FAWR: Mr. Alanson, first -
ME: Is your name really ‘FAWR’?
FAWR: No, that is an acronym. I could tell you my real name, but I would have to kill you first.
ME: That would seem counterproductive.
FAWR: If I kill you first, I could make up whatever crap I want for this interview. It would save me a lot of time.
ME: Death would be inconvenient for me. I’m good with ‘FAWR’.
FAWR: Good idea. So, first, can I say how talented you are?
ME: You can.
FAWR: Seriously, you are incredibly talented.
ME: I cannot argue with the factual nature of that statement.
FAWR: No one could. What was that sound?
ME” That was my wife gagging and rolling her eyes in the background. Ignore her, she is upset that I didn’t empty the dishwasher. Technically, I did empty the dishwasher, but I put the clean dishes right back in the sink.
FAWR: Brilliant. Its more convenient to have dishes in the sink, rather than having to look for them in the cabinets.
ME: I know, right? She doesn’t see it that way.
FAWR: So, we have established that you are brilliant and talented.
ME: And humble.
ME: I didn’t say I was talented, you did. Even though it is forehead-slappingly obvious.
FAWR: True. What is the potential for seeing ExForce on the big screen? I heard a rumor that Steven Spielburg called you?
ME: Steven did call me. He locked the keys in his jet, and wanted to borrow a coathanger to jimmy the door open.
FAWR: So, no movie deal yet?
ME: I did learn that he hates to be called ‘Steve-a-reeno’, so there’s that.
FAWR: If Spielburg offered to produce an ExForce TV show instead of a movie, would that be OK with you?
ME: Steven Spielburg is a genius. If he wants to do ExForce as a sock puppet show in his backyard, it would be brilliant and win the Nobel prize.
FAWR: There is not a Nobel prize for making movies.
ME: There should be.
FAWR: I think we can all agree about that. Any other film or TV possibilities?
ME: HBO did contact me.
FAWR: That is exciting! Are they offering a big budget series deal like ‘Game of Thrones’?
ME: They offered a free month if I sign up for two years.
ME: That’s what I said. Still, it’s a free month.
FAWR: You can’t argue with that.
ME: I have been trying to negotiate with Netflix, but the restraining order makes that awkward.
FAWR: No HBO or Netflix, then.
ME: One of my neighbors wants to make an ExForce movie, but she is six years old and the only equipment she has is her My Little Pony play set and her Mom’s phone.
FAWR: So, forget it, then.
ME: No, this girl made a ten-minute trailer that was surprisingly good, I mean way better than The Phantom Menace. Although, that’s not saying much.
FAWR: Is her project going to get greenlit for production?
ME: No, her lawyer had too many conditions in the contract. Seriously, I have to provide a jet for her to go to school? Duh! There’s not even a runway at her elementary school. Stupid lawyers.
FAWR: Have you considered-
ME: Ah! Yuck! Sorry, one of my dogs just barfed up something disgusting.
FAWR: Do you need a minute to clean the floor?
ME: No, the other dog ate it. I figure we have ten minutes before it reappears.
FAWR: I’ll try to hurry. Have you considered shopping around for a traditional publishing contract?
ME: I don’t see that happening. A traditional publisher would take a huge chunk of money, in exchange for not much at this point.
ME: Still, if I hear the ‘Beep! Beep!’ sound of a truck backing up to dump a huge pile of cash on my lawn, I’m willing to talk about it. Just don’t dump the cash on my wife’s flowers, please, she worked hard on those.
FAWR: Since you are self-published, you have avoided the disappointment of receiving rejection notices.
ME: Ha! As if! Some writers whine about getting one or two rejection notices a month. I crowdsource my rejections.
ME: Every day, thousands of people see my ads on Amazon, and do not buy my books. I get rejected by thousands of people every day! But hundreds of people buy my books every day. I do not need a gatekeeper at a publisher to reject me; with self-publishing, the public can reject me directly. Power to the people! Bunch of jerks.
FAWR: Every day, thousands of people choose not to read your books? What is wrong with them?
ME: Them? Do you mean the books, or the people?
FAWR: The books are undeniably awesome, so clearly, the people have something seriously wrong with their brains.
ME: It’s not their fault; only the cool kids can read my books.
ME: It’s in the fine print, which only the cool kids can read.
FAWR: On another subject, where do you get your ideas?
ME: Usually while walking a dog, or riding a bike, at the gym, running, even vacuuming the house. Don’t tell my wife that last one.
FAWR: No, I didn’t mean physically ‘where’ do you get your ideas. I meant, how do you think up this stuff?
ME: I have no idea.
ME: Seriously, I do not know where my ideas come from. Sometimes I will get stuck on a plot detail in a book, and what helps is taking a walk with my wife. I explain the problem to her, and in talking through the issue, I figure out how to solve it. I have tried talking through a problem with my dogs, but the only ideas I get are ‘cookie!’ or ‘squirrel!’.
FAWR: Your wife helps you write the books?
ME: No. Except that she listens to me, often with a bemused smile, when I talk through the plot of a book. My wife is the only other person who knows the full plot outline for each of my book series. Although she’s not a fan of my books, so I don’t think she really pays attention when I talk about writing.
FAWR: I have heard she also handles your merchandise?
ME: You were supposed to say ‘fabulously awesome merchandise’.
ME: Damn, for what I’m paying you to promote T-shirt sales, you could get it right.
FAWR: I said I was sorry.
ME: Anyway, yes, my wife handles all the logistics for the T-shirts, patches, stickers, magnets, coffee cups, beer coozies, hats and whatever else she thought of. She did a LOT of work setting up online sales, getting T-shirts printed and all that. Even stuff like getting the proper size boxes for shipping, and those boxes are not cheap. My brother created and manages the website; he is an IT consultant guru. All I do is approve the final artwork.
FAWR: Your wife creates the artwork?
ME: No, the artwork is created by Jeff Ross, an awesome guy and creator of the ‘Skippy the Magnificent’ Facebook page. Jeff worked for Silicon Graphics and he is awesomely talented. He also knows a LOT about marketing.
FAWR: How much did he pay you to say that?
ME: Nothing. He’s a great guy, a super fan, a key member of Team Skippy and I’m giving him props.
FAWR: Regarding your merchandise, is it shipped from a giant warehouse in Arizona?
ME: Uh, no. It is stacked all over our family room. When I watch ‘The Expanse’ I have to move a pile of T-shirts out of the way. We created T-shirts and patches and other stuff because fans ask for it, this is not something that makes a lot of money.
FAWR: Are you concerned you won’t be able to sell any merchandise?
ME: If the T-shirts don’t sell, I might have a whole box of ExForce rags for washing my truck. We only ordered a small number of- Ah! What the hell is that?
FAWR: What happened?
ME: The second dog barfed up something from one of the ‘Alien’ movies. I have to go.
FAWR: Thank you, Mr. Alanson.