Author: Harrison Fountain
Genre: Literary Fantasy
When TK dies in a car accident, the Grim Reaper gives him a second chance at life, but he says it’s more fun being a ghost. As he haunts his small Iowa town, his sleek shell of sarcasm cracks to a terrified lonely inner self. Find out why he’d rather be dead.
These author bios are generally in third person, right? That’s a little weird for me so—
Harrison Fountain said, “In Kindergarten, Mrs. Augustson sent me to Special Ed because of my speech impediment, the result of a 4-year-long ear infection that garbled the input and so a few letters needed the pronunciation corrected. I had to work on my Ss, Cs, Ks, Ws, Rs, Bs, Ps, Ts, Qs, Ds, Xs, Ls, and Ns.
Every year in elementary school, Scholastic gave students a hardback book with empty cream pages for us to scribble in as part of a school-wide contest. I never won. The kid in my grade who did plagiarized If You Give A Mouse a Cookie and those biased, paid-off judges didn’t even mention my amalgamation of the Silver Surfer and the Human Torch.
Still, I kept writing, finishing my first novel in my 7th grade Physical Science spiral notebook where the narrator’s best friend was an orange alien with green hair named Carrot. My next novel about a boxer, I started in high school before I’d ever even watched boxing, and fighters called out their moves (“The Double Rocket Upper—no, wait! It’s a TRIPLE ROCKET UPPERCUT!!!”) like they were Pokemon.
No one taught me to write until my second year at college when Mr. Johnson called me to his office as he did with all his creative writing students and then he bloodied my first draft of a character sketch claiming his marks were “just ink.” I almost cried. A few visits later, I’d written a character sketch about my sister’s divorce and the family dog. He crossed out a lot like usual. Told me why. Then he scrawled an A at the top. It’d be my first published short story (http://www.orangepeals.com/short-stories/loving-a-mutt/).
The pride felt earned for once.
While studying in Wales without satellite TV or an Xbox, I started a blog called Nothing Fazes a Ghost, where I posted weekly chapters. Those 10,000 views with ad revenue earned enough for a pizza. After a few years and a few drafts, it became Eidolons.
I also teach English to adorable Korean kids who, in turn, teach me cutie poses.”
Buy on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Eidolons-Harrison-Fountain/dp/0692652353/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479225852&sr=8-1&keywords=eidolons+harrison
One afternoon, I woke up dead.
I blinked away the drowsiness and wiped at my eyes for any crusties. My back was to the sky and I was looking at my body while floating, then the Iowa crowd gathered like it was time to judge the fattest sow, raised and named by little Mary Sue Ellen, soon to be chopped behind the curtain, but this was less gruesome. Smaller crowd. Today, they were here to see the oozing gashes, my arm bone poking through the flesh, and the bump on my head. It was a nasty one. Even as a ghost I felt it.
A fat man rushed to help. Apparently he had taken an hour course on CPR and was sure it could help, so he wheezed his bacon breath into my lungs and that leaked into my ribcage through a hole the jagged bone had made. He pounded my chest, bouncing up and down, his back jiggling and energy fading, so he grabbed the nearest college girl by the bangles on her wrist and drafted her help but she shrieked. She wasn’t about to touch my corpse. Maybe if I had showered that morning she would’ve.
The driver stepped out of the car with the broken headlight and pleaded his case before his peers. “It was an accident! I didn’t see him. He ran out and—I’m so sorry.” It was good practice for court but if the crowd’s reaction was any indication, he needed a pro’s help before he’d get off.
An ambulance came with its lights flashing but siren silent. Just a body retrieval. They didn’t bother weaving through the town square packed with traffic. They honked and people pulled over—some onto the sidewalks which nearly injured other pedestrians.
I floated higher and couldn’t stop as people disappeared, then cars blended with the pavement and only by the glare off their windshields could I pick them out. Buildings turned to little squares until I was lost in the clouds and hacking as I thought they’d choke me like smoke.
My head smacked something and it hurt.
I griped that if that airplane or chopper or spacecraft put a dent in my head I’d put a dent in it. Instead the culprit was the shoe of a girl, floating like me.
“You dead, too?”
Describe your books in 3 words?
Tried to, but
If you could be any character from one of your books who would it be?
I’m already in there somewhere, intentionally or not, but I’ve got a cool hijabi with a laser cannon for an arm fighting atop floating islands in a dystopian Western who also pilots a giant robot capable of casting spells. She’d be pretty cool to be.
What is your greatest fear about being an author/publishing your book(s)?
No one reading it except friends, which is honestly the hard reality of publishing. There’s going to be a time where no one knows who you are and the right people have to see the advertisements, like it enough to share it, and get strangers hooked.
Would the 10 year-old version of yourself kick your butt or praise you for what you've accomplished in life?
Neither. He’d be way too shy to talk to me because I’ve got stubble, a childhood fear of mine, but I’d guess he’d like me regardless of what I’ve done. I’ve never been a forward thinking person except in broad strokes. I wanted to be a lawyer—had no idea what a lawyer did, but my mom or someone probably told me it was a good job so I wanted that. I doubt I had any goals in life. He wouldn’t care that I published or moved to Korea or have a hedgehog, but he’d like that I still played video games.
What do you do when you finish your book and turn it in to the editor?
The rest of it. Talking to cover artists, looking at marketing trends, budgeting, shipping expenses, and writing the new stories.
What is your favorite Genre and why?
I have to go literary. I try not to be a style snob, but so much in genre fiction is plagiarized stock phrases which aren’t hard to top so anything called literature is typically stylistically something I can enjoy. And that fresh vividness in language often comes from writers with honest characters and perspective.
What is one thing that would surprise us to know about you?
Well let’s get very cozy with each other because I’m about to get personal. I haven’t had sex in like four years. Or kissed anyone unless you count my dog Lady, black Lab, tuxedo chest, dresses like a ladybug or ballerina every Halloween, but really, the abstinence isn’t the tragedy but the reason why is—I’m in a long distant relationship with someone I met writing Eidolons and putting it up in a blog. Unfortunately she lives in a culture where arranged marriages are totally acceptable. Where she’s seen as property to be sold as repayment for one family helping hers set up a business. She had never met the guy. She met him for a few weeks and they were legally married but waiting on the health of a relative to either tank or soar because can’t have a wedding while he’s in poor health and somehow the wedding plans fell apart and she never had to go through with it, but she was stuck in Saudi Arabia for three years, living like a slave to her relatives, and even though she’s back with her original family in her country, there’s no hope that things will get better for her or for us. Anyone out there know how to fake someone’s death?
Was there an Author who inspired you to write?
I read a lot of trash, especially in high school, but I don’t think any single person inspired me to write. It wasn’t R. L. Stine or Brian Jacques or Dean Koontz. It was just the entire format. As I got older, I found inspiration in classics and then found modern classics that inspire me to write new stories, but no single writer that got me started.
How did you come up with the characters in your books?
I was studying abroad in Wales with 30 other Americans and I had started boxing with the university’s club and every weekend we traveled to a new city or landmark and it was amazing. One night, after boxing practice where this Londoner with a few fights marked in his crooked nose asked me to spar with him and I was too scared to hit him with any real force till he yelled at me to hit him, sticking his chin out, letting me get some jabs going, didn’t even have his hands up or anything, then he eventually hit back and I teared up—after that weirdly happy night, I realized I’d been unhappy for the first three years of college.
I went to a college five hours from where I grew up, didn’t know anyone at my school except my freshman roommate who dropped out our second year and a few professors who failed me for the first time in my academic career because when you’re book smart, high school is just something you show up for to get good grades. I existed online and in the books I read or wrote, but I didn’t really have a life. Two or three friends back home, five around the world (who I still talk to), and the girl working at the cafe who was too short to reach the cookies they stored on the fridge. I ordered them every time she was working as a way of teasing her, like it was our friendly routine, but maybe I was just another customer to her.
TK came out of that. This kid who learned to entertain himself as a form of coping with his own shit, a lot his own fault but not everything. Through patience and old friends and introspection that he really doesn’t want to have, much the same as me, he starts looking at the future as more than just something to get through till it’s all over.
Do you prefer to write alone or do you like to collaborate with other authors?
I’ve never had the option to collaborate on writing, but I had a choose-your-own-adventure script set in a universe where Hollywood, Bollywood, and the Royal Shakespeare Company decided it was cheaper to simply give actors super powers that I wanted to turn into a video comic on YouTube, making choices through annotations. I had some artists interested in it and voice actors, all amateur, but we didn’t have the resources or funding to make it happen. I have a children’s book about halfway done that I worked on with a friend and some of the art is so hideously adorable. I love it.
Everyone uses computers, tablets, phones and no one uses handwritten form or typewriters, what do you prefer to use?
Computers. I live online already and it’s so easy to open another document, but during breaks at work when cute Korean students aren’t bugging me with broken English to give them candy, I always have a notebook for rough drafts, ideas, writing exercises. I also have a voice recorder from 2008 that can’t even hook up to my PC and some speech-to-text app for when I’m too manic to write and just want the story out instantly. Tablets are awful. I have one and it’s the first time I’ve felt old when it comes to technology because I’m hunting-and-pecking like my dad does on a regular keyboard.
Is there a ritual you do everything before you begin your book?
Before each writing session, I have rituals to get in the head space. Usually coffee-related. It tends to be different for every book. Maybe order a cappuccino and two extra espressos to mix in from McDonald’s delivery, something we have in Korea as we are in the future, or other times it’s make affogato which is like ice cream as the creamer for coffee. But the type of coffee has nothing to do with the project, like ice cream coffee isn’t a sweeter tale. I just associate the flavor with the project. Classical conditioning and all that.
What do you do when you finish your book and turn it in to the editor?
I already answered this up there! It hasn’t changed.