Constantly applying pressure! Bizarro author David W. Barbee talks to Kendall Reviews.

David W Barbee writes bizarro fables full of dark monsters and strange maniacs, influenced by a deranged childhood diet of cartoons, comic books, and cult movies. He is the author of JIMBO YOJIMBO, BACON FRIED BASTARD, THE NIGHT’S NEON FANGS, THUNDERPUSSY, and the Wonderland award-nominated A TOWN CALLED SUCKHOLE. He lives in the mangy wilderness of Georgia, next door to one of the world’s most polluting power plants.


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KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?

I’m David Barbee, and besides being an indie author I’m an extremely regular guy. I grew up in a small town in central Georgia, deep inside one of the Bible Belt’s notches. But despite my redneck bonafides, I was always a geek. A weirdo. I never fit in, and like a lot of geeks my main relationships were with the things I liked. I also had a deep affection for a well-told story, so I decided early on to become a writer. I wanted to make things instead of just liking them.

KR: What do you like to do when not writing?

I spend most of my time tending to this life I’ve made for myself. I’m still a consumer, but I’ve built an entirely legitimate life alongside it. A job, a wife, some kids. Maybe I built all of that just to bankroll my pleasures. Maybe I built this regular life so I wouldn’t become lost in the hollowness of consumer culture. Oh, look! Another Star Wars movie…

KR: What is your favourite childhood book?

The Whipping Boy, by Sid Fleischman. The first children’s book I read on my own and the first one to speak to me as a person. Even at that age, I knew not just that there was meaning behind this story, as if it were written just for me. Looking back on it now, it’s obvious why a poor kid like me would like that story.

KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?

People never believe me on this, but I don’t keep up with music very much. I like music, the same way all human beings do, but I don’t really have a favorite album or artist. I rarely listen to music when I write, but if I do it’s usually something orchestral. Lyrics distract me from the words I’m writing.

KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director? 

I’d have to say Sam Raimi, with the Evil Dead trilogy as Exhibit A. Those flicks had a huge impact on me as a kid, because at the time I didn’t like being scared by a movie. But horror comedies were much more palatable, and to this day it’s my favorite form of the genre. I love the strangeness of mixing things that should not be together, like laughter and terror. I’m sure Raimi wasn’t the first to make a horror comedy, but he made the first ones I’d ever seen. Plus he was an indie filmmaker, engineering his own style all on his own. Early Sam Raimi seemed like a wild genius. Nowadays he’s kind of just another director.

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KR: What are you reading now?

Like many writers, I’m way behind on my reading and thus trying to compensate by reading several things at once. I’m reading two splatterpunk horror books: The Lucky Ones Died First by Jack Bantry and Berzerkoids by Emma Johnson, plus making my way through a Laird Barron collection, which I consider to be straight up literature. Plus I’m beta reading something secret by Amber Fallon. And this doesn’t even include all of the comic books I read.

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KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?

Two authors I discovered in college really had an effect on me. China Mieville, who writes literary strangeness with the best of them, and Carlton Mellick III, the flagship writer of the bizarro genre whose ideas are so odd and original. Before that, when I was a teenager deciding to become a writer, Joe Lansdale and Garth Ennis were my biggest inspirations. They wrote fiction that reflected me as a person (even though Ennis is Irish, he wrote characters from the American South with such understanding that he must have a sixth sense). Those guys write from their gut, which is something I try to do as well.

KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

I always outline. I’ve heard it said that writers can be a gardener or an architect, which is to say you either plant a seed and tend to it, seeing how it grows as time goes on, or you make a detailed plan and follow it to a clearly defined goal. Or maybe you’re a mixture of the two. I’m an architect through and through. I look at the story as a structure that will perform its task if only I can build it well enough.

KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I will do research during the outline process, if necessary. Oftentimes I don’t need to. Most of the time I’m a fantasist and I’m creating things out of whole cloth. Even when I’m writing science fiction, I prefer technobabble to hard scientific fact. I’ve only written one book so far set in the “real world,” and for that I did a ton of research on the Marine Corps just to glean a few nuggets to make my character’s life as authentic as possible.

KR: Describe your usual writing day?

Now that I’m a parent I have to get up very early and go to bed very late to get any writing done. If my daughter sees the laptop open, she jumps in my lap and we have to “play letters.” So I do it before they wake up, which is good because I’m having my coffee then. And then maybe I get some writing done at my job, since I work at a library. Then I write late at night after the kids are asleep, which is how I always used to write anyway. Still, sometimes it’s fun just to play letters.

KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?

Yes, and it’s something that I wrote recently that should be published soon by Weirdpunk Books. It’s called “The Ballad of Hank XXX” and it’s a futuristic zombie story about Hank Williams the Thirtieth, the most punk rock man in the solar system. I love that story because I think it nails who I am as an author. It has a mixture of folksy storytelling with modern sensibilities. Redneck zombies in space. If only I could write a million stories about that.

KR: Do you read your book reviews?

I skim them. I glance to see if there’s anything negative and then move on quickly. I suppose that might be unhealthy, paying attention only when bad things are said. The vast majority of my reviews are good ones but maybe I don’t want that to go to my head. Maybe I feel like negative reviews will teach me more or would signify that I’m reaching more people. Whatever it is, it’s definitely pathological. I try my best not to let my ego be fed by my promotion.

KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?

A creative career must be treated like a serious wound. Constant pressure must be applied if you wish to survive. Without constant pressure, you will lose precious fluids and wither away quickly. Time is against you, and that time must be filled with CONTENT. Think about how much work you can do and what you can accomplish, then try to do a little bit more than that.

KR: What scares you?

Meaninglessness. That myself and the things I do don’t actually matter, even if they only matter to myself. So I suppose I’m the master of my own fear. As long as I think of myself as worthy of existence, I’m not too afraid. The mind can play tricks on you, though.

KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?

Paperback. I never got into E-books and I doubt I ever will, and Hardbacks are nice but also more expensive.

KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?

My latest is Jimbo Yojimbo, a redneck samurai epic of revenge, family, and soul food. It has all of the worldbuilding of sci-fi and fantasy and of the violence and ugliness of horror. It has the sweeping themes and tropes of all the old samurai movies I loved as a kid, but mixed with the cultural flavor of my voice. It might be my favorite thing I’ve ever written so far. There are a lot of personal feelings in this story that go back to my childhood. Many of the characters I used were created back then. And don’t let the cover fool you. Jimbo is a hard-ass killer but he doesn’t look like Clint Eastwood. He has a cuttlefish for a face.

KR: What are you working on now?

Soon I’ll be putting the final touches on my next book, Taterskinheads. It’s a rural crime novella set in Georgia about one lone sheriff’s deputy against a gang of racist gun nuts trying to commit a terrorist act using genetically modified potato monsters. It should be published later this year by Bizarro Pulp Press.

KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?

You can choose…

a) One fictional character from your writing.

b) One fictional character from any other book.

c) One real life person that is not a family member or friend.

A) this would be Toadlicker from Jimbo Yojimbo. It would be disgusting, but interesting. He would have lots of philosophies about life and honor. He would know how to solve all of my problems with either a sword or an amphibious butt.

B) this would be Murk from Brian Allen Carr’s SIP. Likely for the same reason as Toadlicker, only we’d be talking about shadows instead of butts. I loved that book and I loved the tragedy of Murk’s story.

C) this would be Barrack Obama, since he would surely know a way to escape a desert island. He’s so famous and important that people would work to find and save him. Plus he’d be pretty good company and could probably inspire me to do anything in the world, even though all I want is to ride his coattails like the rest of America.

KR: Thank you very much David.

You can follow David on Twitter @davidwbarbee

To find out more about David please visit his official website

You can check out David’s author page here

From the author of Bacon Fried Bastard and A Town Called Suckhole, comes a countrified samurai epic in the vein of Squidbillies if directed by Akira Kurosawa. 

A flood of frogs drowned the cities and gunked up all the guns. Now an evil restaurant chain called the Buddha Gump Shrimp Company rules a finger-licking shogunate of seafood mutants and murderous redneck swordsmen like Jimbo Yojimbo. Jimbo wants revenge on the Company for killing his family and stitching a cuttlefish to his face. After a daring escape, he will hack his way through hordes of crawdad soldiers, a church of quacking gun nuts on a jihad, and Bushido Budnick, the master chef who rules them all. But with every step he takes, Jimbo Yojimbo’s sweet revenge will surely begin to taste like shit gumbo.

JIMBO YOJIMBO is fast-paced post-apocalyptic redneck samurai tale of love, revenge, and a whole lotta mutant sumbitches.

You can buy Jimbo Yojimbo from Amazon US & Amazon UK

He was just another man with a drinking problem. Only, alcohol transformed this man into a beastly hulk named Piggly Swiggly. And since he’s always drunk, big and brutal Piggly has drowned his human half in a sea of booze.

After yet another rampaging bender, Piggly Swiggly awakes in a sprawling metropolis full of crocodile zeppelins, greasy bacon addicts, and worse: prohibition. Trapped in this strange tee-totaled town, he must keep his buzz going or else revert to his weak and vulnerable human form. But even then, Piggly Swiggly’s depraved existence may prove his undoing, especially when gangsters are plotting to cut off his snout, a pig-loving princess is looking to steal his heart, and he must face the worst torture of all…sobriety.
Like a shit-faced Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Bacon Fried Bastard is a brutal bizarro thriller of gangland violence, junkie romance, and alcoholic pork.
You can buy Bacon Fried Bastard from Amazon US & Amazon UK

Presenting four novellas from bizarro author David W. Barbee, featuring electric werewolves, cyborg psychopaths, and a drunken ghost on a mission from God.

On Christmas night, Buster Wade is cursed by the high voltage bite of an electric werewolf. With his life in shambles, he takes a job as the bodyguard for a grisly old miser looking to harness the bloodthirsty lightning coursing through his veins. Together, they travel a grotesque American monsterscape, sweeping up mummies that rain from the sky. Can Buster contain himself until he’s able to end his curse? Or will he sink his sizzling neon fangs into everyone around him?
Noah’s Ark never found land. The Lord God left him and all the animals alone on a planet of endless ocean. In the coming centuries, Noah’s simple boat became Arkopolis, a floating city where Noah’s human family and all the animals of the earth bred generations of mutant citizens. Now, that animal world is on the brink of war, and their only hope is the ghost of their righteous, noble, and falling-down-drunk founder, Noah.
He roams the outback astride the meanest ostrich alive, a stone-cold killer with six-shooters for hands, on the hunt for wanted outlaws, reptiloid invaders, and scalp-hungry hippies. He has a name, but in this bionic, Bizarro western, they all call him that ultimo sumbitch.
All the people in Guano City are bats, and upholding the law are the crime-fighting batcops. But something is rotten in the caped crusaders’ ranks. A slain officer has returned from the pits of Hell to take revenge for his family’s unjust murder and rejoin the force. Now, the lovable misfits of Precinct 7 must help their fellow officer on his bloody rampage across Guano City, all for the glory of the Batdevil.
You can buy The Night’s Neon Fangs from Amazon US & Amazon UK

When it comes to high-tech global espionage, only one man has the balls to save humanity from the world’s most powerful bastards. His libido is legendary and his mustache once killed a man. He’s the cat’s pajamas and the dog’s bollocks. He’s Declan Magpie Bruce, Agent 00X.

And when every other spy is perforated, it’s up to him to stop a maniacal genius bent on destroying the planet. To do so, he’ll navigate a deadly gauntlet of kung fu Rastafarians, freakish henchmen, velociraptor ladies, and the most dangerous pussy in the world. There will be secrets and seduction, luxury and lunacy, and a beautiful French jewel thief who could kick Declan Bruce’s arse with her eyes closed. 
Thunderpussy is a bizarro cyberspy thriller that’ll fry every microchip the government secretly implanted in your brain.
You can buy Thunderpussy from Amazon US & Amazon UK

Blade Runner meets Sling Blade in the weirdest Southern Gothic ever.

Far into the future, in the nuclear bowels of post-apocalyptic Dixie, there is a town. A town of derelict mobile homes, ancient junk, and mutant wildlife. A town of slack jawed rednecks who bask in the splendors of moonshine and mud boggin’. A town dedicated to the bloody and demented legacy of the Old South.


But all is not well for the last remnant of hillbilly society. Suckhole’s annual “Hell-Yeah Heritage Jamboree” is suddenly threatened by a string of gruesome murders. The town’s sheriff, an illiterate yokel with a cleft pallet, is at his extremely limited wit’s end, and he knows there is only one man smart enough to solve the mystery: Dexter Spikes, a monstrous missing link between swamp and man brought to life by natural evolution. He lives in the swamps alone, shunned by the simple townsfolk of Suckhole who don’t believe in the wicked sciencery of his existence. If Dexter takes the sheriff’s case, he’ll have to face the undead culprits behind the murders, who are determined to bring about the next apocalypse. If he refuses the job, the town will be doomed to a vicious slaughter.

You can buy A Town Called Suckhole from Amazon US & Amazon UK

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