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Fanbase Press Interviews Chuck Palahniuk, Writer of Dark Horse Books’ ‘Bait: Off-Color Stories for You to Color’

The following is an interview with Chuck Palahniuk, author of the adult coloring book and short story collection, Bait: Off-Color Stories for You to Color, that was released today through Dark Horse Books. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Palahniuk about the genesis of this new collection and his interest in infusing it with coloring book artwork, the all-star group of artists involved with the project, the impact of the coloring book phenomenon on readers, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Your adult coloring book, Bait, will soon be released through Dark Horse Books.  As your second short story collection, which inspired you to extend the format to include colorable artwork for the reader?


Chuck Palahniuk:  Foremost, I wanted to continue working with so many of the artists who contributed to the Fight Club 2 graphic novel.  Beyond that motive, it irked me that coloring books are marketed as a way to create “legacy art” while the books themselves are flimsy, poorly printed, and cheaply bound.  When you consider how much time and effort will go into coloring the illustrations, such books should be as beautifully produced as any glossy coffee table volume of art.  I wanted Bait to be a lasting showcase for the reader’s work.    

BD: Bait will include eight new tales that range from animal psychics to celebrating birthdays during extinction-level events.  Do you feel that there is a unifying theme to the stories, or is it an eclectic mix of bizarre tales?

CP:  Yes, there is a theme.  Due to the nature of the book, and the enlarged type size, I wanted it to read like a collection of bedtime stories.  These are stories about nurturing: parents raising children, humans helping animals, employers rescuing employees; however, each well-intended act of salvation leads to disaster.  As is so often the case in life.

BD: The collection includes artwork by several all-star creators, including Lee Bermejo, Kirbi Fagan, Duncan Fegredo, Alise Gluskova, Joelle Jones, Steve Morris, Tony Puryear, and Marc Scheff.  What can you tell us about your work with these creators, and how would you describe your shared creative process?

CP:  Our creative exchange was like a mutual goading.  I’d suggest the riskiest images I dared.  The editor, Scott Allie, would suggest something edgier.  Finally, the artists would counter-propose pictures that neither Scott nor I would’ve had the nerve to request.  Each collaboration was a race to the bottom.  

BD: Research has found that adult coloring books may provide avenues for mental and physical wellness and self-care.  What are your thoughts on this growing phenomenon and Bait’s inclusion in this new class of books?

CP:  To my mind the stories and artwork work together like the words and music of a song.  The pictures alleviate the need for passive, descriptive text, allowing the stories to focus on action and rhythm.  In tone, Bait is closer to an old-school “concept” record album than it is to a typical coloring book.  

BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?

CP:  Ask me after the elections.  I just got home from the Prague Writers Festival, and I might be applying for Czech residency status.  Give me cheap beer and the ghost of Kafka in a beautiful city where I can’t understand a word on the street, and I’ll get mountains of writing done.  That said, never order nachos in the Czech Republic unless you’re ready for a major let-down. 

BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Bait: Off-Color Stories for You to Color?

CP:  Check out the site for a list of independent comic and book stores that will have signed copies available.  Many of these stores are also hosting coloring contests for prizes that include the boxed library edition of Fight Club 2, as well as leather-bound deluxe editions of the original novel, and autographed, severed arms.  Perfect gifts for Christmas or Halloween.

*Below artwork from Bait: Off-Color Stories for You to Color by Duncan Fegredo, Kirbi Fagan, Steve Morris, Lee Bermejo, and David Ma.



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