The Horror Tree Presents an Interview with Liian Varus
The Horror Tree Presents an Interview with Liian Varus
By Ruschelle Dillon
Ruschelle: There are times an interviewer comes across a writer so intriguing, offbeat and creative that it would be remiss to NOT get to know this author. This is one such author. Today, I welcome Liian Varus to one of the twisted branches on the Horror Tree. Liian is a poet and vloggist (Is that a word? Let me steal a line from Debbie Jellinsky from the Addams Family Values movie, “It sounds filthy. I like it.”) who has the body of a man and the head of a crow. True story! His current tome of dark poetry entitled, ‘Good Night, Titan Arum, And Farewell’ as well as ‘Oh, To Be Human’, ‘Is Stranged’ and the highly anticipated adult picture book, ‘Open the Big Top’, are available all over the www. So, spill the tea or umm…shred the carcass since you’re part crow- when did you first delve into the bowels and viscera of dark poetry?
Liian: ‘Good Night, Titan Arum, And Farewell’ was published a year and a half ago so I wouldn’t really consider that current. And I promise you, nobody was anticipating that piece of literary garbage – ‘Open The Big Top’. You should also know that I am 100% crow. I just have some limb deformities that make me look like I’m part human. It’s something I’m super sensitive about and would rather not talk about it. Thanks. Well, this interview is off to a hot start. What else you got? Your hair looks soft. Can I brush it? Okay. Maybe later. I winked at you.
Ruschelle: My hair does need a good bushing. See me after the interview.
Nature is extremely beautiful, but it can also be quite dark. In your book ‘Good Night, Titan Arum, And Farewell’ you pair the two together like peanut butter and chocolate. Yum. Did you set out to write the book with that in mind or was it something that came to fruition organically as each poem unfolded?
Liian: Thank you for bringing up the painful memory of how my marriage nearly ended. ‘Good Night, Titan Arum, And Farewell’, in a nutshell, was a colossal failure in so many ways. Originally, the book was going to be strictly nature poetry. I was going to show that I didn’t need to rely on my Depression to write anymore. Which was a big deal because Depression has always been my muse. You can see the original idea for the book at the beginning, but the further you delve into it, you’ll notice it gets darker and darker. That’s because my wife and I started fighting a lot about how I was never mentally present for our family because I was always working on the damn book. #AuthorProblems. Am I right? Eventually our fighting took its emotional toll on me and that began seeping into the book. Wasn’t long before Depression once again took control of the reigns. It was once again my muse. Besides the emotional turmoil and the almost complete disintegration of my family life, the book was also a colossal failure in expected sales. I dealt with all the shit I was going through because I felt like ‘Good Night, Titan Arum, And Farewell’ was going to be my breakout book. It would justify everything. Let’s just say nothing was justified and I still feel like a piece of shit. This is where we hug, right?
Ruschelle: I started charging for hugs so, cash or card? Your poetry is brimming with brilliant lines. Like a crow bestowing shiny gifts to the reader. When did the Mad GoreCrow first take flight? And, why? Don’t forget the why.
Liian: Gorcrow. Not Gorecrow. F*ck*ng Christ, Ruschelle. Did you even study? Thank you. I can’t take all the credit. Depression wrote most of it. I’m a big f*ck*ng fraud. So how about that hug? Ruschelle, you’re making this interview really awkward. I’m simply requesting you pretend you’re an octopus on ecstasy for five seconds. Sigh. Fine. Anyway… I began showing my work online around 2003-2004. But it wasn’t until 2015 where I started taking myself seriously as a poet. It’s when I gave myself a name, a brand, and began working on my first book – ‘Oh, To Be Human’. I felt like what I had to say needed to be heard. Like a cosmic calling. Of course, that could just be the narcissist in me. It’s been seven years and I’m still struggling to make a name for myself. I’d quit but I’m literally not good at anything else. Hell, even my wife has to remind me to breathe sometimes. As a living organism I suck. Quilty. I’m not a blanket. Guilty.
Ruschelle: How did you know I’m part octopus on my mother’s side? You must be psycho or something! Your crow mask and alter ego are absolutely fabulous! Is it a custom piece or labor of love? Or, is this one of those, if you tell us you’ll have to peck out our eyeballs or some cray-cray shit like that?
Most writers read for inspiration, for enjoyment and for escape. What do you read when seeking out that inspiration or escapism?
Liian: This is probably where you and the other two people reading this are going to want to shoot me in the neck with a crossbow. I don’t read. I find reading painfully boring. When I read to my kid at bedtime, I always fall asleep. To clarify, it has nothing to do with me thinking I’m better than everyone else. I’m just not interested in other people’s stories even knowing they’re probably 1000% better writers than I. I live in a tiny bubble and I like being a sexy contortionist. No, Ruschelle, I’m married. Future reference – you came on a little too strong. But music is where I get all my inspiration. Music in the background is a must for me. And to anyone who says you can’t be a writer if you don’t read – you can go f*ck yourself. Can I say that? Okay. You can edit that out. But can you like tell people you edited it out? OH. OK.
Ruschelle: No editing… except for my tinder profile looking for a dude who likes shiny things and preens his feathers. Married. Dammit. Anywho…
Is there a particular author or piece of poetry that resonated with you and gave you that nudge to continue your writers journey?
Liian: I swear you’re not even listening to me. That’s right, Ruschelle, just smile and nod.
Ruschelle: ((note to self…know what the interviewee is going to say before you write a question for them))
Fun question – If you could hold a Guiness Book of World record, or a spot in Ripley’s Believe it not, what would it be for?
Liian: I’m actually already in the Guiness Book of World Records. I hold the record for most buttons collected during an earthquake at 8, 492. Pst. Ruschelle, do you have a mic I could borrow? I’d like to drop it. No? Okay. Thanks.
Ruschelle: ‘Open the Big Top’ is a fun book with pictures and a tasty tale set in the strange world of the circus. Tell your newfound fans a little about what they can expect when tucking into this weirdly mesmerizing book?
Liian: There’s not going to be a sequel. LEAVE. ME. ALONE.
Ruschelle: ((scribbling in my notes- no sequel. Leave him alone. Got it…but will I? Doubtful))
As writers we hope people connect with and enjoy what we birth- no matter how beautiful or ugly. Reviews let us peek into our readers headspace after they’ve been touched –appropriately or inappropriately, by our ideas and prose. As authors, we celebrate the little victories when people “get us” and ruffle our feathers when they…don’t. How do you process both good and bad reviews? What advice would you give to the newbies out there waiting with bait on their breath for a review?
Liian: I honestly prefer bad reviews to good ones. It’s because how I market myself. It’s really hard to market myself as a piece of shit if there’s no bad reviews to back up my claim. Don’t get my wrong, I know good reviews will help further my career as a legit author, but those bad reviews really make my day. There’s just so many things I can do with them. Whether it’s turning them into memes or using them as authentic sale pitches.
You do you, kids. Was that good, Ruschelle. On a scale of 1 to inspirational as f*ck, how would you rate that advice?
Ruschelle: Rating of a solid Spinal Tap 11.
As writers, we all have our ‘children’ that we love more than others. Of all you have written, do have a favorite ‘child’?
Liian: ‘Good Night, Titan Arum, And Farewell’ because it’s all the best and worst of me. And it also caused me to have a mental breakdown which oddly enough is what ‘Open The Big Top’ was birthed from. How neat is that?
Ruschelle: Is there one piece you’ve written that you feel stands out from all you’ve penned?
Liian: No. It’s all equally terrible really.
Ruschelle: I’ve read and listened to ‘Good Night, Titan Arum, And Farewell’ on Audible and I absolutely loved the story and inspiration printed just before each adjoining poem. Why did you include the backstory instead of just highlighting the poems?
Liian: It was Depression’s idea to turn it into a bit of a story. I can’t explain why it chose to do that but it seemed to work. Depression has the best ideas. I wish I was Depression. So jealous.
Ruschelle: Your Facebook page, Caws the GoreCrow, has been getting a lot of traffic which is awesome. And because of your posts and videos you have been receiving books from your newfound fans to handwrite a personal inscription for them. When you penned and uploaded your first inscription, did you think the idea would catch fire like it has?
Liian: When I uploaded my first inscription, I didn’t expect anything. I just really wanted a way to show people the kind of author I am. What my brand is. What they can expect even if it goes against all traditional norms. Which turns out to be everything I do. So that’s fun. I suppose this is where I should thank people for supporting me but I won’t. It’ll show weakness and they’ll kill me.
Ruschelle: You meld comedy, writing and mental health together in your writing as well as your Facebook and YouTube posts. How easy is it to bare your feathered soul? Does the humor make it easier or is that the tough part?
Liian: It’s easy whoring out my emotions because I’m irrelevant. So, everything I say or do is irrelevant. Which means any response to my mental health is irrelevant and well, it’s just one giant loop of who gives a f*ck? You know. But yes, the humour is important because it at least makes my emotional downfalls a little less irritating to witness and a lot less boring.
Ruschelle: You’re forthcoming in videos and your books with discussing your mental health. It’s something many people struggle with. Especially Creatives. What do you wish people would know and understand about mental health and the role of creativity?
Liian: All I can say is that if you have mental health issues and you have no way to vent, you’re f*ck*d. So, I suggest finding something. Mental health is a terrible thing but when it comes to creativity and it’s controlled, it really is a wonderful gift. Of course, when it comes to keeping a job, making friends, or not dying alone, those will still be problematic as f*ck, but hey, at least you’re creating beautiful things.
Ruschelle: Many writers love taking risks? That’s the rumor anyway. Is there a topic, genre or book type (novel, novella, comic book) you hope to or are taking a risk on?
Liian: I am currently working on my first novel. It’s hush-hush right now. Ruschelle, I said mind your own business. F*ck your nosey. Snuggles!
Ruschelle: Yay snuggles! That’ll cost ya extra.
If you couldn’t be a crow, what would you be? And don’t say octopus because that’s my answer.
Liian: Frankly, this question is completely and utterly offensive.
Ruschelle: Heh heh, you said ‘udder’. Shut up, I’m taking liberties here.
What project or projects are you working on that we all can look forward to reading, listening, or watching?
Liian: Besides my novel, I’m also working on a new book of poetry. I am hoping at least one of them will be out by next year. Right now, I’m focused on building my brand and maybe going to the store to get some Doritos.
Ruschelle: Ooh Doritos. Yum. Thank you so much for hanging out with me here at the Horror Tree! It’s been a pleasure. Although, sitting on the top branch is messing with my fear of heights. Damn bird…So, will you please tell your newfound fans how they might find you on the www?
Liian: Thanks for having me. I’m desperate for attention and really needed this. Thank you. Everyone can file their complaints at www.facebook.com/thehorridcorvid
- About the Author
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Ruschelle Dillon is a freelance writer whose efforts focus on the dark humor and the horror genres. Ms. Dillon’s brand of humor has been incorporated in a wide variety of projects, including the irreverent blog Puppets Don’t Wear Pants and novelette “Bone-sai”, published through Black Bed Sheet Books as well as the live-action video shorts “Don’t Punch the Corpse” and “Mothman”. She also interviews authors for the Horror Tree website.
Her short stories have appeared in various anthologies and online zines such as Strangely Funny III, Story Shack, Siren’s Call, Weird Ales- Another Round and Women in Horror Anthology Vol. 2, Sanitarium Magazine, Dark Voices and Fear and Fables. Her collection of short stories, Arithmophobia published by Mystery and Horror LLC, is available through Amazon & Barnes and Noble. Summer 2020, Black Bed Sheet Publishing will release her dark Novella, The Stain.