Monday, March 24, 2014

Meet 'um Mondays: Josh Pantalleresco

By now you should know I have a special place in my heart for genre-bending. It's my personal opinion that it takes guts to break through the normal conventions of genre and say "rules be damned!"

Today's guest has demonstrated his own mixed palate with his tale, The Watcher. This story consists of poetry, epic fantasy, dystopian fantasy, coming of age, and art--an eclectic and interesting mix.

KS:  Tell us a bit about The Watcher. How could you describe this work to someone who’s never heard of it.
JP: It’s about a slave boy who wants more than to be a slave.  He kills his captors and escapes into a post apocalyptic world.

KS:  Who were your inspirations for this kind of writing?
JP:   I’d say three things:  My day job is a big influence.  I work a very monotonous day job.  It pays okay, but it’s about the only thing that satisfies me in any way about the job.  I want more.  I realized a lot of the post apocalyptic stuff comes from my childhood reading stuff like John Carter of Mars.  I’d say about chapter seven or eight I realized there was a kind of savage quality to the story.  I could see his influence in my work.  I’m not going to claim it’s on that level (I did my best) but I do see those kind of influences there.

Finally, I know quite a few people who settle on things in life.  I’ve been campaigning the #thereismore hashtag on my twitter account.  I think with all of us, there are things we settle for, and that there is more all of us can do to improve our lives.  The Watcher comes from some of my own personal struggle to get more.

KS:  The images add a nice depth to the boy’s tale of escape and subsequent adventure—how did you arrive at the decision to use images?

JP:  Some of the best books I see today are on the Young Adults section which merges images and pictures.  Being a comic geek definitely encourages the imagery.  Frankly, I’m surprised it isn’t done more often.

KS:  Tell us about your artist and how you found her:
JP:  Florence Chan is someone I met back when she lived in Calgary going to ACAD.  We were working at the same place and while we get along, I remember giving her more burdens at work than I was worth. 

That said, she seems to have selective amnesia, and I caught her working on a comic at my local shop called Fight Comics and thought I’d like to work with her.  Thanks to twitter and facebook I found her and asked her.

KS:  Do you also draw yourself?
JP:  Working on it.   Ask me that again in a year and I may have something cool up my sleeve to show.

KS: Your book has an interesting format. In most contemporary poetry, centering your lines is usually frowned upon. Why did you choose this format for The Watcher?
JP:  I like how the words kind of form an image when you center them.  To me the lines are like lego blocks.  Honestly, I hate how most poetry books are designed.  While my inner poet may frown at the centering, the inner designer likes the more aesthetic look.  It just looks better on the presentation when you read it.  Just my opinion though.

KS:  Can we expect a sequel to The Watcher or is this a standalone piece?
JP: Hopefully.  The whole Watcher story kind of came out of left field.  I’m hoping I can find that place again.  Not to say I don’t know where I want the story to go next.   Hopefully I continue the story from one of the other character’s perspective.  I think it’d add more depth to the world.

KS:  What are you working on now? And what can we expect to see from your soon?
JP:  I’m working on a comic called Paradigm written by myself and illustrated by Twyla April.  It’s about a superpowered teen trying to save the world from his parents.  It’s Disney afternoon buffoonery and I love every second of it.

I got a prose superhero story that’s finished.  Not sure what to do with it yet.  Also, working on a novel as we speak.

Non-work-related questions:
KS:  What is your favorite word?
JP:   Fuscia.  There’s an inside joke there with a couple of friends I can’t help but smile at.

KS:  What is your least favorite word? 
JP:  Conspiracy.  In conversations, it turns people’s brains off.

KS:  Who is your favorite author?  
JP:  Ray Bradbury.

KS:  If you could have any (but only one) super power, what would it be?
JP:  Either Green Lantern’s power ring, or invisible force fields.

KS: If you could pick the brain of any writer/poet/artist from anywhere across time and space, who would it be and why?
JP:  I’ll pick from all three:  Writer:  Isaac Asimov, Poet: E.E. Cummings and Artist:  Leonardo da Vinci

KS: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
JP: Teaching English in China, comic book artist, pilot, alchemist and guitar player. 

KS:  What profession would you not like to do?
JP: A nine to five job.

Ks: If Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell existed, which circle would you be trapped in and why?

JP: I’d either be a repentant sinner or trapped in level two.  

Joshua Pantalleresco chases his dreams through writing. He currently writes columns for http://All Pulp and Comic Bloc. His first comic Veritas, illustrated by Craig Cermak and Lettered by Jim Reddington can be ordered here. The Watcher is available on smashwordsVisit him at his website, on Facebook, or Twitter.

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