write first thing in the mornings before all the responsibilities I have to take care of that day start to take their toll on me. Wake up. Get comfortable. Check all my social media accounts and emails and get that all out of the way. Put on headphones. Queue up my specially-crafted ‘Writing Playlist’ on Spotify. Listen to a song or two before getting to work. Begin each writing session by going over what you did the day before. Clean it up. Edit as I go. Once I get to the end of that, I’m in the right frame of mind, hopefully cruising along on some tunes I’ve heard dozens, if not HUNDREDS of times before, and the words will just fall out of my fingertips like raindrops from an overweight cloud. I do this daily. If I don’t, I feel guilty and my whole day feels off.

In a society saturated with dystopia trilogies and vampire love triangles, do you think there are more difficulties succeeding as a writer in the horror/bizarro genre? If so, what do you think are the major problems?
I mean, yeah I guess. But not really. I would assume it’s difficult to succeed writing ANYTHING. Even if vampire love trilogies are what’s “hot” at the moment, guess what? Everyone and their mother will be writing vampire love books. So you’d face the hurdle of making your book standout amongst all those other books that are, in many way, identical. I don’t think success should be measured by what’s popular. A sentiment I’ve heard from some people (ahem…..mother…..) is that I’m “so talented” and why don’t I write something that “people want to read”. I think that mentality is bullshit. I write what I need to write and have faith that my talent and charisma can help carry me to the places I need to take it. Do you think those South Park guys would even be “The South Park Guys” if they played it safe and made something that “people wanted to see”? No. You do the thing that speaks to you, and you do it to the best of your ability. Maybe that’s writing vampire love books. Good for you. Write the best damn vampire love book ever written. Or maybe it’s writing Dungeons and Drag Queens (like my good friend MP Johnson did). I’ve read that book and you know what? It’s the best book I’ve ever read about dungeons and/or drag queens! It’s the only book I’ve ever read about dungeons and drag queens. It’s not because I’m particularly interested in those things. It’s because he wrote and fun, compelling and original story about those things and it MADE me interested in them. The only problem I can see is the megaphone that allows more people to know that this kind of literature exists. That Bizarro is a thing. And it can save you, if you need saving.

Can you tells us anything about your future projects?
Always working. Finished another novel already. Started the next. I do lots of public “readings” which I put in quotation marks because I hardly ever read and instead take my time on stage to perform weird comedy/art. Like my girlfriend Lisa and I recently performed a one-act play about a stuntman named Really Really Evel Knievel. I’m always doing something. I encourage people to follow me on Facebook or Twitter to keep up on where I am and what I’m doing.

Finally, do you have any advice for writers wanting to dive into the Bizarro Fiction genre?
JUST DO IT! The people operating within the Bizarro genre are the most welcoming and supportive group of artists I’ve ever met. If you can, make it out the Bizarrocon in November, which is an annual gathering of Bizarros, and just hang out with everyone, writers and fans alike. If you can’t do that, connect with those same people on the internet. Don’t be intimidated. They’re all nice. I’M SUPER NICE, and you can believe me because I used all capital letters to say that. Read as much Bizarro as you can to get a feel for what it is that has been done so far and how to fit your own work into the genre. And then write. Fucking write. Write all the damn time. Like I said: JUST DO IT, ALREADY!

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