Feature Interview with Joshua Chaplinsky

October 3, 2016


According to Joshua Chaplinsky, his wife thought his first standalone work, Kanye West - Reanimator, was a bad idea.


“I knew I had to write it,” said Chaplinsky. “I wasn't specifically trying to come up with a mash-up. The idea sort of found me.


“It takes the original H.P. Lovecraft short story, “Herbert West—Reanimator”, and reimagines it with Kanye West as the mad scientist character. The result is a hip-hop horror story about existential dread wherein Kanye comes to believe his music is so powerful, it can raise people from the dead. So he decides to resurrect Biggie and Tupac, and things go horribly wrong.”


The mash up “in the vein of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” is a novella length oddity meeting almost completely good reviews. It isn’t the only time the author skirted the lines of peculiarity, if his provided headshot didn’t already give off the idea of quirkiness, his story Maison D’Oeufs will. The short is due for inclusion in Issue #1 of Unnerving Magazine.


“It started with a jokey title, Life Begins at Delicious. I thought of the title and attached the premise to it,” said Chaplinsky.


I can assure you, it is odd and it is awesome.


Chaplinsky is a pro-active messenger for his work, “There are so many books out there, you really have to make an effort to find new and unusual avenues to promote yourself. You can’t just constantly harass the same few people on social media. You have to take your harassment to the street! I’m lucky that my book was blessed with an amazing, eye-catching cover by Dyer Wilk. It practically sells itself. All I have to do is put it out there and people take notice. I recently went to Kanye’s Pablo pop-up in NYC to hawk my wares. I’d like to see Jonathan Franzen do that!”


Aside from reimagining H.P. Lovecraft, donning chicken suits and tapping his feet on the concrete with a bag of literary goodies, Joshua Chaplinsky is also managing editor of Lit-Reactor.


“LitReactor is a one-stop shop resource for writers. We have an online magazine with reviews, interviews, and daily columns on the craft of writing and the publishing industry. We also have a peer-review writers workshop and a discussion forum. Most importantly, we offer online classes taught by established authors and industry professionals. Lidia Yuknavitch, John Skipp, Craig Clevenger, Stephen Graham Jones, and even Chuck Palahniuk have all taught classes for us. It's a great community whose writers have gone on to do great work.”


Recently, Chaplinsky has had stories appear in Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing’s Lost Signals anthology and he has a story accepted for publication in New English Press’ Wu-Tang Clan tribute anthology as well as one slated for publication in Lycan Press’ forthcoming Final Masquerade anthology.


"I’m having so much fun with the short form right now. There is an instant gratification to writing short fiction. You can get something out there in front of people and even make a little money in a relatively short period of time.


“From a young age I knew I wanted to write fiction. It just took me a long time to actually do it. I wrote some awful stories for a creative writing class when I was in college, and then I spent a long time focusing my creative energies on screenwriting. A couple years ago, I finally decided to buckle down and start writing and submitting short stories. Better late than never. I suppose. Anything literary and 'weird.' One of the first books that probably set me down this path was Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. It showed me literature could be just as dark and weird as a cult film. But I’d have to say it was probably all those years of writing screenplays that most influenced the way I write now. The minimalist aspect of screenwriting has been hard to shake, and I think it’s been for the better.”


Joshua Chaplinsky was reached via email and I thank him for his time.


Joshua Chaplinsky is the Managing Editor of LitReactor.com. He has also written for the popular film site TwitchFilm and for ChuckPalahniuk.net, the official website of Fight Club author, Chuck Palahniuk. He is the author of Kanye West—Reanimator. His short fiction has appeared in Zetetic, Motherboard, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Thuglit, Dark Moon Digest, Cracked Eye, Pantheon Magazine, Fabula Argentea, and more. More info at joshuachaplinsky.com


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