Today is C.D. Gallant-King Day! To celebrate the release of his new book Hell Comes to Hogtown, he’s taken over Philip Overby’s Fantasy Free-For-All for the day! If you’re into fantasy, weirdness, and comedy, then you’re in for a treat. Take it away, Mr. Gallant-King!
A comic book nerd and a pro-wrestler try to clear their names in a kidnapping while evading a bloodthirsty demon hobo.
Tell Us About Your New Book
My first book, Ten Thousand Days was very much a contemporary urban fantasy/modern fairytale kind of thing. The new one, Hell Comes to Hogtown, goes way darker, but also keeps a sense of humour about it. It’s a horror-comedy about a comic book nerd named Fitz and a drug-addicted professional wrestler named Dee. Fitz is a socially-awkward thirty-something underachiever who doesn’t expect much from life, until one night a beautiful woman walks into the comic book store and turns Fitz・world upside down. Suddenly he and Dee are on the run from the cops, implicated in a murder/kidnapping plot involving the prime minister’s family. Worse, they have a giant, bloodthirsty demon hobo on their tail, hounding them every step of the way. It’s funny, it’s bloody and at times it’s heartbreaking. And it has a metric shit-ton of foul language.
So let’s get the weird-ass question out of the way first: What did you want to be when you grew up?
The first job I remember wanting to have was a bricklayer. I loved LEGO, and it seemed like a logical continuation of my skills and interests. When I discovered I liked telling stories I changed my mind and decided I wanted to be a writer. I even dressed up as a writer for Career Day at school, in grade 4 or 5 I believe. Of course, I had no idea what a writer looked like, so I just put on nice clothes, carried a typewriter and handed out business cards that said writer・on them (in retrospect I should have dressed in a bathrobe and carried a mug of vodka, but you try to explain that to a ten-year old). Everyone just smiled and nodded at me and fawned over the kids in the cooler costumes. The next year I just said screw it and dressed as a wizard and told everyone I was a magician. The moral of this story is that even at ten years old, I knew being a writer was a stupid career.
And yet here you are.
Ah, but there’s the rub. I’m a writer, but writing is not my job. I have no delusions that this will ever be a full-time gig for me. I don’t have aspirations to win literary awards or to pen a novel that will be taught in university English classes a hundred years from now. I’m a hack that writes fun stories that I would enjoy to read, and I’m narcissistic enough to believe that other people want to read them, too. I have to write them, I might as well put them out there for people to check out and hopefully enjoy. And of course I’m desperate enough for attention that I hope people leave me reviews.
So that’s why you write. But why do you write in the genre you do? Why horror/modern fantasy, and why comedy?
I like fantasy because I don’t have to do as much research. I can make shit up and just say that’s the way it is.・Unfortunately I actually did have to do more research for Hogtown than I have previously, as the story is grounded very much in the modern world, despite being fantastic. The history of Toronto is all real, as are most of the historical events that are described, and I wanted to make certain that my passing references were at least mostly correct. I still like not being bound by rules however, and I want to be able to say this guy’s a werewolf from another planet and be able to get away with it.
As for the comedy part, that’s just where my brain goes. I often try to find the humour to deal with everyday situations as it is, but in a horror or fantasy situation, my comedic imagination goes into overdrive. Fantasy and horror are inherently ridiculous. Even with something as dark and gritty as A Game of Thrones, you have people riding around on giant flying lizards, and rapists building a wall of snow to keep out frozen zombies. We can choose to suspend our disbelief to take it seriously so we don’t feel so silly, but the material is silly. You can’t deny it, and that’s perfectly okay. I love those sorts of stories, as well as Star Wars and Harry Potter and Child’s Play and The Hobbit (the book, not the movies) and lots of other ridiculous premises. But when I present it in my own works, I just embrace the humour a little more and let it be as off the wall as it wants to be.
How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I think that the publishing industry is undergoing a major shift – the first one in over a hundred years, and everyone involved is still struggling to make sense of it, the same as all media that is switching to the digital world. I think ebooks will continue to be popular, despite traditional publishers・refusal to acknowledge it. Print books will always have a place, but it will continue to shrink over time. There is no need to print mass market paperbacks when you can cheaply and easily buy/read it on your phone/tablet/reader. I think the biggest best-selling authors will continue to do well with traditional publishers, but the mid-list and entry-level writers will continue to make less and less on average. On the other hand there will absolutely be a living to be made by independent authors who work hard to promote their books and earn their wages, the same as any self-made entrepreneur.
Title: Hell Comes to Hogtown
Author: C.D Gallant-King
Genre: Comic Horror
Length: 65,000 words
Cover Art: Jason Salvatori and Max Covers
Editing: Amy Allen-MacLeod
Release Date: July 1, 2016
Fitz is a broke night manager for a grubby comic book store. His only friend Dee is a drugged-out, womanizing pro-wrestler. Together they’re the most pathetic losers on the face of the planet. Their lives cannot possibly get any worse.
And then they’re implicated in the kidnapping of the prime minister’s wife.
On the run from the cops, Fitz and Dee discover there is something far worse than the RCMP stalking the dark streets of Toronto. They are being hunted by an ancient demon of unspeakable evil with an insatiable taste for blood… or maybe it’s just your run-of-the-mill giant murderous hobo?
Either way, life in prison might be better than whatever the creepy drifter has in store for them.
Writer, tabletop gamer, pro-wrestling aficionado. Dad.
C.D. Gallant-King is an independent writer originally from Newfoundland, Canada, though he’s not fond of fishing and hates boats. He moved to Toronto to study theatre, and then later moved to Ottawa where he does absolutely nothing related to theatre.