N O W A
V A I L A B L E :
by David LaBounty
Publisher: Offense Mechanisms, an imprint of Silverthought
I N T E R V I E W :
Editor's Note: This
interview may contain spoilers.
Becci Noblit Goodall: Dave, youve
gone and youve slammed us with your best work yet! Let
me just say that this is phenomenal. Brave. Sickening. Nauseating.
Hysterical. Methodical. Lyrical. Fan-fucking-tastic!
So Ive gotta ask you... First of
all, did you let your wife and your mom read this, and at what
point will you allow your kids to read this? And if you did,
Im interested to know your wifes reaction to the
darkness your main character directs finally towards his wife
It was like the death of my wife and
children was worth it, worth the reward of sleeping in for three
I ask this because you bravely went to
that darkest of places, and to do so you had to allow yourself
to be honest with some thoughts you may have had
weve all had at points during our American struggle to
survive and keep up. How difficult was it for you to be honest
about these things in your writing?
David LaBounty: My wife is reading
this now and still talking to me. I'm not worried about her
reaction. I told her it was very disturbing and she knows it's
fiction and that I was trying to make certain points, how a
lust for consumption can destroy a lot of things, has destroyed
a lot of things, and she gets that. That line about the death
of Dash's wife and children was actually based on something
I overheard from a vague relative years agoan older gentleman
lost his wife, they were both in their seventies, and he said
he could go ahead and get a new set of golf clubs now, since
his wife wasn't around to tell him no.
My mom will read it too, if she hasn't
already. My sons? I don't know. Because of the content I would
say I would like them to be in high school before they read
it, but I am sure they will understand what I was trying to
do. They are my sons, after all. They do know about the book,
of course, and I tell them I wrote about a bad guy, about a
guy who does bad things. They read and have to understand setting
and plot for school. I told them most books have a hero of some
sort for the main character. I decided to go a different way
for this particular book.
BNG: The gross-nasty-evil of this
character was unflinching. I couldnt find one instance
in this piece where you gave reader a glimpse of a sympathetic
character. Why did you make this choice? I ask this because
I cant think of many writers who allow their characters
to be truly evil without at least giving us a reason why.
Were you ever tempted to make him likeable
DL: I think I used Dash's relationship
with his father to explain why he was so unlikable, so materialistic.
His father wasn't nurturing at all and basically said the best
things in life were things that you could buy. I was never tempted
to make Charles Dash likable. I wanted him to be recognizable,
however, how certain thoughts of his could mirror your own or
someone you know.
BN: I want to say that I admire
the way you stuck to the greedy-greasiness of Chaz. Its
horrific. It works. I loved it!
At first I thought this book was a take
on Fight Club or American Beauty, and in a way
I see those influences in your work. What are your thoughts
DL: I think you mean American
Psycho... I never thought about Fight Club comparisons,
but American Psycho I can understand. I was worried about
that. Again, a protagonist that is impossible to like. I guess
the difference between Patrick Bateman and Charles Dash is motivation.
Dash has a reason for his killings, to fight a war against the
banks for allowing him to get so deep in debt. Bateman is a
brilliant serial killer, someone who is insane.
Affluenza certainly wouldn't exist
without the work of Palahniuk, Ellis, Selby, Bukowski and others.
I never would have had the nerve to blaze that transgressive
BN: Having said that, Affluenza
is nothing like Fight Club or American Beauty;
Chaz isnt attractive or cool or Hollywood-like in any
way. If you were to cast him in a movie version of your book,
can you think of who youd like to play Chaz?
DL: Never thought about it. I
couldn't picture Dash on the big screen. I pictured him in my
mind, of course, but that image doesn't translate to any actor
I can think of.
BN: How fun and twisted was it
for you to come up with all of the nastiness that goes on in
the second half of Affluenza? Just when I thought Chaz
couldnt become more depraved, he did!
DL: Fun? I don't know if it was
fun or not. I certainly didn't hold back. I think if you try
to temper depravity as a writer, it comes off as fradulent.
I would say I would have a hard time reading Affluenza
for myself. Or watching it as a film. The cringe factor isn't
nearly as intense when it's your own creation. Anything where
children are harmed disturbs me as a reader or viewer.
BN: Finally, I want to say that
I noticed a certain rhythm in this work that I dont remember
Maybe you like yourself.
Maybe you dont.
A cycle of creation.
A cycle of destruction.
Can you speak a bit to how your poetic
writing may have played a part in this stylistic choice?
DL: I think my fiction influences
my poetry too. I've been accused (and rightfully so) of writing
poems that are nothing more than stories with line breaks and
stanzas. I think I generally write the same way all the time,
and don't really consider myself a poet, say, or a novelist,
just a writer who writes poetry and fiction. It all just depends.
BN: Its been great to read
your stuff again and reconnect! Whats going on now in
that warped head of yours?
DL: My head isn't warped, no more
than anyone else's I know. I'm still writing all the time, but
I don't think I will ever write anything like Affluenza
again, which was nothing more than a reaction to our current
economic situation, how it was brought on by so many people
being in debt, how we have this huge industry in our country
of buying and selling debt, an industry that produces absolutely
nothing. I don't know if I will be moved to write on something
topical like that again. We will have to wait and see what the
culture brings us.
Thanks for the questions and taking the
time to read my work. I really do appreciate it, and I would
like to thank Paul Hughes of Silverthought Press for sticking
his neck out to get this book edited and published. I've heard
nothing but praise about this book from readers (wish there
were more, certainly), how it's the best book I've written and
that credit has to go to Paul as much as me. I owe Paul a lot