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Interview with Dean Blake, author of Surface Children

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She’s so obsessed with pleasing her partner that she undergoes immense amounts of self-torture without once questioning his motives or the sheer fact that he’s, well, a douchebag.

Surface Children, my new book of short stories, consists of a range of humorous, dark, and heartbreaking short stories I’ve written over the years.

The stories, which are loosely connected, are written from the point of view of a generation consumed by vanity, self-indulgence and a very distorted understanding of love and heartbreak.

Tell us about some of the stories.
One story, One Hundred Sixty Kilograms, is about an ultra-ambitious 22-year-old who’s become successful through an online sporting goods business. Driven by motivational speakers, self-help books and an obsession with money, he sees every person he meets as a potential client, every mirror he looks into as an opportunity to make himself look better, and every loved one in his life as an inspirational success story or horrible failure, depending on how much ambition they have and what kind of food they eat. His path to becoming a young billionaire, however, is greatly disrupted by his violent, heartbroken uncle and his strange love affair with his uncle’s girlfriend, Kitty.   

Another more satirical story, The Committee, is about three obnoxious youths determined to look perfect. From feverishly taking photos and videos of one another on every angle to submitting themselves to frighteningly drastic forms of self-improvement, they willingly undergo any hardship – no matter how dangerous – to succeed in a world that worships the outer appearance.

What genre are these stories?
It’s literary fiction with tinges of romance and black comedy.

Tinges of romance?
For the more romantically inclined, there are a few twisted love stories in Surface Children, too, such as a love story between a girl and a mysterious, tall man who never speaks (she later overhears him muttering that he eats people); a young man who can’t help but chase a promiscuous older woman who pays him little attention; and a story of a suicidal sixteen-year-old who believes that fixing her relationship with her ex-boyfriend is the only solution to all of her life’s problems. 

Complete this sentence for us: if you like _________________, you’ll love my book.
If you like to imagine Bret Easton Ellis making a love child with Charles Bukowski, you’ll love my book.

That’s twisted! What kind of mind would think a thing like that!
I have also included some more semi-autobiographical short stories similar to the style of my blog posts in my blog, Generation End. Throughout Surface Children are snippets of my relationship with my first love, Eva, and the stupid things we did to permanently alter the course of our relationship.

What would you say are the shared traits of a Dean Blake story character?
If I were to pinpoint some commonalities in them, I’d say they’re deeply flawed. Their morals are misplaced and so are their goals. They can be superficial, selfish or completely misguided.

The typical modern young person, some might say.
It’s about a generation’s need to do “adult” things when really, they should’ve spent their time relishing in the innocence of their youth.

On top of the examples I’d mentioned in your previous question, another example would be the protagonist of the story, “The Things We Do For Those Who Don’t Love Us.” She’s so obsessed with pleasing her partner (a wolf) that she undergoes immense amounts of self-torture without once questioning his motives or the sheer fact that he’s, well, a douchebag.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Brisbane, Australia, and I’m best known for my blog, Generation End. I’m a writer on the outside and I’m a writer on the inside. Sometimes I drive too slowly. Sometimes I drive too quickly. Sometimes I lie. Sometimes I tell the truth. I get hungry. Actually, I’m hungry right now.

Where can we read your blog?
You can go to generationend.com.

What about social media?
Twitter: @deansgeneration
Facebook: www.facebook.com/generationend.

What’s next?
I’m going to be celebrating the completion of my book. Hard. It took some time and sacrifice, but I live to entertain.

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