Please help me welcome John Rachel as today’s Wednesday’s Guest. He is the author of the novel, The Man Who Loved Too Much that I reviewed here last Sunday. We certainly had fun with the interview, so grab a beverage of your choice to go with your cinnamon roll, and enjoy….
Hello, John, I’m so happy to have you as my guest. First off, give us a short intro to who you are and what you write.
John Rachel, expat American living in Japan with a lovely Japanese wife. I left America in 2006 to travel the world. I started writing novels on the computer I carted with me through 26 countries. My seventh novel (Book 2 of “The Man Who Loved Too Much” trilogy) just came out March 16th. A political manifesto is scheduled for publication in May, Book 3 of the trilogy in July, probably one other novel by the end of the year.
I did enjoy Billie’s story. Is any of it reflective of your life-story?
This book is highly autobiographical. I grew up in suburban Detroit in a blue collar family. Both of my parents were very bigoted. I went to Catholic school. I skipped kindergarten because a bully smashed me in the face my first day. There were some notable differences. I was lousy at Euchre. I never kissed a nun. My dad and I got along great. My mom used to chase me around the house with a butcher’s knife. Also, I am to this day no way near as cool as my main character, Billy Green. But our thinking is similar in many ways. I agree with him wholeheartedly about 911 and the absurdity of war. However, while Billy shows some signs of maturity and growth by the end of the trilogy, I am still naive and very socially inept. On the positive side, I am a better dancer than Billy.
What nugget of wisdom do you hope people will take away from your book?
Be careful what you buy. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Be suspicious of any author who bleaches his pubic hair.
If you could go back in time, what one thing would you change about yourself?
I would have preferred not to have been born in a mental institution, taken away from my natural mother at birth and spending my first year trying to get someone’s attention, being adopted by two well-meaning, but incredibly ignorant, people who then had the nerve to die when I was fourteen. Also, I never liked having acne.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
I quit cub scouts to become a full-time cowboy. I remember feeling superior to the pathetic dweebs who were going to spend their lives trying to start fires by rubbing two sticks together. They, however, had the last laugh when the cowboy thing didn’t pan out for me, I became a total failure, and they went on to be successful corporate lawyers and Wall Street bankers.
How did you come to write in the genre you chose?
I have so far written in four genres; crime/thriller, coming-of-age contemporary, social/political satire, and political drama. Obviously I have no idea what I’m doing and probably suffer from progressive ADHD.
What is the most unusual, or interesting, research you’ve done for your books?
I went into a brothel in Laos to see how the slave girls were treated. A young girl, 15 years old at the most, took me back to a filthy, foul-smelling room, with a semen-stained blanket covering a straw mattress. I saw what I needed to see, ran out of the place. The Mama-San and two thugs chased me, demanding I stay and pay to have sex with the girl. My taxi driver tore out of there and we escaped safely. This was for my crime/thriller coming out early next year called “Petrocelli.” I gave the taxi driver a nice tip. I wish I were joking but I’m not.
What other creative things do you do?
I still write songs (music and lyrics), make completely original, but often inedible, recipes from scratch, do Origami using slices of American cheese, pronounce words funny (I’m writing my own rhyming dictionary).
What do you do for fun?
Ride my bicycle through the soybean and rice fields in my traditional Japanese town; talk to people in languages I don’t know, pretending to use sign language; switch the ‘Men’ and ‘Women’ signs at shopping mall restrooms; put ads on Craig’s List offering my services as a navel lint weaver; lie on benches at bus stops with a bouquet of flowers in my hands and large pennies on my eyes; use homonyms to create strange Super Bowl half-time cheers at ESL summer camps; entertain kids at parks as “Mr. Upside Down Man”, though I have to say as I get older, it’s getting harder to walk on my hands for long periods of time.
What do you like best about where you live?
Since I don’t speak Japanese, I have no idea what anyone is saying here, so I enjoy the privacy. I call it my bubble of incomprehension. People are very polite to me – I’m taller than they are – plus as an American they know I am prone to random violence, so they don’t want to do anything to set me off. Seventy percent of Japan is forest, which is counter to how most people picture the country. I live in a valley surrounded by beautiful tree-covered mountains. My town is very traditional, rural, and peaceful. The loudest sound I ever hear is the ringing of temple bells three times a day at a local Buddhist shrine. People I hardly know are always waving at me when I ride through town. They cheerfully yell things at me which sound a lot like, “Look out, there’s a bus coming.” They are so cute!
Thanks for sharing all that
nonsense, er, great fun with us, John. You can read more about John and his books on his WEBSITE and buy the first book in his trilogy about Billy Green at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can preview all of his books on his Amazon Author page, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.