CHEW ON THIS! has been nominated for a Splatterpunk Award and I have the exclusive skinny with the authors.
Author de Jour: Chad Stroup
Nikki Noir: You’re featured in a food anthology, so let’s get this out of the way first: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve put in your mouth—I mean weirdest thing eaten ;)
Stroup: I don't know how "weird" this is, but as someone who has followed a vegan diet for nearly three decades, I was braving a lot of terrible attempts at substitutions back in the 90s. Vegan Rella was one of the only non-dairy cheese alternatives available at the time, and it was equivalent to chewing on a chunk of old rubber. New vegans these days that didn't have to spend time in the trenches don't know how good they've got it.
Noir: Tell us about your story in Chew on This! and what inspired it.
Stroup: My story is called "The Insomniac Gods of Blackberry Court," and it's about tweakers who become addicted to the transformative effects of the pineal glands of rats. I wanted to try my hand at an unorthodox Lovecraft-inspired tale, and since I so rarely seem to see the influence of "From Beyond" these days, that seemed like a good jumping off point.
Noir: If you were a spice/seasoning, what would it be?
Stroup: Ginger. I'm hopelessly obsessed with ginger beer and ginger chews. There are certainly far less healthy vices in this world, so I'm totally okay with this
Noir: What’s the scariest real-life, food-related situation you’ve been in?
Stroup: I used to deliver pizzas in my early 20s. One night, on a delivery in a very poorly lit neighborhood, I was held up with a gun to my head. The robbers took the pizza and all of my tips. This was during a timeframe when there had been one or two recent local deaths of pizza delivery guys in similar situations. My life could have ended that night, and for what?
Noir: What does literary success look like to you?
Stroup: When someone I've never met before reads something I've written and completely "gets" it. It's a very specific kind of high that has no equal.
Noir: If there’s one thing you want readers to know about you or the mission of your work, what would it be?
Stroup: I don't play by the literary rule book (or the genre rule book, for that matter). My fiction is often very left of center and does not fit neatly into any convenient boxes. This makes it very challenging to market my work, but the rewards come when the reader sees through all of the labels and simply connects with what I've written (see above).
Noir: What’s your next project and where can we stalk you?
Stroup: I'm currently working on selling my third novel, starting to keep my eyes peeled for a publisher to perhaps do a short story collection, and putting together a couple of comic book pitches. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter at @chadxstroup. Check out my novels, Sexy Leper and Secrets of the Weird, and my author page for more short stories. You can learn more about CHEW ON THIS! here