Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of your dystopian horror novel, Dead Monkeys! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
A.L. Lorentz: Thank you! This was originally a short story intended for an eco-conscious writing contest. That story opined on the contributions of meat consumption to global warming. Exciting, right? Luckily, in re-writes the premise veered far away from beating the reader over the head with a tofu chicken wing. Now, the beatings are political, social, cultural, and emotional. It’s a punch in the gut about an unexpected prelude to an apocalypse, hitting just high enough to catch your funny bone too.
Politics and social media cast a long shadow on the events in the novel. It’s not a political book, per se, but if (for example) you think granting corporations their own sovereign land inside the United States where our laws are not applicable is a good idea, this probably isn’t the book for you. (That’s a real thing proposed in Nebraska earlier this year, btw!) There’s more humor than soapboxing, but I’ve tried not to pull any punches in creating vivid examples of the unintended consequences of the decisions our society is making today.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in writing the novel, and what have been some of your creative influences?
ALL: As I edited the original short story, I kept imagining new scenarios until it spun up to about 80,000 words. In writing the main character, Robert, I have to admit the straight-talking (and shit-talking) detective in Ryan Hyatt’s Stay Younger Longer heavily influenced me. This is the first story I’ve written with characters who are offensive on purpose, and there’s a creative freedom in that that I was afraid of embracing until I read Ryan’s work.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
ALL: I hope they’ll find humor in it, but also a few warnings about how close we are to slipping down this slope. Many of the scientific studies and political concepts mentioned in the book either are already in place or are inspired by current proposals. There’s lively debate in the scientific community about whether animals feel pain, have a consciousness, and to what degree – I just take it to the next step and assume they have all three plus a long memory about how we’ve treated them.
BD: Do you have plans to expand the Dead Monkeys world into additional novels or other media?
ALL: As in most apocalyptic tales, not all characters survive to the end, but there is room for a sequel; however, I don’t plan to write it unless there’s a demand for it. Another author is already moving forward on adapting the novel to a screenplay, which is very exciting.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
ALL: Yes, in a few months I’ll be releasing a long-gestating trilogy. Ostensibly, it’s going to live in the YA category, but there’s enough sci-fi action meat for Adult Adults, too. It asks questions about race, religion, genetics, economics… you know, all the regular YA tropes! Because of that, it might take a while to find an audience, but like Principal Skinner once said: “Prove me wrong, kids. Prove me wrong!”
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Dead Monkeys?
ALL: Buy it and read it. Seriously, how much research did you put into your last $4 coffee. Dead Monkeys costs way less than that fancy Sourtoe Cocktail with the dead guy’s toe your friends just had to try on that trip to Canada. And I promise you’ll laugh more about it later. Nevertheless, if you need more convincing feel free to ask me directly on my Goodreads author page.