I had the pleasure of seeing Richard Kadrey speak this past weekend here in Reno, Nevada. He’s out promoting his latest release, The Everything Box, the first installment in a new humorous, supernatural series. I’ve been a big fan of his since reading Dead Set and Suspect Zero so this was very exciting for me. Also, this was my very first author event I’ve attended! I know. What rock have I been living under?
The Everything Box is a bit of a departure from his normal writing style, adding humor, multiple POVs, and even chapters (his Sandman Slim series is noted for not having any; only page breaks.) Kadrey states he originally pitched this story as Terry Pratchett meets Carl Hiaasen, that only two books are actually planned currently for the series, and that the second installment is tentatively titled The Wrong Dead Guy. Here’s hoping that title sticks.
He spent a lot of time discussing his writing process which involves outlines, usually putting words on actual paper but occasionally the computer, but mostly stressed about the importance of following your instincts when it comes to getting the story out as it was meant to. One interesting tidbit about Dead Set, currently his only YA novel, is it’s the only book he’s written based solely off a dream he had. He was asked by a fan if his process involves plotting out each book on its own or if he has an end game already planned. This is a big stickler for me personally because I feel like most series these days are all written on the fly without that “big picture” planned out and that just seems so integral to making everything work right. I was pleased to hear that he does have the end game planned (for Sandman Slim) and that he still anticipates several more stories but wouldn’t nail down an actual number. The Perdition Score is the eighth installment and will be published June 28th 2016 by Harper Voyager.
Everybody wanted to discuss Sandman Slim so I was extremely glad I had made sure to read the first installment before the event or I would have been completely lost. Briefly mentioned was that movie rights for Sandman Slim have been optioned. When asked about casting, he wouldn’t say who he could see in the role for the same reason he doesn’t fully describe the main character in the book: he wants each reader to come up with their own Stark. Also, Sandman Slim was only originally planned for three installments so Kadrey had to somehow manage to complete the story yet partially leave it open just in case he was able to write more installments. I’m eager to get to that third and fourth installment to see how he managed that one.
Other than his books, he entertained us with stories of his ad writing days writing for Snapple and the World Wrestling Federation and his first official show business gig as a writer on The Smurfs. Funniest was the day he was apparently asked to write an ad on mufflers and the only thing that came to mind was “Buy a muffler. Fuck you.” And that was the end of his ad-days. He was asked about his interesting and numerous tattoos and talked about his two recent additions: the names of the seven archangels in angelic script across his shoulders (because he figured since he’d made so much money off angels…) and a bullseye over the artery the doctors used to put in his stent from his recent heart troubles.
Discovering a new favorite author is always an awesome experience. Being able to meet him is even better. I have plenty of backlist books to spend time catching up on but for now I’m enjoying The Everything Box. And you should too.