Saturday, May 24, 2014

INTERVIEW: Brian Olsen

SO excited to be hosting Brian Olsen today at the Party! I've seen a lot of great hats--but he absolutely takes the cake with his photo!

Hello Brian and welcome to The Hat Party <3 Thank you so much for subjecting yourself to the RANDOMNESS that is a Raine O'Tierney interview! Please don your best hat, and let's get started!


Explain your style in 7 1/2 words.

Contemporary urban science fiction funny thriller gay inclu…

What is your superpower? What is your Kryptonite? 

Super snark! Don’t worry, I only use it in the service of good. Procrastination is my Kryptonite. Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? Tomorrow’s just an abstract concept – today is happening right now!

Give a shout-out to another author who may, or may not, know how much you appreciate them.

Kate Danley, urban fantasy author extraordinaire, whom I love madly. I would not be writing if it were not for her inspiration and encouragement, and I will shout-out to her until my throat gives way.

Have you ever tried collaborating? Why or why not?

Not in my writing. I’m still new-ish, with just two books and a short story out, so right now I’m working on getting my own voice heard. That said, I come from the theater world, and as a director I’m all about collaboration. I’m used to working with other artists and bringing a shared vision to fruition, so I’m totally up for it if the right partner comes along.

You can go back to any point in your life to give you past self a pep-talk. How old is your past self and what do you say?

My past self is eighteen, and he’s just come out as the first openly gay student at his conservative Catholic college. I would tell him to hang in there, there really are other gay people in the world and you’ll meet them soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the confused, repressed, curious straight boys. They’re better than nothing (if only just).

What is your super secret, wildest, most outlandish writing dream?

I would love to see something I wrote adapted for another medium – a play, a TV series, a film, a web series, anything. Ideally with the diversity of my cast of characters intact – no whitewashing!

You have 200 words—Make. Me. Swoon. (PLEASE!)

Todd picked up his long spoon, his hand quivering with anticipation. He left the napkin untouched. He wanted this to be messy.

He wasn’t gentle. His first attack plunged the spoon deep, halfway to the bottom of the bowl. It parted two scoops of chocolate ice cream and stood firm between the luscious mounds. The whipped cream splattered on his fingers and he leaned forward to lick it off, savoring that first taste of the sweet cream mixed with the salty nuts.

Todd thrust the spoon even deeper, then wrenched it sideways. He cut a swath through the chocolate mountain and brought a heaping spoonful of heaven up to the light. Dark chocolate ice cream dotted with brownie chunks filled the base. Hot fudge, still steaming from the shock of hot on cold, oozed over the sides. On top rested a dollop of the delicate cream weighted down by those coarse, common, almost vulgar nuts.
He opened his mouth, his tongue welcoming the sweet intruder. Some cream escaped, dribbling down his chin. A quick finger smeared it back up into his mouth. He swallowed it all.


Damn, he thought. I’m so glad I saved all my Weight Watchers points.

You’re writing along and you’re attacked by a horde of zombies…ON FIRE…how do you survive? Or do you become a zombie too?

If I’m writing, I must be in my apartment, seated at my desk – I rarely write anywhere else. There are two ways flaming zombies could enter my apartment – through the front door, and through the window opening onto the fire escape. Which is unfortunately the window my desk is next to. I usually keep the shade pulled, but the sound of falling corpses landing on metal would alert me that something is amiss. (I think zombies have trouble with ladders, so I’m assuming they’ve fallen from the roof.) I would pull the shade back, expecting to see maybe an unfortunately rotund pigeon, and would probably be at least moderately surprised by the sight of reanimated body flambé. Having unfortunately alerted the sizzling dead to my presence, I would run for the front door while they took a moment to break through my window. I would throw open my door to be confronted by my neighbors, all now victims of the virulent combination zombie/spontaneous combustion virus. I would slam the door shut, but I suspect one of them would get a hand in there, keeping it from closing all the way, because that’s the way my luck has been going lately. The fire escape zombies have now made their way in, keeping me from getting to my bedroom, leaving the kitchen and the bathroom as my only options. The bathroom has a lockable door but no means of escape, so that would only buy me a little time before I am roasted and eaten. So I would head for the kitchen. I’ve got a reasonably sharp knife or two and might be able to get a headshot in if it weren’t for all that pesky fire. By now I expect my apartment is flaming like the West Village on a Saturday night so even if it weren’t for the ravenous hordes of undead I’d really only have one option left to me. I’d climb up on the sink, kicking away at the grasping hands while trying to avoid a hot foot, open the window and climb out. I’m on the fifth floor and there’s just a concrete alleyway beneath me, so rather than jump I would try to lower myself to the window ledge on the floor below. I immediately forgive my downstairs neighbor for blasting salsa music at three in the morning as she throws her window open and pulls me in to safety. I’m safe from the burning zombies.

Unfortunately, her apartment is overrun with radioactive vampires and we’re both quickly devoured.

Your thoughts on libraries: GO!

The library in my hometown of West Roxbury, Massachusetts, made me the person I am today. I would go every week and take out the maximum allowable number of books – I think it was ten – and then return them the next week for a new batch. I was (and am) an avid reader and I would never have read the wide variety of books that I did if I had to beg my parents to buy me each one. Even now, entering a library still fills me with a sense of awe and excitement – I can really read any of these? And take them home? For free?

Be totally honest. How awesome would you be at leading a moon colony?

I would be horrible at it. The worst. I would spend the whole day bouncing around in the low gravity squealing in delight instead of allocating moon resources or repelling moon invaders or balancing moon budgets or doing whatever other important moon stuff needed to get done.

And finally, for THE most important question of all: what kinds of dachshunds are the BEST kinds of dachshunds?

The best kind of dachshund is whatever kind of dachshund I am currently petting.

~ ~ ~

Alan Lennox has been assigned yet another soul-crushing temp job, keeping him from his first loves – drinking, playing video games, and looking for a boyfriend. But Alan’s new job proves to be anything but boring when his co-workers start turning up dead. The mysterious megacorporation Amalgamated Synergy has taken a deadly interest in Alan and his three roommates, and the hapless quartet are woefully unequipped to deal with the psychotic secretaries, murderous middle managers, and villainous vice-presidents hunting them down.

Their investigation leads them deep into Amalgamated Synergy’s headquarters, but can Alan and his friends stay alive long enough to discover who – or what – waits for them on the top floor?

Alan Lennox and the Temp Job of Doom is the first book of The Future Next Door, a contemporary urban science fiction comedic thriller series.

Available from Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Kobo


What inspired you to write the book you’re promoting?
I used to write for the stage, and this started life in my head as a weekly serialized late night comedy karaoke musical. Seriously. I tossed that idea around for years but never got around to producing it. When I decided to try my hand at writing novels, I dusted this idea off. It’s very different – only a few characters survived the transition and the new plot bares only a passing resemblance to the original – but that was its genesis.

Is there anything special you’d like us to know about your book?
It’s a bit of a mash-up, genre wise, which can make it a little hard to describe. I like “urban sci-fi” – as a parallel to “urban fantasy” – because the sci-fi elements are still very grounded in our world. It’s also a thriller, there’s a bit of a mystery, some romance, and a lot of humor.

What are your hopes for this title?
Before I published, my only hope was that someone I didn’t know – someone with no reason to spare my feelings – would like it. That’s happened, many times over, and the response from those readers has made all the work I put into these books worth it. Now I just want the people who will like it to find it. Thanks for helping that happen!

About the Author:

I’m a writer and stage director living in New York City. As a writer, I’m the author of The Future Next Door, a contemporary urban science fiction comedic thriller series in four parts. The first two books in the series, Alan Lennox and the Temp Job of Doom and Caitlin Ross and the Commute from Hell, are available now. I’ve also written a number of plays, sketches and monologues for the stage.

As a director, I am the co-founder and co-artistic director of Orange Hanky Productions, where I directed Kevin Podgorski’s original plays F*ck Me B*at Me L*ve Me, Mary Christmas, and Day of the Dad. I’ve also directed for The Gallery Players, Writopia Lab, manhattan theatre source, Love Creek Productions, and Gorilla Rep, all in New York. Elsewhere I’ve directed for The Saxtons River Playhouse in Saxtons River, Vermont, The Weathervane Playhouse in Newark, Ohio, and The Washington Shakespeare Festival in Olympia, Washington. I’ve also directed a national tour for the National Theater for Arts & Education.

I assistant directed the world premiere of Sam Shepard’s The God of Hell, directed by Lou Jacob and starring Tim Roth and Randy Quaid. I also assistant directed a production of Jason Milligan’s Lullaby which was directed by Louise Lasser. I have a BA in Drama from Stonehill College in Massachusetts, I studied at the National Shakespeare Conservatory in New York, and I have an MFA in Directing from the New School.

Twitter: @btolsen

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