We knew Kevin Shamel would fit in perfectly with our full-time team because he’s been volunteering his time with us during special events over the past year and a half. He’s attended local conventions with our crew and helped us sell books, he’s assisted us at the last two BizarroCons and has been a part of the New Bizarro Author Series. So, Kevin Shamel is already a part of our bizarro family. Last fall he signed a five book contract with Eraserhead Press, after the success of his New Bizarro Author Series book, Rotten Little Animals (which is now also available in German). His next book, Island of the Super People, will be released later this month, which is extra exciting because this is the book he wrote during Bizarro Boot Camp.
After having so many unique experience with Kevin already, he’s like a brother to us and we are thrilled to have him by our sides. I am certain that everyone who already knows Kevin will be excited for the happy news and I am delighted to introduce him to those of you who haven’t met this charming, smart, fun, enthusiastic dude.
Kevin’s job duties will be:
Super General Commander at Large—Leader of the Bizarro Brigade, an army of fans
Editor—New Bizarro Author Series
Agent of Intra-Office Affairs– Assisting With Secret Plans, Psychic Messages, Mischief, and Merrymaking
Here’s a short interview I did with Kevin where he shares more about his intentions:
What makes you the perfect person for this job?
It seems to me that I’ve been working toward this job for years. It’s my dream job. Every single duty and project that I’m working on at Eraserhead Press is exactly what I should be doing with my life. My jobs here were tailor-fit for me. And EHP is my family.
I’m going to be heading up the Bizarro Brigade, a full-on force of bizarro fans. It’s a finely-tuned international, mobilized battalion, ready to spread the word of bizarro to the world. I’m pretty sure I’m the right person to build and lead that army. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to assemble this force. I finally get to put my years at military school to good use. I’m also joining Kevin Donihe as another editor for the New Bizarro Author Series. I’m proud to have that job. It’s perfect for me because I went through that process. I know exactly what it’s like to BE a New Bizarro Author. I’ve come out the other side with experience that I’m certain will be put to good use in helping aspiring writers find their place in the bizarro community. The word, fulfilling, comes to mind. I can’t WAIT to introduce the world to the talents of new authors, and to show those authors the world that’s waiting.
What does Bizarro mean to you?
Bizarro is my life. It really is. It was my life before I found Eraserhead. I AM bizarro. I’ve always leaned toward the weird things in life. Weird books, movies, situations, and pursuits. I like movies like Night of the Living Dead, Flash Gordon, Evil Dead and Holy Mountain. I was reading sci-fi masters by the time I was eight and then discovered horror. My pursuits are varied—herbs, nature, horror, punk rock, photos of the sky, anti-religiousness, sexuality, mental control, psychic healing, being a dad, writing whatever my imagination spawns, being wild, philosophizing, doing magick, changing consciously and constantly, drinking good beer, ancient history, trying to think of things without adding a state of being to them, cryptozoology, stuff like that. My history is bizarro. If you catch me sometime, I’ll tell you stories about my life that you probably won’t believe. But I don’t have to exaggerate them. I write fiction. The best kind. I spent years taming my stories to fit into mainstream magazines because they were too crazy. Now I’m encouraged to think even beyond what I thought was weird.
Finding this talented, weird and wonderful group of people out there was like coming home. They are so much like me! I met them in a black-painted house owned by an infamous Satanic dentist, where they were performing. I saw Cameron Pierce’s second Meat Magick performance (the vegetarian version). It was amazing. I won a signed can of Porn ‘n’ Beans. Carlton Mellick III and Jeff Burk also performed, and I was simply enthralled. I thought, the bizarros are my people! Since then I’ve had such fun and amazing adventures with the EHP crew. From Bizarro Bootcamp to a retreat with the crew at their annual Sylvia Beach writing marathon, and all the totally insane conventions in between, I have had the most thrilling, life-advancing, odd, new, and bizarro times I’ve ever had. And they create amazing, interesting, bizarro books for everyone in the world. I believe that bizarro fiction is well on its way to world domination. It’s the most vibrant, alive, entertaining thing out there. It’s exciting.
Two years ago I decided to only read bizarro fiction for one solid year, to see how it affected me. It’s really my favorite form of fiction. I haven’t stopped reading only bizarro. My year came up, I announced it, but couldn’t bring myself to anything else. Actually, June 15th marks my second year of reading only bizarro fiction. And NOW I read more of it. That’s fine by me. In fact, it’s perfect. I love being so immersed. The bizarro scene is filled with some of the most intelligent, outrageous, interesting, kind, loving, crazy people that I’ve ever met. It’s one big, weird, happy family. Bizarro is life—beautiful, weird, honest, hilarious, celebratory life.
What were your first few days working at Eraserhead Press like?
Fun and amazing. It still really hasn’t hit me completely that I’m actually doing this job. I spent my first days beside Rose, copy-editing and working with Amazon. There was a party for the entire building on my first day—that was a nice welcome. It’s great to be in the EHP offices. There’s a happy, creative vibe that we all swim in and perpetuate. It’s really one of my favorite places to be in the whole world. Rose and Carlton went over what I’ll be doing for Eraserhead, and I’ve spent the first few days jumping into work. It’s been fabulous.
Also, there aren’t many places where your boss turns to you and asks, “Do you think butt-fur should be hyphenated?”
I knew I was right where I was supposed to be on the very first day. I’m so happy to be here.
What are your five favorite Bizarro books right now?
I’m glad you asked, “right now”. I have some ultimate favorites, but not only do I pride myself on changing my favorites up (in every aspect of life), bizarro fiction also gives me a steady stream of “the best book ever!” to choose from.
At the moment:
APESHIT—by Carlton Mellick III
ANGEL DUST APOCALYPSE—by Jeremy Robert Johnson
STARFISH GIRL—by Athena Villaverde
WARRIOR WOLF WOMEN OF THE WASTELAND—by Carlton Mellick III
THE EGG MAN—by Carlton Mellick III
I know this list is Carlton-heavy. But he is my favorite author of all time. I’d imagine that ZOMBIES AND SHIT would be on there if my kid would have gotten his shit together and finished it so that I could have read it before now. I’m just going to read my roommate’s copy.