Reviewer Chris Phillips: Chris is a veteran editor for friends
and family as well as most of his employment positions. He often
finds himself reading a book and correcting problems he discovers,
even after their works have been published by well-known
publishers. Chris enjoys writing to authors, when
possible, and discussing problems he has seen in the reading of their
work. And as he states, “there is always the chance for great
intelligent conversation whenever creative minds get together.”
Today, Chris Phillips, one of bookpleasures' reviewers, interviews Nick Belardes author of Random Obsessions
Why another trivia book? There are
many already out there, but why did he write this one?
Great question. Brenda Knight at Viva
Editions is a big fan of books of oddities. She knew trivia was in a
hot trend and also knows I'm sort of a quirky historian/writer. So
when she approached me to write the book I thought it sounded really
fun. Who can resist writing a book of weirdness? But I also
approached the book a little differently. In some sections of the
book I told stories pulled from interviews. For instance, I
interviewed people who said they saw Mothman, or were touched by the
mothy monster phenomenon. I interviewed people with strange diseases,
a woman who stumbled upon a strange story out of Fiji on cannibalism
and even a pre-viz animator with Star Wars and Avatar...
Did you do the research from your
office or did you do it in the field so to speak?
I researched at the CSU Bakersfield
library, the Internet, phone interviews, email interviews, and some
from my own personal collection of books, and even some of my own
What was it like interviewing that
many people (28 is my count) for one book? Did you glean enough
information to do another?
I love interviews! Their often
unpredictable nature can be really awesome. I've done lots of
interviews in my life. Now I'm curious how many I have done. No
Interviews are easy for me, and you know what? People are more accessible than non-journalists realize. I really was just focusing on content for Random Obsessions. But since you asked, a really bizarre interview I did with the Mothman photographer Andy Colvin that I cut from the book is on FresnoFamous.com. It's titled "The Mothman Cometh." It's a great read and Colvin takes really cool and really bizarre photos.
I will say that for the sake of the book I do have other leftover material that will probably appear on Face News (http://www.facenews.org/), my Web site (http://www.nickbelardes.com/), or other media sites.
What inspires you to write?
I'm driven to write and that
inspiration is often unexplainable. It's some kind of passionate
force from within me that I think many artists share. I think writers
are always asking themselves why they want to create and what the
lasting legacy of writing might be. There's definitely something
exciting about having a book in print, or stories on
TheNervousBreakdown.com or articles on important news topics
available for people to read. So I do draw inspiration from that.
On another level, good books, films and great conversations with fellow writers can help that inspiration along. We live in a world of discouragement. So, it's often great to find positive energy when I can, because for me, I can't create unless in a good mood. That's encouragement!!
What are your next projects?
I've been working on a book of social
criticisms of the Southern Central Valley. Not enough has been
written about the area in which I live. So I'm tackling topics that I
think are diverse, interesting, moving, and illuminating. I’m also
working on a few novels, including a young adult novel with some
fantastical happenings, and another book of oddities.
Are you making any book related
public appearances within the next 6 months?
Lots and I'm always looking for more. You can read through a list of what's coming up on www.nickbelardes.com. I will be at a Honky Tonk telling ghost stories, a Dia De Los Muertos celebration, in-store book events and more...
More can be found out about Nick, this book and many other things, particularly trivia at his WEBSITE
He has written a twitter novel (“Small Places” twitter.com/smallplaces) recently which according to his website is the first literary Twitter novel of its kind.