CHEW ON THIS! has been nominated for a Splatterpunk Award and I have the exclusive skinny with the authors.
Author de Jour: Vivian Kasley
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 ;)
Kasley: Haha, well, I’ll just dive in and be honest with this question. When I was around three-years-old or so, I caught a lizard while playing outside. I was hanging the lizard from my ear lobes and playing with the poor thing until it managed to eventually get away from me, but unfortunately not with its tail intact, that was still wriggling in my hand. Then for whatever reason, before my poor mother could get to me, I ate it. I don’t remember the taste or why I did it, but I still have to hear about it to this damn day! Other than that, I have eaten anything from stuffed lamb’s head, tripe, pigs feet, and Thai fish maw soup. What can I say? I like to eat weird shit.
Noir: Tell us about your story in Chew on This! and what inspired it.
Kasley: My story, "Roly-Poly", is about an overweight young woman named Margot who gets a phone call out of the blue from an old best friend informing her she has something that will change her life. When Margot takes the plunge and decides to ingest what her friend has given her, she changes alright, but to find out how, you’ll have to read it! As far as what inspired it? I once watched an episode of one of those medical shows, I don’t which one it was—something like, ‘Untold Stories of the the ER’ or whatever—and this poor teenage girl came into the ER with her stomach bulging and they had to figure out what was going on with her. At first, they thought she was pregnant, but an ultrasound showed that wasn’t the case. Then, she screamed and raced to the bathroom and pooped a massive number of huge tapeworms! The worms were trying to get out of the toilet and everything! UGH. The worst part was, it was her own mother who gave her the pill to get her skinnier for a beauty pageant. Imagine that? That shit proper gave me the creeps.
Noir: If you were a spice/seasoning, what would it be, elaborate if you want.
Kasley: I’d like to think I’d be something that gives things the Umami factor. You know, I give that extra flavor to whatever you’re eating, so I’d probably be the Umami seasoning blend from Trader Joes. If you haven’t tried it, dooooo it! It goes by the name of, The Mushroom and Company Multipurpose Umami Seasoning Blend. It’s a mix of kosher salt, dried porcini and white button mushrooms, dried onion, garlic powder, mustard seed, red and black pepper, and thyme.
Noir: What’s the scariest real-life, food-related situation you’ve been in?
Kasley: Other than the few food-borne illnesses I’ve had that caused fecal incontinence during inconvenient times; it has to be the mushroom incident that occurred when I was around four. I once (yeah, I know, here I go again with putting things in my mouth that I shouldn’t. Giggity. LOL.) picked a mushroom from outside and ate the entire thing. My brothers and I were playing in our babysitter’s backyard when it happened. I admit I did it because, one, I loved mushrooms, and two, my brothers were telling me not to do it, so I did it. In my defense, it smelled exactly like the ones we ate at home, so I figured what the hell and shoved the whole damn thing in my mouth, chewed it up, and swallowed. What came next was lots of crying and screams from both my brothers and the babysitter, then my mom had to get home and race me to the doctor. I vividly remember being cool as a cucumber the entire time…that is until being force fed the Ipecac the doc gave my mom. I think I vomited for hours! Turned out the damn thing was never poisonous to begin with. Figures.
Noir: What does literary success look like to you?
Kasley: Eons ago, I thought it was writing a novel and getting it published by a well-known publisher, but now, I think it’s writing something—anything—someone can enjoy, even if it’s only one person. If one of my tales can make someone laugh, smile, cry, or sleep with a light on, then that’s pretty darn cool. Also, getting any story published is always a wonderful feeling, especially when certain people who I won’t name told me it was too hard to do and didn’t really think I could achieve it. I tend to like to do things I’m told not to..
Noir: If there’s one thing you want readers to know about you or the mission of your work, what would it be?
Kasley: I didn’t go to school for writing and have had to learn A LOT as I go. Writing will always be a learning curve as far as I’m concerned. Also, Horror is not my only wheelhouse. I like to dabble in many genres. As far as my mission, it’s to try and write whenever I can, and hope that what I write will be enjoyed by others in the present and hopefully in the future. And while I’m here, I feel the need to thank all the writers, editors, and publishers for everything they have done for me, whether it was words of encouragement, rejections or acceptances, much needed edits and thoughtful comments, all of it has taught me something and for that I am extremely grateful.
Noir: What’s your next project and where can we stalk you?
Kasley: I am writing many stories at once that I hope to submit to different calls because I’m a freaking maniac and like to multitask. I have a wicked little novella due to come out with Sirens Call Publications in the near future and a short piece that was recently accepted by Vastarien. Who knows what else the future holds, cliché I know, but it’s true. I don’t have a Twitter (I should probably get on that I suppose) but here are some links that lead back to me and my work: Facebook and Amazon Author page. You can learn more about CHEW ON THIS! here