My Korean students who I teach English to make fun of me for owning multiple pairs of identical pants, but they like me because I eat too many cookies so I share with them and now that I’m 27, I often get sick from all the sweets. Still not breaking that habit. I’ve only recently realized I need to eat vegetables. My hedgehog named Prickle Butt is a filthy cutie always pooping in her plastic ball while rolling and sometimes things fall on her head so I give her a bath just about every time I put her in the ball. Post offices scare me. Never know what to do even after being in a hundred of them. The Korean post offices are especially hard because less than 10% of the population here actually speak English and I only know enough Korean to call myself a pretty princess so if the one English-speaker isn’t working, I do a lot of miming.
Tell us about your books.
My first was an amalgamation of the Silver Surfer and the Human Torch for that Scholastic Books contest they did in elementary schools and it lost to a kid who ripped off If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. The next one started as a creative essay in 6th grade that eventually filled my physical science notebook and it had an alien named Carrot who was orange with green hair and another named Hawk who you can probably guess what he looked like. It was about the last human on Earth and it was a lot of video game cliches thrown together, but now I’m writing real fiction, that is to say, a current Sci-fi Dystopian Western project has giant robots that can cast magic. Joking, but that is something I’ve put 30,000 words into, usually when literary fiction about online romance, childhood sexual trauma, and anxiety drives me a bit mad and I need some escapist trash to unwind with. It’s really not a bad story.
What inspired you to write Eidolons?
I was studying abroad in Wales with 30 other Americans and I had started boxing with the university’s club and every weekend we traveled to a new city or landmark and it was amazing. One night, after boxing practice where this Londoner with a few fights marked in his crooked nose asked me to spar with him and I was too scared to hit him with any real force till yelled at me to hit him, didn’t even have his hands up or anything, then he eventually hit back and I teared up—after that weirdly happy night, I realized I’d been unhappy for the first three years of college.
I went to a college five hours from where I grew up, didn’t know anyone at my school except my freshman roommate who dropped out the next year and a few professors who failed me for the first time in my academic career because when you’re book smart, high school is just something you show up for to get good grades. I existed online and in books I read or wrote, but I didn’t really have any friends. Two or three back home, five around the world (who I still talk to), and the girl working at the cafe who was too short to reach the cookies they stored on the fridge. I ordered them every time she was working as a way of teasing her, like it was our friendly routine, but I’m sure I was just another customer to her.
TK came out of that. This kid who learned to entertain himself as a form of coping with his own shit, a lot his own fault but not everything. Through patience and old friends and introspection that he really doesn’t want to have, much the same as me, he starts looking at the future as more than just something to get through till it’s all over.
How much time per week do you spend writing / editing your work?
That depends on if anything interesting happened that week. I had a run-in with Korean police while buying bottled water a few weeks ago and I spent five hours on that five-minute encounter. Normally it’s 10 to 20 hours and a lot of that is talking into dictation software or a voice recorder just to plot ideas.
What are you working on at the moment?
Like I mentioned the Sci-Fi giant magic robots on floating islands reminiscent of the Old West from cartoons. That’s a real project. I have a digital epistolary novel written as blog entries by a 14-year-old with some good standalone chapters, like his first encounter with condoms while in the toothpaste aisle and his mom is there (link). Got a lot of laughs at this writers reading I set up in Korea a few years ago. I’m also reworking a choose-your-own-adventure story about a universe where Hollywood, Bollywood, and the Royal Shakespeare Company decided it was cheaper to just give actors super powers. Then for real fiction, the stuff I hope to make my career on, I have a Romeo & Juliet for the digital age where lovers meet online and are kept apart by the sort of family in support of the Saudi Arabian dictatorship that has a human rights score of basically zilch. Back cover (WIP):
Thank you for letting me share this story with you. It’s something I want to tell you, but only in the private between covers. It’s the story of how I got engaged to an Arab girl I still haven’t met. It’s why I’m up every morning at 7 when I work 3. It’s why I sometimes leave when my phone chirps in that weird way and why I’m not a good kisser and haven’t been on a date in 4 years. It’s why I’m always sad. This is the story that broke me.
The book actually finds comedy in dark places like grieving on the phone with mom for hours and needing to pee but desperately not wanting to hang up. The first chapter(orangepeals.com/short-stories/typos) and a few more (orangepeals.com/untitled) work standalone but not every chapter will be up on my website. Each chapter is an exercise in writing as therapy.
Author: Harrison Fountain
Genre: Literary Fantasy
When TK dies in a car accident, the Grim Reaper gives him a second chance at life, but he says it’s more fun being a ghost. As he haunts his small Iowa town, his sleek shell of sarcasm cracks to a terrified lonely inner self. Find out why he’d rather be dead.
These author bios are generally in third person, right? That’s a little weird for me so--
Harrison Fountain said, “In Kindergarten, Mrs. Augustson sent me to Special Ed because of my speech impediment, the result of a 4-year-long ear infection that garbled the input and so a few letters needed the pronunciation corrected. I had to work on my Ss, Cs, Ks, Ws, Rs, Bs, Ps, Ts, Qs, Ds, Xs, Ls, and Ns.
Every year in elementary school, Scholastic gave students a hardback book with empty cream pages for us to scribble in as part of a school-wide contest. I never won. The kid in my grade who did plagiarized If You Give A Mouse a Cookie and those biased, paid-off judges didn’t even mention my amalgamation of the Silver Surfer and the Human Torch.
Still, I kept writing, finishing my first novel in my 7th grade Physical Science spiral notebook where the narrator’s best friend was an orange alien with green hair named Carrot. My next novel about a boxer, I started in high school before I’d ever even watched boxing, and fighters called out their moves (“The Double Rocket Upper—no, wait! It’s a TRIPLE ROCKET UPPERCUT!!!”) like they were Pokemon.
No one taught me to write until my second year at college when Mr. Johnson called me to his office as he did with all his creative writing students and then he bloodied my first draft of a character sketch claiming his marks were “just ink.” I almost cried. A few visits later, I’d written a character sketch about my sister’s divorce and the family dog. He crossed out a lot like usual. Told me why. Then he scrawled an A at the top. It’d be my first published short story (http://www.orangepeals.com/short-stories/loving-a-mutt/).
The pride felt earned for once.
While studying in Wales without satellite TV or an Xbox, I started a blog called Nothing Fazes a Ghost, where I posted weekly chapters. Those 10,000 views with ad revenue earned enough for a pizza. After a few years and a few drafts, it became Eidolons.
I also teach English to adorable Korean kids who, in turn, teach me cutie poses.”
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