Today I am participating in a blog tour. Please find a link to the other blog events and to the rafflecopter at the bottom of this page, as well as a similar post on my original blog, which will be phased out over the next months or so.
Without further ado, please meet Jarod Kintz!
Right versus wrong, good versus evil, and peanut butter versus jelly—these are just a few of the many eternal struggles this book tackles.
But don’t worry, based on the NFL’s recent concussion scares, all this book’s characters were made to wear helmets before these hard-hitting issues were tackled.
Some central questions will be answered, like:
Who is Dark Jar Tin Zoo, and why is he trying to take over the world?
Will Jackson Jackson Jackson be able to thwart Dark’s diabolical plans? And why does he have a last name for a first and a middle name?
Is Abby Norma Sykes simply too sexy to be featured in such a dramatic thriller such as this book clearly is?
Finally, is it improper to refer to a dwarf as a midget? And what is the shortest height you can be without technically being a dwarf? Is it really as tall as 4’11”? Does that make a person who’s 4’10” the World’s Tallest Dwarf?
This book doesn’t actually discuss such serious social issues as I alluded to in the last paragraph, but it should. I’ll speak to the author immediately, and maybe he’ll address them in the sequel.
“The Mandrake Hotel and Resort to violence if necessary” by Jarod Kintz is one of the oddest books I have read in a while, but fortunately I mean this in a good way.
Combining absurd, farcical and surreal humour with some more serious and thoughtful musings the book is a firework of clever lines and quirky episodes.
The Mandrake Hotel has a room for everyone, whatever your desires, hobbies and preferences are. It is a madhouse and a world of liberty: Whether you want a room made of sand, one with specific collectibles or a floor full of nudists – the hotel has got it.
I wondered for a long time if the hotel was written as a fantasy world for lazy and hedonistic people (as one reviewer suggested) or as a wider symbol for the world as it is; a statement not unlike the questions of all questions in Douglas Adams book. The world population is exploding, so are we sitting on a powder keg that will go off once the resources run out? Can humanity survive? Are we sane in doing what we are doing?
A lot of ideas are covered in this book at a fast pace, highlighting absurdities and having a good laugh at them.
The author draws you into the book with his wit and once I had handed over total logic to the valet and stopped trying to make sense of every line that was thrown at me – at times very fast paced and confusing – I eased in to the rhythm of the story. It reminds me of the great Eugene Ionesco and Haruki Murakami, without wanting to imply that the style is close to either of them.
So much about the Hotel part.
‘Resort to violence’ refers to the plot as it thickens. Our hero of many names and his date Abby decide to fight Dark, the villain of from the 13th floor and here a more structured narrative continues.
The book is hugely entertaining, clever and will probably divide the audience into those who appreciate it and those who may not ‘get it’. Luckily I was part of the latter group. My mother in law would say : It is different. I agree, it is, and it is good. Try it!
Interview with Jarod:
How long have you been writing, and how did you start?
I’ve been writing for about 12 years, and it started one day on a plane back from Denver when I decided I wanted to write for Saturday Night Live. I liked the idea of only working one day a week. That really appealed to my Puritan work ethic.
I really love your book but found it difficult to put in any box of sorts. What genre would you say it would most fit in?
This book is hard to classify, but I’d call it dystopian humor. There is a very serious issue I address, the one about exponential growth, but I didn’t want to close the book with that reality so I brought in a surrealistic and absurd ending to distract from the bummer idea I’m trying to bring awareness to.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
The title of the book, “The Mandrake Hotel and Resort to violence if necessary” just sort of occurred to me randomly. I wanted the name of the hotel to sound both luxurious and sinister, and then I decided to make the play on words to give a hint at what the book was about, so people didn’t mistake it for a hospitality or travel book.
How did you create the plot for this book?
The plot is loose and fun, and as I mentioned before, I structured it so that I got my message across early, then continued on so people could have fun and not have to dwell on the grim reality facing the world.
How do you come up with your ideas? Who or what inspired you?
This book was inspired mainly by the current global economic depression, coupled with exploding population growth, with a touch of conspiracy theory mixed in.
Did you have it all planned out before you wrote it or did the characters and story surprise you?
I let the story develop organically, and I didn’t have a set plot outline developed when I started writing it. I wrote the book in about two months, and at the beginning of that time I had no idea how the book would turn out.
Is your main aim to entertain or relay a message?
Normally my main goal is to entertain, but this book I really had a few messages I wanted to get across. But I’m not a preacher, so I tried to camouflage the density of the ideas with some good old-fashioned nonsense.
Would you say your book has a message and could you hint at it – for the confused?
The overriding message is the unsustainability of the world, given our current path. Couple that with the lowering of standards of living for the many, and the rising power of the few, I wanted to subtly call out the cartels that control the world. Nations are being replaced by corporations, and behind the curtain is a tiny select group of unelected people that are literally ruining the world.
What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favorite thing?
My favorite thing about writing is it’s like fishing. You sit and sit, waiting for that catch. You can’t see under the waters of your subconscious, so when you hook a great idea and you reel it to the surface, you feel the excitement of capturing a part of you that you didn’t even know could swim or breathe underwater. My least favorite thing about writing is getting seasick.
Did you have any say in your cover art? What do you think of it? Tell us about the artist.
I make all my own covers, and for this one I took a picture of myself wearing a fedora. I pulled the hat low so you couldn’t see my eyes, both to disguise the fact that it was me, and not my alter ego Dark Jar Tin Zoo, but also to add a sense of mystery and shadyness to the portrait. Then I converted the image to grayscale before tinting it red, to give it a menacing, evil look.
What is your writing environment like?
I write in bed, either with a pen and paper, or on my computer. Usually I have my writing partner, Cap’n, curled up next to me so I can pet him in between paragraphs.
Do you need silence or music to write?
I need silence to write. I can’t have a movie or music playing or else I’ll get no writing done at all. I am easily distracte—oh hey, what’s that over there? Let me go take a look.
How do you edit and quality control?
Editing is the toughest part for me. I like to print the pages out, because it’s easier for me to spot typos for some reason. Also I can mark the page up with a pen.
How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?
Self-publishing on the Kindle platform is amazing. I have nothing but praise for that program. No complaints from me. It’s easy to use, and the royalty percentage is remarkable. I really am very thankful for both Amazon and Goodreads.
What is your advice to new writers?
I don’t really have any advice for new writers other than to just keep on writing. Write, write, and write some more—and when you think you’ve written morefully, that is the perfect time to write some more. Even when you’ve been writing for a long time, writing continually is still all you can do to keep getting better.
Who are your favourite authors?
I like Oscar Wilde and Nietzsche, among many, many more. Too many great authors out there.
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
Right now I’m reading Boomerang, by Michael Lewis, and this is the third book I’ve read by him. I really like his style, and I am very jealous of his success. I hope he gets the plague and dies soon.
What three books have you read recently and would recommend?
Not read recently, but I like to recommend a few books:
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance;
If You Meet Buddha on the Road, Kill Him; and
Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
Who would you say are the biggest influences?
My biggest influences are probably Monty Python, Gary Larson, and Jack Handey.
What books have you read more than once or want to read again?
That reminds me of a great book and author I forgot to mention: Richard Brautigan. Trout Fishing in America I’ve read twice, and I’d love to read it a fourth time—but not before I read it for the third time.
Tell us about your other books?
My other books are nonsense. They are not to be taken seriously—and indeed, they are not to be taken at all. Don’t take them, don’t buy them, and don’t recommend them. Just kidding. Well, sort of. You can take them, just so long as you don’t pay for them.
Which character did you most enjoy writing?
I really enjoyed writing Jackson J. Jackson and Abby Norma Sykes, because they got to engage in witty banter. What I really liked is how each character sounded like the other, and both sound exactly like me. Also, did I mention that Dark Jar Tin Zoo is an anagram of my name? It’s true! Jarod Ora Kintz equals Dark Jar Tin Zoo. So every character in the book is based on me, and that’s what makes it great. It’s also what makes it terrible.
<strong>What would your character(s) say about you?</strong>
Asking what my characters would say about me is like asking what my clones would have to say about me, and though I can’t be certain, I’m sure they’d all have glowing things to say. Either that or they’d feel threatened by my existence and try to kill me.
What song would you pick to go with your book?
I think the perfect theme song for this book would be “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” and to accompany Bette Midler singing it would be Jackson J. Jackson, dancing The Flamingo. Do you think she’d let me be one of her backup singers?
How do you handle criticism of your work?
Not all criticism is bad, so it depends on the intent of the critic as to how I react. If the criticism is constructive, and meant to build up, then I listen to it and perhaps implement change. If the critic is just being spiteful and nasty, then I ignore it in the same way I’d ignore an invisible and inaudible person. That makes me wonder: if you were invisible, would you still have a shadow? And if you were silent, would your shadow be able to speak for you?
Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.
Weird thing: Florida is the retirement capital of the world. Nice thing: I’ve never had so much sex as I have since I started working in a nursing home. Fact: I just made that up—I have no idea if Florida is the retirement capital of the world.
What are you working on now?
Working on another book of love quotes, this time written by Dora J. Arod, who’ll appear in the next Mandrake book.
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People come from all over the world to stay at The Mandrake. The building
is an architectural marvel. Hidden passageways, secret hallways, doors
that lead to nowhere, windows to the soul, stairs that wind like windmills,
rotating walls, beds disguised as couches, sink handles that open doors,
elevators that double as community showers, a dungeon, a torture
chamber, and even a screening room that plays an endless loop of the
movie “Battlefield Earth.”
Though more people rent out the torture chamber every year than the
screening room, the screening room is booked for two weeks solid every
year in June for the annual Scientology Convention. The Scientologists
also rent out the dungeon and the torture chamber, presumably for training
The Mandrake is a boutique hotel and resort that caters to the passionate
enthusiast. Every room is themed, and targeted to a hobbyist of some
specific sort. So let’s say you’re an avid golfer, and instead of
sleepwalking, you sleep putt. Well, The Mandrake has a room for you.
Room 1422 to be specific.
Room 1422 has one king sized bed with green sheets, green pillows, and
a green duvet, one green dresser, two green nightstands, and not
including the walk-in closet or bathroom, the room has the square footage
The room has two lakes, one with an island hole (par 5), hills, dunes, sand
traps, bunkers, greens, fairways, waterfalls that loop around endlessly like
escalators, and even a couple of alligators and a fog machine.
Room 1422 is particularly challenging for the housekeepers, because
some of them are never quite sure whether they should be mowing the
grass—or vacuuming it. One elderly gentleman even spent his entire shift
trying to sweep up the sand trap using a broom and dustpan. He was
almost done too, when James Braid walked in and explained the game of
golf to him. I wasn’t there, but the conversation probably went something
James: A man who has gathered that much sand must have a lot of time in
Housekeeper: Who are you? James: I have been asking myself that question my whole life. Who I am is
a mystery to me. The closest I have come to answering it is I am a being of
love, with a body built for golf, and a mustache that I wouldn’t want to take
a chip shot out of.
Housekeeper: I haven’t been able to grow facial hair since my father died. I
was more of a farmer, and I grew all my hair on his face. Who handles
your facial irrigation?
James: It seems you not only have all the sand in all the hourglasses in the
world, but you also have all the time. Well, I don’t. I’m a busy mustache
attached to a golfing machine, and I came to perfect my craft before the
Masters next month. So if you don’t mind, unsweep all you’ve swept, and
I’ll swoop off and sweep this whole conversation under the rugby match I’m
off to see. Don’t be affronted, but when I come back, all this better be back
the way you found it. Incidentally, which way is the closest trap door to get
back to the lobby?
Housekeeper: It’s right under the very spot where I’m going to put all this
James: So the trap door is under the sand trap? Clever.
Housekeeper: What’s all this sand for anyway?
James: The better question is, What’s the sand not for? It’s not for hitting
your ball into. But it’s there to hit your ball into.
Housekeeper: So the sand is there to hit the ball into, and not hit the ball
James: Precisely. A sand trap is like a politician in its duality. It represents
two opposing viewpoints. You see, it was designed to trap your ball. So it
exists to have balls land in it. But it was also designed to be avoided. So it
also exists to not have balls land in it. This is the beauty of golf. The game
of golf is a Zen koan in action.
comedy, humour, Jarod, Jarod Kintz, Kintz, satire, writer