Hello friends! This week I am not interviewing my characters, instead I am interviewing my fellow author and writer group friend, Vernon Baker. I can honestly say his interview might be one of my favorite author interviews. I recently finished his book, Slow Boat to Purgatory. It is a wonderful paranormal thriller about an immortal Knight of Templar. The book takes you on a journey to many different countries and is full of excitement and intrigue. I highly recommend checking it out. Please welcome Vernon Baker to Inside Book Studio (and yes we did the Proust questionnaire as well as some book questions).
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Slow Boat to Purgatory?
A: I had been writing little snippets of a story, about an immortal Templar Knight, for some time when I happened across Gustave Dore’s illustration of Charon, which I used for the book cover. I remember staring at that picture and wondering what that man, the boatman ferrying souls across the river styx, would be like. The two ideas gradually came together and formed Slow boat To Purgatory.
Q: The story takes place in several different countries, have you spent much time in them? How did you research the locations?
A: I’ve been to most of the places in the book although I haven’t made it to Acre in Israel yet. Venice is my favorite city in the world, so far. I spend a lot of time researching online but there is nothing like being in the place your writing about to stir the creative juices.
Q: Who is your favorite author? How has he/she influenced your writing?
A: There are several. Early on I loved Clive Cussler. As a teenage boy his books were full of adventure, danger and really cool storylines. Later on I got on an Anne Rice kick and devoured everything she wrote. I loved most of the vampire themes and her style during that time was great. The latest stuff from her I’m not so hip on. Right now I’m reading the complete collection of H.P. Lovecraft, I had read a few of his stories before, which was recommended to me by a friend who said he saw some of Lovecraft in my writing.
Q: When did you start writing?
A: The very first story I can remember writing was in early grade school. It was a horror story about two kids who fall down a hidden coal chute into the basement of a haunted mansion and end up being killed by an axe waving lunatic. I remember my teacher writing nothing on the paper other than “interesting”. That might have had something to do with it being a strict parochial school.
Q: If a book club were to read your book what topic from your book do you think would inspire the most discussion?
A: I would think the whole dynamic of Gaspar’s immortality and the crushing loneliness that engulfs him. Perhaps the whole idea of what happens to us, our souls, when we die. So far, a certain character named Dominicus is generating a lot of discussion among people who have read the book.
Proust Questions *So many of these answers made me laugh#
• What is your favorite word?
I go in fazes. I had to take “traverse” out of Slow Boat about eight times. I like the “f-bomb” as well but…
• What is your least favorite word?
• What turns you on?
Spending time with friends and family, with good food and wine.
• What turns you off?
• What sound or noise do you love?
The sound of a really good bottle of wine being decanted.
• What sound or noise do you hate?
There is nothing more annoying than the sound of a diesel engine endlessly idling away.
• What is your favorite curse word?
Shitbag. I love the word shitbag. I have a patent on it.
• What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Attempt? That’s more interesting than “be good at”. Wine taster for Her Majesty the queen.
• What profession would you not like to do?
President. I’d be blowing things up at the drop of a hat.
• If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“By the skin of your teeth, young man. By the skin of your teeth.”