Friday, January 9, 2015

Guest Author - Jesse Baruffi

Our next guest author is Jesse Baruffi, author of THE WORLD, MY ENEMY. 

Kissed by Literature:    Tell us about your latest book.

My latest, and by that I mean first book, is the one coming out in just a couple months. It’s called Otto Von Trapezoid and the Empress of Thieves. I am aware that this is a bit of a mouthful, but I’d like to think it fits with the tone of the story, which is comedic. It’s primarily the story of two supervillains, those being Otto Von Trapezoid, a mad scientist who lives on a space station with an army of robots at his command, and Esmerelda Santa Monica, the self-styled Empress of Thieves. Otto’s grouchy and misanthropic, and has no clue how to interact with others, while Esmerelda is obsessed with wealth, style, and her own personal legend. The two of them both enact evil schemes at the same time and attempt to blackmail the UN at the same time. This leads to them bickering and fighting, which leads the forces of good to thwart both of their plans and send them running. As a result, they each swear revenge on the other, and attempt to ambush each other by setting up a phony date. During the course of the date (which causes a few million dollars in collateral damage), they find they have a lot in common, and actually hit it off. Can a pair of evil masterminds make a relationship work? You’ll have to read the book to find out. There’s also an over-the-top superspy named Jake Indestructible, a battle between a robot tyrannosaurus and a heavily armed zeppelin, and several villainous poker matches. And while my primary focus is comedy, the action is gripping, and the love between Otto and Esmerelda as sweet and sincere as possible. I am, perhaps, biased, but I think it’s a great story, and one worth reading. For those interested, it will be out in the Fall/Winter of 2015.

Kissed by Literature:      How did you get your start writing?

I suppose I’ve always been telling stories in one form or another. When all the other little boys said they wanted to be astronauts or firemen when they grew up, my first response was cartoonist, because I loved cartoons and wanted to make my own. Sadly, I never really had the talent to draw the worlds that were constantly popping into my head, so eventually I decided to go the other way and write them down. That worked out a bit better, at least in terms of my ability to do it. I went to college and graduate school for writing, which helped teach me a lot of great theoretical knowledge, and when I got out of school, I became an English teacher and tutor, which surprisingly enough gave me a lot of practical experience in terms of both what to do and, more importantly, what not to do while writing. I wrote creatively as well, and created some works I was pretty proud of, but sadly I got a lot of rejections, which I suppose is something most people go through. It was hard not to be discouraged at times, especially when it felt like stories that were my heart and soul were just casually tossed aside by people who’d probably barely read them. My first professional break was really just this last year, when I sent a half-finished version of Otto Von Trapezoid and the Empress of Thieves out to a bunch of agents, and one, namely the amazing Mark Gottlieb of the Trident Media Group, got back in touch with me and told me he loved it. I worked like a madman to finish the book (without skimping on quality, I hope), and he hooked me up with Curiosity Quills, and the rest is history. Well, recent history anyway.

Kissed by Literature:      What publishing credits do you have under your belt?

Otto Von Trapezoid is my first real literary publication. I used to do a blog and podcast called Geekademia with my pal David Lawrence. At the time, we were both geeks who worked in academia, so we focused on our love of the weird and unusual and tried to be academic about it as well. We also did a lot of interviews that I’m pretty proud of, including authors like A. Lee Martinez, Adrian Tchaikovsky, and Rich Burlew, as well as TV producer Fred Seibert. It was a lot of fun, but when Dave moved away and we both lost our academic jobs, it just sort of ground to a halt. You can still find all the stuff we did at, though. I remain very proud of the month when I wrote about villains every day. Perhaps I have a thing for morally dubious characters? On the other hand, my favorite hero is Captain America, the most fundamentally good good guy there is, so I don’t know.

Kissed by Literature:      What is your writing process?

My process is probably not one consistent thing every time, but ideas come from everywhere. An odd moment I experience, a person unlike anyone I’ve ever met, some strange insight that I don’t think anyone’s expressed before, a minor facet of a story I read that I think could become its own tale. A lot of times I’ll have ideas completely separately from one another and eventually pull them together into a cohesive whole. Then I make sure it’s a story worth telling, which is to say, I ask myself if the characters are interesting, unique, and relatable, and if the plot is exciting enough to follow without getting either convoluted or overly simplistic. And then my inner 13-year-old asks me if the story is totally awesome, which I think is absolutely important to have a good answer to. Then I plan and outline, making sure I’m not writing myself into corners or open fields. Poor planning and jumbled endings have killed many a great story. As I write, I usually add new ideas and details that weren’t in the plan, and I find that I’m usually pleasantly surprised by these. If they fit well, it means the story and the world make sense in my head and I’m not lost. Finally, I suppose, I edit, edit, and edit some more. I have a few trusted friends who assist me with this part, catching stupid mistakes and any logical errors or clichés I may have missed. I suppose that’s how I do it. I hope that’s not too pretentious or theoretical or boring.

Kissed by Literature:      What has been your most rewarding writing experience?

Hmm, I suppose I’ll have to tell you when it happens. Nah, seriously, I’m pretty new at this, so the fact that I’m actually in the game at all is in itself amazing to me. I have a lot of people who are excited for me and find the book to be funny, and that’s a big ego boost. And the fact that I’m even doing this, an actual interview where I can vainly talk about myself and how great I am, is pretty satisfying in itself. Eventually, I’d like to be able to say my most rewarding experience was when I bought that international airport and laced the runways with rubies from my private collection, but you know. Baby steps.

Kissed by Literature:      What writing projects are you working on now?

I’ll be starting work on a new novel in probably a month or two. Don’t want to say too much about it yet, but it will be comedy like my first one. I’m also working on supplemental material for the novel. I’ve written a prequel story detailing the origins of Otto, and eventually I plan to do more, based on the other major characters in the book. I’m also going to write a few very short stories that are epilogues for the novel’s minor characters. They should be up soon. If you want to check out Otto’s origin, entitled “The World, My Enemy,” you can head over to and give it a read. Also, you can see the amazing artwork Streetlight Graphics did for it!


  1. Hi Jordan, thanks for the interview!

  2. Very interesting interview. Can't wait for the book!