Interview with Bishop & Fuller

Who on Earth are you?
CB: Two damned fools who've collaborated in writing & performing in theatre professionally for 47 years, longer as bed-mates. Now we're writing fiction: realistic, but always some fantastic element that screws up its genre. But that's what we've always done: we bang our heads on the slats between the pigeonholes.

EF: And we tend to look at things sideways, so there's usually humor. In life, things are pretty incongruous, and that strikes sparks.
When did you first start writing?
CB: I wrote a poem at age 15 and was in despair for a week because I thought I'd never write anything better. But then as a stage director I started doing translations of plays I directed. And then when we started our first theatre ensemble, I started writing short sketches for the repertory—I didn't think of myself as a playwright, just as the guy who wrote the plays.

EF: I was a piano prodigy as a child but had no sense that I was remotely creative. We started working together as undergrads in theatre, collaborating on some translations while jumping together into the back seat of an old Buick, and it went on from there.
Describe your desk
CB: Huge and clogged, with two cats roaming it at will, everywhere except the keyboard.

EF: Some things are best left unmentionable. I do our accounting, and it does me.
What's the story behind your latest book?
CB: REALISTS started as a play we developed in a college residency in the late 90's. But after its first showing, there wasn't much to do with it: few theatres will stage a new play with 15 characters. The Bush Administration inspired it into new life. We have to admit to being Lefties, and that poor man was worse than Reagan, in our biased opinion. But it wasn't until the current Administration that we realized our fantasy could be terrifyingly real.

EF: But it's not so much inspired by political policies but by political rhetoric: "The war on..." etc. And by the apathy, ignorance, and memory lapses that seem more contagious than the flu. Add all that stuff up and you find you have to laugh, just to survive it.
What's the secret of a life-long relationship?
EF: Acceptance of change.

CB: The work you're devoted to, whether it's art or raising pigs, which is what my relatives did.

EF: Patience.

CB: Improvisation.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
CB: Two spans of time. The first, when you're getting fabulous ideas and feeling like a genius. The second, when you've been through a dozen drafts, you do the final edit, you yell, "It's done! No more!" and have a drink. I don't get my joy from writing: it's a compulsion. I like it only when I read it and feel, yes, that's good.

EF: For me, the same as with theatre: when I know it has an impact on someone, makes them laugh or feel something intense, whether it's a novel or a blog entry or an old comedy sketch we've performed for thirty years. And I fall in love with the characters.
What are you working on next?
EF: GALAHAD'S FOOL comes out in June 2018. The story of an old puppeteer trying to lift out of depression at the death of his partner and mate. He concocts a play he thinks will be a lightweight spoof—Sir Galahad on a second quest for the Grail—and it turns very dark and personal. It's about grief and renewal, but also about the hardscrabble work of a performer.

CB: And right now halfway through the first draft of MASKS—another "backstage" story, except that these actors are touring in 8th Century Italy in a donkey cart. Despite the obvious differences, it draws a lot on our own peripatetic experiences. In fact our two cats have just become characters.
Published 2018-02-22.
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Books by This Author

Galahad's Fool
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 70,270. Language: English. Published: May 25, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
A year after the death of his co-creator and soul mate Lainie, a grizzled puppeteer struggles to build a solo show. But what Albert Fisher intends as a lightweight spoof turns sharply personal, and he labors to birth a raw myth of loss.
Realists
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 81,070. Language: English. Published: January 6, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
(5.00)
A cross-genre comic tale in the Vonnegut vein: as a third of America goes clinically insane, hot-tempered Eddie sparks up an edgy romance with Pepper, a tough single mom from Oklahoma. His complaint about a phone bill targets the duo as terrorists, and a motley group of losers, loners, and seekers are tangled with their fate. Can love survive the gnashing teeth of Armageddon?