Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Brunch 9/22/13


First and foremost, it is a pleasure to have you here. Welcome to Harper’s Sunday Brunch Interview!

So, can you tell us what makes Thomas Duder tick? What got you started on the path to becoming an author?
Hello there~! What makes Thomas Duder tick, eh...?

Well, I'd like to think that shows up in my writing, quite a lot. My love of martial arts, wrestling, and over the top action really shows up in my work, whether it be The Generalist or Killer 13 or anything else I'm doin'.

Things get pretty sexual later on in The Generalist, and all across the rainbow of methods, genders, and...well.

It's kinda-sorta hinted at in as soon as the first episode (Taboo 0), but then I introduce the sisters, Taboo 4 gets Jack, and...then there's the shenanigans in Taboo X: The Twisted Mashup with a pooka...

...did I ever mention that I'm just not very thoughtful or creative before I've had coffee? I skipped breakfast just so I could have this brunch with you, y'know...

Hopefully they got kiwi here. I fuckin' love kiwi.

And coffee.

As towards what started me on the path of becoming an author? Much like many other fellow human beings, I've harbored a deep love of books ever since I was young, and eventually I just wanted to try my hand at it. I've always been working on stuff, whether it be poetry, lyrics, or actual novel-writing. I even wrote a 300-page book for an Advanced Placement English class over summer...

And even though it netted me an A+, I've held on to it to remind me of my roots, that I was once THAT FUCKING BAD. Like, seriously. I wrote a book that was little more than a crossover fanfic (tropes-wise, the characters and story was all me and I hate that) that if I was given the chance to go back in time and kick my own ass I would. I wooooould.

Since I've never lost a streetfight against anyone, I can only assume that I have never attempted this trip.

So, in short: violence and the love of literature itself. I guess it could be best covered with the phrase, "Tadpoles become frogs."

For what it's worth, though, there ARE quite a few scenes in that old book that I still like to today. The main hero's got a shield built from the bones of dragons, or somethin' like that, so what does he do when the big boss tears open the earth's crust with an attack, thus sending an entire street of San Bernardino (snark, snark...only a street...nowadays I have bosses who sink freakin' whole countries just to prove a point) into a molten wreck?

He surfs the molten lava with the shield.

It's kinda stupid as all get-out, but I still think it was clever for my age.

What are you currently working on? Would you care to share a snippet?
Well, I SHOULD be workin' up new stuff for Killer 13, and I'm currently on The Generalist - Taboo 4: Angle of the Angels and a small slew of Taboo X's that are just looking at me begging me to finish them, like Dash's Run, or The Date, or The Date 2...there's also Five to Die and…

But for the life of me, I can't get past my computer's irregular rhythms and jumpin' around and such. Thankfully, I've just procured a new computer which should be in my grubby, dirty, blood-drenched hands by the time we've had this brunch.

Are we having brunch right now? I am. I have honestly skipped breakfast just to have brunch with you.

As for a snippet, here's a little somethin' somethin' for ya. Do understand that this isn't edited (Adele Symonds does SUCH A GREAT JOB with my stuff, plus she has the patience of a saint...or a sinner. Either way, she likes what I write, I like how she edits. :D We're like a tag team made on the outskirts of an pan-dimensional Battle Colosseum), but it's still good...

Y'know what? No, lemme give you somethin' exclusive for this brunch, a snippet just for you, the first ever from Taboo 3: Misfits and Mayhem!

"MY PLEASURE!" Frank roared, covering the distance between the two with a blinding swiftness that caught [REDACTED] off-guard. Leaping high into the air, Frank spun around once and immediately launched himself into a series of spinning back-heel kicks, wanting to test the physical limits of the Mage Armor - or so he had thought he was going to do as he flew backwards, landing roughly before rolling to his feet.

Gasping, more shook up than hurt, he glared at [REDACTED], ignoring his laughter while replaying in his mind what had happened.

For a glorious moment, the thrill of combat raced through Frank as he made the first attack - always his favorite tactic. Besides, he wanted to see what kind of surprised the so-called [REDACTED] had for him.
And he got it as the Mage Armor rippled for a moment after his first back-heel kick landed, the Water-based nature of the Mage Armor finally revealing itself as the physical force of the kick rippled through the Armor and around it only to explode back towards him, the Armor stretching to form a boot not unlike his own to strike at him, sending him flying backwards.

Getting to his feet and bouncing on his heels slightly, Frank brought his fists up before him, the black mist still spilling out of them. [REDACTED]'s laughter died and he sized up Frank again, his frown noticeable even through the plate armor helm.


"Since you cannot come to me, I will come to you...Frank. I am going to break you."

"Whatever, Drago," Frank smiled wildly as he rushed forward again, leaping to the air.

"Again? Your tricks won't-!!!" [REDACTED]'s eyes widened as his mind fought to catch up with the obscene series of attacks he had been subjected to. Between one second and the other, Frank had disappeared from his sight, somehow stopping his own momentum in mid-air and crossing the distance between them in a blindingly fast run that caught him off-guard.

Then Frank fought with himself.

Do you include some of your own personal experiences in your books or do you prefer to use your imagination?
Killer 13 - oh hell no. It's a post-apocalyptic murderspree in the desert wasteland that has completely taken over the world, daemonkinder-infested and full of maniacs desiring to kill 13 or be killed by 13, even if they don't know it yet.

The Generalist, on the other hand, is something of an autobiography with extreme artistic license taken. Have I rampaged through the occult world, causing ripples and making clandestine contracts with various secret organizations whom I name in the series?

Yes. And fuck them if they come after me 'cuz of THIS, when I've been public about this shit for, like, the past ten years.

Screw 'em all, they don't even really have secret knowledge or anything like that, they just like to think they do.

Seriously, some people pack together to make themselves feel stronger and like they're special - me? I stood strong, alone, against many of them and would gladly do it again if for no other reason than I got such enjoyment from their collective butthurt.

Cults, secret societies, all of 'em are a waste of money and time in my opinion.

What genre do you typically write in, and why did you choose this over others?
Action-adventure urban fantasy, and...well, just violence. I've had a hate-love relationship with violence all my life, and don't get me wrong - it's not like I'm some blood-junkie psycho trolling the dark alleyways and bars for a fight (I don't do that anymore, at least). Hell, I haven't been in a fistfight in damn near 10 years now...

But it's hard to describe why I find violence, well-choreographed and well-done, to be a thing of beauty. It's poetry of the body, music and rhythm of the soul. Certain fighters would agree with me that in activity and action, through waxing wroth and committing oneself to an action that one can find balance between body and soul.

We learn more about ourselves the more we practice, we grow stronger as humans the more we train. Through training we achieve both human and even superhuman existence, the ability to stand alone against insurmountable forces.
But I believe in balance too, that one must be just as willing to accept peace as well as violence, that peace can be achieved WITH violence...but at the same time, violence can be achieved with peace.
After all, don't YOU yourself, the reader, or even you yourself, Harper, feel antsy if things are too peaceful? If things are nice and steady and consistent...

As human beings, we crave both peace and violence. It's treading the balance that's the thing, in my opinion, the (dare I say it) NEED for strife and turmoil versus peace and consistency.

Chaos and Order, my two favorite subjects. Both extremes spell the death of existence, but it's the balance of the two that is true perfection.

Do you have a specific process or a ritual you go through when sitting down to write?
I actually dooooooo, kinda. I once heard that a writer is a gardener or an engineer, and I'm kinda both. It almost always starts with a "written overview," maybe just a paragraph or a whole page for the story with several more devoted to the characters, replete with background information and history. It almost always starts either from a dream I had or if I thought up of something so cool I want to base it around a whole series, or even implant it in something I'm doing at the moment.

From there I write a chapter-by-chapter skeletal structure, allowing me to plot out a story from there with hopefully less than usual plot holes. I can also note character progression and what I want from the individual characters themselves during this time - maybe I want Dash or Frank to show something more, either more human or more violent. Perhaps I want them to grow stronger, or prove their strength. I'll add that in as I go on, and with Dash it gets even better for me as a writer because his constant memory issues gives the chance to weave in and out of his backstory, and it becomes even more bittersweet since Frank (and a few others) KNOW of that secret history...but for whatever reason, Frank either refuses to tell Dash or cannot. On top of that, those in the know (the F.B.I., the Vatican, other organizations like the Beowulf Society) refuse to tell Dash as well at the risk of courting Frank's destructive wrath, once again either because he can't allow it or because he doesn't want anyone to.

Anyway, after I write the skeletal structure (perhaps even a simplified flowchart, like write one line then write one line under that to keep the flow goin' - I actually used both for Taboo 1) I then start writing.

It's here that I become a gardener. Most of the jokes and dialogue is completely on the fly, kinda the same way we (me and Ace, the guy who's the actual inspiration for Daniel "Dash" Hopkins) do it over at Da Hooliganz, a video game podcast review chock full of us being asses...but funny, entertaining asses~!

Same thing with The Generalist. Por ejemplo, there's this one scene where Frank is talking to Abbacus Keith (who, alongside with his wife and Frank's lover, Vorel Kethend) about needing to talk to Bast-Imret, the Egyptian Goddess of Cats and such.

And the dialogue is just super-fast and kinda repetitive, "I need to talk to Bast-Imret," "Well you can't see Bast-Imret," "Well let Bast-Imret decide," or somethin' like that...basically, the essence of my writing is I write to entertain myself. I find humor in both dry and obscenely wet jokes, dialogue, even "ghetto" disses, which the boys pull off more than once.

Also, their need to do a Troll Dance or somethin' in victory. Like, even the most intellectual of my characters will turn into a raving fratboy idiot after surviving a battle that would kill freakin' tanks. That and the whole "Fuck Alejandro Fernando for no raisin!" which is something of a dual-homage.

So yeah, all I do is prepare the setting and the basic script - the characters themselves and sometimes the PLOT itself will evolve and occur as they see fit. I'm just the chronicler.

Now, because I write in a way that I find entertaining, my humor and stories aren't for everyone...but I know I got an audience out there somewhere. Just gotta find 'em.

Where do you find your inspiration for your plots? Do you have any tricks of the trade you would care to share?
Like any good writer or comedian, I base a lot off of real experiences I've gone through. Have I ever beaten up a 100-story tall abomination? No. But I have hospitalized a 6'9" tall dude with a single headbutt.

For what it's worth, he deserved my headbutt is pretty OP. Like, if this was a video game and I was God, I would totally nerf my headbutt because it's that freakin' strong.

I write what I know, and sometimes I do take artistic license (I have never, EVER fought anyone during terminal freefall, but I certainly do like such scenes!), but I only - well, y'know what?

The Rule of Cool and the Rule of Badass. Those are the two laws I write by, and I am obscenely unapologetic about it. If I think it's cool, or would love to see it happen in a movie or manga or cartoon or whatever, then I'm pro'lly gonna write it.

Write what yer gonna write, and realize that you're not going to please or entertain everyone. In fact, you're going to get people who hate on you BECAUSE you write in that genre.

But y'know what?

Fuck 'em. Write what yer gonna write, keep yer head up, and realize at some point in time that you've achieved yer dream of being a "real writer" - yer published, people talk about you, people look forward to what yer going to do next. THAT should be more important to you then "BAAAAW, THESE PEOPLE DON'T LIKE ME EVEN THOUGH THEY NEVER READ THE THING" - at this point, I'll be glad just to be read, I'll be freakin' rich later on with the movie options.

What is the oddest place/situation where an idea for a book/plot has come to you?
Mid-coitus. I kid you not.

She didn't mind, or at least she PRETENDED not to mind that I was suddenly writing a note while, ahem...handlin' business....

But, for what it's worth, she was (by then) well used to me as a writer, and it's still somethin' I warn any lover of mine that can handle. When I go into Writer Mode, it's done – my life is on halt while I'm writing something down.

As iiiiiiis I made it up to her afterwards, both immediately and later on. I've honestly never been so callous in my life, but it wasn't like I just stopped what I was doin' and busted out the notepad – there's a reason whyyyyyyy I keep a notepad or smart phone handy, so I reckon it all balanced out in the end.

What makes a book stand out and perk your interest?
The writing style, almost always the writing style. Some authors write in a way that's just chocolate for your brain, and still others are better at scenery than character dialogue. Still, there's always something about the writing style itself that draws me in.

Then you got the ones who have no business touching a goddamn pen, and should be hung with their sycophantic enablers, because goddamn - some people should never be allowed to get greenlighted by a marketing exec.

We all have our favorite authors. Can you share some of yours and tell us why you like them?
Robert A. Heinlein, Steven Barnes, Mary Janice Davidson, Piers Anthony, some Mercedes Lackey, freakin' Margaret Mitchell (don't hate, the writing style is freakin' SUMPTUOUS!) and even Angela Landsbury, not because I actually like her work but because her work ethic is insane. She's got, what, 700 books? Same thing with Mercedes Lackey.

I can respect Stephen King for the same reason, but I freakin' hate his books - every single one of them (when stacked against the movie) is full of so much racism, homophobia, sexism, pedophilia...I mean, I'm surprised this guy is allowed to even walk around with other people after reading some of his stuff.

Let's see...Terry Brooks, Robin Hobb (for all that I practically assaulted her on Goodreads about the ending of the first Farseer Trilogy - that shit never settled with me as a teen, still doesn't as a grown-assed man), the person who wrote the Amber Chronicles (uhhh, Zelazney?), y'know I freakin' loved both the Drizzt Do'urden stuff and Michael Moorcock's work until somethin' about their writing style (like, at the same time) just caused me to go completely caustic on 'em.

More so with the guy who did the Forgotten Realms books than Michael Moorcock - I was completely fine with Moorcock's work up until the whole "Three In One" bullshit. They linked arms and THAT'S what brought forth the magic.

They. Linked. Arms.

A perfectly good scene of violence just fuckin' RUINED, like snowball-cannonshotted into the depths of Hell itself because he couldn't think his way through that situation, how to present it or whatever. Hell, Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors have been doin' that shit for years with Combined Masuo attacks, and no one freakin' linked arms and danced a goddamn jig in order to bring forth a scene of awesome badassery.

No. I think Michael Moorcock freakin' owes me for that one.

As for R.A. Salvatore, he's the Rob Leifeld of literature. He, literally, shouldn't be allowed to do anything more than read books with actually well-written fight scenes. I won't lie, when I got my hands on his stuff from a used book store (I LOOOOVE used book stores!) on sale, I thought it was a real find. My first read-through, I thought it was kinda cool.

Then I read it again (much like with Stephen King's stuff) and I came to realize that whoever edited his stuff is a fuckin' god - the must be, in order to put up with content like this. He once crowed proudly about writing a fight scene that was somethin' like 30 pages alone. I'm not even going to comment here what I thought about it - despite the negativity I'm throwin' his way on this brunch of ours, I could be WAY WORSE!

Y'know, there are...a TON of writers that I love. I grew up reading these people, their work, and they're all linked together in my mind by the sheer awesomeness of their writing styles. Whether it was the characters, the plot, the world setting, whatever - it was good, and remains in my heart to this day. Suffice it to say, I've got quite a list of authors I like over at Goodreads if'n ya wanna track me down and go check it out yerself.

Hell, I didn't even mention the Wheel of Time or Sword of Truth series, or Neil Gaiman (whose style I'm constantly being compared to - I'm not complaining, I can only WISH to be able to write as good as Gaiman!), or Terry Pratchett, or...well, you get the point.

There's tons of authors out there who deserve to be read, and I will find them. I will find them, and I will read them, whether they like it or not.

We all have a pet peeve, care to share yours?
Someday I am going to smash R.A. Salvatore's hands to ensure he no longer rapes any more fantasy tropes.

Then I'm going to kick his dad in the balls for allowing such nepotism as the Drizzt Do'urden bullshit to ever happen. Seriously, if his daddy didn't use his power and influence, we wouldn't have the whole >giggle-snort< crap that R.A. Salvatore wrote.

There are whole websites dedicated to why that guy cannot write, I don't even NEED to present it here.

When you’re not writing, what are the things you enjoy doing to relax?
Relaxing? What's that? Are you making fun of me?

Let's hobbies are, just, well...all over the place. Books, movies, reading, writing, cooking, working out (irregularly,'s been awhile since I was about that daily), right now I'm learning how to bellydance with a masculine style (yes, it's a thing, yes it exists) in order to get my core muscles back to tip-top shape but I gotta admit, the added flexibility from bellydancing is a nice bonus as well.

I'm into artistic pursuits, physical and mental games, puzzles, punny wordplay, wrestling, martial arts, I'm gonna take up range shootin' again pretty soon. I'm heavy into gaming, whether it be cards (Poker or Magic The Gathering, used to be in Yu-Gi-Oh!), video games or tabletop gamin'.

I assure you, if I'm involved as either the player or the DM, shit's gonna get hectic. I have people who are willing to testify to that noise, y'know?

I WAS in a heavy metal/punk/hard rock band, and I will be resurrecting that sometime next year. Right now, I'm just focused on my writing and improving my life bit by bit. Outside of books, I have something like two or three songbooks worth of lyrics that I've got written up, for all that I can't read sheet music for anything.

I believe very strongly in improving oneself as one stumbles through life, and while I've been quite the loser from time to time (true talk), my greatest strength lays in gettin' back up the moment I fall. Seriously, the moment failure hits me I just shrug it off and either try again or try somethin' different, but I keep goin' - I don't just stop.

BUT, relaxin'...relaxin', huh?

Someday I'll earn the ability to relax...but I'll probably just do somethin' that'll keep me busy even then.

Thank you so much for joining me here today, Thomas. I know my followers will enjoy this spotlight as much as I have conducting it. Good luck on all your future endeavors.
I thoroughly understand if any of this gets censored - I should've really warned you that I curse, like, a lot. And I'm incredibly negative, but it's more like I just embrace my negativity in order to better enhance the positive.

Not that I showed it very much HERE, but whatever.

For what it's worth, the coffee was great, and the fig and prosciutto antipasto was pretty freakin' good~!

I mean...wait, we're havin' the same brunch, aren't we? Coffee and antipasto, COFFEE AND ANTIPASTO~!

In all honesty, The Generalist is my true flagship, vanguard series. Through it all I explore themes that are near and dear to me, some that might even seem heretical and blasphemous to some...but isn't that the point to Art, to creativity? Through the warring pantheons of my "Extreme Existence" multiverse, I'm trying to make sense of the inevitable, just as much as anyone does. By personifying Death itself, Emotions and Abstracts, I make sense of the world around me in a way that is intrinsically important to me. I live by defining everything in my life, even if those definitions don't match up with how others define it...but that, too, is a part of life.

Religion, sexuality, violence, hatred and rage alike, the whole spectrum of humor, the eternal bonds of friendship and love, the tightrope walk between life and death...all this is what I explore, personally, with The Generalist.

I'd like to, above all, share this with all of you. Perhaps you'll like it, perhaps you won't - all that matters to me is that you read it. I feel so strongly about this, I've made the very first episode (Taboo 0: Cliche of Memories) completely free digitally. The physical copies?

Ohhhhhh no, waitaminute, yer still gonna hafta pay for that.

~Thomas Duder, Author of the Things


Balls, brawn, and brains. Thomas Duder is noted for having at least two out of the three. A young man with a penchant for writing and vulgar, over-the-top displays of power and fight sequences that will take your breath away and ignite your imagination, Thomas Duder (The "Author of the Things" as he's called) is completely focused on one thing and one thing only: utter, absolute and total domination of the world (of literary violence). Using a cadre of gonzo-level scenes of action and unbelievable accounts of derring-do, Thomas Duder uses his writing to find other like-minded metal-headed maniac warriors fed by the same cosmic rays of the very same alien overlords who have empowered him and, together, decimate all those who would dare oppose his will.

Committed to his quest at an infinite degree, Thomas Duder struggles valiantly forth against all odds to obliterate the weird veil of obscurity that keeps the metal-headed maniac warriors (don't forget, fed and empowered by the cosmic rays of alien overlords!) from finding their true leader!

Go go, Thomas Duder! Wreak havoc and let loose the hounds of Creativity!

For love! For life! For SCIENCE! FOR ART~!

And, especially FOR MONEEEEEEEEEY!









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