Saturday, March 09, 2019

Indie Author Interview: O. Ryan Hussain

Indie Author Interview with O. Ryan Hussain - Author of the Political Satire The Outlandish and the Ego.

O. Ryan Hussain is the new voice of comedic fiction and satire. The characters featured in his debut novel, The Outlandish and the Ego, are vibrant creations from a true genius. There is currently nobody better at blending truth, comedy and dirty fun.

Interview with O. Ryan Hussain

Author O. Ryan Hussain
Author O. Ryan Hussain
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
O. Ryan Hussain: From a pretty young age I knew that I was going to be a life-long captive of the written word. I first attempted to write a book at age 8 — a biography of Mark McGwire. If I only knew the unauthorized story on that one. But later in life I wanted to be a journalist in the same vein as Tom Wolfe and Hunter Thompson, keeping the New Journalism movement going. I went to college and majored in journalism and later wrote for papers, magazines and websites.

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
This is always a question that has to get split in half. My favorite writer is not the most important writer of my life, which would be Jack Kerouac. If I had never read On the Road I might have been relegated to a career as a technical writer. But Kerouac and his soul-blistering prose didn’t just open my eyes, it peeled my eyelids off and showed me how you could bend the rules of narrative and prose to fit your own identity. I loved every word of that book. Every. Single. One. When I finished the last page of the book it was like a lightning bolt hit my spine. I was changed forever.
My favorite writer is Hunter Thompson. What can I say? I love deviant humor and that man had it mastered. But it wasn’t just his wit that endeared me to his work, but he was also such a thoughtful and prescient observer of our world. I really admire that about him. He always saw around corners to find the truths that most couldn’t. We owe him a debt for that.

"Stories are what make us all feel connected with one another"

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
Stories are what make us all feel connected with one another — despite all the reasons we shouldn’t feel connected or want to know a single God damn detail about anyone else. I realized that pretty early on in life, and just wanted to add to the storytelling membrane.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first one that I can remember was about my first golden retriever, Astro. Something tells me it wasn’t that good.

"I organize a story in my head [...]"

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?
Routines are best spent on dance teams. I organize a story in my head, try to organize that story in a form of an outline, and when I write, I try to crank as hard as I can on whatever creative levers are available to me at that time.

Please, describe your desk/workplace.
Probably sounds crazy but I don’t have a desk at my place. I just use the trusted two-piece setup of a laptop and a pillow beneath it. Outside of that, I write on paper quite a bit. I wrote the first draft of my first novel, The Outlandish and the Ego, in about 13 or 14 pocket sized journals.

"[...]  taking all the chaos going on inside my brain [...]"

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
The hardest thing about writing, for me at least, is taking all the chaos going on inside my brain — the garage rock, paint drippings, techno thumps, salty emotion bombs — and funneling it onto a blank page daring me to fill it. In the oddest ways imaginable, that’s also the easiest thing about writing.

The Outlandish and the Ego (O. Ryan Hussain)
Click to Read an Excerpt

O. Ryan, please tell us a little about your Political Satire The Outlandish and the Ego.
The Outlandish and the Ego, at its core, is a comedy. There are definitely political angles to this — half the plot is about the most outrageous presidential election you can imagine — but really, this book is supposed to make you laugh at the madness we see in the headlines daily. But it’s not all about politics. The other half of the plot follows two, truly sweet but haunted fellows — Samuel and Roger, as they run from demon gnomes and try to solve the riddle of “The Signal.”
The book is a lot of things, really. It’s an episode of South Park meets a Cheap Trick concert. The characters are absurd takes on real people, but in so doing, they highlight our most human traits — good and bad. I really just wanted to answer the question: what’s the real difference between the social elite and everybody else? And in that answer, all the opportunity to mock everything in our society that needs to be mocked was presented. And I took it.

The book essentially features two main characters — Samuel and the Aide. Is one a “bad guy” and the other a “good guy?”
In a traditional sense, Samuel is the protagonist and the Aide is the antagonist. But with the Aide, even though he does so many despicable things, he’s at the mercy of a lot of outside forces like the Brethren — an evil secret society. And while we watch him deal with those forces, you can start to identify with him a little, as scary as that may be.

The words “Democrat” and “Republican” never show up in this book — why?
I’ve been waiting for someone to notice that. Look, at this point, we’re all totally kidding ourselves if we think the two parties are all that much different. The vast majority of elected officials are bought. They vote on and advocate for policy that isn’t central to who they are or why they first got into politics — they largely act based on the motivations of their largest funders — which tend to be very corporate and have corporate agendas. We’re finally starting to see a progressive movement working to remove that element, but it’s going to take a lot of work and time. So rather than just be frustrated by what’s been happening, I’d rather just satirize it.

"[...] you’ve been compared to some pretty big-name authors"

So, the Aide and his President are neither Republican or Democrat?
Oh, they definitely belong to one of those parties. I suppose the ugliness is in the eye of the beholder.

The reviews for The Outlandish and the Ego have been very positive, and in them you’ve been compared to some pretty big-name authors. Writers like Kurt Vonnegut, Terry Pratchett, Ken Kesey and Chuck Palahniuk. When you read those comparisons what comes to mind?
All the comparisons to authors with legendary acclaim are flattering. But most of the time I’m sort of baffled as to how they arrived at that comparison. A few of the names I’ve seen mentioned I’ve never even read. But I’m not going to turn the comparisons down!

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
It’s still in the early stages but it has the potential to be something very special – not just to me but I think could embody a lot for my generation. It won’t be as cartoony as The Outlandish and the Ego. It will certainly pick its spots for humor, but it won’t be a major driver. This is going to be an existential book — looking at absurdism in 2019. I can’t really say too much more other than it will explore the thin line between identity, madness and dreams.

How can readers connect with you?
Readers can find me on Twitter. @ORyanHussain

Thank you very much for the Interview, Ryan.

About the Book The Outlandish and the Ego

The Outlandish and the Ego (O. Ryan Hussain)
Click to Read an Excerpt
The Outlandish and the Ego is the first in a new genre of literature: political erotica. This wild and comical satire follows two parallel stories that ultimately converge and blend into a new American reality.

One side of The Outlandish and the Ego plays out with the Aide, who relentlessly seeks to maintain his power as he maneuvers his president for reelection. The Aide's ruthless appetite for victory comes to life in the form of wife swapping, partnering with a corporation hungry for war, endless slandering, and so much more. But in order to win, the Aide must survive an evil secret society-the Brethren.

The other half of The Outlandish and the Ego finds Samuel and Roger: two wild derelicts who are running from demon gnomes that nobody else can see or understand. In order to satisfy the gnomes' demands, Samuel and Roger must solve the riddle of "the signal." The two twisting plotlines crash into each other as the fate of the Aide, Samuel, Roger, and the Brethren come to an unexpected and hilarious close.

- "[...] The author’s narrative is really inventive and unique, and the satiric dialogues are very refreshing. The Outlandish and The Ego is definitely one of the most pleasant and fun reads I’ve come across in quite a bit." - Reader Review

Link to the Book

Link to the Hardcover The Outlandish and the Ego on Amazon

Link to the Paperback The Outlandish and the Ego on Amazon

Link to the eBook The Outlandish and the Ego on Amazon

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