A suicidal nudist strolls into traffic. An eccentric Buddhist claims he can occupy other people’s bodies. All the while, whispers of a new form of entertainment blow through town. Prompted by these strange occurrences, Marty Raft, a not-so-gentle giant, investigates and discovers underground clubs peddling music that induces an out-of-body experience. Marty and a wannabe comedian, Corey, set out to prove these special frequencies are nothing more than a hoax, or at worst, a mass-drugging. Instead, they uncover a secret with world-ending possibilities.
If you can hear the music, it’s already too late.
TMN: What inspired you to write SOUNDTRACK TO THE END OF THE WORLD?
AJR: I’m not entirely sure, though I think it had something to do with a bowl of lightly salted peanuts.
TMN: How did you come up with the title?
AJR: I was listening to Tool and I said something to my brother about how if the world ended, this would be my soundtrack. I liked the way it sounded and wrote it down, flipping the words around a bit.
TMN: Your characters seem so real, are they based on people you know?
AJR: Thank you so much, that’s a huge compliment! They aren’t based on real people, not at all. Although, a woman who knew me better than most anyone else once told me that she could identify little pieces of me in nearly all my characters. Sometimes just tiny things, other times large chunks. She said none of the characters were me, and yet, they all were. She was a smart girl.
TMN: The book is full of dark humor, did you set out to write it that way, or did it just happen?
AJR: The humor just comes out when I write. It’s in a lot of my work, though not all of it. I think it’s just part of my personality that seeps out. I like weird, and weird is pretty fond of me too. I’d probably marry it just to see what our kids would look like, you know, if weird wasn’t merely an abstract notion. I’m working on that though.
TMN: You’ve put quite a twist on the zombie. Where did you come up with the idea?
AJR: There’s this large hole in my backyard. It fills up with water when it rains and becomes this enormous mud puddle, lousy with rocks and roots. If I wait until the perfect time of day when the sun is high in the sky, I can discern my own reflection in the water. I watch closely for long moments as mosquitoes and gnats disturb the surface of the water, distorting my image until it looks like my face is melting. In those long drips of waxy skin and flesh, things live, and chatter-chatter, just barely audible. Oh, so quietly they speak. So gently they whisper.
TMN: What aspect of writing your book did you find the most challenging?
AJR: I ran out of ink halfway through printing the first draft.
TMN: When did you begin writing?
AJR: I wrote on and off through my childhood, but never seriously. I was more interested in guitar, painting, and drawing for a long time. I tried writing a novel when I was 19, but quit prematurely. I didn’t start writing seriously until I was 22, during my last semester of college. I took a creative writing class during the interim (between the fall and spring semesters). I don’t remember the professor’s name, but it was in his class I had my epiphany: I am a writer.
TMN: What’s your favorite book?
AJR: I’ve been asked this a lot. I usually say Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, but that’s not always true. Sometimes it’s Walden, and other times it’s Dharma Bums. It changes with my mood, like my taste in music.
TMN: What are you currently reading?
AJR: I’ve been doing a lot of reading for friends. Things that aren’t published yet. I wish I had more time for pleasure reading, but it’s not happening at the moment. Although I can say I did read Troy Blackford’s Critical Incident and loved the hell out of it. And I have Benjamin Kane Ethridge’s Bottled Abyss in my TBR pile. I also still need to read King’s entire Dark Tower series, if I ever find the time.
TMN: Do you have any advice for new writers?
AJR: Go hiking or walking at least 30 minutes a day. Writing can turn you into a total lump if you don’t get exercise. Also, try to remember when you’re in your novel and when you’re in the real world, because things can get confusing if you lose track.
TMN: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
AJR: Yes, and this is very important. Stay calm, and whatever you do, don’t turn around. Sit perfectly still. Something is tickling your neck. It feels like a light breeze, but you know better, because there’s also the sensation of staring at you: a prickling of the skin.
Don’t turn around! Don’t even breathe, and listen carefully: the thrumming thicket of ticking and wrenching gutful information concentrates inside the rhythmical turbulence of seconds and minutes that you understand can’t possibly mean a thing, until it does. So you sing.
TMN: What’s next for you?
AJR: Oh, I was just about to have a beer.
Anthony J. Rapino resides in Northeastern Pennsylvania, somewhere between the concrete of the city and the trees of the forest. On occasion, you’ll find him moderating the feverish battles between the creatures of these two arenas. Whose side he’s on is anyone’s guess.
His newest fiction can be found in Black Ink Horror, On Spec, Arcane Anthology, Electric Spec, A cappella Zoo, Space Squid, TQR Stories, and carved inside a variety of autumn gourds. His short story collection, Welcome to Moon Hill, is currently available, as is his first novel Soundtrack to the End of the World. Proof of his psychosis can be found on his website: http://www.anthonyjrapino.com