Book Tour Q&A: A Cup of Tea at the Mouth of Hell by Luke Tarzian
Today we're taking part in the book tour organized by Escapist Book Tours for A Cup of Tea at the Mouth of Hell by Luke Tarzian! Continue reading for the book blurb and a Q&A with the author.
About the book
BRIEFLY, A WORD ABOUT ORDER
Order is the focal point around which existence revolves. Without order there is only chaos. And in the halls of Damnation (pronounced Dam-NAWT-ion, thank you kindly) the first sign of impending chaos is a cup of tea made without the water having first been well and properly boiled in a kettle.
Why is this relevant, O nameless narrator, you ask? Who cares about the preparatory order of tea in the fires of Hell?
Lucifer, dear reader. After all, how does one expect to properly greet the newcomers to Hell without having first had a hot cup of tea to bulwark the cold?
Behold The Morning Star, frantic on the annual Morning of Souls, the arrival of Damnation’s newest recruits.
Someone has misplaced the kettle.
On to the interview...!
Thank you so much for joining us for this Q&A! We’ll start off with one of our standard podcast opening questions–tell us something great that’s happened recently.
I hate to be a downer. Honestly, it’s a bit hard to pick consider how much of a personal hell this past year was. That said, I’ve been slowly working on a new book called ATROCIOUS PUPPETS and it’s really made me enjoy writing again. My last couple of releases felt more like things I needed to write for various reasons as opposed to something I was excited to write. So, I’m happy about that.
What are you currently reading or what’s up next on your TBR? What made you pick up this book?
I have a horrible habit of starting books and not finishing them. Blame it on my personal chaos and upheaval. I’m re-listening to Revelations by Russell Brand. There’s something soothing about his voice and I frequently find myself relating to something he mentions as the book was written during the onset of the pandemic. What’s next? Yikes, I don’t know. I’d like to say a fantasy novel, but I honestly don’t know. I’ve been very into non-fiction audiobooks the last couple of years,
How do you spend your free time when you’re not reading or writing? Do you have any hobbies or interests that you can talk to us about?
Lately, a lot of video games. I’m on a HUGE Dark Souls kick. I absolutely love the story and the gameplay and I’m fascinated by the lore. I’ve spent hours watching streamers do speedruns as well as other fans from the community talk about the lore. When I’m not doing all of that, I enjoy working out (I really want to get back into shape) and hanging out with my daughters. Toddlers absolutely keep you on your toes. I’m also a pro at screaming at the television during basketball games.
What is one book you want to shout about to the world? What about it makes you love it so much?
THE JUSTICE OF KINGS by Richard Swan, partially because Richard is a champ for enduring my constant shitposting of him, but mostly because it’s just brilliant. It’s like…a legal thriller fucked an occult fantasy. I cannot wait for its sequel, THE TYRANNY OF FAITH.
What do you think characterizes your writing style?
I think at this point I’ve distinguished myself as a writer with my lyrical prose and propensity for writing non-linear, mind-fucking stories featuring casts of morally grey, sympathetic characters.
How much of yourself do you write into your stories?
Typically, my characters possess some of my traits as my work is generally therapy for whatever I’m dealing with. In the case of A CUP OF TEA…the whole gosh darn book is me. It’s an autobiography for a lot of the pain I’ve dealt with the last several years.
They say to never judge a book by its cover, but a cover is still a marketing tool that helps sell books. Can you tell us about the idea behind the cover of your book?
I wanted something…weird. Something far stranger than any of the other work I’ve done. I wanted it to be whimsical and hellish (which is where I came up with the broader series title of Whimsy Hell). The book is also very absurd so I wanted the cover to illustrate that, and I think it has!
Can you give us an elevator pitch for your book?
On the annual Morning of Souls, Lucifer requires a cup of tea to calm his nerves—but someone has misplaced the kettle.
Describe your book in 3 adjectives.
Unflinching. Hilarious. Raw.
How different is the final version of this book from the first draft?
Really, not very, if at all. It’s probably one of the cleanest stories I’ve ever written.
In your opinion, what kind of reader would like this book?
Anyone who likes to have their feelings kicked in the crotch. A CUP OF TEA is a very personal story, and it does not shy away from striving to make people laugh and cry. If you’re looking for emotional catharsis or commiseration regarding grief and the loss of a loved one, I think this pretty much checks all the right boxes. Also, it’s just a whacky, fucking story about the devil trying to find his missing tea kettle.
What would you like readers to take away from this book?
Grief has no timeline. It has no order. Healing is not linear. You feel what you feel—and that’s okay.
Do you have a favorite quote from your book that you can share with us? What about this quote in particular makes it your favorite?
“Trauma was not a memory; it was a reaction to a memory.”
Is there anything you can tell us about any current projects you’re working on?
Absolutely. I’m sort of alternating between two projects, the first of which is HOUSE OF MUIR, which I’ve been attempting to write for the past…four years? Pretty much since its predecessor, VULTURES, released in May 2019. It’s been a difficult book to write for various reasons; however, of the 25k or words I’ve got drafted, I’m very happy. I’ve written the first act and an interlude, and I’ve got notes the for the rest of the book. At this point, it really comes down to timing and execution.
The other project I’m working on, and what I would probably consider my primary WIP at the moment is a novel called ATROCIOUS PUPPETS, which I’ve described as a tonal mash-up of Dark Souls and Edgar Allan Poe. I’m always trying to push myself to try something new and I feel like I’m really distinguishing myself with this one. I’m about 6k words into the book—it’s slow going—and thoroughly enjoying the process. This one probably won’t be out until 2024 but I guarantee it will be worth the wait. I think it’s everything people enjoy about my work but dialed up to 11…yet somehow feeling more accessible, if that makes sense.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! Do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to leave for our readers?
In all seriousness—and I know me being serious is hard to fathom considering I’m absolute fucking muffin on the internet—THANK YOU.
And finally, where can you be found on the internet if our readers want to hear more from you?
The usual channels. You can buy signed copies of my books via my website (luketarzian.com). Mostly, you can find me on Twitter (@luke_tarzian) and Instagram (@luketarzianwrites).