|Behold! The Incredible Mimsey!|
Authors, by their very nature are cool. We have to be, because despite the fact that our work is fiction, there is still an essence of ourselves in play. Much of our personality creeps into the words.
So when one comes across a novel that captures the imagination and lifts the heart with constant snickers, one knows she would TOTALLY bond with that writer.
I read "Cult of Koo Kway" by Jay Mims and it completely validated my theory. I don't think I've read a book where I grinned through the entire thing. I just connected with it. It was a peek inside Mimsey's warped mind and I instantly wanted to hang out and read comics with him while wolfing down Pixie Sticks. Maybe in a treehouse. I think we would have been infamous ten year olds had we known each other back then.
And his new one, "The Gray Ghost Inn" JUST came out! Actually, he let me read it and I loved it. In fact, I'm going to buy it so I can read it again. I'm proud of him, and I can't wait for you to meet him because he's a lot of fun. You'll see. Read on...
1) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
You know, when I was in first grade, my teacher, Mrs. Rita, would start to scold me for reading in class and then realized I was just bored. Even then it was hard to stay mad at the Mims. It was while being a book nerd (not to be confused with THE BOOKNERD) that I realized I wanted to write something, anything. Besides my parents, I don’t think I could have found a bigger supporter then in Mrs. Rita. Which is why The Five Santas has on its dedication page “This book is dedicated to Mrs. Rita Sanders who in elementary school made me promise that I would dedicate my first book to her. Thank you Mrs. Rita.”
2) Knowing your love of comics, Doctor Who and all things cartooned and cool, why aren’t you writing for Marvel? I mean, why mystery novels exactly?
Oh, dear sweet Lord would I love to write for Marvel! Or DC. Who am I kidding? If Archie Comics called up and said “Hey pal! How’d you like to write Josie and the Pussycats” my head would explode. What’s really crazy is, there’s a comic book reference in Cult of Koo Kway that will come up again in book 4, Racing the Storm, that I still don’t think anyone has caught. I’m kind of hoping it is one of those magical gems that years from now someone will catch and go WHOA!
I write mystery novels because I was always a fan of TV, and when I grew up shows like Magnum, P.I., Murder, She Wrote, Moonlighting, and Remington Steele were incredibly popular and very influential on the Mimsey brain. Seriously, if “Snowed in at a bed and breakfast with a murderer” wasn’t a Jessica Fletcher plot, then I need to hop in the TARDIS and rectify the situation immediately. And if it was, I’ll give a signed copy The Gray Ghost Inn to the first commenter to name the episode. (Yeah, you heard him! any guesses?--DM)
3) Who or what inspired Dan Landis?
That’s a great question. I actually have an MFA in moviemaking, so I was required to do a portfolio film. The first serious project I ever did was a weird series of shorts about a girl and her imaginary friend. So, when it came time to do a portfolio, I just shamelessly ripped myself off. I re-named the character from Captain Marcus Habbakuk (I was young and quirky) to Dan Landis, and changed the girl from college student to successful author. Dan was her adventuring character.
People who saw the film really loved the book titles (in some cases a lot more than they liked the film…this may be why I’m now writing books instead of making movies) and when I graduated I decided to throw caution to the wind and actually write a Dan Landis novel. I built the character of Dan from a number of wonderful people in my life, including assorted friends, family and my personal heroes. I also shamelessly stole (i.e. HOMAGED) TV detectives like Remington Steele, Thomas Magnum and David Addison. What I always tell writers, because I am always glad to give unsolicited advice, is to find strong characters and the story will grow from there.
However, I really have to tell this story: About a month or so ago I was contacted by real-life private investigator Dan Landis, who lives in Idaho. Like, how does that happen? I’m pretty sure J.K. Rowling doesn’t get calls from a wizard named Harry Potter, Janet Evanovich doesn’t go out for drinks with bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, and Stephenie Meyer’s never gotten letters from a cardboard cut-out named Bella Swan. Only Mimsey, folks. Only Mimsey.
4) I’ve always loved your sense of humor and quick wit. Where did that come from? Why are you so weird?
That’s a good question. I think the quick wit and wry sense of humor probably comes from years of honing and experience. The weirdness comes from my parents, who are both lovable and quirky as the day is long. However, I always hate to tell people, but I’m really far funnier when I’ve had time to come up with a joke then when I have to think of something on the fly. It’s one of the joys of being a writer.
5) In your bio, you mention cats with clever names like Eartha Kitty and Meowthezar and a lizard named Bob. Can you tell us about them?
Yeah, I sort of inadvertently adopted a couple of cats. The first, Eartha Kitty, I tell more about here. It was the neighbor’s cat that I started feeding, thinking it was a stray. Oddly enough, Meowthezar was a stray kitten I found, who I ended up giving to my neighbor’s. Bob the Lizard is this giant lizard that I found in my house one time, and while I relocated him to the woods, I still like to imagine he’s having wacky adventures. Basically it gives people the impression I am a friend to all animals, instead of the weirdo who has his Christmas tree up year round.
6) What is next for you and Dan Landis, if you don’t mind telling us?
Don’t mind a bit! Dan and company will continue their adventures from The Gray Ghost Inn with book 4, the final book in the Oncoming Storm quartet. Which I realize sounds a bit more like a weather-themed music group then a book series. This book, Racing the Storm, will be out 2014 and will address the big mystery that’s been hanging over Dan’s life since The Five Santas. Namely: What’s his sister, Julianne, up to and why does she need a gunslinger cowboy named Tex?
7) If Dan Landis had his own theme song, what would it be?
If I ever get some money together, I want to do a live action teaser for the books that’s all the characters holding various impliments of murder, set to the chorus of Alex Clare’s Too Close
If you asked Dan himself, he’d probably say Cage The Elephant’s Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked
But I think we all know, when Dan’s rolling out in his best duds the song in his head is Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now
Getting to know Jay Mims...
Favorite book of all time?
To Kill A Mockingbird. That book has shaped more of my life philosophy then I’d care to admit. Closely tied to that is Lord of the Rings (trilogy) by J.R.R. Tolkien and THUD! by Terry Pratchett.
Favorite snack or drink while writing?
I’m chronically addicted to Dr. Pepper, but I often find I’m better drinking water while writing. Writing with a sugar buzz is fun, writing when you’ve crashed is less fun. I usually am chewing on something, so either fruit or crackers. I’m just ADD enough to always be needing to do something.
Favorite character you’ve written?
Hah, you know that’s a tough choice. I think Dan’s the most personal for me, just because there’s so much of myself in him, but also because he’s so wonderfully complex and simple at the same time. I’ll tell you right now, don’t write super-smart characters who are experts in something you’re not an expert in. I’ve got a super-cop, an ace attorney, a doctoral student in Art History, an M.D. and an Anthropologist. Google is my friend. Trust me, it’s a lot easier to make a Doctor Who joke then to have an in-depth discussion of Dadaism.
Favorite Cartoon/Comicbook/Muppet character?
Batman: The Animated Series/Pretty much anything with the X-Men (Beast and Gambit are my faves, if you’re wondering)/And the older I get, the more I realize I am in fact Fozzie Bear. Still, Gonzo is my favorite weirdo ever.
Favorite Doctor Who companion?
Donna Noble, full-stop. Which is weird, because I based the character of Bernie on Martha Jones (as discussed here). I do love Rose, she was my first companion, and I have a framed photo of David Teninch and Sarah Jane on my wall. Amy was wonderful, and Rory is the most unflappable character in the history of ever. I’m also excited to see what they do with Clara, because she’s absolutely brilliant. But, Donna will always be my favorite.
Favorite all time villain?
Long-time readers will know I love talking about villains. I’d say my favorite villain of all time is probably a tie. AN EVIL TIE! They both are Disney villains, with Hades just being incredibly enjoyable in both the TV show and film. But the all-time best villain has to be Maleficient. You want to talk about evil? This lady curses a baby (a newborn mind you) because she didn’t get an invite to the party, keeps a castle full of monsters purely for kicks and giggles, and then captures Prince Charming so that he can only wake up Sleeping Beauty when he’s too old and busted to do anything. That, my friends, is serious evil. Also, she turns into a dragon, but I’m kind of more intimidated by her as a woman then as a dragon. At least a dragon will only burn you, that lady is going to tear you down first. Then probably burn you.
Jay Mims can do a dead on impersonation of Shaggy from “Scooby-Doo”, and has seen every episode of “Small Wonder”. He lives with a passive-aggressive Dalek named Steve, a lizard named Bob, feeds a cat he calls Eartha Kitty and recently rescued a kitten named Meowleficient. He writes books and is far funnier on Facebook then in real life. He is terrible at Twitter. His latest book "The Gray Ghost Inn" is available now. Feel free to email him here.
THANKS FOR A GREAT INTERVIEW MIMSEY!! You are the absolute best!
THANKS FOR A GREAT INTERVIEW MIMSEY!! You are the absolute best!