Please meet funny lady and gifted writer Lynne Hinkey, whose second novel, Ye Gods!, has just been published by Casperian Books. She graciously responded to a few impertinent questions.
Given the maxim, "Write what you know," how has your life prepared you to write Ye Gods! ?
I was living in the Virgin Islands when the chupacabra first appeared in Puerto Rico in 1995, and while I've never met the chupacabra in person (at least, not that I know of), I've been a fan from the start. By the time I moved to PR in the late 90s, much of the hoopla surrounding him had died down, but his presence could still be felt, lurking in the background, waiting. I think now what he was waiting for was me to tell his story.
Is there a dog?
Yes--so glad you asked. I love to talk about my dog! I adopted him based solely on his picture (left below) and the name the shelter staff gave him--Matt and I are huge Harry Potter geeks. He was scheduled to be killed the next day, so I wasn't going to dicker about minutia like size, sex, health, or training. When we got him, he'd been neutered and groomed and looked like a different dog (middle picture.) He turned into this amazing agility dog (left). Seeing him as three very different looking dogs gave me the idea for the chupacabra-dog-god's transformations as he gets stronger.
Chupacabra vs. Lassie: Who wins, and why?
Tough one...All dogs have magic--they soothe us when we're worried, make us smile when we're down, and on those days when we might want to crawl under the covers and ignore the world, they magically make us get out of bed to feed and walk them. Both Lassie and the chupacabra understand language, take down the bad guys, and both would sacrifice themselves for the people they love. But, the chupacabra's extra abilities (you'll have to read the book to find out what they are) make him the winner.
Imagine a glam cover shot of the Chupacabra. Time Magazine or GQ? Why?
Oh dear...I can see this go either way. The chupacabra is a pretty handsome guy with his flowing hair, waving tail, and sexy come-hither look. So, he could totally be on the cover of GQ.
But, he's a humanitarian (animalitarian? zooitarian?), too, showing mercy to those who are suffering. That could certainly land him on the cover of Time, even man of the year.
Here's a sample of both. Let's let the readers decide!
You're a marine biologist, for dog's sake. Why not write about a sea monster?
Funny you should ask--a sea monster did help me to write Ye Gods! I wasn't sure if I could make a magical chupacabra god-dog believable, so I looked to other magical realism stories to see how some of my favorite authors got the reader to suspend disbelief. Christopher Moore is a master of that and I really studied how brings magic alive in the modern world. The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove is the funniest sea monster story every--I highly recommend it when you need a good belly laugh. And who knows? There could be a sea monster in one of the upcoming chupacabra books (The Chupacabra Stories will be a trilogy).
As you know, the world is going to hell in a haversack--Putin, ISIS and all that. How can you be so funny at a time like this?
If I didn't find a way to laugh, I'd cry and give up all hope. What humans do to other humans is mind-boggling, mostly because it's intentional. But what truly terrifies me and keeps me awake at night is what we're doing to the planet and to the other species--mostly without a clue what we're doing. Humor makes me look at the picture from a different angle, a fun-house mirror-image that exaggerates and distorts humanity's foibles, shows how ridiculous we look. By laughing at ourselves, maybe, hopefully, we realize that something in that image needs to change. That hope keeps me at least a little bit sane.
Ye Gods! and Marina Melee are both available in print and ebook format here, and in print from the publisher, Casperian Books.