The talented S.S Michaels talks about her novel 'Idols and Cons' and other amusing things.
ME: What is Idols and Cons about?
SSM: After a night of passion with a rock star she didn’t want to meet, poor Mary Bellows goes missing. Damien Tungsten knows where she is, though. After accidentally strangling her, he rolls her up in an expensive rug and dumps her in the trash. Hours later, his neighbor, one psychotic visual artist, Patrick Salinger, finds her. He drags her back into their apartment building, planning to fashion some ghastly and priceless installation pieces out of her dead body. One boy, John Thomas – meth dealer, high school loser, and son of an alcoholic – witnesses both incidents. Unfortunately for John, Damien sees him in his window as he flees the scene.
Following a battle with his own conscience, John confronts Patrick. Bad idea. Patrick forces John into helping him dismember Mary. Freaked out and in need of a smoke, John is allowed to step outside for a moment. As he puffs away, pondering his predicament, a big old Cadillac screeches to a stop right in front of him and whisks him away to the desert. When they arrive at their destination – a swank rehab facility – John finds Damien waiting to see him. Convinced that he’s about to be killed, John prays that Damien just makes it quick and painless. Damien’s got something else in mind, though – something much more painful than death: John, a punk rocker to the core, will be taken into Damien’s boy band, where he can be babysat twenty-four seven.
Reluctantly, John is transformed into teen idol Jake Wolfram. His ego spins out of control, swelling his head and his desire for even more fame and power. In an act of revenge, John uses his stash of drugs to weaken Damien and switch places with him – the imprisoned becomes the imprisonor. Patrick, also seeking revenge, comes out of hiding to attend John’s debut art exhibit. After shooting the place up, Patrick is carted off to prison where he ultimately makes it to death row. At the boy band’s performance immediately following the art gallery debacle, Damien collapses with a heart attack, caused by an overdose of cocaine. John has everything he wants: a successful art career, a promising music career, and a house in the Valley for his mom.
Back to exact his own revenge at a book signing, Damien pulls a gun and takes aim at John, ending the story with a bang.
ME: Can you tell us something of your background. Any magical tales or encounters with gnomes, dragons, mermaids?
SSM: I do actually know one gnome, but I'd prefer not to talk about it.
ME: Do any of the characters in Idols and Cons reflect on people you know or on your experiences, dreams or nightmares?
SSM: Idols & Cons started life as a screenplay, which was inspired by time I spent working on various music award shows. I caught a glimpse of just what goes on backstage and at after-parties, and the whole thing just sparked my imagination. I thought how awful it would be to be stuck in the celebrity lifestyle if that just wasn’t your thing.
ME: Do you need to be in a special state of mind when you write? Any writing rituals you wish to share?
SSM: When I write, I'm usually in kind of a hyper mood. I get up to get a drink. I sit down to write. I get up to let the dogs out. I sit down to write. I let the dogs in. I sit down to write. I play with stuff on my desk. I write some more. My attention span isn't that great so I
ME: Are you the type of writer who has her plot mapped out or do you just go on the journey and see where it takes you?
SSM: I make an insanely detailed outline, which I throw out about half-way through my story when I allow my characters to just take over and show me what they’re made of.
ME: Do you have a favourite character in Idols and Cons?
SSM: I'd have to say Patrick is my favorite, just because he's so so deliciously evil.
ME: If you could be a superhero who would you be?
SSM: I would be the female version of Iron Man. He's in great shape, doesn't get hurt because of that insane metal suit, and he's got that cool heart thing.
ME: And if you had to rescue any cartoon character from evil villains and attic clowns who would you save and why?
SSM: My first thought was to go with Finn and Jake from Adventure Time, but they don't really need any help. So, I'll say Mordecai and Rigby from Regular Show. They're cool animals and I like their style.
ME: What are your hobbies?
SSM: Hobbies? Um… writing is kind of a hobby since it's not really a full-time job kind of thing yet. I also enjoy drawing, listening to music, and running.
ME: What writers inspire you and why?
SSM: Writers who inspire me, big names: Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk, because that's who I want to write like when I grow up. Writers who inspire me who are friends of mine: Jeremy C. Shipp, John Edward Lawson, Scott G. Browne, Kate Jonez, D. W. Grintalis… These are people who have given me advice and kind of guided me to where I am now. There are more, and they know who they are. I am grateful for these people and their generosity.
ME: For those many people who wish to purchase Idols and cons where it is available?
SSM: It's available through Amazon, as both a paperback and an e-book. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0066DI8J0/afterschoolsp-20
Thank you for the interview