Interview with ash bishop
Author of Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc
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Quick description of the book for a new reader - what should they expect?
- The novel should appeal to both young and old, and men and women. It’s an adventure, but also breezy and fun, closer to a summer read than any kind of hard-core science-fiction experience. I’d call it a beach novel if nerds like myself didn’t prefer the indoors, with blinds scrunched shut to keep the glare off our computer monitors.
What was your inspiration for this book?
- I like stories about monster hunters and I wanted to write a book about them in space. I must have watched Ridley Scott’s Aliens too many times.
Which authors inspired your writing style?
- I have read a lot of books and taken something for each as I’ve gone. I suspect much of my humor comes from Don Delillo, (and maybe the Coen Brothers). My love of science fiction and fantasy was shared by a long list of luminaries, from George R.R. Martin to Philip K. Dick to John Scalzi -- to Margret Wiess and Tracy Hickman way back in my Dragonlance days. I love Robin Hobb and also love comic books and have a strong sense of camaraderie with Scott, McCloud, Alan Moore and Chris Clairemont. I read every Harry Potter novel the day it was released, even the ridiculously long ones.
Who should buy this book?
- At a time when the culture is embroiled in change and conflict, this book reminds us that our real common enemy has always been intergalactic space bugs. It’s playful, escapist nature should strongly appeal to nearly everyone in the current, emotionally-exhausting cultural zeitgeist. In theme and tone, it’s very similar to the blockbuster films Guardians of the Galaxy and Men in Black.
Also, it’s got romance, adventure, and a travel, with a narrative that jumps back and forth between banal Wyoming and exotic deep space. It’s got a young woman who electrifies her bra to convince her smarmy boss to keep his hands to himself. It’s got fish disguised as humans, vigilante cyborgs, and savage apes with skin so thick their only known weakness is their puffy, distended, hairless rear-ends.
Who wouldn’t buy this?
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Two pieces of advice come to mind. The first is, don’t quit. The only thing that can actually stop you is if you stop. However, you will be tested enough that it’s best if you really love the craft (or if you simply must write for the sake of your own sanity). Ironically, you have the best chance of making money writing if you’d be willing to do the job for free.
Second, find an agent that believes in you and likes your style. I vividly remember the years of hoping for an agent, any agent, but like all other good relationships, you MUST find one that you mesh well with. Take the time to do more than simply look for what kind of books they accept. Do a little online stalking to find an agent that you share a lot of interests with – and be honest with yourself, don’t imagine you like them just because they’re successful. Otherwise, they’re much less likely to sign you and even if they do, you’re much less likely to make it through the tough times together. I got very lucky in the sense that my agent shares my tastes and (I think) enjoys reading my work. Without that, I suspect she would have been less likely to stick around through the literal years when working with me earned her absolutely no money.
What are your artistic influences outside of literature?
- I used to ride my bike home from grade school at a breakneck pace to make sure I didn’t miss a minute of Robotech. I never stopped loving anime, as well as giant robots exploding in space. I’m a huge fan of comic books, and I play at least an hour of Magic the Gathering a day. I appreciate both high-concept and humor, especially when they come together in things like Logan’s Run and Guardians of the Galaxy. My sense of humor was definitely formed by the films of the Coen brothers, via an early exposure to Raising Arizona as well as Rob Reiner’s This is Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride. I’ve been consuming as much pop-art as possible, in every medium and genre for the last four decades.
Who is your favorite character and why?
- In an upset to the beloved Applebum, my favorite character is probably Russ. He always does what he believes is right, and he sacrifices his time (and his body) for the people that he cares about. He’s the opposite of the “chosen one” archetype, far from perfect and not particularly destined for greatness, which makes what he accomplishes all the more special. . Who is your favorite character and why?
Tell us what made you decide to get an MFA degree in Creative Writing? How do you think it benefitted you as a writer? Did it met your expectations?
- I had a professor at University of CA, Santa Barbara who recommended it to me. I had been thinking about a PhD, but what I really wanted to do was write books, so it seemed like a good alternative. The program itself was very bohemian and fun and got me writing and thinking in ways I hadn’t before. It also qualified me to teach college, and to teach at private high schools both of which I loved.
I have no real complaints, though if I was running such a program I would have AT LEAST a few courses on the process of finding an agent and working with a publisher, as well as marketing and even self-publishing. The writing portion is only about half the journey, but I was left blissfully unaware of that fact until well after I graduated.
How have readers responded ?
- Readers have been incredible! I really enjoy their support and energy. To know my work has brought others joy is the greatest gift I could ask for.
Where next? What are you working on now?
- I have several works in progress. Most notably, my next book, The Horoscope Writer will be released this Summer, 2023 by CamCat books. I’m also working on a sequel to Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc and have another sci-fi, young adult adventure with my agent.
Finding work is easy. Staying alive is a little bit harder.
When Russ Wesley finds an unusual artifact in his grandfather’s collection of rare antiquities, the last thing he expects is for it to draw the attention of a ferocious alien from a distant planet. Equally surprising is the adventurous team of intergalactic exterminators dispatched to deal with the alien threat. They’re a little wild, and a little reckless. Worse yet, they’re so impressed with Russ’s marksmanship that they insist he join their squad . . . whether he wants to or not.
“This book is so much fun it ought to be illegal in all known galaxies. Ash Bishop has written a wildly imagined, deeply felt, swashbuckling page turner. I loved it.” —Jesse Kellerman, New York Times bestselling author of The Burning
“VERDICT Bishop’s sci-fi debut is recommended for readers who think Larry Correia’s “Monster Hunter International” series should go intergalactic, those who enjoy stories featuring the people who get the dirty jobs done, and especially anyone who wishes that Martha Wells’s Murderbot would become a superhero.” —Library Journal
“Bishop’s feel-good sci-fi debut kicks off when drifter Russ Wesley discovers a mysterious stone among his recently deceased grandfather’s collection of oddities . . . imbuing this romp with solid worldbuilding, a broad sense of adventure, and a sensitive emotional core. With gruesome alien battles, layered conflict, and a sprinkling of humor, this is sure to find an audience.” —Publishers Weekly
“For those who like space adventures with mystery, intrigue, and some scary beasties, this will be an engaging read.” —Booklist