OBS Staff member Karolina had the opportunity to interview Graham Parke & Warren Baxter! Check out her review for ‘No Hope for Gomez!’ HERE
A little about Graham Parke: Graham Parke is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced. No Hope for Gomez! is his fiction debut. (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3234105.Graham_Parke#mce_temp_url#)
No hope for Gomez!, written by Graham Parke, is a brilliantly funny look into the life of an average guy, living an average life, except for the fact he’s part of a mysterious drug trail that may or may not have deadly side effects, owns a antique store that attracts men in sombreros and fake moustaches who are interested in buying old tax forms from 1984, and has a wannabe writer neighbour who writes rambling novels that seemingly defy the common practice of having a beginning middle and end, but have lots of elves. Gomez takes most of this in stride, and continues along the path of true love with the sexy Dr Hargrove by agreeing to become her ‘stalker-stalker’. Through reading Gomez’s online blog, we are given a very intimate rollercoaster ride through his life, and, to be honest, I’m still not sure where exactly where I am after getting off it! It was worth every twist and turn, though.
OBS: What is it like, being in the mind of a man so seemingly ahead of his time, such as Gomez Porter?
Graham Parke: I have to tell you, writing Gomez was one of the strangest and most enjoyable writing experiences of life. As soon as I started discovering who he was and what he was doing in my story, a veritable floodgate of ideas opened. Gomez had so many things he wanted to try and so many philosophies rattling around in his head (some so strange they are actually impossible to refute.) For about a month there I kept waking up in the night with another set of instructions. I could hardly keep up.
OBS: Your writing , and the character of Gomez, brings a very unique style of humor into the story – what do you think are your biggest influences when writing?
Graham Parke: Sunlight and boredom. That’s always a very good combination. Also, when I started on Gomez I’d just finished a lengthy psychological thriller. It took me a long time to write and reactions from agents varied greatly within a spectrum that ranged from ‘nippy’ to ‘darn-right-frosty’. I felt somewhat beaten and let down, and went looking for a towel and a ring to combine in a rather unbecoming manner. But not actually writing, day after day, wasn’t an option. I hadn’t figured out how to do that yet. So I started on a little project purely for my own amusement. Although I always have this mindset when writing, I do tend to pick the strongest plots and characters from my backlog. This time I didn’t. I just went with whatever Gomez felt like doing that particular day. I wasn’t even planning on publishing any of it, not until I was almost done and discovered I’d written an interestingly plotted, multi-layered, story — or so I would have you believe.
OBS: Warren, Gomez’s wacky neighbor who writes novels about ‘real characters in real situations’ but has elves bopping mermaids in the ears incorporated in there- what’s his story? Are we ever going to see anything written by him? I’m intrigued!
Graham Parke: Warren, in retrospect, might be one of the few characters that I’ve based (very loosely) on myself. Warren gave me a way to expresses some of the frustrations a writer faces. As with Gomez, however, he quickly took on a persona all his own, which made him more interesting to me. I’m not sure that we, as the delicate humans we are, should ever be exposed to any of Warren’s own writing, but I am planning a larger role for him in future works.
OBS: Gomez’s first adventure ‘No date for Gomez’ was published on the internet, correct? Was that a different experience than writing ‘No Hope For Gomez!”?
Graham Parke: No Date for Gomez! is another literary abomination, in that it didn’t grow up in any way resembling what its parent had in mind. The initial idea was to create a trailer for No Hope for Gomez! I would do this movie style; just pick a few flashy scenes from the original, paste them together out of context, and end up with a little sample to leave around the net. I was going to spend a day on it tops.
What I ended up with, however, was an entire novella which, apparently, was set 5 years before the start of No Hope. It has some of the same characters, and explores their background, and it introduces a few new characters who helped shaped the background for No Hope. It was another ride of discovery for me, and it does not appear to be over just yet…
OBS: The way you keep the reader on their toes, trying to decipher what is reality and what is fantasy, is amazing – did you have a clear vision of how this story would end? Or were you dragged along for the ride as well?
Graham Parke: I had a vague idea when I started. I knew bits from the beginning, the middle, and the end. I wasn’t too sure how I would get from one to the other, though. And, as it turns out, what little I knew was wrong anyway.
As soon as the beginning of a tale gets more detail, you gain a better understanding of the middle. As soon as the middle gets more detail, you realize why the ending will never work. In any way, shape, or form. I’ve come to believe that the only real value in thinking you know where a story is headed, is the delusion that you have an ending to fall back on if the real one fails to reveal itself.
OBS: For me, your secondary characters- particularly Hicks, Warren and the Sombrero guy- bring an almost otherworldly, fantastical feel to the story – what were your influences to create those characters?
Graham Parke: I think that’s life, really. I am often amazed by what life decides to do to me and how it circumvents any plans I’m making with terrifying ease. The things these characters do to Gomez, that’s how I feel most of the time; bewildered and wanting to pull someone on the sleeve to ask, “Okay, so, what was that all about?”
OBS: What future projects are you working on?
Graham Parke: There is much excavation going on in the world that surrounds Gomez. This may find its way into book form if there proves to be a demand for it. There is also darker stuff I’m playing with. Probably a thriller with some lighter undertones.
OBS: How do you keep in contact with your fans? Facebook? Twitter?
Graham Parke: All of those and more, although I might need to cut back a little soon. All entry points can be found on my website: www.grahamparke.com
OBS: Is there anything else you’d like to tell your fans?
Graham Parke: No Date for Gomez is not available for purchase but I’m giving away copies of a limited edition print periodically from my forum.
Reviews for No Hope for Gomez!
“Extremely witty and clever writing that contains keen insights into human nature.” — California Chronicle
“A quick and unputdownable read that flies in the face of reason, and smashes against the wall of detective novels. It’s a Coens Brothers’ film formatted in book form.” — Book Review
“The antics in this book will leave the reader laughing. Graham Parke is a genius.” — Readers Favorite
“A veritable page turner of nonstop laughs. Buy a copy and find out for yourself!” — Reader Views
Also, today we have with us Warren Baxter, self-proclaimed literary genius featured in the semi-biographical novel; No Hope for Gomez!
Mr. Baxter, my editor tells me that you’ve written a book that doesn’t feature a single vampire. Surely this is a miscommunication?
No, that’s entirely correct.
So, what you are saying is, you’ve written a self-help book.
No, it’s fiction. It just doesn’t have any vampires.
I’m not sure I understand. Are you saying it doesn’t actually have a story?
There is a story, it’s just a story about people who are, each and every one of them, not vampires.
So, there are no action scenes, then, and no semi-erotic entanglements?
There are. Just not with vampires.
I have to say, that’s extraordinary. How did you come up with such an original concept?
It just came to me one day. I wrote it down and it worked.
Did you write the story first, and then take out all the vampires?
No. There were no vampires. Ever. Right from the first draft, it was entirely vampire-less.
Amazing. Now, while I applaud your originality on some level, I have to ask; who on earth do you intend to sell this to? Don’t you know that readers want vampires?
I think there are still readers out there who enjoy a good tale, even if it doesn’t have any vampires. Also, readers who enjoy vampire stories might not want to read All vampires, All the time. Sometimes, I suspect, they’ll take a break. That’s where my 5090 page novelette comes in.
Could you tell us something more about the novelette? For example, how many wizards are there and are they still in high school?
There are no wizards. I can’t stress this enough; my novelette has no wizards, no vampires, no world-weary wise cracking detectives, and no nihilistic characters complaining lengthily about things they supposedly don’t care about.
You are not making a lot of sense right now. Please tell me, weren’t you tempted to put in just one vampire? A little one? Somewhere at the end maybe?
No. The story really didn’t need any.
I’m so sorry, Warren, I have to cut this interview short. You are obviously delusional and I’m going to make sure you get proper medical attention. Don’t worry, we’ll help you as best we can!
It was so much fun and a complete joy to read Graham’s book, and interview answers! His sense of humour and witty remarks are so fluid and natural that you sometimes have to stop reading to make sure that the sentence you just read actually did say what you think it did (I had to stop myself from snorting with laughter in public a couple of times). I had a blast doing it, and thank him for the opportunity.~ Karolina