by Lee Anderson
I’ve known Rory since community college. We worked together as production artists for an experimental stage interpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” in which we designed and made Bunraku puppets. It was a take on a Japanese-style of puppetry involving fluorescent character cut-outs, manipulated by puppeteers hidden in black light. It was a blast to do, and a gig which led me into meeting my first wife who was also involved with the show.
I’ve also remained good friends with Rory. We share the same dark, sardonic humor and a love for all things sci-fi and absurd. He’s the best impressionist I’ve ever met. You can shut your eyes and swear you were in the same room with whichever celebrity he’s mimicking. Rory is actually one of the most talented people I’ve ever met, period. He sings, acts, draws, paints—all on a level nothing short of expert. His screenplay “Deadly Species” was produced and distributed by Artisan Films.
I lost touch with Rory when he moved to China. While there though, he worked as a clean-up artist for Jade Animation. He also worked on the Disney animated show “Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go!” and Canada’s “Biker Mice from Mars.”
Now he’s back in the US, and he’s a novelist, having just published Book One of what he’s calling: “The Post- Apocalyptic Bachelor’s Guides.” The first book is called The Bachelor’s Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Success, and it concerns Brandon Hoffner, a forty-something ex-baseball star who awakens from cryo-sleep to discover human life has ended from nuclear war. Hoffner sails the world, seeking other possible survivors, but instead meets “Komaki,” a female pleasure robot who becomes a bigger part of his life than he could’ve ever planned on.
Rory himself is one of those true, one-of-a-kind, larger-than-life-type of artists, so I jumped at the chance to reconnect and interview him about his new book:
How long did it take you to write "Bachelor's Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Success?"
It took me just over two months to write the first draft, then, I put it down to wrote something else and I went back to it every couple of years to revisit it and rewrite it.
What was the inspiration for you to write this book?
The idea just popped in my head one day while I was living in China. I thought, ‘What if the last man on earth was kind of an idiot (like me)? A guy who makes a lot of mistakes and does things the long way. That might be how it would be.
How does being a performer and artist influence how you write?
I act out scenes as I write them. I always have, whether I am writing a screenplay or a novel. It gives me a better sense of the character and it helps me to keep the dialogue flowing.
What do you think makes a great story?
Wow! Good characters fighting for what they think is right. Throwing lots of hurdles at your protagonists keeps the story entertaining. Nothing comes easy.
What kind of feedback have you gotten so far from "Bachelor's Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Success?"
All positive. Most of my friends say it’s the best thing that I have written.
What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book? How the character of Komaki changed everything by becoming so important to Brandon. I did not plan it that way originally. It just kind of happened and I rolled with it because it just seemed right.
Is there another series you're working on?
Yes, my “Tales of The Vampyr” series. Coming soon. The first one is titled “The Vampire Irregulars.” It’s a series of vignettes about some people being turned into vampires under bizarre circumstances. They are not pretty. They don’t socially fit in with other vampires and they don’t like killing people to feed. One of them even creates a haven where vampires can eat guilt-free. They amazingly band together to protect one another.
What do you hope your readers will take away from "Bachelor's Guide…?"
Don’t let the planet be destroyed. Don’t let that happen. (Laughs.)
What were the biggest challenges you faced when writing this book?
Not knowing how I was going to publish it. Seriously, it has sat on the shelf with a dozen Other manuscripts collecting dust because I am a writer. I write. I don’t know anything about publishing or marketing. I am learning, though.
Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
I think that it’s evident that I like Stephen King’s work. He is a huge inspiration and influence. I also love Roald Dahl because of the humor that he infused into his works and the descriptive pen of Ann Rice who can transport you completely to another place and time. I aspire to write like that.
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