I, Lana Fox, am excited to interview Oleander Plume, author of Horatio Slice: Guitar Slayer of the Universe! The book, which releases on July 24th, 2017 contains all the zany magical comedy of Mel Brooks. It’s an adventure not dissimilar to Indiana Jones meets Barbarella, and it contains men, men, horny men, of all shapes and sizes.
Want to know more about this wild, pornographic rollercoaster? Check out the full blurb here. Also visit Oleander Plume’s website for character images (featured in this article) and lots more lovely stuff!
So, let’s dive in, Oleander! Who exactly is Horatio Slice?
Horatio Slice is the singer/lead guitarist for a band called Monotony. One night while performing a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden, he falls through a portal into another dimension. Of course, no one on Earth knows about inter-dimensional travel, so Horatio’s disappearance is explained as “death by pyrotechnics”.
Meanwhile, Horatio’s biggest fan, a computer wizard named Gunner Wilkes, refuses to believe his hero is dead, and spends two years inventing a machine to bring the rock god back to earth. That is exactly where our story begins, in Gunner’s dorm, where Horatio lands, stark naked and kind of pissed off. (Until he gets a look at Gunner, that is.)
What follows is an epic, pornographic adventure across dimensions. Who kidnapped Horatio and why? Where will they end up next? Why the hell are there squirrels? All is answered in about 36 chapters!
I notice he has his own Twitter account. Where on earth is he tweeting from?! Another way of saying that is: What’s Horatio’s universe like?
He’s tweeting on his very fancy cell phone from out in the universe, since even in space, phones have four bars and a perfect wi-fi connection. Right now, he’s traveling with Gunner, Snake, Sugar, and the rest of the crew, in between various sex-capades.
The guys all live on Snake’s spaceship, which looks exactly like a metal pirate ship, complete with a skull and crossbones flag. Snake and crew are “space pirates” who basically steal things for money, or for their own amusement. How Horatio ends up on Snake’s crew is one of my favorite parts of the book, actually.
Horatio Slice versus Axel Rose: Who wins?
OMG, great question! Hmmmm…. I would say if the arena in question involved Jello wresting, then the very buff Horatio would win, hands down. But, if the competition had something to do with who could out “rock-diva” the other, then Axl would take the crown, for sure.
Oh, the visuals in my head, you wouldn’t believe. Or maybe you would. There is a LOT of sex in this book.
What are the origins of the novel’s characters?
Horatio began as a short story for a submission call. The prompt was something about rock and roll mixed with sci-fi – it’s been so long, I don’t remember the exact premise – but needless to say, I was inspired. The first scene I wrote was the one where Horatio drops into Gunner’s room via a portal. From that moment, I knew the story could not be contained in 5,000 words or less!
Were the characters inspired by anyone or anything?
The book was inspired by so many things. Classic rock, for starters. Horatio himself is a mash-up of many rock gods – Freddie Mercury, Steven Tyler, Chris Cornell. Other influences are British TV shows like Monty Python, which I watched voraciously during my teen years. Movies like Young Frankenstein (Mel Brooks, OMG!), Star Wars, Indiana Jones. Books like the Harry Potter series, anything by Stephen King, and even The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I love multi-layered stories with fascinating characters, tales featuring other worlds.
I have to say, one of my biggest author influences is Janet Evanovich. I absolutely love her Stephanie Plum series. The way the woman writes dialogue and develops characters just knocks me out. See, when I read, I want to be transported. I don’t want to learn anything, or be taught a lesson. I want to be entertained.
Speaking of entertainment, I suppose I should answer another question. What inspired the sex? Um, men.com, mostly. You like what you like, and I like watching naked men kiss and get sweaty. Plus, watching gay porn helps me visualize the scenes. Yup, strictly research. Heh. Heh.
What were you doing when you first “met” Horatio and the gang?
Around the time I found that submission call I mentioned earlier, I was working on a trilogy—a piece with a dark and melancholy undertone. While working on said trilogy, my life became tumultuous, which amped my already existing anxiety/depression to new levels.
I found myself taking breaks from the trilogy to work on Horatio. The breaks became more and more frequent. I remember wondering why I couldn’t leave that crazy story alone. Now, I realize I needed Horatio. I needed the comic relief. My life was falling apart around me, but those goofball characters helped me through it.
Now, I realize I needed Horatio. I needed the comic relief. My life was falling apart around me, but those goofball characters helped me through it.
That’s why writing can be so cathartic. Your life might be spinning out of control, but your story is yours. You call the shots. You write the ending. This book has a happy ending, by the way. I think people need a happy ending right about now. (Actually, the beginning and middle is all happy, too. This is just a happy book. And dirty. Holy crap, it’s so fucking dirty.)
We can tell that you *love* writing dialogue (and also lots of cock, but we’ll come back to that). As a writer, what tips can you give for writing exciting dialogue?
Tip number one: Read your work out loud, especially the dialogue. Some lines look great on paper, but sound awkward when verbalized.
Tip number two: Write like people talk. Vary sentence length, because dialogue sounds more natural when it is a mix of “short & snappy” and “long & rambling.” Here’s an example:
“I made Suzi breakfast. First, I made pancakes. Then, scrambled eggs. I probably forgot the salt. Suzi was impressed. She gave me a kiss.”
Snooze-fest, right? Let’s vary the sentence length and see what happens:
“I made her breakfast. Sure, I burnt the pancakes and forgot to put salt in the scrambled eggs, but Suzi was impressed as hell. Even gave me a smooch, you know, for the effort.”
Also, consider who is speaking. Everyone has their own accent, vocabulary, and tone. Creating a complete character sketch is also helpful. Feel free to get as detailed as you like with these. The more info, the better, even if you don’t use that info in your story.
Tip number three: don’t let your characters discuss the weather! In other words, trivial conversation is boring. Instead, use dialogue to advance the story, and to give insight into your characters. It’s also a great place for one liners. Example:
“There’s my baby!” Snake said as he stood up. “Frances, my pride and joy.”
“Frances?” Gunner snickered. “You named your ship Frances?”
“Told you so,” Horatio said in a singsong voice.
Snake scowled. “What’s wrong with Frances?” he asked Gunner. “What would you name her, Mr. Smarty Pants?”
“I don’t know. Something tough. The Helix, maybe, or The Gauntlet,” Gunner said.
“Oh, I’ve got one! The Master … bator.” Horatio shook his fist in the jack-off motion.
Sex, sex, sex! What did you enjoy most about writing these wonderfully rambunctious and infinitely hot sex scenes?
Oh, the visuals in my head, you wouldn’t believe. Or maybe you would. There is a LOT of sex in this book. The biggest challenge was making each sex scene unique, which in turn, made the book tons of fun to write. Exploring each character’s desires and kinks kept it interesting, to say the least. A few times, I thought to myself “Is there too much sex?” Then I would laugh and just keep writing. Because there is never too much sex. Honestly.
But I mainly write by feel. Sometimes, a scene feels like it needs more sex, or just a bit of erotic teasing. Because if 14 horny dudes were all together on a ship, I like to think they would be naked most of the time. I particularly enjoyed showing how much these guys respect and care about each other.
That’s why writing can be so cathartic. Your life might be spinning out of control, but your story is yours. You call the shots. You write the ending. This book has a happy ending, by the way. I think people need a happy ending right about now.
Horatio Slice versus Alice Cooper: Who wins?
I love Horatio, but I have to give this one to Alice, the master showman!
In Horatio Slice, Guitar Slayer of the Universe, we visit lots and lots of different dimensions and meet lots of amazingly colorful characters from each. As creator of these worlds, did you have to do any mapping or color coding or … okay, just how the hell did you keep track of all this stuff, and what advice would you give to newbie erotic (or non-erotic) world builders?
Keep copious notes. About literally every damn thing. If your world has different beings, terrain, or even monsters, keep track or you risk leaving plot holes everywhere. Having said that, I have the ability to keep most of this straight in my head. But, don’t ask me where my car keys are right now, because I have no flipping idea!
Who is the Prince of Vinterbourne, and when will we get a novel about him, huh?
Snake Vinter is the crown Prince of Vinterbourne. Since his people are immortal, he may never get a shot at being king. Or will he? Snake is an interesting character that I could write about indefinitely, and his backstory needs to be written, I think.
The funny thing about Snake is, I didn’t intend for him to be a vampire. Now, I love vampires, in fact, I have a vampire series on the back burner, but I didn’t think this book needed one. Until chapter two. Remember when I said I write by feel? Well, around chapter two, Snake felt “vampy” to me. Like his character crawled into my head and whispered, “Oleander, I need to bite people. Make it happen.”
After making the decision to give Snake fangs, I reworked his original character sketch a bit, and wrote, “Snake is a vampire/space pirate who is afraid of spiders.” Because the idea of a badass vamp having human-like fears is funny to me.
Can you share a couple of fave tidbits from Horatio Slice? Knowing how amazing this book is, I know you must have loads of faves, so I won’t ask you for your favorite of all!
I do have a ton of favorite moments. The ones most near and dear to my heart, are scenes where we get a small glimpse into a character’s personality.
Like, Horatio, who is an eternal optimist:
“Wait,” Horatio said. “Gotta grab something.” He pulled a small plastic bottle out of a side table drawer. “Lube. Just in case.” Horatio wagged his eyebrows at Gunner while he slipped it into his coat pocket.
Gunner scowled at Horatio. “You won’t need lube. Trust me.”
“Unlike you,” Horatio said, “I choose to think positive.”
Or Snake, who is also afraid of mummies:
“It’s a bleedin’ mummy!” Snake had seen a lot of crazy crap in his day, but this took the biscuit, for sure. The creature stood and shuffled toward Horatio. “Kill it!” Snake cried.
Horatio looked terrified. “I saw a movie like this once. He’s going to suck out my soul through my nostrils!”
“What? Is that what mummies do?” Snake, also frozen in fear, watched the thing stretch out its arms and inch closer to Horatio.
“It’s getting closer, Snake,” Horatio cried. “Do something!”
“You’re the Guitar Slayer,” Snake responded. “You do something!”
Sugar, the sexy badass:
“Don’t worry, Slayer,” Sugar said. “I won’t shoot your dick off by accident. Like your guitars, my guns become an extension of me.”
“It’s true,” Stiles said. “I once saw Sugar do a forward flip off a roof and, while upside down in midair, shoot a Reptilian straight between the eyes before landing perfectly square on those high-heeled boots of his.”
Sugar nodded. “And then I went home and made pie.”
And Gunner, (who really is the heart of the story), the awkward kid trying to be cool:
Snake took off his boots and pants and carried them in a bundle while he waded bare-assed into the water. He flipped open a tiny door, revealing a keypad. Gunner heard a series of blips, and then a hidden panel slid up, while a small ladder slid down. Horatio stripped in the same fashion and headed for the door.
“Why did you guys take off your pants?” Gunner asked.
“Sugar hates when our boots drip on the carpet,” Snake said.
“He’s Snake’s wife.” Snake shot Horatio a glare that made Gunner’s cock shrivel up from fear. “I’m kidding. Calm your tits, Snake,” Horatio said. “Sugar is the head oompa loompa. Just a word of warning—they might look like sweet little girls, but they’ll carve you up in a blink and serve you for dinner if you piss them off, so be cool.”
“I can be cool.” Gunner stripped and then tiptoed into the frigid water, gritting his teeth as dead crabs brushed his knees. “Ew. Icky dead things.”
Besides those four, there are many other characters, including the campy super-villain, Meridian. I would leave you with a snippet of that guy, but I don’t want to reveal any spoilers!
Thanks for the interview, Lana. You ask such interesting questions!
Thanks a million, Oleander! LOVE this interview! We are so excited about Horatio Slice. Can’t wait for the launch.