Brent Michael Kelley is the author of a fantastic novel called Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways. Brent has taken time out of his busy schedule to chat with me about his book, hydrofluoric acid, robotic squids, and other topics.
Jeremy C. Shipp: Can you tell us a bit about Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways?
Brent Michael Kelley: Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways is a sequel. Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater was the first book, published in 2011. It’s a continuation, but a person could enjoy it just fine without reading the first book. We pick up with Chuggie just a few days after the Desecration of Stagwater, and he’s just getting back on his feet. There are some people in the wilderness he has to find. The bone dagger he stole in the first book seems to have even stranger properties than he originally thought. The otherworldly Steel Jacks want to catch Chuggie and find out about his fancy dagger. It also follows a few other characters. There’s Pazuel, the half-demon on a path of enlightenment. There’s Ree, a recently widowed refugee of Stagwater who’s going through some personal changes. There’s Fey Voletta, the sexy blade cultist in the employ of the Steel Jacks. Action packed!
JCS: What inspired you to donate half of your royalties to the American Cancer Society?
BMK: It’s something that’s been on my mind a while. Like a lot of people, I’ve lost family members and friends to cancer. My cousin Tim was just 17 when he lost his struggle. Cancer needs to be defeated permanently, and if Chuggie could help in that fight, that’d be pretty cool.
JCS: If you were a mime, how would you break out of a glass box?
BMK: I’d pump invisible hydrofluoric acid on it, and then I’d skedaddle. You don’t want to be hanging around to breathe those fumes, bro. It’ll make everything taste like garlic… for the rest of your life! Also, it might kill you. HEISENBERG!!!!
JCS: What literary character would you most want to sing a duet with and what song would you sing?
BMK: I’d sing “Islands in the Stream”, originally performed by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. I’d sing it with Daenerys Targaryen. Then me and my little Khaleesi could discuss future duets back in her tent. You know, just for the privacy so her army of Unsullied don’t leak our plans to TMZ. If it sounds like I’ve given this a lot of thought, it’s because I have.
JCS: If you were a super villain, who would you want as your minions?
BMK: Human Obliterating Robotic Demon Enforcer Squids. My HORDES would swarm by the thousands and bring any opposition to sudden, terrified compliance. Examples will be made of any world leaders who resist my authority. I like a minion to be robotic because when you rise to the level of “world emperor” you can’t really trust people anymore. Sure, somebody could tamper with HORDES, but I don’t think they will. Not after they see what could happen if they’re caught.
JCS: Remember that time when that thing happened?
BMK: Ha! I sure do! We were all like “Whaaaaat?!!!” And then that guy did that other thing, and we all laughed! Oh, man, I tell ya I thought my head was gonna explode. Then the chick with the deal came flying through the stuff! And then the doohickey swung around and melted those college kids! Heh, I still have that one kid’s shirt. Not like he needs it now! You got one, too, right?
JCS: Oh yes. Favorite movie to watch on Halloween?
BMK: Call me old fashioned, but I like Trick ’r Treat. And anything directed by Rob Zombie. And Kung Fu Panda II. That last one feels unrelated, but for some reason I stand by it.
JCS: What projects do you have in the works?
BMK: I’m working on the third Chuggie book, Chuggie and the Prisoner Gods, which is scheduled for a September release. It’s going to be jam packed with so much adventure, horror, profanity, and booze, writing it may very well destroy my brain. I very recently got the idea for a series about these people with strange powers. You wouldn’t call them superheroes, exactly. It’ll be very dark. That project is so preliminary, I shouldn’t even be talking about it. But I AM talking about it! I know, I’m pretty hardcore. I also have a snow shoveling project, a vacuuming project, and a laundry project that I’m involved in. I’m a little past deadline on those…
We just wrapped up Chuggie and the Fish Freaks of Farheath. It’s a stand-alone short story, and it’s available on Amazon. It doesn’t follow the same storyline as the novels, but it’s a fun little introduction to Chuggie and his world. Basically, Chuggie is on trial for crimes he didn’t commit, and he’s quite possibly too intoxicated to testify effectively on his own behalf. Look for more of Chuggie’s shorts in the future!
Thanks, Jeremy. It’s always a pleasure.
JCS: Thank you, Brent!
Brent Michael Kelley’s debut novel Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater was released in December of 2011 from Omnium Gatherum. His short story “Ride” was included in Detritus, a collection of stories about collections (also by Omnium Gatherum). His story-poem “Gnoem” was published in A Pocketful of Moondust, a children’s anthology from Rebel Books (UK). Most recently, his second novel, Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways was published in June, 2013. Now he’s working on a short story or two along with his third novel, Chuggie and the Prisoner Gods. He can be found on the web at brentmichaelkelley.com.