Interview with humor writer Jass Richards

Comediane Jass Richards joins me today to talk
about her new humor novel, TurboJetslams:
Proof #29 of the Non-Existence of God.
Bio:
Jass
Richards has an M.A. in Philosophy and used to be a stand-up comic (now she’s
more of a sprawled-out-on-the-couch comic). Despite these attributes, she has
received four Ontario Arts Council grants.
Her
most recent novel,
TurboJetslams: Proof #29 of the Non-Existence of God
has been
called “highly entertaining … and a riveting read” (Midwest Book Review). In addition to her Rev
and Dylan series (The Road
Trip Dialogues, The Blasphemy Tour
, and License to Do That), which has reportedly made
people snort root beer out their noses, she has written This Will Not Look Good on My Resume,
a collection of short stories described as “a bit of quirky fun that slaps you
upside the head,” followed by its sequel Dogs
Just Wanna Have Fun
. Several of her pieces have appeared on Erma
Bombeck’s humor website, “The O & D” was published in The Cynic Online Magazine
(Sep 2011), two excerpts from This
Will Not Look Good on My Resume
have been selected for Contemporary Monologues for Young Women
(vol.3), and Substitute Teacher
from Hell
was produced and performed by Ghost Monkey Productions in
Winnipeg (2014).
Her
worst-ever stand-up moment occurred in Atlanta (at a for-blacks-only club)
(apparently). Her best-ever stand-up moment occurred in Toronto (when she made
the black guy fall off his stool because he was laughing so hard at her Donovan
Bailey joke).
Welcome, Jass. Please tell us about your
current release.
Here’s the
blurb:
You ever have a
neighbour whose behaviour is so mind-bogglingly inconsiderate and so
suicide-inducingly annoying that you just want to ask him, in a polite Canadian
way, to please stop?
TurboJetslams
isn’t like that.
Jass Richards’
new novel, TurboJetslams: Proof #29 of
the Non-Existence of God
, tells the tale of one person’s pathetic and
hilarious attempts to single-handedly stop the destruction of a little piece of
beautiful Canadian wilderness by the increasing numbers of idiots who couldn’t
care less.
A quick and
entertaining summer read. A perfect cottage-warming gift. Boomer lit. Sure to
resonate with paddlers and nature lovers everywhere.
What inspired you to write this book?
My primary
reason for writing this book was to inspire a bit more respect for others’
quality of life. I find that we are living in a culture of less civility and
more ‘entitlement’—people have gone overboard with rights talk and now often
claim they have the right to do whatever they want (especially when on their
own property). They forget that their right to X stops at someone else’s right
to Y; in the words of someone philosophical, ‘Your right to freedom of movement
stops at my nose.’ In other words, rights are not absolute; they are often in
conflict and we need to figure whose rights or which rights should take
priority when.
Exacerbating
this is that we seem to priortize the physical, forgetting that the visual and
audio can be just as intrusive, just as much a trespass on other people’s
space.
Of course,
there was also the environmental motive—we mistakenly think that ‘cottage
country’ is pure and will, somehow, always stay that way—though I think that
ship has sailed.
Also, I hoped
to speak for other people who are just as angry and just as dismayed at the
demise of the little natural beauty that remains, especially when it is being
destroyed by idiots for no good reason. 
Lastly, TurboJetslams:Proof
#29 of the Non-Existence of God
was personal therapy: I tried to turn tears
of frustration and screams of anger into laughter. And since almost all of the
triggering events in TurboJetslams actually happened, it was a
stay-out-jail card: writing about what I really wanted to do kept me from
actually doing it.
Excerpt from TurboJetslams: Proof #29 of the Non-Existence of God:
The
next week, a trailer appeared on a piece of land mid-way up the lane. Again,
Vic had thought the land in question was part of the lots on either side, not a
separate lot.
The
appearance of the trailer meant that within two years (the Township did have
one bylaw), a cottage would be built. She hoped they’d hire the local construction
crew. It would be done in three weeks, Monday to Friday, nine to five. If they
did it themselves, there’d be no telling how many years it would take.
It
also meant that, in the meantime, they’d have to pay just $200 a year in
property taxes instead of something closer to $2,000. Even though they’d use
the roads, the dump, the library—scratch that, what was she thinking—even
though they’d use the roads and the dump just as much. More, probably.
And
since they probably wouldn’t pay to hook up to hydro until they started
building, it meant that everyone on Paradise Lake would hear their generator
whenever they wanted to watch tv. They’d probably also hear their tv, given how
loud it would have to be to be audible over the generator.
When
she paddled past, on her way up the river, she saw that the teenaged son was up
with all of his friends. Three tents were set up around the trailer.
She
thought for a minute. Had she seen an outhouse? Or would there be shitting in
the bush. Ten feet from the lake.
She
heard a belch. A long, extended belch.
A
lot of shitting in the bush.
She
considered giving a heads-up to the woman down-current with the red bathing
suit who swam every day. Scratch that. Used to swim every day. (The jetslams
near-slammed into her one day.)
She
thought nothing more of them until well after she’d returned. Until two o’clock
in the morning, in fact. At which time the bongo drums started.
They
probably have a fire too, she thought, as she set aside her work and headed
out.
It
was that whole primeval thing again. Sitting by a fire, sending messages by
drum, chowing down on a mammoth— What’s next, she wondered as she got to their
driveway, hurling spears?
Something
whizzed by, just missing her face.
“What
the fuck?” she screamed as she dove into the bush.
“Sorry!”
How he’d heard her, given the bongos, she had no idea.
She
picked herself up and walked in.
They
had one of those straw targets set up on the driveway. Its back to the road. See
what she meant by the drop in IQ due to all that DEET and two-stroke engine
fumes?
It
was, she noticed, as yet unpunctured.
“Give
me that thing,” she said to the nearest twenty-something, the one with the bow
and arrow in his hand. He handed it over. She loaded the arrow and fired it
into his leg.
“Fuck!”
he started hopping.
“And
enough with the bongos!” she screamed.
They
stared at her.
“There’s
a fire ban,” she said then, searching for the one in charge. The one with half
a brain.
“What’s
a fire ban?” someone asked.
What?
What?!
“We
haven’t had rain for over two weeks,” she explained. “No outdoor fires are
allowed.”
She
waited for it. Altogether now, ‘We can do whatever we want on our own
property!’
Surprisingly
enough, they were silent. Probably still trying to figure out the relevance of
rain to fires.
“Suppose
that thing,” she pointed to the six-foot high blaze, “throws a spark.” She bent
down, picked up a rock, and tossed it into the fire. Some of those present—not
all, note—moved back from the shower of sparks.
Unfortunately,
one of the sparks landed on one of the tents. Nylon, it blazed immediately.
Shit.
She looked around, but they didn’t have buckets of water at the ready. Of
course not.
“Call
911!” she screamed. Her cabin was just five lots away.
“And
enough with the bongos!”
But
as quickly as it had blazed, the tent, now an ex-tent, had congealed into a
sad, melted marshmallow.
“Never
mind.”
What exciting story are you working on
next?
I’m working
on the fourth Rev and Dylan novel. This one is about an app that creates a sex-changing
(or at least gender-changing) hologram, making women appear as men and men
appear as women. Rev and Dylan become part of the beta testing team.
When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
When I
was eight and wrote a poem about my dog, Rexie. It rhymed.
Do you write full-time? No. I can’t imagine spending 8 hours a
day working on a novel. Or even several novels. If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than
write and how do you find time to write?
I spend a lot of time kayaking and
going for long walks in the forest. I do various things for just enough money
to enable forementioned writing, kayaking, and walking.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I don’t have
one. Which is really weird because a lot of people say my writing is quirky.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
A
writer.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
If they want
to buy any of my books from Smashwords, I’ll create a discount coupon for them
to use.
Links:
THANK
YOU for this!!

You’re quite welcome. Thank you for
joining my blog.

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