I had the pleasure of sitting with L. Andrew Cooper on a couple panels and I loved the advice he gave. Thank you for being interviewed here today. 😀
What was your favorite part of the convention and why?
I’ve been to more conventions than I can remember, but this is the first where I actually wanted to talk to as many other attendees as I could. And no, my desire did not emit from that baby-kissing “Isn’t talking to people in your own community wonderful” place… I mean, some politicians undoubtedly think babies are cute, but cuteness is not the whole picture. Fellow attendees were certainly cute, but I wanted to talk to virtually all of them for specific reasons: about their work in film, about whether they might be interested in an anthology I’m editing, about connections I see between their own tastes and my own aesthetics sensibilities, and so on. Usually I go to conventions and keep to a small circle. I rather enjoyed the difference.
What is one of your favorite moments from your time on the panels?
I got a great kick—on Sunday, when I had fairly complete laryngitis—scribbling answers, which my partner kindly read aloud to the audience and fellow panelists. Occasionally, I also rasped out answers of my own, which people more or less understood. People were too polite to laugh most of the time, but it was all pretty amusing.
What’s the funniest thing that happened at the convention?
Aside from the previous anecdote, I rather enjoyed the various gifts selected by Dave Mattingly of BlackWyrm Publishing in honor of my book launch for Leaping at Thorns. Upon my arrival, he presented me with an award I will cherish—I quite sincerely will hang it, whereas my PhD still sits in a tube in one of my closets—proclaiming that I have earned the title “one sick son of a bitch” (the horror stories in said book are quite twisted). To top it off, at the launch party, he not only presented me with a grows-in-water tapeworm (relevant to one of the stories in the book), he also presented me with Sir Francis Bacon Chocolate Peanut Brittle. I could not explain the humor entirely even to Dave—it has to do with a running joke among high school friends that basically explained most famous historical personages to be Sir Francis Bacon—but it all seemed to me to be a delightful cosmic convergence.
What is the one thing you learned from the convention?
This is going to sound hokey, but I’ll say it anyway. In college and beyond I generally stopped hanging out with “artist” and “creative writer” types because I found the experience, well, not for me. I concluded that I wasn’t really an artist-community type myself. I may have learned at the convention that I was just in the wrong communities.
What surprised you the most about the Imaginarium Convention?
Everyone was fairly relaxed and overwhelmingly friendly. One imagines such things.
What’s the best writing advice you learned?
Authors’ ideas and inspirations can differ radically from what ends up on the page.
What’s the best writing advice you gave?
If I gave any good advice, someone will have to answer that question for me next year.
Is there anything you would have changed about the convention, and if so, what would you change?
It really worked very well as-is. If it stays the same size, I might suggest fewer concurrent activities so that more of us can spend more time together.
Can you talk about your WIP?
The “P” in that is ambiguous, but I can mention what I expect to be my next two single-author projects (although there’s a wild card in the mix). The first, non-fiction, is tentatively titled REMAKE CULTURE, and it focuses on film remakes, drawing significantly but not exclusively from the horror genre (my specialization). An essay I presented at a conference has been invited as a journal submission, and a few publishers have asked about the book, but I haven’t place it with anyone yet. The next novel is tentatively titled MANUFACTURING MIRACLES, and it is the next in the series THE LAST WORLD WAR, which began with BURNING THE MIDDLE GROUND. All major players who survived (an indistinct category) return, but they’ve scattered across the country. The conspiracy glimpsed in the first book goes into full swing, and I get to use the sort of supernaturally-driven paranoia that I previous used on the scale of small town on the scale of city and nation, while Dr. Allen V. Fincher’s plan, the century-plus execution of which is scattered across much of what I’ve published, approaches its apex.
In your books, who is your favorite character and why?
Tough one. Do you mean published books? I suppose I’ll pick Jeanne Harper from BURNING THE MIDDLE GROUND. But if you mean everything, I’ll pick Susan Penser from DESCENDING LINES and… others.
What’s your favorite made up word?
I am neologistically inclined. Words are words, whenever their origin.
What’s your favorite curse word?
What’s your favorite ice cream?
If God meets you at the gates of Heaven, what do you want him to say?
“I’ve been looking forward to chatting with you.”
LEAPING AT THORNS arranges 15 of L. Andrew Cooper’s unpublished, experimental short horror stories into a “triptych” of themes–complicity, entrapment, and conspiracy–elements that run throughout the collection. The stories span from the emotionally-centered and violence-mild “Last Move,” about a mother and son whose cross-country move might be complicated by a haunted U-Move truck, to the almost unthinkably horrific “Charlie Mirren and His Mother,” also about a mother and son, but their lives take a turn that might be traumatic for readers as well. While “Worm Would” offers a psychosexual fantasia on the sheer grossness that is a flatworm, “Tapestry” uses absurd, sometimes comic violence to take Jessica, the young professional protagonist, into a political nightmare. The absurd reaches dark extremes in “Lachrymosa,” a story of almost pure hallucination, and stretches back toward the comic in the brain-and-tongue-twister “Heart on a Stick.” The “conspiracy” panel of the triptych, from “The Fate of Doctor Fincher” to “The Special One,” is a series of standalone stories that each adds important details to the fictional world and grand scheme of Dr. Allen Fincher, who also lurks in the background of Cooper’s novels BURNING THE MIDDLE GROUND and DESCENDING LINES.
Links to your book
Thank you so much for being part of this series of interviews. 🙂