I bet Oprah doesn’t do this sort of thing for her guests

One of the lesser villains my protagonist Jane Charlotte encounters in Bad Monkeys is a “serial maimer” named Arlo Dexter. Arlo booby-traps toys and other child-attracting objects with explosives, and leaves them in public places. Jane first learns about this when her handler, Bob True, gives her a child’s notebook filled with crayon drawings depicting Arlo’s crimes in a gruesome comic style. Because the shadowy organization Jane and True work for has a habit of camouflaging its intelligence reports, she at first thinks this notebook is an official document… one in really poor taste. But no, True tells her, it’s a replica of a notebook found during a search of Arlo Dexter’s apartment—he drew the pictures himself.

Paul Gude of Groupee.com was so amused by this scene that, before coming to interview me last month, he created his own replica of Arlo Dexter’s notebook, complete with all of the drawings described in the novel. His initial plan was to spring this on me during the interview, but on the drive over to my house he thought better of it and decided not to risk freaking me out on camera. I actually loved the notebook—it very much appeals to my twisted sense of humor—and while it didn’t make it into the interview footage, it definitely deserves a viewing:

The reason the notebook is in a plastic bag is that Paul, going for that extra dose of psychotic verisimilitude, decided to burn off part of the back cover along with a number of the pages. The final effect is quite cool but means the notebook now sheds ash like crazy. Paul’s wife, who like mine seems to be the Designated Practical Spouse, reportedly asked while the smoke was still rising: “Shouldn’t you have scanned the drawings before you set it on fire?”

Paul’s next interview is with artist-turned-author Mark Ferrari, whose novel The Book of Joby has just been published by Tor. After that, Paul will be looking for other Seattle-area authors to talk to. If he asks you for an interview, say yes—he may be insane, but he uses his insanity for good, and he brings neat gifts. When’s the last time Nancy Pearl gave someone a burnt offering?

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