Interview with H. C. Turk

What does "H. C." stand for?
Harold Carl. "Carl" was supposed to be spelled with a "K" (in honor of my grandfather), but they got it wrong in the hospital. My life has been following its own tangent ever since.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up, and how has that youthful dream affected your career?
I wanted to be a firefighter. Now I can't imagine why I ever wanted to place potential conflagration between myself and a paycheck. That childhood dream has taught me to dream better.
How did you become a writer?
I began writing because I enjoyed it and found I was good at it and that being a writer would not place any conflagration between me and a paycheck.
What is your latest project?
Decades of dreams: held prisoner by a sprinkling system, a picnic evaluated by TV critics, stealing boats in an art museum, plastering invisible walls, a contest won by a water spirit, baseball in a ghost town, my neighbor elected Queen of England, working for a Neanderthal, deadly elevators in ancient buildings, traveling theater in a hot-air balloon, murderous bodybuilders on an alien planet, etc.
Why are you writing this book?
If dreams are mankind's purest, poorest stories, is the life of mankind fiction for God?
How do you come up with your titles?
I always find my titles somewhere inside the books. I never have a title before I start writing.
How do you choose your genre?
I don't write within the constraints of any genre. Everything I do is literary fiction, including the SF and cross-genre rave-ups.
Since you write "literary" fiction, can you show us something pretentious?
No prob! Here is one of my off-the-rack artist's statement: My goal in writing, photography, painting, or digital imagery is to manifest art's most important social function: providing audacious beauty, which cannot be expressed in the culture of political protest. My work protests against the falseness of spurious fashion. My politics reject democracy's failure in promoting mediocrity as palatable while excluding excellence as elitist. I seek an elitist intimacy that compels extended sight, the deliberation of beauty viewed, beauty envisioned.
How can you be so audacious as to presume yourself a writer?
I'll have to get back to you on that one.
You also create music and visual art? How do you fit all these art faces on one head?
"If it don't fit, force it." I learned that while working in construction. We all get along just fine; for example, my music videos combine all three: music (obviously), literature (lyrics), and visual art (the, uh, visuals).
What's the strangest thing you've done while engaged in research?
I can't specify that right now due to the statue of limitations.
Who is your favorite character in your books, and why?
Melody is my favorite character. She appeared in my first published novel, Ether Ore (Tor Books), and in Martian Dog and Rocket Roll. Melody is my favorite because I can do anything with her, and she's sexy (the two do not go together).
What are some of your favorite opening lines? Please, no cheating: only opening lines from your completed novels.
Gotcha. Here are some of my favorite opening lines and the titles of the completed novels, no cheating:

I hate books that begin with "I."
(A Book That Ends With Me)

Bill wrote a careful, complete shopping list, though he knew his next meal might be his last.
(A Door I'll Never Enter)

A master had painted the world.
(An Atmosphere Of Angels)

"How will we ever explain to our daughter that her birth was an experiment?"
(Martian Dog)

Oldies were playing when he hit the darling on her head.
(Heaven Again)

Andrew Vizard had not driven forty miles to the nearest mall to go shopping for a gang war.
(My Lover Calls Me April)

Never before had the handmaid seen a gentleman's forearms.
(Next Century)

Because Rod could not bear the thought of killing his father with his bare hands, he looked around for a knife to stab him in the eye.
(Resurrection Flowers)

Wes Tomsic wondered when his daughter would catch fire.
(All The Creatures)

They knew without looking that the moon was full because they were having body parts for breakfast.
(Witches Eat Well)

When smoke issued from his penis, they pulled the plug.
(Zombie Box)
What do you hope your readers will come away with after reading your books?
The satisfaction of reading a story that is more than entertainment.
What are a writer's most important tools?
I could be metaphysical and say that a writer's greatest tool is an imagination unhindered by self-deceptive propaganda. Or, I could say a pencil. Or a pen. Typewriter.
What advice would you give to people who want to be writers?
First, read more. More than that. Read what you haven't read before, read books and plays and poetry that are unfamiliar to you. Then, ask yourself why you want to be a writer. Because you want to do something pretty much like the last something you read? Because you can add to the world of expression and understanding? Because you grasp that the word "literature" wasn't coined by authors who have created the most vital and valuable writings of their eras, but by their admirers? Because you wanna make a buck? The most important thing I can say is this: If you are truly a writer, you were born a writer. It has nothing to do with publishing.
Is it impossible for you to do anything simple?
How do you fit within the electronic world dominated by social media?
I don't fit worth a damn. I don't blog or twit or do Farcebook. I think people should only communicate with handmade, handwritten postcards. Hand delivered. Exceptions can be made for amputees with no hands. Kindly people everywhere will be glad to lend them a hand.
I notice an online Q&A with you that seems totally fictional. Comment?
The dialogue you might have read between myself and my stuffed dog, Buff, was staged. I admit it. He doesn't speak, and never did. Not even when I received Buff as a gift when I was a kid did I imagine that he could speak. Because I write fiction, however, I made up his part in the dialogue. I think he did swell. (Let me add that Buff is also the star of my animated music vid, I Eat Puppies. [No canines or plushies were harmed during the creation of this video.])
You're not very informative. Why don't you allow me to ask your age or how long you've been writing or where you live or if you still beat your spouse? As an artist, are you trying to be mysterious and intriguing?
My intention as an artist all along has been to base my work on the person I am, and not be an imitation of anyone else. I welcome visitors to enter my world and my art in all its many forms and learn about me from what I have achieved with my music and my writing and my visual work. I don't intend to be mysterious by failing to mention that I was born in Michigan or attended a high school that is now a nutria ranch. Regarding intrigue, I only want to intrigue people with what I create as an artist. I don't presume to impress them with my shoe size or political views. (8 1/2, moderate reactionary).
Can you reveal a secret side of yourself that's been hidden for years?
After much soul-searching, I agree to reveal an exclusive truth about myself that no one else knows. This revelation is certain to shock and awe. Although I know that I am teetering on the edge of losing my audience by driving them away in astonished consternation, it's too late. I've decided. Yes, I'm laying it on the line. It's coming any time. Here ya go. I hope you're happy now that you've driven me to my knees! But I won't hold back: this revelation is coming from the depths of my heart, which, like the river of all our dreams, is deep and wide (and muddy on the bottom). HOLD ON, the excruciating truth that I now reveal is ................................ WpwpwpueZZ?idiudkueedu8l~!, which obviously is in Marzian. You'll be able to translate it after reading Galactic Fat.
Do you have any parting words?
My final words are that if I haven't said enough already, this should do it.
Published 2013-09-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Inventing The Real
Price: Free! Words: 4,860. Language: English. Published: October 24, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Willy Billy, the cookie boy, and Bonny Bunny, the rabbit girl, steal Mr. Puma's skyboat, but crash. Their moms fix them with a kiss. Then Puma arrives, vowing to invent biology so the kids will be as hard to fix as his boat. View the animated video at Vimeo:
Wreck My Rhythm
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 61,150. Language: English. Published: May 20, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
Abner Wagner is a PI in Georgia with a false license and false name. He is hired by Gail Templin to investigate the killing of her brother, Joe, years earlier in Florida. Wagner cannot resist taking the case, and doesn't know why. In Florida, he begins an odd investigation that includes misguided revenge and attempted rape. Upon discovering who killed Joe, Wagner has to start forgetting again.
All The Creatures
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 64,480. Language: English. Published: April 11, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
Trapped in a mountain cabin, a family suffers fantastic changes when an alien Santa Claus tries to fulfill their wishes.
Next Century
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 90,970. Language: English. Published: September 24, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
NEXT CENTURY tells the same story set in three different eras and locales: 1799 (London), 1999 (Midwest America), and 2099 (the moon). In each story, a young woman (Claire) seeks vengeance against her father, who has been abusing her mother for years. In each era, Claire is raped by thugs, becomes pregnant, and has to proceed in society with her child but no legitimate father.
Zombie Box
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 55,750. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Literature » Literary
In the 22nd century, an interference operator finds himself exchanging personalities with an artificial mentality his survival depends upon.
Rocket Roll
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 70,030. Language: English. Published: June 24, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Literature » Literary
On her way to an offworld vacation, Melody Rich is violently kissed by an alien who thrusts something down her throat: the key to a lost planet. Following a map from star to star, Melody is eaten by a megabug, kidnapped by space pirates, and has to face down eternity at the border of life and death. Accompanied by a half-dead alien, Melody strives to remove the key before it kills her—again.
Go Monster
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 100,300. Language: English. Published: August 5, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Cyberpunk
Corrupted by a professor who teaches sabotage, a new mode of interstellar transport shifts history, turning time into a monster.
A Door I'll Never Enter
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 59,790. Language: English. Published: July 25, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
A cross-genre novel of modern fantasy, magic realism, and total hilarity, A DOOR I’LL NEVER ENTER follows the adventures of Bill, Jane, Dan, and their interstellar comet (disguised as a watermelon) as they travel from kitchen sink to cannibal canoe in search of a Leprechaun’s pot of FAIL. Finding friendship on the way, they learn that failure might be best when the goal is ultimate destruction.
Imagined Evenings
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 99,470. Language: English. Published: May 20, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Fantasy » General
During a trip to the Middle East, Sherri Z is challenged by a friend to steal saffron from a sacred field. Foolishly, Sherri complies, but is overwhelmed by an amazing “earth angel” who sends her back in time 1500 years. There, Sherri becomes the bride of a king who will kill her if she fails to entertain him with a tale. Sherri will only live another day if she tells the story of her survival.
A Book That Ends With Me
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 69,430. Language: English. Published: April 13, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Urban
Mysterious e-mails are predicting the world’s end. This time, the predictions come true. An average guy, Stan Powers, finds himself living alternate realities where people picnic on planetoids and demons steal souls on Darkday. Stan becomes the target of a cult vowing to kill whoever threatens Earth. In order to survive, Stan must learn if he is a pawn, a player, or the predictor himself.
Make The Modern World
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 111,720. Language: English. Published: September 27, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
A young American woman on a Western Pacific island must relive an ancient, tortuous journey through a primitive environment in order to save her family from nationalist killers.
Love In The Afterlife
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 157,950. Language: English. Published: September 23, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Paul Crawford is an American cowboy living in Morocco in 1919. He just wants to go to Wyoming, but is trapped in the Rif War. When his lover bears a child, Paul and the girl flee for peace. 16 years later, Paul repeats the struggle when his daughter joins the Spanish Revolution. Set in killing Africa and the lush Canary Islands, this poignant saga follows a family and the wars that pursue them.
Galactic Fat
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 68,010. Language: English. Published: August 16, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
In the near future, pizza boy Robar Drill is transformed by The Federal Government into a metaman with enormous powers, the only person capable of saving Earth from an alien race bent on harvesting human cellulite. This bawdy, outrageous satire follows Robar and his six strange companions to the Planet Of Fatty Doom, a horrific world that, under Robar’s influence, may be no worse than Earth.
Black In Any Language
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 91,010. Language: English. Published: January 12, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
While investigating a toxic waste dump in the Philippines, William Ellis accidentally kills a boy threatened by a historian (Vigneux) seeking ancient treasure. Despite a nervous breakdown, Ellis lives peacefully for years until confronted by Vigneux with news of the treasure. Compelled to settle his past, Ellis follows Vigneux to a hidden paradise in Chile. Only one man will return alive.
Shadow Dance
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 171,300. Language: English. Published: October 29, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
In 1853, on an island near Indonesia, a 14 year-old girl is selected to unite her nation. In seven years, Starling Agara will marry the nation's prince, joining her country's opposing factions. At the wedding, however, the king's opponents kill nearly everyone. For the next year, Starling traverses her nation, gaining the throne by living the fantastic rituals that previously were only myths.
An Atmosphere Of Angels
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 68,360. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
As part of a treaty with a primitive race, Terran space explorers agree to dispose of an abandoned stellar craft. Trapped inside the ship, the Terrans find numerous alien corpses, and one ghost.
Heaven Again
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 69,050. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
A child is murdered. Her father kills the murderer. Both parents then have to recover from their child's death, and this sad, disastrous vengeance. Death, despair, and revenge are the three evils that Glenn and Janet Alden defeat in Heaven Again, a novel that ultimately is ingratiating and uplifting in depicting the profound reunion of husband and wife.
Black Body
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 243,530. Language: English. Published: January 21, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
BLACK BODY is a sweeping tale of good and evil, and the captivating woman intimately acquainted with both. Set in 18th-century England, the story is told in the form of testimony given by the white witch, Alba, who must reveal all the secrets of her race or be burned. Both literary fiction and convincing fantasy, BLACK BODY is as compelling as magic, as touching as a daughter's love.
Resurrection Flowers
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 86,760. Language: English. Published: January 21, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
A construction worker named Rod Hill is killed only to be found alive the next day. Doctors consider his revival miraculous. He becomes famous as the Resurrected Man, traveling the world to discover the truth of his return from the dead. Rod is accompanied by Aeva Tbolski, a priestess whose job is to analyze his spirit. If she finds him either ghost or demon, Aeva will return him to the afterlife.
Only The Impassioned
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 85,280. Language: English. Published: January 21, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Near the end of World War II, an American soldier in Germany is mortally wounded. In his final moment, he experiences the glory of a beautiful life, if only in his dreams.