Christoph Paul is an American writer specialized in horror comedy. He also writes Bizarro Erotica under the pseudonym Mandy de Sandra His books include Social Media for Anti-Socials and Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks
What is your earliest reading memory?
My parents never read to me so I learned to read myself. The earliest memory I can recall is reading a Cam Jansen novel and wondering how she will solve the case. I remember feeling jealous of her because I wanted to have a photographic memory too.
Has writing been a conscious choice or a natural thing for you?
Both. When I was younger I started writing about monsters that lived in pools or under the bed. It was natural for me but as an adult I do make the conscious choice to write because I approach it like a job. The act itself still feels natural but with focus on always improving.
Do you have any special habits or rituals when you write?
Sort of. I like to sit on my couch with a pillow on my lap and my laptop on top of it. I check needless to important things for about 10 minutes and then I get cracking. If I’m revising it is usually silent, but if I’m working on the first draft I put something on TV that goes with what I am writing about or has similar energy. When I worked on Slasher Camp for Nerd books I had anything camp or slasher related playing in the background.
Do you choose your stories/poems or do the stories/poems choose you?
Both. If something excites me I write it down, if I think people will want to read it I actually write it.
What national books/authors do you enjoy re-reading and why?
There are so many books to read so I rarely re-read one, but there have been a handful. Little Children by Tom Perrotta is a book I love to re-read because it is in my top 5 novels. I love how Perrotta can be satirical and still have fully realized characters that make me laugh and cry. My favorite novel is Anna Karenina and I enjoy going scenes for inspiration but it is too long for me to re-read each year.
What foreign books/authors do you enjoy re-reading and why?
Mohsin Hamid. I have re-read because his books are dope. What he has done with second person and how he addresses the good and bad of globalization really engages me.
Flaubert says he was physically sick when he wrote Emma Bovary’s death. Are you empathetic with your characters?
Yes, the few times I haven’t been emotionally shook by my characters the book ended up being mediocre.
Can you cry writing your own poem?
I’ll answer this too. I only cried writing one poem titled “Rachel Lou Salome.” That poem cut up my insides.
Who is your ideal reader?
Someone looking for a great story that has heart and humor.
Should writers be embraced by society or should they be exiled?
Exiled, a lot of writers are annoying. Not you Seb, you are cool.
Is there a God or are there gods for writers?
There is probably no God or at least what can comprehend as god. There is no god for writers either. All there is luck, but nobody knows how to talk to her.
What makes a writer a writer?
Someone who writes even when they aren’t inspired…the inspiration almost always comes when you write anyway.
Tell us about your fiction/poetry.
My fiction usually falls under humor but I have a dark literary novel I want to finish too. I guess I have to include Mandy De Sandra because I am her human host, she writer literary Bizarro erotica. I think my stories are good but they could better. My poetry is pretty much persona poems, I like writing poetry about pop culture. I am a genre slut.
What is the purpose of your writing?
To keep away depression and feel existential purpose, to get better at it and enjoy the process, and to get paid.
How do you really feel about recognition and fame? Are you a satisfied mind or always craving for more?
It’s nice and I like it but I know it is fleeting. I try to keep my ego out of it and just see it as a job. If I’m getting fame and recognition then I’m getting paid and making readers. I really just want to be able to write as much as possible, fame and recognition does help in achieving that desire.