LitU’s very own Steven Novak sat down with author, Ryan O’Neil recently to discuss a wide variety of subjects. The pair touched on everything from the release of his Young Reader Novel, Plain Old Kirby Carson, to future projects, Batman, and all things bacon and bacon related.
Snag yourself a cup of joe, lean back in your chair and enjoy.
LitU: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What makes Ryan O’Neil tick – other than bacon, bacon grease, and BLTs without the lettuce or tomato?
RYAN O’NEIL: I’m assuming that I shouldn’t refer to BBQed meat here? 😉
LitU: As long as there’s no mention of bacon, I think we’re good to go.
RYAN O’NEIL: This may sound cliché, but I just like to have fun. I like to think that I make every situation as interesting as it can be. I like to spread my own brand of entertainment and hope to make people smile.
LitU: We’ve heard that you have a background in horror writing. If so, how was it making the transition to something like “Kirby Carson?” Where did the idea come from?
Ryan O’Neil: The idea for Kirby was born about 20 years ago. I’d written a couple of chapters and never completed the story. Then about 6 years ago I was writing a daily blog and making fun of my past when I posted a couple of sample paragraphs from the original Kirby story. I did it purely as a goof, but people wanted to know more about the character. That led to two months of updates where I literally created the story on the fly. At the end people seemed to enjoy it and someone suggested that it should be a book. I like being different and I saw writing Kirby as a challenge to do something really different for myself.
LitU: Any future plans to play around in the genre, maybe visit the world of Kirby again?
Ryan O’Neil: I have a brief outline in my head for a return to Brook Harbor to visit Kirby, Sue, and their friends for one more adventure. The entire Kirby process has been such a public journey that started with my blog friends and has grown from there. So while I have an outline, I wouldn’t make the trip unless my friends wanted to go back.
In the meantime I am developing another Young Adult / Middle Grade genre book in which the main character’s younger brother is on the Autism spectrum. My son has Autism, so this is more of a personal mission to both educate people and show them by example the ups and downs of having a friend or relative on the spectrum. It’s not all misery and gloom. These kids are just like everyone else and can be a lot of fun!
LitU: How about a return something more “adult,” any future interest?
Ryan O’Neil: Definitely! My true writing love is to scare people, make them uneasy, and sometimes just gross them out. There are some plans in the works now to release some of the horror stories that I’ve been sitting on. About a year and a half ago I was signed on to contribute five stories to a book, and unfortunately that project fell through. My goal is to get at least those tales released, if not more.
LitU: How did you hook up Auriferous Books and the Literary Underground? What’s the experience been like so far? NOTE: The editors of the LitU blog fully reserve the right not to include any comments that belittle or disparage the company in any way. We’re jerks like that.
Ryan O’Neil: So often I talk to writers who are brilliant, but get bogged down with tradition. In fact, so bogged down that they’ll never put a book out. It’s shame really. Their work is amazing, but no one will ever read it.
The experience so far has been great (Yes, your check cleared…LOL)! All kidding aside, Lit U is a great bunch of people who just want to help each other. Everyone has something to offer whether it be editing, beta reading, formatting text for e-books, etc, etc. They are all very supportive and honest. Lit U will help you get your work in progress to the point of publication and beyond. It’s like an old hippie co-op garden, except we’re growing works of literary art instead of pumpkins. Auriferous Books is a nice small up-and-coming publishing house. So far the experience has been fantastic!
LitU: Did Hippies grow pumpkins? I thought it was mostly hemp?
Ryan O’Neil: One man’s pumpkin is another man’s cannabis.
LitU: Not really, no. Trust me, I tried to smoke a pumpkin once. It didn’t end well. Anyway, 80’s hair metal—what’s with the obsession? I mean, seriously. Defend the things that bring you happiness or prepare yourself for ridicule!
Ryan O’Neil: 80’s hair metal and glam rock was just so much fun! Glam rockers put on a show like no other. There’s no standing there, staring at your sneakers and whining about how tough it is to be a rock star. Life is too short to mope around the entire time. Glam rock forces you to have fun, and look good doing it. I know not everyone can appreciate neon colors. It’s an acquired taste. 😉
LitU: What sort of advice would you have for the aspiring writers out there?
Ryan O’Neil: Believe in what you write. If you believe in yourself and what you create, then others will too. Frustration and rejection are a part of the game. Don’t let it get you down or stop you from following your dream.
LitU: Batman or Bruce Wayne?
Ryan O’Neil: Batman! While Bruce Wayne was smooth with the ladies, it was Batman who rocked the nighttime world … or was that Gene Simmons? I mean, come on, who wouldn’t like to someday punch someone and have a big neon colored “BLAM!” pop up? And don’t even get me started on that utility belt!
LitU: For every cool utility belt there’s a Robin though. How about this; Motley Crue or Poison?
Ryan O’Neil: Poison was prettier, but the way that the Crue was, was just bad ass. They were like skinny Elvis with brass knuckles. Not even Chuck Norris could take them down.
LitU: Freddy or Jason?
Ryan O’Neil: Michael Myers. Michael Myers scares the s#!t out of me! The dude is creepy scary … and simply won’t die!
LitU: Ham and cheese or turkey on rye?
Ryan O’Neil: Bacon!
LitU: We set you up for that one.
Leave us with something spectacular—the blog equivalent of Broadway jazz hands.
Ryan O’Neil: I’d like to thank everyone who is onboard with Kirby. The journey has been a long one, but fun nonetheless. It’s my friends who believe in the journey that fuel my fires. We still have a lot of adventure ahead of us so I hope to see you all smiling and having fun!
LitU: Well done. Your jazz hands need work though. Maybe put down the uncooked bacon next time.
The print version of Plain old Kirby Carson is available through the LitU store with e-books to arrive soon.