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
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 non-productive.com/geekademia,
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
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 http://www.wattpad.com/user/JesseBaruffi
and give it a read. Also, you can see the amazing artwork Streetlight Graphics
did for it!