Today we will have a chat with Ira Rat, author of Participation Trophy, Pacifier, Juvenilia (poetry), and co-wrote A Beginner’s Guide to Extreme Horror with Jon Steffens. He has published a selection of his artwork as I’m sorry mom. Make music under many different projects. He's also the designer/owner of Filthy Loot Press, where I’ve edited the anthologies Teenage Grave, Isolation is Safety, Little Birds, and the zines F*cked Up Stories 1-3. Quite a lot, eh? Let's get to know Ira more.
Jack of all Trades, Ira, Thank you for joining us. First question. Give me an example of when first you thought outside of the box when it comes to writing.
I’ve always thought that the box was only as big as what you draw influence from. I try to have a rather large pool of consuming everything from the “classics” to the most experimental trash that I can get my hands on. I don’t think I’ve ever even found the edges of the box.
Why transgressive fiction? What about this genre attracts you?
It’s the whole “one person vs. society” thing and breaking taboos. American society is filled with these social morays that never made any sense to me. I write with different flavors of genre, but the themes of transgression and existentialism are typically the block everything else is built on.
What is your current book about? What did you edit out of it?
I’ve been working on a book called Just Another Goddamn Failure, though I might put it down to write some stories for a while. It’s loosely based around the diary of a would-be political assassin but doesn’t go down that path. I’m a few thousand words into it but will probably ditch most of that by the time I’m done, as a lot of it is just me thinking about the character’s past that won’t advance the plot.
What was your hardest scene to write and in which book?
The first scene that I wrote for Participation Trophy (now about halfway through the book). I had to edit 15 pages down to 5 when I moved it. It was full of syrupy language and didn’t fit the style of the rest of the book.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I don’t really find it difficult, but I never write overly masculine or overly feminine characters. In real life, everybody’s somewhere on the spectrum, but rarely at either extreme. Also, I rarely write about romantic love or sex.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I’m constantly researching. I read, watch movies/documentaries, listen to lyrics in songs, watch people. When the right combination of ideas gels together in my brain, it just comes out.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have the skeletons to half a dozen in my brain that are just missing that key element. Just Another Goddamn Failure and a book of art called 50MG Eyes. Are about the only things that I’ve been exploring without a clear goal in mind.
What’s the best way to market your books?
The only things I go out of my way to do are make sure the book has a cover that will draw your eye. Then be a decent person who isn’t just sitting there spamming people constantly about your new book.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Everything I write is about something else entirely other than what’s on the page.
What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?
Most characters are Frankenstein’s monster of bits and pieces of different people. I don’t know if I could just insert anybody from my life into a story. Even if something starts out as autofiction, the “me” rarely has anything but a superficial resemblance.
If you're interested to get to know Ira more you can check out the following links:
Main website: https://www.irarat.com/
Filthy Press: filthyloot.com