An Interview With Deb Hoag
Deb Hoag is one of our favourite writers here at DogHorn. Ever since we first read her short story 'Werewolf of Sappho' that appeared in Issue One of Polluto we've been in awe of her thoroughly brilliant and thoroughly twisted contributions. Last year her first fiction novel 'Crashin' The Real' was released through DogHorn and it quickly went on to be a critical success.

- How would you describe your writing to a novice?
Frenetic. Bawdy. Honest. Insane. A lot like the inside of my head, I guess. I hope people perceive it as a lot of fun, and pretty entertaining. Original. But I try to write about real stuff, things that are close to people's hearts. To do a good job of that takes a lot of guts, I think. Being really, fundamentally honest can be brutal on the writer. But that's what I shoot for, so I hope people can recognize situations, feelings in my writing that they can identify with. Things that make the characters feel like friends. Or relatives. I don't always like my relatives, but I love 'em.

- Are you pleased with the reception that Crashin' the Real has received?
Very much so. It was my first published novel, and I was really nervous. What if the writing police called and said my license to bullshit was revoked? But so far, no frozen chickens through the window in the middle of the night, and no librarians showing up to confiscate my desktop. Even got some good reviews, and got invited to do another novel. So all in all, yeah, pretty happy with it so far!

- Most of your leads are strong women, do you identify with these characters?
Absolutely. My life is not nearly so colorful - thank God! But on some level, I always write what I know to the best of my ability, and I think that comes through. Those tough decisions: to do what everyone else is doing or just yell, "fuck it," at the top of your lungs and plunge down the hill as fast as you can go? Been there.

- How long does it take you from initial idea to completed piece?
Once I have the idea, it starts eating my brain alive if I don't get it out. I eat it, breath it, dream it. So, in hopes of keeping most of my brain uneaten, not very long. I work full-time (don't quit the day job), but I can make time for a few thousand words a day if I'm lucky. For Crashing, I think it took about two months. Editing took longer than it did to write the novel. And most of my brain survived, I'm happy to report.

- In Polluto 4 you reworked the classic Wizard of Oz, do you take the idea and twist it? or do you get an idea and make it fit into the classic?
It just kind of comes to me. Sometimes it's the character, and I just work a plot to let the character go nuts in, sometimes its a plot, and I come up with characters that can work it. For this, it came off of a trigger the publisher gave us - it was a themed issue. And I remember thinking about it, and thinking what a crock the whole Wizard of Oz thing is, really. I mean, when I was a kid, I would have killed to go to Oz. And stupid Dorothy gets to actually go there, and she's such a moron, all she does is want to go home. Do you know anyone who wouldn't have wanted to stay in Oz? It kind of flowed from there.

- Do you have any personal habits that help you get into the flow?
Write early in the day, before my head starts getting filled up with daily junk, read for my friends to generate good writing karma, and never play safe. No guts, no glory. Oh, and always pop for the good coffee. I've tried just about every chemical stimulant known to modern wo/man, and can authoritatively say nothing beats a good caffeine buzz early in the morning for good writing. Skip the rest of the shit - it just makes you stupid. Go straight for the Kona.

- You've didn't appeared in Polluto Six, will we see you in the upcoming open themed issue?
Actually, I didn't realize I'd missed Six. Maybe more of my brain got eaten than I thought. Now I have to go check and see what I missed. But I love Polluto. And I'll be the first to admit I don't just read the articles - the art is gorgeous. You'll be seeing me there until they throw me out the door. Or until my brain is completely consumed. Whichever happens first.

- Any other projects coming up?
Thanks to Tom Bradley, whom I met through Dog Horn Publishing, I was asked to do another novel, Dr. Gonzo, for Unlikely Books. It's the story of a therapist driven crazy by the mental health system. That will be out sometime this fall, as part of a flip book. Tom will be on the other side, with his novel, My Hands Were Clean. Tom's awesome. I can't believe he's not followed by cheering crowds everywhere he goes. He's a frickin' genius. Maybe he is followed by cheering crowds, actually. I haven't met him face-to-face. It's hard to tell with those wily kilted guys. He could be hiding a cheering horde under that attractive plaid. There's a thought.

Deb Hoag's fist novel is available here and her submissions to polluto are available here.


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