Interview with Garrett Cook
Jeremy C. Shipp: Can you tell us a bit about Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective?
Garrett Cook: Jimmy Plush is an homage to pulp in all its forms. I wanted to approach pulp with a decidedly modern sensibility, but in the original spirit of the genre, warts and all. It’s the story of Charles Hatbox, a terrible pulp author who is tricked into switching bodies with the reprehensible Jimmy Plush, a teddy bear detective who is the biggest bastard in town. He has to track down Plush to get his body back, but can only defeat this guy by embracing the best things in himself and trying to perform Plush’s duties. It’s about selfhood, body image, heroism, manhood and identity. But at the same time, it’s fun and occasionally funny.
JCS: If you could punch any character from one of your books or stories, who would you choose?
GC: Tough call. Probably Noctys from Remancipator. I am not fond of that guy.
JCS: How would you define Bizarro fiction?
GC: Horror fiction’s about fear. Erotica’s about arousal. Bizarro fiction for me is about taking people into situations that are wrong in every way, or full of pervasive otherness.
JCS: If you had to be a giant monster like Godzilla, what kind of creature would you be, and what would you do with your time?
GC: This is substantially more benevolent than people would expect, but I’d be a giant chef. And hand out gallons of the highly experimental chili I’d make to everyone daring enough to eat it. Also massive trays of grilled cheese.
JCS: What draws you toward the darker and stranger side of fiction?
GC: Life is dark. Life is strange. And we need the strength to survive it. It’s important to present people with work they have to fight and think their way out of. Then, when they see evil they’ll be ready for it.
JCS: If you were trapped in an abyss, how would you escape?
GC: I would fill it with stuff. Then it would no longer be an abyss.
JCS: What monster would you want most as a pet?
GC: Ingrid Pitt in The Vampire Lovers.
JCS: If you could dress up anyone as a historical figure, who would you choose? And what costume would you force this person to wear?
GC: I would dress up as Jimmy Stewart because he’s awesome and I’ve always wanted to be taller. I would have him dress up as Hitler. And we would walk into bars and get in fights, which I would always win. The following day, we would watch what TMZ had to say about this. And laugh and laugh.
JCS: What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
GC: I have a three novella collection I’m working on getting together. It will be surprising and nasty. I think I will teach another online creative writing workshop in January. I look forward to it, because each time I do one of my workshops, I learn something more and can come up with more unique and challenging exercises for my students.
Garrett Cook is a Bizarro author and a freelance editor. He is the author of Murderland part 1:h8, Murderland 2: Life During Wartime, Archelon Ranch and Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective. You can find out more about him, hire him for an editing job or buy some art at http://chainsawnoir.wordpress.com