CAT Magazine

CAT Magazine

Artist, Writer & All Around Fun Guy - Steven Novak



Born in Chicago Illinois, Steven Novak has spent the whole of his life creating. After attending The Columbus College of Art and Design for four years he moved to California where he married his wife. The pair have been together for nearly a decade. He likes pizza. He’s sort of a nerd. He has terrible luck and worse personal hygiene. He also hates having to write bios about himself. He thinks bios are stupid. His work can be found online at www.novakillustration.com






Welcome to Writing Innovations Steven. I just love the fact that you are into Art and write! I have to say that I think those make the best books and I can't wait to start reading yours, which is next on my list. So without further ado...I give you Steven Novak!

WI: Tell us a little bit about yourself...

I’m closer to thirty than I am to forty. I have a full head of hair. I’m often seen with a beard. My eyes are blue, my lips are usually frowned, I’ve got a slightly pudgier belly than I’d like, and there’s a scar on my testicles from my vasectomy.

You probably didn’t need to know that though.

I make my living as a graphic designer, illustrator, and writer. I also work out of my home. I usually don’t shower until noon. I often work in my underpants and sometimes not even in that.

You probably didn’t need to know that either.

My wife is ten years older than me. I have a stepson who is seven years younger, and he has two children under the age of three. I guess that technically makes me a grandpa. Yep, I’m a grandpa with a faux-hawk.

Welcome to the modern age.

WI: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I guess I’ll let you know when it happens – if it happens.

It probably won’t happen.

It’s a little bit silly, but I’ve always thought of writers as old men with pointy beards and wrinkles so deeply set into their faces that you could trip on them. Writers smoke pipes stuffed with odd smelling substances. Writers have gray hair and wear dusty old jackets with patches on the elbows. Their voices sound like gravel being eaten by a walrus with teeth made entirely of gravel. Writers care about politics, and attend rallies, and shake their fists at the forces of injustice.

I poke fun at Kim Kardashain’s posterior and tell stories about the time a hobo tried to urinate on me in a public restroom.

The only rally I’ve ever attended is a comic book convention.

I’m not a writer.

Well, my theory is if you put words to paper, you're a writer lol. 

WI: Have you had any classes or hold a degree that aides you in your writing? What developed your creative side?

Nope. Not one. Not even half of one.

I did take a creative writing course in high school but I was way too lazy and far too interested in drawing boobs on my notebook to actually do the required work. I failed it. I also attend a four-year (somewhat well known) art college. None of my courses had anything to do with writing though.

That being said, I’ve always been creative and I’ve always spent my free time making things. In grade school I created homemade comic books and sold them to the kids on the bus. In high school my little brother and I scripted, shot, and edited no less than fourteen feature length movies.

Heck, I even managed to trick my wife into abandoning common sense entirely and hop into the sack with me because of the romantic sketches and letters I sent her way during our rather awkward courting period.

My creative side has ruined that poor woman’s life.

WI: What, in your opinion, is the first most important step to marketing a book?

Kiss a lot of ass and get really lucky.

That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? Sorry.

It’s also probably not the answer anyone wants to hear.

Unfortunately, we all know it’s true.

Talent doesn’t rise to the top. That’s a silly notion. It never has. If talent rose to the top there would be no Lindsay Lohan, and Snooki sure as hell wouldn’t have written a book that made it onto the bestseller list.

If you want to sell some books or get that promotion you’ve been angling for, you need to be outgoing, and you need to be annoying, and you can’t b ashamed of it. That’s all it takes. Plain and simple. Selling books requires you to shove your name down people’s throats and hope for the best.

Personally, I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason to any of it.

Then again, I’m just a dope that wrote a silly story about the time I muttered the words “space aged polymer” while making love to my wife.

The best possible advice I could give you is that you shouldn’t listen to anything I say.

WI: Do you prefer to publish in paperback or e-book format?

I still prefer an old school book. I’ve published all of my independent stuff on every format available, because I have to, but I don’t even own a Kindle. My wife owns one. I’ve never read anything on it, though. I took it into the bathroom with me once. The only thing she had on it was the Twilight series.

I nearly flushed it down the toilet.

WI: Tell us what it's like for you when you sit down to write...Do you need complete silence, do you create a playlist?

The first thing I do is take off my pants. It’s the only way I can get the creative juices flowing. If my sweaty, exposed cheeks aren’t plastered to the leather seat beneath them I can’t think straight. I write in the nude or I don’t write at all. Deal with it!

Okay, that was a lie.

I sometimes leave on my socks.

Okay, that was a lie as well.

I’m usually wearing a scarf too.


WI: How long did it take you to write this particular book/novel?

Goats Eat Cans is essentially a collection of short stories about particularly annoying moments from my life and I’ve been assembling it for a very, very long time. It would be hard to say exactly how long it took. The first drafts of some of the stories were written over seven years ago and a few others were whipped up last Christmas.

WI: Most authors despise the editing process. What is this process like for you?

I guess I’m a lot like most authors in that case, because I hate it as much as anyone. In fact, I hate it so much I don’t even do it.

Okay, I’m lying again.

Over the years I’ve worked with a lot of fantastic editors who have trudged through my poor punctuation and blatant disregard for the English language. They’ve drank endless cups of coffee, popped bottles of pills and pulled so much hair from their head that they had to move to their crotch to find some more. They’ve saved me from looking like a complete idiot and I appreciate them immensely.

That being said, I rarely take their advice when it comes to “story suggestions” and I don’t often make any major alterations from my first draft. I don’t like to over think things.

I don’t even really like to plain old think things.

WI: Do you like the traditional publishing route, or do you prefer self-publishing?

Having done both I actually prefer the self-publishing route quite a bit. Maybe it’s because of the publishers I’ve worked with in the past? I dunno. Maybe not. There’s certainly something to be said about the complete and total freedom that comes with seeing a project from beginning to end and not having to compromise your vision in any way.

It’s not that dislike the opinions of others when it comes to my stories, it’s just that, in the case of self-publishing, mine is more important.

If you’re going to self-publish something, make it yours 100%. That’s my motto.
I’ve worked in the commercial arts for years and having total control over a project is a rare and wonderful thing. The fact that I spend so much of my time bringing to life the ideas of others might have something to do with my unwillingness to let the nosey jerks worm their way into that as well.

Or maybe I’m actually the jerk.

Either way.

WI: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

When it comes to Goats Eat Cans specifically, I just hope you get a few chuckles. It’s a humor book. It exists to make you laugh and at a $1.99 it’s a pretty good deal. * wink wink *

Sure there are a lot of extremely personal stories in there, and if you get something beyond the laughs from it, awesome. That’s icing on the cake.

If you’re the kind of person that enjoys the age-old humor that comes from watching a man being hit in the groin with a football, I think you’ll like Goats Eat Cans. Life is the football and it’s been whacking me in the scones for as long as I can remember.

You laugh at me and you feel better about yourself.

That’s more than worth a $1.99.

WI: How did art become a part of your life? Have you always been drawn to it?

Drawn to it.

Well played.

Yeah, art has always been a part of my life. To this very day my mother loves to tell the story about how I pulled off my diaper when I was a wee tyke, grabbed a handful of the nastiness inside, and used it to paint the wall next to my crib.

I’ve always wanted to draw and I’ve always wanted to make stuff – so much that I was willing to do it with my poop.

WI: How has your illustration helped you in your writing endeavors? I know for me, I often see scenes more clearly as a result of my artistic side. Is it like that for you?

A lot of writers hate when I say this, but sometimes the pictures come before the words for me. In fact, for the last year or so, in my spare time I’ve been writing, illustrating, and publishing a webcomic titled, The Bad Guys. It’s a labor of love sort of thing.

Anyway, this is the part that makes my writer-pals cringe – you see, I don’t have a script for it.

I draw the panels and the pages first and I plop in the words after the fact.

It’s wrong. It’s backward. I know it’s wrong and backward. I also sort of don’t care because it works for me.

A few years back I wrote a young adult fantasy/adventure trilogy titled Forts. Before I ever typed a word of the story I sat down at my desk and painted a rough version of the cover featuring all of the characters. I’m a creative guy first and a writer second. In fact, the actual act of writing is sort of a pain in the butt for me. If I could slice open my skull, lift out my brain, smear it against the monitor and instantly transfer the story to words, I’d do it in a second.

It would probably be pretty damn messy and I’d most likely have to purchase a new monitor, but I’d still do it.

Oh, I guess I might die too.

That would be an issue.

WI: What can we expect from you in the future?

This year is 100% dedicated to Goats Eat Cans. Volume 1 is available as I type and Volume 2 is currently in the hands of my editor. I’m aiming for a July release. I’m also putting the finishing touches on Volume 3. If everything goes according to plan it should be available in time for Christmas.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better Christmas gift than a book that features a story about the time my childhood pal poured a gallon of urine onto the head of his younger brother. That’s a fact, Jack.

Seriously, stuff one of these things in the stocking of your significant other and I can guarantee that they’ll never forget it.

There’s also a good chance they might never forgive you.

Either way, it’ll make for a memorable conversation over a mug of chocolate milk.

WI: Please let readers know where they can connect with you and purchase your books...

All Goats Eat Cans relate information can be found at: www.goatseatcans.blogspot.com

All other Steven Novak related stuff can be found at: www.novakillustration.com

I also host a mostly weekly podcast through my writers group at: www.litunderground.com

I’m on Twitter @stvfoolery and you can find me on Facebook as well. If you send me a friend request, I’ll accept it without question. I’ll let you browse my personal profile. I’ll let you dig through my family photographs and laugh at how goofy I looked in childhood pictures. I’m a man damn it! I’m not scared that you could be a lunatic stalker who spends his or her weekend bathing in a bathtub full of your own excrement and human limbs cooked medium rare! That’s how I roll, Jack! My pen name isn’t S.C. Novak! I refer to people as Jack far too often! Bring it on poop tub! I can handle your cooked-arm poop tub!

WI: Thank you so much for chatting with us today.  - The Writing Innovations Team

Thanks for reading – if you are still reading.

You probably aren’t.

I mentioned poop an awful lot.

LOL. Not that you guys got a taste of what the book will contain...Steven is also offering 2 giveaways as part of his virtual book tour. 2 lucky people that follow and comment on the tour have a chance to win a Signed Chapter Art Illustration and a Signed Paperback of Goats Eat Cans. So leave a comment and follow the tour HERE for more chances to win.

Remember the weird kid with the greasy hair and the odd smell you went to school with? You know, the one who never talked to anyone? That creepy little jerk who sat alone at lunch? The oddball who never took a shower in gym class? The one you imagined might one day go on a shooting spree?

Believe it or not, that kid grew up.

He grew up, he got married, he never shot a single person, he wrote a book, and he even started taking showers after his workouts – most of the time.

Goats Eat Cans is his story.

Follow along as Steven Novak recounts the sometimes hilarious, sometimes hilariously painful, and sometimes painfully hilarious moments that have made his life so wonderfully frustrating. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you might even vomit. No matter what, you won't be able to stop reading.

Goats Eat Cans features 55 stories, 55 illustrations, 99 luftballons and enough nonsense to keep you chuckling and giggling for days on end – or hours – or at the very least a few minutes.

WEBSITES:



Excerpt:

MY CAT SMASHING MOJO


I have a mortal enemy. His name is Jabar.
Jabar is a cat.
Is that lame—to have a cat as a mortal enemy? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. If I were you though, I wouldn’t rush to judgment. You don't know this cat. This cat is evil. He's cunning, he's focused and nasty and vile and just plain mean.
He’s smart too.
He’s real smart.
He’s so smart he’ll write your midterm, and he’ll get a better grade than you ever would have.
He's my Lex Luthor.
Of course, if he's Lex Luthor, that would make me Superman, and I can’t be Superman. I hate that goody two-shoes jerk. Plus, I look terrible in red speedos.
Okay, this cat is my Joker. Which makes me Batman.
Yeah, I can deal with being Batman. Not the corny seventies Batman, but cool, pissed-off Frank-Miller-Dark-Knight-Returns Batman. I’ll be the Batman who chews steel, spits iron, and calls Robin a fruitcake.
That Batman’s awesome.
You see, not long after purchasing and moving into our first home, the wife and I had a cat door installed in the door leading into our garage. We then had another installed in the side door leading from the garage to the back yard. This was so our two cats could come and go as they pleased. It was simple. It was cheap, and at the time, it seemed to make perfect sense.
The thing we never counted on was that, while the doors gave our cats the ability to get out, they also presented other cats in the neighborhood with a way to get in.
It really should have been obvious from the start, but it wasn’t.
Okay, so maybe I'm not exactly Batman.
I mean, besides being a hell of a hand-to-hand fighter, a billionaire playboy, and a heck of a detective, Batman was also a scientist. A scientist would have figured out the intricacies of the cat door situation long before installation began.
I first spotted him on a Tuesday morning. I was late to work. I hustled down the stairs and into the kitchen where I planned to snag my keys and head for the door.
He was right there, waiting for me.
There was a very fat cat with a big black spot over his right eye sitting on my kitchen counter. The chubby, eye-patched little bastard was squatting on my tiled countertops without a care in the world—like he owned the place.
Our eyes met and I swear to you, I saw him grin.
Before I could react, he leapt from the counter, shot through the cat door leading into the garage, zoomed through the one leading into the yard, and was gone.
Not only was he smart, he was fast—especially for a dude carrying a couple extra pounds.
Lets jump ahead to Wednesday night. I was awoken by the sound of two cats fighting downstairs. I figured it's just our two cats—because they’re jerks and they fight all the time—so I tried to go back to sleep. Plus, I was in the middle of a fairly fantastic dream involving me, the Enterprise, and an invading horde of hypersexual Orion slave girls.
The fighting didn’t stop.
It wouldn’t stop, and it sounded a heck of a lot more vicious than usual.
I dragged myself from bed, wobbled downstairs half-awake, and clicked on the lights. It was Jabar. He was in my house, and he was beating the snot out of my cats. The black-eyed devil spotted me and escaped in a blink.
The next night, the exact same thing happened.
The night after that, he did it again.
He was toying with me.
The wife and I decided to temporarily close up the cat doors and bring a litter box into the equation. After a few weeks, we tried the cat doors again.
The very next night, Jabar was back.
Damn it!
I’d had enough. If Jabar’s intention was to start something, he should considered it started. It was on! I was done fooling around. I was done playing the straight man, and I was through playing nice. No more games. No more second chances. No more lollygagging, no more pigeonholing, and no more lollypigeons!
If he wanted some of me, he was going to get some of me. He was going to get all of me he could handle, and them some!
I coiled my hands into fists and slammed my knuckles together. I lifted my head to the stars and proclaimed to the heavens above, "Bring it on, bitch!”
The wife heard me from the other room. "Bring what on? Who are you talking to?"
"Nothing...no one."
It was a Monday night—around 11 p.m. I was in the garage, and I was standing to the side of the door leading into the backyard. My eyes were trained on the flapping plastic covering the cat door just below my knees. Hoisted above my head was a brick.
My plan was simple: Cat comes into garage. Cat gets smashed.
Almost elegant in its simplicity, no?
Sort of like a Peanuts comic strip—with bricks and squashed cats.
"Steven, are you in he—" The wife stepped into the garage and immediately spotted me with a brick over my head, a wild expression on my face, and sweat pouring from my brow.
She stared at me for a moment, an indescribable look of confusion on her face. "Steven, what are you doing?"
"Nothing."
Her eyes moved from me, to my smashing brick, and back to me. She wasn’t buying my nothing excuse. "No, seriously, what are you doing?"
"I'm going to crush Jabar with this brick."
"Who's Jabar?"
The cat that keeps coming in here at night."
"How do you know his name is Jabar?"
"I heard the little girls across the street calling him that when they were playing with him in their yard."
Her expression changed. Suddenly, she was looking at me like I’d just taken a dump on the floor—like I dropped my pants and started humping the punch bowl at her company Christmas party.
"So, wait. You're going to stand here in the garage all night so you can smash the cat of the little girls across the street with a brick when he tries to come in our house?"
When she said it aloud like that, I have to admit, it sounded just a little idiotic.
So what?
I couldn’t let that deter me. The plan was the plan, and the plan was set in motion. There was no coming back and no backing down. I had no intention of allowing her to steal my need for vengeance! Under no circumstances whatsoever was I going to let her ruin my cat-smashing mojo. Not today! Not ever again!
"Yep. That's exactly what I'm going to do."
"No, you're not."
"I'm not?"
"No, you're not."
"But I want to."
"You're not smashing that cat."
"Oh."
"Put the brick down and come upstairs."
You've won this round Jabar.





6 Responses to "Artist, Writer & All Around Fun Guy - Steven Novak"

mary ann bernal said...

Great interview - terrific book trailer

Bk Walker said...

Thanks for stopping in Mary Ann! I know we're all going to love this book! :)

www.swigden.com said...

Steven Novak's "goats eat cans" was entertaining enough that it glued the left side of my mouth to my left ear, and well you know what happened to the right side...yep, that was glued too. I had a goofy grin on my face the whole time I read it, and still now, I relate and remember many of the outrageous events. I will warn the more conservative folks out there, you may blush, put it down for a while, wonder how he had the nerve to divulge some things, but your curiosity will get the better of you and you may just forgo your conservative side for the duration of the book.Would I recommend it, as much as I would say I never saw a goat eat a can.  Thanks Steven and thank your Mom for having you!   susan wigden

Steven Novak said...

Thanks, Mary Ann! Overall, I'm pretty proud of the book. Is it going to change the face of publishing? No. Will it make a couple people chuckle. Possibly. That's good enough for me. :)

Steven Novak said...

Wait a minute. Did you just suggest that I thank my mother for for allowing my father to insert his genitals into her?

I'm not thanking her for that.

Seriously though, the kind words are very appreciated, Susan! Really glad you enjoyed the book!

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