John Urbancik and I met years and years ago at one of the World Horror Conventions. So many years ago that I can’t even tell you which one it was. The first of his books I read was Necropolis, a thoroughly addictive little book of stories set in graveyards.
John, author of Stale Reality, DarkWalker, and The Corpse and the Girl from Miami, is about to release his first nonfiction book, InkStained: On Creativity, Writing, and Art. His business card proclaims: “Writer. Photographer. Adventurer. Man.” Born in Manhattan, and living as far afield as Sydney, Australia and Madrid, Spain, John can’t be easily found. He’s currently wandering the United States in parts unknown.
So what is InkStained: On Creativity, Writing, and Art?
John Urbancik has written an exploration of our personal creativity that intends to inspire, encourage, and challenge. Part autobiography, part conversation, part field guide to creativity, part treatise on writing — and filled with exercises and explorations — InkStained, taken from the InkStains project and podcast of John Urbancik, is at times humorous, at times brutal, and always honest.
Did something in the real world inspire InkStained: On Creativity, Writing, and Art?
The book was inspired by the podcast. The InkStains podcast ran for 100 episodes. I would read stories and I talk about – well, creativity, writing, and art. The podcast was inspired by the project, InkStains, where I wrote a story a day every day for a year. By hand. I took one day off a month, and I did the project three times.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
I can’t spoil a nonfiction book – which is good, because I don’t enjoy spoilers. I spent almost 100,000 words trying to encourage you, and to enlighten you – not to tell you what to do because this is the path to success, but to tell you how I, and others, did those things. So some of my favorite parts are where I talk about my processes, which are a little unorthodox, and how they work for me. I talk about the birth of some of my novels – for example, how I spent a few night in Boston specifically so I could finish the dark fantasy novel, The Corpse and the Girl from Miami — which does not take place in Miami; and also how I scribble random words in notepads until one pops up and demands to be part of a story.
What was your writing process like as you wrote the book?
The process for this one was a little unusual. I either took scripts from the podcast or transcribed the things I talked about, and put these all together as a massive 175,000-word file, then went through to eliminate duplication, and to excise the things that strayed off topic, then divided what was left into the three sections that eventually became the book. I combined pieces that were about the same topic, and I tried to put them into some sort of order. I think I succeeded, and the early responses suggest I have, but I guess I don’t really know yet. It was different than any other project I’ve worked on, in part because I had to spend so much time listening to myself speak. And the way I speak, while some people may think it’s great, doesn’t translate into the written word without quite a bit of work.
What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?
I’ve reached out for blurbs and reviewers and early readers more for InkStained than I ever have before, and it’s been exciting to see some sort of momentum build. Promotion is the part of the process I’m least comfortable with. I’m a writer. It’s normal for me to lock myself in a house or apartment or cabin or something and scribble, type, and stare down walls until I work all the way through the book. It’s also normal for me to wander outside, through the woods and through cities, into places I’ve never been, seeking new experiences I can incorporate into whatever’s coming next. To be doing that now, finding those new experiences, and hearing back from so many people excited either in anticipation of my first nonfiction book or because they managed to get their hands on one – that’s the best part.
What do you have planned next?
I will continue to wander across the United States for the remainder of 2019, visiting friends in cities I’ve never seen or, in some cases, ever dreamt existed. I’ve just delivered a dark fantasy manuscript to my agent. My horror-SF novel Stale Reality will be released in Russian in 2020, my first ever translation. And I’ve been putting together a book of poetry, with some of my photography, and I’m really excited by that project – but that would require a separate interview to fully explain.
You can pick up a copy of InkStained from Amazon: https://amzn.to/32TEC41
Take a look at all of John’s books here: https://amzn.to/2lc2BeN
Check out John’s home page at www.darkfluidity.com
You can also support his writing at www.patreon.com/Urbancik.