Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Interrogation of V. Mark Covington:

A little light interrogation to start the day off on the right foot? 
Today's sound track is Crush by Bon Jovi.

Kia ora,
Please welcome our latest victim guest, Mark Covington. On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a block of Whittaker’s L&P chocolate, behave and the chocolate won’t fry.
In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation - you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a floatation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.


Always, the secret is loose shoes and a comfortable frame of mind. I try to maintain a humorous resignation.

 What’s your favorite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak)
We don’t really do a lot of takeaway. I do all the cooking at home and I’m pretty good at it. I made veal piccata yesterday, and I have a great recipe for a rack of your NZ lamb, rub it with garlic and mustard and then pack it with goat cheese, sprinkle rosemary, mint and parsley on top, and broil.  – Sorry, just wandered off there, when we do takeaway there is a great BBQ pork rib place down the street. This is Virginia a great place for pork, ribs, pulled pork, ham, bacon…

Describe your current mental status.
Really? Have you read my books? It is generally accepted that I’m as crazy as a peach orchard boar. I had a reader once say she would love to wander around inside my mind for an hour and peek in all the rooms. She said more than an hour and she’d be stark staring mad, but an hour would be great. 

I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?
I’m not really sure how I do what I do, it’s just part of being me. I think if I examine it too closely I wouldn’t be able to do it, and then I wouldn’t be me, and I wasn’t me I definitely couldn’t do it.

Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work? 
That would be Heavenly Pleasure to be released on Oct 15. This novel is fight between good and evil. The side of evil is represented by a mega-church preacher, the devil, an attorney, a suicidal vampire possessed by a demon and a young snake handler from West Virginia. On the side of good is a Bengali stripper, a fallen angel, a physicist who is trying to create a device that modifies brain waves to create orgasmic bliss, two life partners that operate a Christian porn store where their hottest selling item is the ‘come to Jesus vibrator, and God, disguised as an ice cream truck driver who sells flavors such as Holy Mary Cherry, Cookies and Christ, Krishna Kream, Vishnu Vanilla Bean, Buddhist Brule, Kosher Karamel Knosh, Mecca Mocha, Wicca Wild Berry, Zesty Zen, Muhammad Macadamia, Deliciously Dao, Rocky Roman Road, Dali Lama Lemon Custard, Zoroastrian Zinger, Pagan Peach, Ganesh Ganoshe, Scientology Sundae, Reincarnation Raspberry, Jihad Gelato, Spanish Inquisition Surprise, and Stigmata Blood Orange.

I have also just finished my first musical comedy working with a great lyricist and composer. In the musical, called Writer’s Weekend, Elizabeth Brown, frustrated, unpublished writer, has arrived at ‘The Porches’, an antebellum bed and breakfast and writer’s retreat in rural Virginia, to facilitate a weekend writer’s workshop and whip a group of aspiring writers into literary shape. Her group includes, Prescott Moore, formerly Captain Fabulous, a B-grade television actor, attempting fine tune his play Rickets -The Musical, but when he encounters Zebula Nebulon, self published science fiction writer and a consummate fan of Captain Fabulous, his former identity returns to haunt him.  Ed. R. Thompson, retired newspaper reporter, turned crime writer, butts heads with Sojourn Word, angry slam poet from the suburbs over who is the most streetwise. Desiree Lamoure, successful romance writer, and Elizabeth’s former English teacher, sets her bodice ripping sights on seducing Miles Stanley, a young technical writer who specializes in trains. Faced with the awful prose produced by these literary novices, Elizabeth decides to have the group members swap genres, the poet writes crime, the romance writer writes about trains and so on to hilarious ends.  Now to top it off, a major literary agency has sent their most critical agent, Roxanne Gold to attend the group’s end of workshop recital.

Do you have a favorite coffee or tea?
Coffee, and I wouldn’t complain if you accidently spilled a little Irish whiskey in it.

 Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)
Actually, I wear men’s bikini briefs, cotton. I find that boxers tend to bunch. I guess they are also called budgie smugglers although the though of smuggling a budgie in there through airport security is rather daunting. I once went to a Highland festival where there was a contest of how many ferrets you could put down your pants, but that’s another story. 

Typical day. Currently I am working a ‘day job’ contract as an IT Project Manager so each day is a fresh new hell. Up early drive 45 minutes to the job, sit in a cubical like a veal calf all day hunched over project plans, risk plans, status reports, system test reports. Then an hour at the gym, home to make dinner and hopefully I can squeeze in a couple of hours of writing before I go to bed and read for an hour.  But the contract is over in December and I can write full time for a couple of months before I have to earn money again.

Who would you turn gay/straight for?
I’m straight and have no interests in the other team, but if the person had a few billion dollars I could probably get sucked into that lifestyle. – Yes, you can groan now.

Who are your favorite writers?
Hmmm, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Robert Rankin, Neil Gaimen, Tom Robbins, Chris Moore, Kurt Vonnegut, Carl Hiassen, Chuck Palahniuk, John Dufresne. And I have a soft spot for my fellow southern writers, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, Truman Capote, Tom Wolfe and the Great Edgar Allen Poe. 

Who inspires you to do better? (Be as corny as you’d like … just go for it!)
Probably Chris Moore, my work has been compared to his work most often. We have similar book themes, and have many of the same fans. Except that he sells millions of books and makes a ton of money. He got a great break early in his career. His agent sold the movie rights of one of his books to Disney for a crapload of money, kind of like winning the lottery.  I’m still writing books and spinning the wheel of fortune, hopeful it will land on my magic numbers someday.

Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?
I once put Mardi Gras beads on my Australian shepherd, Journey, for a Mardi Gras party and he loved them, pranced around the house preening all evening – maybe you should as him that gay question, there is a male Weimaraner down the street he’s been giving the eye.

Describe your perfect day.
Roll out of bed around 10:00, write for a couple of hours, walk down to the beach and go for a swim, by now my chef has set up a table with white linens on the beach with fresh lobster and crab and a nice bottle of wine and my wife joins me for lunch. She has also brought my laptop so after lunch I stretch out under a beach umbrella and write for a couple more hours. Around 4:00 I walk over to the gym and do an hour of weights. By now it’s happy hour, drinks on the beach then dinner and then we attend the Broadway opening of my new play.  You did say perfect, right?

Who is your favorite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?
I have a couple of favorite villains, first is Ignatius Riley, from Confederacy of Dunces, he is both the hero and the villain, which is hard to pull off but John Kennedy Tool does it flawlessly. Also, the womanizing linguistics Professor, Thomas H. Chippering, in Tim O'Brien’s novel Tomcat in Love. You start out feeling sorry for the guy, his wife left him, fired from his job, etc., but you quickly realize the jerk’s done it all to himself and as the book progresses you keep turning pages wondering what this guy will do next. 

Do you have any quirks?
Quirks? Not really. When I’m driving and a black cat crosses my path, I mark an X with my finger on the windshield, but who doesn’t, right?

All-time favorite movie and why?
Cool Hand Luke. Paul Newman in a southern prison road gang. No matter what life throws at the main character, Lucas Jackson, he stands firm and never backs down. The guy is such a rebel he makes James Dean look like a wuss. It even features Paul Newman playing the banjo and singing “Plastic Jesus”. 

Do you enjoy the editing process?
Enjoy? Like a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. But it is necessary and my editor, Jayne Southern, makes it as painless as anybody possibly could. She is a joy to work with and having a great editor makes a huge difference in the process. I have had editors in the past that have made it as much fun as a root canal.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
I am a beach person, so it would have to be at a beach. I like Key West, great vibe, and home of Hemingway, but it is very touristy. Miami is way too touristy. Maybe Cozumel, Mexico, great beaches, scuba diving, great food, and the native population are Mayan, some of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet. I have not been to Australia or New Zealand, probably because I know if I go, I probably won’t come back to the states.

What is one thing you know about New Zealand?  (Please do not mention LOTR or The Hobbit. I have issues with short creature’s men and hobbits fall into that category.)
How about Game of Thrones? Flight of the Concords? Sheep? We have two Aussie Shepherds and they would love all the sheep. I know you folks have beautiful countryside. I had a friend here from Auckland and he told Aussie jokes, and I once dated a girl from Queensland, Oz and she told Kiwi jokes, so I assume there is a bit of a rivalry.  
(Yeah just a bit! They keep stealing our stuff. – Cat)

Favorite Pizza topping?
Pepperoni (yep pretty boring) but I have made pizza with shrimp on top – and if you spill a bit of Irish whiskey on it….

What were you before you became a writer?
A first grader.  Seriously, I wrote my first poem in second grade, my first short story in fifth grade and my first play (which was produced by the school) in eighth grade. In high school I edited 2 literary magazines, and then edited the college newspaper. I took degrees in psychology and business and had enough hours in history to get a history degree and enough post grad hours in cultural anthropology to pick up a Phd., I just ran out of money before I could write that dissertation.  I’ve been a banker, a consultant, a bureaucrat, a trainer, a policy analyst, and an IT Project Manager, but I’ve always had a writing project on the side.

What is the most random thing you have ever done?
Does marriage count? Three times?

 If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?

Working is the day job, to me writing is not working, it’s fun and as necessary to me as breathing and eating. So when I’m not working I’m writing. I do have a motorcycle, a Harley, I ride once in a while, and I play racquetball, go to poetry workshops and writer’s group meetings, read a couple of books a month, attend the theater a couple of times a month, go to the gym two or three times a week, take the dogs to play in the park. But I spend most of my spare time writing.

Who is your ultimate character?
In my books? I’d have to say Stinky the Cat. I love that character, a smart-assed, telepathic and psychopathic cat. A muse demoted from being a god due to his starting the black plague. He was the muse for Oscar Wilde, Hemingway, Tolstoy and Steinbeck. He inspired Poe’s The Black Cat, Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and Tennessee Williams once kicked me down a flight of stairs. Now he’s trying to raise an army of zombie cats and take over the world. What’s not to like? 

Whiskey or Bourbon?
I think we’ve covered this one. Pass that bottle of Jameson’s over here.

Have you ever been to New Zealand? And if not, why not?
I think I covered that too, probably wouldn’t come back to the U. S., and my wife doesn’t want to be that far from her parents who live in Florida.

What’s in your pockets?
Jacket pocket – wallet, cell phone, little notebook, pen.
Pants pocket, keys, tissue, tums.

Laptop, PC, tablet?
My Macbook laptop, definitely.

Ebook or tree book?
I have a kindle and I use it travelling but nothing can replace she smell and the heft of a hardback tree book.

Favorite apocalyptic scenario?
I liked Stephen Kings book The Stand, all but a few hundred folks die in the first 2 chapters. But I think my favorite is A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. It’s a post apocalyptic story set in a monastery in the American southwest desert.  The monks find the ancient writings by their patron saint, Leibowitz, in a fallout shelter but it is in English and they speak and write Latin and can read it but made it into a beautiful tapestry it says – “dozen bagels, pound of lox, bring home.”

Interesting story, Miller wrote his second book, St. Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, 30 years later, and killed himself the day the book came out in bookstores.

It’s no secret that I am a bit of a greyhound lover (my hound, Romeo, is watching me type this) and I happen to know there is a greyhound in one of your works, Homemade Sin. Why a greyhound?
Moreover the greyhound is another favorite character. His name is based on a true story of an old man that lived near the farm where I grew up who named his animals from biblical passages. He named his dog from a passage about Lazarus, “and moreover, the dog licked his wounds”. I thought that was hilarious. I needed a sports figure that was losing due to a mental problem, so when he was made into a zombie, he could be cured of his psychosis and be a winner I have a character that was dosing them with zombie powder and cleaning up betting on them) thus the multiple personality greyhound, the claustrophobic race car driver, the OCD prize fighter, and the rodeo rider with a fear of clowns.

Congrats! You made it!!
Now would you like to try for the chocolate? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate block and a foot in a puddle ... that would be unfortunate. J

Tweet Mark @vmarkcovington


Karen from Mentor said...

I thought Mark was pretty cheeky to talk about your NZ rack, Cat -- but he made up for it by liking paper books, Terry Pratchett and Cool Hand Luke. On balance ... I think he earned the chocolate.
Nice Q&A !

Cat Connor said...

Thanks Karen! :-)

He's going to interview me and I hear tell there are Mint Juleps involved ... smacks of trouble really! :)

Karen from Mentor said...

I think you'll be ok if you take him more chocolate ... but this time? splash some jameson's on it.


Cat Connor said...

Ah, good thinking. :)
Whiskey is the answer ...

I see you...

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