Monday, January 20, 2014

Character Interview with Steve Minion from Hell's Super

Humor novel on Amazon by Mark Cain

Mike: Tell us a little about the book you’re in, and how you fit into the story.

Steve: This book is completely ridiculous. I'm Hell's Super, that is, Superintendent for Plant Maintenance. It's my job...well, in the interest of full's my eternal damnation to serve as Hell's Handyman-in-Chief. I hate Mr. Fixit jobs, always have, so naturally Satan stuck me with this assignment when I got down here. My author named the book Hell's Super. He thinks it's a clever play on words. Hmmph. He wouldn't feel that way if HE were Hell's Super, or if HE were in Hell, like me.

Anyway, in the book, Orson and I have to fix Hell's Escalator, which runs from Gates Level (Pearly and Infernal) all the way down to the Eighth Circle of Hell. Orson is my assistant. That's Orson Welles, and yes, he's THAT Orson wells.

I get help from some other famous historical figures, at least one mythological creature, and a large and lovable vampire bat. I get grief from devils and demons, of course, as well as some other historical figures who are, well let's just say they are not my friends.

Mike: What’s your background?  Is there anything people should know about you before they read your story, like where you grew up, or anything in your younger days that might have led you to this point?

Steve: I'm from New York. In life, I was a tenured professor of economics at Columbia. Being a professor, I suppose, led me to this point. I was the dissertation advisor for a grumpy graduate student, who blew my brains out with a revolver.

I hope that isn't too graphic for your readers.

Mike: How would you describe your relationship with the author?  For instance, is it a collaborative process, or does he tell you what to do?  And just between us—I’ll make sure to cut out this part, to keep it off the record—what are your personal feelings about him?

Steve: One thing I appreciate about my author is that he lets me tell my own story, in my own words. I'm a former economist, not a great writer, and I suppose he could have jazzed things up with lots of adjectives and all, but he didn't do that, or not too much anyway. (One exception: "mellifluous." The author stuck that in, but what the hell does "mellifluous" mean anyway?)

I'm a pretty strong personality, and I think he knows that. So generally I tell the story. I try to be informative by telling readers how things work down here, I keep things moving along, and I do my best to add some levity to the situation.

Between you and me, my author is like most writers. He thinks he's F. Scott Fitzgerald. He's not though. I know Scott Fitzgerald, Scott Fitzgerald is a friend of mine (he lives down the block from me in Hell), and I can tell you for sure, Mark Cain is no Scott Fitzgerald.

Don't tell him, though. He's writing a sequel and could make my afterlife even more miserable than it already is. Thanks.

Mike: If you could star in any other book or film, which one would you choose?

Steve: Probably Casablanca. I think Ingrid Bergman is really hot. Besides, I look good in a white dinner jacket.

Mike: Between adventures, what do you do to blow off steam?  Any hobbies?  Favorite vacation spots?

Steve: I don't get much time off, being damned and all. And the fire pits and Sea of Thorns are not exactly trendy destinations.

Occasionally I play poker with some of the boys, though I always lose. Funny, we all always lose. You'd think that wouldn't be possible, but anything's possible in Hell, as long as we're suffering. Oh, sometimes I play Twenty Questions with my neighbors, including Sam Morse. The games can get pretty tedious, because Sammy insists on using Morse Code. Ugh.

Generally, though, it's work work work. My workload is hell. Sort of by definition.

Mike: How has your experience been so far as a character in a novel?  Has it been challenging for you?

Steve: It's hard to be a hero when you're in Hell. You know, it's hard to win the day. Satan tends to frown on that. In the long run, all of us poor, damned souls are losers. Of course, that's to be expected.

Still, while I have a tough time being a hero down here, I have my moments.

Mike: Of your co-stars, is there anyone you simply can’t stand to be around, or anyone you could see yourself being friends with outside of this story?

Steve: There are a couple of early Twentieth Century industrialists who I absolutely can't stand. They hate me, and I hate them. Louis Braille and Allan Pinkerton are friends of mine, as is Orson, of course. We would all be friends in any story you put us in, I think. Then of course there's Flo. I'm, well, I'm sweet on her.

Mike: Are there any actors who could do you justice in a movie?

Steve: I'd like to see Chris Pine play me in a movie. I don't look anything like Chris Pine, but I hear he's very popular right now, and I'd like to see the movie make a lot of money.

To give you an idea of my appearance, I once won third runner-up in a Jimmy Durante lookalike contest. You know: big schnozzola, male pattern baldness.

Mike: What are your plans for the future?  Any sequels you can tell us about?

Steve: I've been told that there's a problem with Hell's HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning for the uninitiated) system. If that's true, man, it will be a bitch to fix.

My author tells me he's going to call the sequel A COLD DAY IN HELL. Obviously he thinks this title is hysterical. Har. Har. Funny as a crutch, if you ask me.



Mark Cain, Author of Hell's Super, a humor novel
Mark Cain is a writer and musician living in the Austin, Texas area. His third novel, HELL'S SUPER, a comic fantasy, has been published this fall by Taylor Street Books. It is available as a Kindle eBook or paperback. HELL'S SUPER is volume one of a new series, CIRCLES IN HELL. Volume two, A COLD DAY IN HELL, will be published in the Spring of 2014.

HELL'S SUPER has been variously described as satire, comedy and comic fantasy in the spirit of Christopher Moore, Terry Pratchett, Tom Holt and Douglas Adams. The entire CIRCLES IN HELL series, including A COLD DAY IN HELL, takes the everyday frustrations of modern life and expands them to Hellish proportions. You never know who you will run into in Cain's cracked Inferno. You might encounter a great inventor, a movie star and, of course, more than the occasional devil and demon.

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