Name Charie D. La Marr
Age 59 (for the next two weeks)
Where are you from?
Born in Washington, DC – been a Nyer since I was 5.
A little about your self `i.e. your education Family life etc.
Started college when I was in my mid 40’s. Have my BFA in Interior Design, but I have never practiced. Family life is very strange – I live with my mother who has dementia, my 27-year-old son Travis who is ADD and I am bipolar. The two Shih Tzu’s Bailey and Jeter are kind of crazy, too. One snores and the other cries in his sleep. Can dogs be bipolar? I thik they are. Basically it’s a sitcom in the making.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Well I just sold my first Circuspunk anthology Bumping Noses and Cherry Pie to Chups Cabra. Circuspunk is a genre I developed based on my 9 years as a professional clown. Look it up, it’s in Urban Dictionary and under the Punk page at Wikipedia! Also Solarcide just chose me for their September featured writer with a very unusual piece. Best birthday present ever.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing when I could hold a pencil. On my mother’s side. I am a third generation writer. My grandmother and uncle were both journalists. My uncle was also a ghostwriter and wrote military non-fiction. On my father’s side I am distantly related to Mary Shelley. My paternal grandmother was a Godwin like Mary Shelley’s father. Although I have never been able to get through his book!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was five. My first poem is hanging on my father’s living room wall. I apologize to Sylvia Plath for naming it “Daddy”. I was just a kid. I didn’t know. I always wrote stories in marble notebooks. Wish I still had them all.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book—which I am still trying to sell, was actually inspired by a piece of jewelry I own. It is a 17th century French portrait on ivory and the book is my story of the necklace—who she is, how it made it to 20th century New York, etc. It is a thriller called Something Old. The book I just sold was inspired by my days as a clown and magician. It is a collection of short stories—everything from Victorian to Lovecraftian to Noir to pathos to full out Bizarro and splatterpunk. My partner Alex S. Johnson had a lot to do with it, too. He refers to it as “pee your pants funny.” He has such a way with words.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Nope. I guess that working as I have as a ghostwriter for athletes, I have learned to write in many voices and styles. I recently added Bizarro to my repertoire. I find it incredibly liberating. I can write in any style from Seussian to historical and everything in between.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title of the book I just sold is Bumping Noses and Cherry Pie. In clown lingo, bumping noses means having sex. Cherry pie is extra work that a circus worker is asked to do for extra money. It’s like a bonus. Both figure into the stories.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
YES!! I want people to stop telling me they hate clowns and they are afraid of them. I was an adorable pink girly clown. Kids loved me. Men often asked to bump noses with me.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Very little. One story is actually based on something that happened to me as a clown.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Well, in the sense that a lot of it comes from what I know of circuses and magic.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
So many. I fell in love with We Have Always Lived in the Castle as a teenager. Cat’s Cradle, Lamb, Anything by Daniel Silva, I read everything.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Christopher Moore. But I have Alex S. Johnson, my partner, and that is almost as good.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Killer Weed – it’s very cool. Reminds me of the “old days.”
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Well since I am new to Bizarro, they have all grasped my interest. But I have always had this thing about being attracted to first novels. I like seeing where people start off.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
My computer is loaded. A Western style Romance Novel (I had to try), a story for Chupa’s Eco anthology, a story for the Ugly Babies anthology, and several joint projects with Alex for starters. A screenplay is in the wind. I have talked to the author of the book about it recently. I have a publisher currently reading a book called The Squid Whores of the Fulton Fish Market. A lot of fun.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I would have to say two. Alex and Dr. Hogsette my comp professor in college who once told me he would accept “fluff” from anyone in the class accept me. He saw more in me and wouldn’t let me slide.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope. Except maybe find a way to stuff more stories into it.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
From my grandmother and uncle. My grandmother mostly. She was a newspaperwoman and also a research assistant for several authors in the 60’s.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
“Then there was the trick where she stood with her back to Raja, legs wide open, and he poked his trunk in between and lifted her high in the air. Having an elephant’s trunk up your twat night after night wasn’t exactly fun. And as any veterinary student knew, a male elephant could touch its trunk tip to a trace of female urine and then carry it to the vomeronasal organ at the roof of its mouth to check for mating hormones. In other words, on the days when the ride in had made her come, this particular trick could cause Raja to become horny.
The last trick they did was when Raja stood on his front legs with his fat ass up in the air and Donatella stood underneath him for the big finish and bow. On the days when Raja was horny, by the time they did this trick he was good to go and Donatella was treated to a blast of pachyderm bukkake. God, how she hated her job.” From Tarot Cards, Elephant Spunk and Cotton Candy—The Story of Fabrizio Parsinelli
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
In my case, trying new genres.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Daniel Silva for one. I love the way he crafts a thriller and his research and detail.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Wish I did. I hope to.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
It isn’t done yet. I can’t wait! I want a wild circus poster!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Getting the focus in a house full of crazies. Actually sometimes that really helps.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I always learn. I have learned that Bizarro is a great way to just let go ad let my imagination carry me away.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Well, everyone always says read more. And I agree, but take time to get out and observe. Some of my best characters have been people I have watched at the food court at the mall. I hear Wal-Mart is a great place to observe people, too. Haven’t tried that – yet. But in NYC, there are tons to observe. Also if you can interview people. And research! You are sitting in front of the most amazing tool ever created by man! Use it for something besides playing Angry Birds! I never write without at least 20 windows open for research.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Buy more books – let us know how you like them so we can write better books.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
That is funny. Collecting shoes and jewelry—a girl cannot have enough of either. Changing the color of my nail polish almost daily. And baseball. I am a rabid Yankees fan. I even have my own museum in my house. Real women love baseball. AND baseball players—except when they scratch and spit and adjust on camera. And I have an obsession with tiny things. Objects, that is.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching
The Borgia’s, The Newsroom. Perception and then wacky reality shows. Dance Moms, Project Runway, Gold Rush, American Pickers, Pawn Stars. Nutty people inspire me.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Chocolate/pink, purple and black/Grateful Dead, but almost anything. Alex is getting me into heavy metal.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Interior Architect. I the idea of spending other people’s money on expensive stuff.