Brian Asman is a writer, editor, producer and actor from San Diego, CA. He’s the author of I’m Not Even Supposed to Be Here Today from Eraserhead Press and Nunchuck City and Jailbroke from Mutated Media. He’s recently published short stories in the anthologies Breaking Bizarro, Welcome to the Splatter Club and Lost Films, and comics in Tales of Horrorgasm. An anthology he co-edited with Danger Slater, Boinking Bizarro, was recently released by Death’s Head Press. He holds an MFA from UCR-Palm Desert. He’s represented by Dunham Literary, Inc. Max Booth III is his hype man.
Check out his IndieMuse page.
We caught up with Brian as he is currently promoting his latest release, Nunchuck City.
Out of all the possible ideas in your head, what inspired you to write Nunchuck City?
Nunchuck City is first and foremost a love letter to the video games and toys I grew up with. As a kid, I was obsessed with arcade beat ’em ups like Bad Dudes and Double Dragon, as well as cartoons like GI Joe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. With NC I kind of tossed all those influences in my mental blender, and came up with a wacky SF/fantasy/comedy about a pair of ninjas on a very ’80s video game-style quest—attempting to rescue the mayor, who’s been kidnapped by evil ninjas.
World-wise, there’s a comic-booky feel to it—there’s SF elements, magical elements, and all that stuff kind of coexists like it does in the Marvel Universe. But there’s also a strong emotional core. The protagonist, Nick, is a reluctant ninja who’s been raised from birth to be one of the world’s greatest martial artists, but all he really wants to do is make delicious fondue and have fun with his friends. In addition, he’s struggling with the guilt of killing his old master, who happens to be the father of his ex-girlfriend, Kanna. The story’s just as much about Nick coming to terms with who he is and making these disparate parts of himself fit together as it is about beating the crap out of an evil ninja army.
Out of all the books I’ve written, this might have been the most fun to write, and I definitely see myself making a return trip to Nunchuck City in the near future!
Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb)?
The book is stuffed with Easter eggs—the co-lead, Kanna Kikuchi, as well as her father are named after Makoto Kikuchi, the lead designer behind Bad Dudes. A number of the other characters were inspired by Parks & Rec, mostly because I was watching that a lot when I wrote the book. And the villain, Kundarai Saru, is very much modeled after Robert Patrick’s Koga Shuko in the 1994 film Double Dragon. There’s a bunch of other stuff, too, you’ll have to find for yourself!
Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so which one?
Pretty much all the characters are special to me, but I identify with Nick a lot. I’ve also got a soft spot for faux-martial artist Skip Baxter, who was the first character I created when planning the book. I watch a lot of fake martial arts videos on YouTube, like old guys in gis making students fall down with their mind and shit, and I wanted to explore that a little. What kind of a person pretends to not just know but teach self defense?
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Spending more time on social media building your persona than working on your writing chops. Chasing trends, trying to write what you think people want to read rather than what you want to read. Not trusting the reader to “get it”—often I’ll see newer writers over-explain stuff.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing energizes me. I have trouble relaxing if I haven’t written in a given day. Even a “bad” writing session is so much better than a good day at my actual job!
How many bookshelves are in your house?
Kind of depends on what counts as a bookshelf! I just had some new inset bookshelves put in outside my office, those are pretty cool. But if you come to my house, you’ll see I’ve just got stacks and stacks of books everywhere.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I live near the beach in San Diego, so I like to spend lots of time outside. Cycling, going to the beach, surfing, skating, taking my dog—Zag, a husky/shepherd mix—for long walks. My girlfriend and I are into beer, we love going to different breweries. And before COVID, we were also big Disney nerds.
Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or live in a un-haunted cottage?
I guess it depends on the nature of the haunting—if it’s like the Disney Haunted Mansion, sure. If the ghosts are total jump-scare assholes, I’d probably take the cottage. I’d like to be able to make tacos without some dickhead ghost popping out of the cupboard all BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Paperback or ebook?
Gimme that sweet, sweet physical media any day of the week. Ebooks can’t double as weapons.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
Yes, currently working on my next novella, Comic Cons, a nerdy heist caper. I’m also developing two short films and working on a comic. Follow me on Twitter (@thebrianasman) or sign up for my mailing list (www.brianasmanbooks.com) to stay informed on what I’m up to!
Thanks to Brian for stopping by. Check out his 5-star reviewed Nunchuck City below…