Tom Bradley: Tell us about Troglodyte Rose. To what extent is it veiled autobiography?
Adam Lowe: Well, if you mean, do I run about in my basement with a huge gun shooting flying monsters and doing drugs with imaginary princesses, then it’s probably not very veiled at all.
TB: Is Leeds as scary as Trog Rose‘s world? I mean, allowing for poetic license.
AL: Leeds is scarier. It has people like me in it. But seriously, it’s got some really interesting spaces that helped feed my imagination for this book. There are old abandoned subways which have been sealed up and no doubt become palatial homes for rats. There are forgotten tunnels beneath the train station and the town hall. There’s a desolate, unused Victorian zoo. There’s so much secret, hidden history, and I guess my own fascination with those lost spaces spurred me on to write about the underground world of Rose and Flid.
TB: The pictures are uncanny. Kurt and Zelda seem to enjoy some kind of inexpressible access to your innermost mind. Or is it vice versa? Or a little of both?
AL: Probably a little of both. The whole process was rather loose and organic. I wrote a synopsis first, and they started doing concept artwork as I started writing. One fed into the other, and my story adapted to take in their artistic vision, just as their illustrations grew from the descriptions I gave them. It’s a relationship that’s worked well in the past, because they were awarded a Spectrum Fantastic Arts award for their illustration of my story ‘Singer’, which has just been reprinted at Saucytooth’s Webthology.
TB: Do you three hang around in person, get drunk and high and crazy together, or have you never met them except via email?
AL:The Atlantic Ocean is a bit of a bitch in that respect. We usually communicate via Ouija board, with a big glass of absinthe to facilitate the connection. Ouija boards can be a bit like dial-up without the green stuff, but once you’ve sluiced some down into your gut, you get fibre optic broadband speeds.
TB: Please talk about the ways Dog Horn Publishing and Polluto exploit the internet as a promotional resource.
AL: Well we have a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter (or, at least, I do). We also regularly update the website and get in as many of these wonderful interviews as we can. Reviews and interviews are the lifeblood of the small press.
TB: Would you call the work you publish Bizarro? Irreal? Some other label or genre of your own coinage? A combination of several?
AL: It’s many things. Some of it’s bizarro. Some is cyberpunk or steampunk or ribopunk. Some is magic realism or satire or punk fantasy. Some of it is just hilarious pulp or new weird. I guess, what defines it all is its strangeness, its otherness. Our writers try to experiment or challenge, and that gives their work something of an alien quality. That’s what we’re all about.
TB: I imagine the process of putting Polluto together, with all those different mad authors, must be like a crazed non-stop party. Which, if either, do you enjoy most, publishing books or the journal?
AL: They’re different processes. Polluto is rip-roaring fun, but it’s a pain in the arse reading hundreds of submissions to find the right stuff. Publishing books requires focus on one longer project, and unfortunately an editor’s timetable doesn’t always let you sit there and read a book the way you’d like to. You’re constantly hoping you don’t wind up resenting the book for rereading the same page sixteen times. Luckily, that never seems to happen the same way as when a writer has to continually reread their own work. And I’m lucky in that my editorial team is made up of volunteers who are largely other writers. A edits B’s book, under my guidance, whilst B edits C’s book and C edits A’s. It means that all our books are peer-reviewed to the highest standard, because authors are getting critiques and feedback from their own contemporaries. We’re not sticking romance editors with bizarro authors.
TB: Have you come up with any promo gimmicks whose outrageousness parallels your products?
AL: When I get time, I hop in my stolen Hummer with the roof open and spray illiterates with bullets whilst forcing copies of Broken Symmetries, Crashin’ the Realor Mister Gum into the hands of those who want to live. My Creative Director follows me around collecting subscriptions for the magazine, but his gun is smaller than mine because I’m the boss and he doesn’t agree with genocide. It’s been a bone of contention in the office.
About the author:
Tom Bradley’s latest books are Vital Fluid (Crossing Chaos Enigmatic Ink), Even the Dog Won’t Touch Me (Ahadada Press), Put It Down in a Book (The Drill Press), and Hemorrhaging Slave of an Obese Eunuch (Dog Horn Publishing). He is presently collaborating on a graphic ekphrasis in verse and an illustrated novel with artists David Aronson and Nick Patterson respectively, both to be published by Crossing Chaos Enigmatic Ink, and a nonfiction flip book with Deb Hoag for Make It New Media. Further curiosity can be indulged at tombradley.org and Wikipedia.