Underground: I see from your site that you published the series/ novel Comeback Road as an e-book. Have you ever tried publishing any of your other material professionally, and if so, what was that experience like?
Nolan Whyte: I showed Comeback Road around in the traditional print publishing market, but it didn’t garner any interest. I self-published the e-book, but it didn’t sell much because its audience had already read it for free on UG. Pretty much everything I’ve written since then has been done with website publication in mind, so I haven’t pursued print or e-book re-publication. I’m in no hurry for that type of thing. It will come when it comes.
Who are some of your inspirations both musical and literary?
Artists, mostly, from any field. I’m interested in people who had to figure out their own ways of doing things. It’s hard for me to name names, especially with writers, because I usually get into someone’s work, explore them, and then move on. I think Dee Dee Ramone had an interesting life and career, both in the Ramones and then later with his projects in music, writing and art. I like guys who were willing to experiment in a variety of fields, and I appreciate artists who were able to put together long careers. Musically, it’s the same names that I drop in the novels: The Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, Ministry. Many others, always changing.
When did you start writing about hockey, and when did that sport plus the Tamp Bay Lightning become the focus of your blog?
I started the Frozen Sheets Hockey blog simply because I don’t have buddies to talk about hockey with. My wife doesn’t give a shit about hockey. I had stuff I wanted to say, so eventually I decided to just start writing it. It’s more of a hobby than the fiction stuff.
Other than subject area, how does writing about sports differ from your music writing?
The music stuff has mostly been fiction, but hockey blogging is me talking about my experience as a fan. What’s interesting is that I didn’t really read other hockey blogs before I started writing one, and after I started I was exposed to this huge field of well-written, extremely creative material that’s out there, being generated daily. I do it as a goof, but I’ve had some good responses to things I’ve written, and I’ve connected with some really cool, creative people.
What has been the biggest perk you’ve received from writing about a professional hockey team?
Not much. I was invited to join a larger blog network (SBN’s rawcharge.com), which gave my work some exposure to a wider audience. I was able to do a few interviews, including former NHL player Enricco Ciccone, and poet Randall Maggs, who wrote an amazing book of hockey poetry. His book was one thing that inspired me to start the hockey blog in the first place. I like doing interviews, although they aren’t something I would want to do all the time. I’ve mostly tried to just write about my favorite team in my own style and see if anyone pays attention. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.
What can you tell me about your other series End City: A Sci-Fi Satire?
I used to have a personal website where I posted my writing and art, and in 2007 I tried writing a daily fiction blog, called the Page-A-Day. It started out with a lot of short pieces, but pretty soon I started writing a novel, which became End City. It’s sort of a genre mash-up of science fiction and hard-boiled mystery conventions. I call it a satire because it’s so ridiculously over the top, full of ninjas and monsters and sexy killers and a typically clueless protagonist. It was influenced by more transgressive writers like William Burroughs and Hunter Thompson, and also by Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, which I was reading at the time. It’s very different from the UG stuff. Very loose in structure, very violent, very random. The UG novels tend to be very personal, with a lot of internal conflict, but this was more explosions and fist-fights. It’s also thematically very different from anything else I’ve done. It isn’t political in a left/right sense, but it does show more political awareness than my other work.
Do you have any future projects planned?
Not specifically, but one thing always follows the next. I’m focused on I Sing When You Shut Up at the moment. I’m very invested in that story, because I have it all planned out in my mind and I want to carry it off successfully. I may have the next project in mind before this one is done. Sometimes it works like that, where I’m able to finish one thing and move directly into the next thing, but sometimes I have to make a lot of false starts before really getting going on the next one. I did a huge amount of pre-writing and made several false starts on I Sing before it was ready to go. Hopefully the work pays off for the reader. The next thing will follow organically from there.
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