Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Interview with short story writer and comic illustrator John Garrett

Today's guest is John Garrett. He's a short story writer and comic book illustrator and is doing a virtual book tour for his newest work.

John is giving away an e-copy of "How to Deal with Stupid Clowns Who Don't Know What the Hell They're Talking About!" at each blog stop. So comment here and at his other stops for a chance to win!

Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, John. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm just a guy who likes to draw comics and write cool and funny stories. I'm 39 years old, live in the Milwaukee, WI area, and for the most part I prefer my food in sandwich form. That should about sum it up!

What do you enjoy most about writing short stories?
Since I both write short stories and draw comics I'll go ahead and blather about both here.

Short stories are fun for me because I get to create the world using only words, and I have a lot of room for those words. Although I also illustrate my short stories, most of the world building is done in the words on the page.

With comics it's somewhat reversed. I have a lot less space, but I'm literally drawing the whole scene and I can't rely on the words at all. In comics the motto is "show, don't tell". When you're drawing the story, you have to pretend that there won't be any words - if you can still tell what's going on, then you're telling the story right with your art.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your short stories – perhaps some of your favorites?
Sure! My latest effort is called "How to Deal with Stupid Clowns who Don’t know what the Hell they’re talking about!" It's in the humor genre probably most similar to Scott Adams Dilbert stuff. It's a bit of a hybrid of comics and prose. It's a collection of life-lessons I've learned about dealing with some of the difficult people I've encountered along my journey through life. I'm far enough removed from it now that I can really see the funny in it, now.

Hopefully those people still dealing with these types of folks can get a laugh or two out of it to help them cope. Each lesson starts off with a comic illustrating the point of the chapter, and it leads you all the way through the book that way.

What genre are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
I'm a huge fan of Sci-fi and Fantasy stuff, and between the novels I've read and the TV shows/movies I've watched I decided I was going to try to get my own stories out.

It's funny, because I've ben drawing comics almost as soon as I could hold a pencil, but the writing was almost incidental to the art. When I would read comics, I would always think "I wish I could draw like this", but when I read a novel, I'd think "I wish I could write like this!"

What exciting story are you working on next?
Now that "Stupid Clowns" is out, I'm going to turn my attention back to my short story Fantasy series called "True Tales of the Soryan Order". I have a lot of material out there that essentially gets no attention because I've been busy doing a lot of drawing. I'm looking forward to breathing new life into it and getting it in front of people.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It was only a few years ago when I decided to take a serious crack at writing my stories. I even sent off quite a few query letters, synopses, and first chapters to Literary Agents and Publishers. Although I didn't have any luck with them, I still decided I was going to do it, anyway. At that point I didn't realize it, but I had joined the ranks of legions of other aspiring writers out there.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for writers?
Well, the first thing I did was pick up a copy of the Writer's Market directory. I didn't get many leads from the book itself, but I signed up for their forums ( and just talking with and reading the trials and tribulations of the experienced authors as well as the noobs like myself was very informative. That forum lead me to a few other places where I could observe the process at work and see what others were up to (like

It's easier to see what's a scam and what's real when you can run it by people with experience. I also made a few good friends from there so it's definitely worth it to invest time in these forums.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmmm, that's a good one. I really hope I have an interesting writing quirk but I don't know what it would be!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
All I wanted to do was draw superheroes for Marvel Comics when I was a kid. I was sure that's what I was going to do. Turns out it's extremely difficult to get into that field. Now I've somewhat changed my mind about that. After reading more and learning more about the inner workings of the industry I don't think I'd care for that as my primary source of income. I'd much rather call my own shots and create my own stories my own way.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yeah! "Stupid Clowns" is a labor of love for me. It's mostly humor, but also a bit of a self-help in there that can hopefully resonate with people and help them ride out the rough patches when dealing with difficult people in our lives.

Thanks all for reading and feel free to swing by my site for weekly comics and other stuff! Folks can check out the YouTube book trailer, too.

Also, I'm giving away an e-copy of "How to Deal with Stupid Clowns Who Don't Know What the Hell They're Talking About!" at each blog stop. So comment here and at my other stops for a chance to win!

Thanks for being here, John, and talking a bit about your writing and illustrating.


John Garrett said...

Hey Lisa!

Thanks a lot for having me, it's definitely a pleasure.

I appreciate the chance to connect with your audience here. I hope you enjoyed the book and let me know if there's anything I can do for you!

Kerry M. Allen said...

This is awesome! I didn't even realize you had a book. Can't wait to read it.

John Garrett said...

Thanks, Kerry - good to see you here, man! I hope you enjoy it if you pick it up or win it. Peace!