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Take Five: John Vorhaus with Banana Pants Crazy + GIVEAWAY

61Gs5g7WEJL.SX316Today John Vorhaus is here to talk about his latest book, Banana Pants Crazy [1], releasing on April 1st.

I wouldn’t want to sleep with him but I’d certainly buy his book.”

– Annie Duke, poker diva

John is giving an e-copy of Banana Pants Crazy [2] to the first three people to post a brand new word (authentic neologisms, please, no retreads) in the comment box. AND be part of Team Banana Pants! Join THE NOISELETTER [3] and receive a prize!

Q: What’s the premise of your new book?

That funny nuggets, curated oddities and explosive moments of real drama can add up to a satisfying, quick read. It’s math: ½ comic + ½ serious + ½ strange = all fun. (It’s the third half that makes all the difference.)

Q: What would you like people to know about the book itself?

Well, it’s an exploration. Into language. Humor. Deep word play. A romp inside the author’s mind (if that’s a place anyone needs to be). Just now I used the word “curated,” and that’s how I like to think about the book: as a museum exhibit, but one that you get to take home.

Q: What do your characters have to overcome in this story? What challenge do you set before them?

Like a politician deftly pivoting away from a tough question, I shall answer a different one instead: “In 100 words or less, what is really in this book?”

Some fiction, some flotsam, some dances with words, some heart-stopping anagrams, many found objects, things I’ve said about dogs, mashed metaphors and manhandled clichés, twitter tales, sad tales (at least one), true facts, bar facts, hilarious headlines (wait, you’ll see), wisdomettes, a whiff of poker, names needing rock bands, a noun fight, a museum of lies, a war of random words, a bit of wizardry, bad ideas for children, some new dirty words, a brief interlude where writing in the passive voice is done by me and much more, all in fewer pages than you might expect.

Q: What unique challenges did this book pose for you, if any?

  1. Balance was an issue. Some of the book is funny. Some is serious. Some is head-scratchingly strange. Each of these tones can fight against the others unless it’s understood that the intended tone is not funny or serious or strange, but something that embraces all three. I hope that the reader becomes comfortable cycling rapidly through the different – and very disparate – subjects at hand.
  1. The cover was a pleasing challenge. I love doing my own covers, and I try with each new book to advance my craft in cover design. This time I sought a more layered (in many senses of the word) approach. Mixing into the design all these dozens of words I’ve invented seemed an apt meeting of my lexical and visual minds. Working out how to realize the image gave me the growth I sought.
  1. Releasing any book is a challenge to the ego – will they love it? hate it? yikes! – but this book of “curated content” has me feeling particularly exposed. After all, I’m the one who curated it, the one who decided what went in, what was good. God, what if I’m wrong? What if my choices look dumb? That’s the yikes I worry about this time. But I can’t worry about that. “Throw yourself out the window and see if you land” has been my motto all along, and I see no reason to change it now, halfway down.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of having written this book?

Getting to be who I am. Making my choices and standing by them. Getting my word geek on. Catastrophically overusing gerunds. And sentence fragments. Having the sudden sense that my world is recursing, and who I was when I wrote Banana Pants Crazy is who I am becoming again now.

I want to be that guy. I’m happy being that guy. I’m happy and proud to add Banana Pants Crazy to the splatter pattern of published works that defines and delimits my public voice. I talked earlier about tone, about how something can be funny and serious and strange. Most of my books have been funny or serious. Few have been strange. Now, with Banana Pants Crazy, I have opened the range of strange in my brand. This will come in handy later, when I want to be strange again, which, knowing me, I certainly will.

Don’t forget! John is giving an e-copy of Banana Pants Crazy to the first three people to post a brand new word (authentic neologisms, please, no retreads) in the comment box.


About [4]

Writer Unboxed began as a collaboration between Therese Walsh [5] and Kathleen Bolton [6] in 2006. Since then the site has grown to include ~50 regular contributors--including bestselling authors and industry leaders--and frequent guests. In 2014, the first Writer Unboxed UnConference (part UNtraditional conference, part intensive craft event, part networking affair) [7] was held in Salem, MA. Learn more about our 2019 event, ESCAPE TO WuNDERLAND, on Eventbrite. [8] In 2016, the Writer Unboxed team published a book with Writer's Digest. AUTHOR IN PROGRESS: A No-Holds-Barred Guide to What It Really Takes to Get Published [9] has been well-received by readers who seek help in overcoming the hurdles faced at every step of the novel-writing process--from setting goals, researching, and drafting to giving and receiving critiques, polishing prose, and seeking publication. James Scott Bell has said of the guide, "Nourishment for the writer's soul and motivation for the writer's heart." You can follow Writer Unboxed on Twitter [10], and join our thriving Facebook community [11].