A Quickie with Brent Michael Kelley
Nikki Noir (NN): What’s your darkest fantasy? And why will you never act it out in real life?
Brent Michael Kelly (BMK): My darkest? Heh... Okay, so... Um, no, that's too dark. Second darkest, though! That's the one where I'm in a torch-lit sub-basement, writing on parchment with a quill pen. Lustmord soundscapes are playing from unseen speakers. I'm surrounded by racks of red wine and pale ale. I sit with my back to a long, unlit tunnel that leads into a network of caves. Is something coming behind me? Better write quicker before it grabs me and drags me screaming back to its lair. I think at that point I'll switch to a regular pen. Or the laptop. Also it's midnight.Why won't I act it out? Because it's much too spooky down there. They say that was where Ed Gein's mentor vanished all those years ago, never to be found. And when air moves up that tunnel, it sounds like this demented moaning-howling-guffawing... It's creeping me out just talking about it!
NN: We all have a guilty pleasure. What’s the movie, television program, or music you’re a bit embarrassed of?
BMK: I wouldn't say I'm embarrassed by it, but the music of Birdcloud usually gets the nod when I have some yard work to do. Highly inappropes. If you're unfamiliar, start with Vodkasodaburg. But if I WAS embarrassed, it'd be because "Call Me Maybe" came on and I didn't turn it off because I was, like, distracted by a turtle or something. Movie-wise, I think we can all agree that Emmitt Otter's Jug Band Christmas belongs in the Valhalla of movies among the cinematic greats. The same could be said of The Running Man, Bloodsport, and Mick Jagger's crowning achievement Freejack! For TV, I'm catching up on Stan Against Evil right now. Last night there was a scene with all this screaming and chaos and somebody yelled, "I can't find my harmonica!" I laughed long and hard then. That show is brilliant, I say! Other than that, my life is pretty full of, jiu-jitsu memes, dad jokes, complaining about the weather, and trolling politicians on Twitter. Pretty standard stuff.
NN: If you could collaborate with any small press author on a project, who would it be and why?
BMK: I think it'd be pretty great to partner up with Gina Ranalli on something. I've been a fan since I read 13 Thorns years ago. One story in particular stuck with me, "The Black Seeds." I think I could learn a lot teaming up with her. Machine Smile was a brilliant bit of sci-fi, and Suicide Girls in the Afterlife is a crazy trip through the absurdity of the afterlife. It'd be pretty cool to bounce ideas off Gina, but I'd worry if I could keep up. She has many skills. I think I'm only up to four. Maybe we could do something with psycho monster people who are grown in big glass tanks? I don't know, I'm not a writer. But something cool, y'know? Maybe like robots, or... I dunno.
NN: Tell us about your latest project or work in progress
BMK: My novella Cruce Roosters was published earlier this year by Omnium Gatherum. It's a not-too-distant future type thing where society pretty much centers around a brutal sport called Cruce. The players (Roosters) are jacked-up gladiators, pumped full of performance enhancing drugs and implants. A young Cruce-caster named Molly Most has caught the eye of the man in charge, Prophit King. Telling him no isn't an option, and trying to get free is a dangerous proposition. Things seem pretty bleak as Prophit King starts giving her a tour of the awful things he's done, but an ally is buzzing in her ear. It gets weird and wild from there, plus it has a number of ads from sponsors like Punk Duster Munitions, Riot Kings Automated Defense Turrets, Tek-Hawk Body Augmentations, and Bathory-Leon Spa Resorts!
NN: Of all the character’s you’ve created, do you have a favorite and why?
BMK: Well, that'd be my pal Chuggie. He's the permanently-drunk embodiment of Drought on a monster-filled world called Mag Mell. He's heavily inspired by Tom Waits. Basically, take Tom Waits, get him drunk, give him some weird powers, give him some weird weapons, and drop him on a world with crazy monsters where most people don't like him. Fun! Magic, monsters, babes, blood and booze. Chuggie is prone to telling long, rambling, pointless, revolting stories that nobody asked to hear. And now that he has the Bleeding Jaws of Glughu, he can visit different worlds. Double Fun!
There are three books so far in the Chuggie series: (1) Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater (2) Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways (3) Chuggie and the Prisoner Gods. A fourth Chuggie book is in the works, and I plan to keep writing about his adventures for a good long time.
NN: What’s your favorite philosophical quote or phrase to live by?
It's a stanza from "The Ladder of St. Augustine" by Longfellow:
"The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night."
Aw jeez, Rick, the whole poem is pretty great, but I carry that piece with me everywhere I go.