Check which is the shallow end and note the point where you will be out of your depth.
Who: Ben DeVos
Where: Philadelphia, USA
Who are you?
A tomb raider from the fifteenth century who is now a ghost
Where are you from?
Philadelphia, home to America’s first zoo
Tell us about your new book?
It is a series of surreal stories that each features a different pop culture persona. The characters in it are both imaginative and literal in the sense that they retain certain real life traits, but in a world where anything goes. It is a debauched romp that features slow-dawning insight, which accumulates into (much) bigger ideas by the end. Pop culture is arguably the largest, most ubiquitous cult in the world. Almost every person on this planet follows pop culture in some way. My main goal by writing these stories was to relate to others by using people who are familiar, but in situations that are uncanny, unique, and hopefully thought-provoking.
What would you call your book? Poetry? Prose? Some mixture? Do you think much about these kinds of distinctions?
I used to think more about those distinctions, but not much these days. This is definitely a prose project, but I have written plenty in the past where it was harder to distinguish the genre.
Can you say something fancy and clever and literary about your book?
If you like to read, you will love it. If you hate to read, you will love it.
What would you say to sell your book to the general public?
This book is for everyone (ages 13+). The characters are all people that appear or have appeared prominently in the mainstream. I think this collection is cool because anyone can recognize these pop culture icons, and thus, can automatically identify with the stories in some way.
How does it differ to what you've written before or doesn't it?
I’m only 23-years-old, but over the past several years most of what I wrote was out of a desire to be taken seriously. Then I realized how boring it is to be taken seriously, and started writing how I truly felt, instead of what I thought smart literary people would want to read. This book was written during post-seriousness.
Can you tell us a bit about what you're working on next?
I’ve been unemployed for the past few months since graduating from college, so I have several unfinished projects from that time. Right now I am in the final stages of revising a chapbook of poems about anxiety and loneliness.
Heard any good music this year?
I’ve had the opportunity to see a ton of good bands this year: Ty Segall & the Muggers, Mac Demarco, Parquet Courts, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Tame Impala, + more. Some of my favorite albums from this year (so far) have been Human Performance by Parquet Courts, Emotional Mugger by Ty Segall, Untitled Umastered by Kendrick, and Nonagon Infinity by King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard.
Do you fancy yourself as some kind of artist or what?
Finally, have you read anything good this year?
I read most of Scott McClanahan’s books (which were all amazing)
Rontel by Sam Pink
Everything Was Fine Until Whatever by Chelsea Martin (excited to read Mickey)
Ban en Banlieue by Bhanu Kapil
The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster by Richard Brautigan
The Book of Frank by CA Conrad
Asuras by Jayinee Basu
The Man Suit by Zachary Schomburg
The Difficult Farm by Heather Christle
Abductions by Chiwan Choi
Chronic by D.A. Powell
Madness Has a Moment and Then Vanishes Before Returning Again is available from Dostoyevsky Wannabe out 21st July 2016.