Welcome to a new feature of this website where I waste the valuable time of busy people by asking them ridiculous questions. (Okay, and a couple of serious ones.) My first victim is Elizabeth A. White, book reviewer, taco aficionado, and treadmill-hater. Her website Musings of An All Purpose Monkey is where you should be spending all of your online time.
1. So what exactly IS an “All Purpose Monkey?”
I would think the name is self-explanatory: it’s a monkey who can get done whatever needs doing. Ok, seriously, it started off with the avatar I use most places online, which shows a gorilla reading a book. My husband started calling me the “book monkey” because of it. I’m an attorney by profession (“Hey, you’re a law monkey!”), but I’m also a pretty serious amateur chef so he jokingly said I was a “chef monkey” too. I do all the yard work around here, which means I’m a “landscaping monkey”… you can see where this is going at this point, right? Eventually one day he just declared that I was an “all purpose monkey” and that was that. It stuck.
2. Do you ever have authors behave like big whiny babies over your reviews?
Thankfully I’ve not had anything like those recent author meltdowns that went viral happen to me, though they are entertaining to read – in a train wreck kind of way – when they happen. Of course, I won’t review something if I flat out don’t like it so the odds of such a confrontation happening are pretty low.
3. Who are the best writers working today that not enough people are reading?
Wow. Unfortunately there are so many, some of whom haven’t even gotten mainstream contracts yet. Two that have a fair amount published I highly encourage people to track down are Steve Mosby (The 50/50 Killer, Cry for Help, Black Flowers, etc.) and Duane Swierczynski (The Wheelman, Expiration Date, etc.). Mosby is difficult to find in the U.S., but BookDepository.com does free worldwide shipping. People should also be jumping onboard the trains of authors Benjamin Whitmer (Pike), Wallace Stroby (Cold Shot to the Heart), and Lynn Kostoff (Late Rain). Damn, there are so many.
Some more that I recommend are Chris F. Holm (8 Pounds), Chuck Wendig (Irregular Creatures, Double Dead – coming soon), Josh Stallings (Beautiful, Naked & Dead), Anthony Neil Smith (Yellow Medicine), Dave White (More Sinned Against – and no relation), and Brett Battles (Little Girl Gone, Sick). And authors with debuts coming in the not too distant future you should be on the lookout for are John Hornor Jacobs (Southern Gods), Frank Bill (Crimes in Southern Indiana), Stephen Blackmoore (City of the Lost), and Owen Laukkanen (The Professionals).
I could go on and on. It’s sad so many great authors are either struggling just to get signed or are still flying under the mainstream’s radar.
4. You consider your treadmill your arch-nemesis. Do you think this relationship will ultimately end in violence, or will you learn to understand each other and become the best of friends?
Mr. Treadmill is a punk bitch. He even started a Twitter account (@MrTreadmill) so he can harass me in cyberspace. I foresee our relationship ending very similar to this:
5. Describe your ultimate taco.
Is this a trick question? Any taco is an ultimate taco. Except for fish. Really, what’s up with that you Left Coast people? Fish tacos are a crime against nature. A taco should have the following components, in the proportions you individually find pleasing: ground beef (with spices of choice, the hotter the better IMO – if done properly at this stage the taco beef should end up hot enough that it doesn’t need hot sauce as a topping), onions (some cooked in with the ground beef and some more, raw, as a topping), cheese (preferably queso oaxaca/asadero), shredded lettuce, finely diced tomatoes, and if you’re feeling frisky, a little dollop of sour cream. And even though I know it’s more of a North American thing than a traditional Mexican presentation, I am a proponent of the hard shell, not soft.
6. Share something about yourself that would make me cluck my tongue in a disapproving manner.
I don’t really care about Halloween. The holiday that is, the movie is great.
7. In 75,000 words or fewer, tell me about your website and make me want to visit it RIGHT NOW.
FREE TACOS!! That and I am incredibly passionate about the books I review. I try very hard to focus on exactly the kind of authors you asked about in question 3, the ones who are doing great work but not getting anywhere near the recognition they deserve. I also let my site get taken over on a fairly regular basis by authors, and they have been kind enough to share some very powerful and personal things in their guest posts. Please stop by, look around, and leave a comment: