Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 96: Garrett Cook)

Garrett Cook

GARRETT COOK is the Wonderland Award-winning author of Archelon Ranch (Legumeman Books, 2009), A God of Hungry Walls (Deadite Press, 2015) and the upcoming Charcoal (CLASH Books, 2022). His experiences with queerness, dysmorphia and CPTSD inform weird and grotesque fiction full of cognitive dissonance and mindfuckery of all sorts.

My current favorite thing to read is: The Satanic Verses. Rushdie is navigating so many layers of reality and consciousness so skillfully, like James Joyce or Virginia Woolf do. 

My current favorite things to watch are: pop culture video essays on YouTube or old Kitchen Nightmares reruns.

My current favorite thing to listen to is: …I’ve been writing so taking the time to hear whole albums I missed or neglected. I hadn’t heard Jay Z’s The Black Album until recently for example. 

My current state of mind is: all nerves. First book for a long time coming out and working on something even more ambitious all while undergoing EMDR therapy. I’m looking forward to a lot but the moment escapes me. The moment is always tenuous, particularly in a business like publishing.

My current chemical romance involves: MSNBC. I’m microdosing false hope. There’s this whole world they’ve set up where the worst regime in American history is about to crumble. If Gotham City had MSNBC, they’d have videos called “Joker Back in Arkham. Will stay there forever.”

My current words of wisdom are: …Peter Straub just passed on. So did the wonderful Bruce Taylor. I always wanted to meet Straub and Bradbury but figured I wasn’t worthy of it. But every one of your heroes has one thing in common: stories about how gracious and cool their heroes were. My life has been greatly enriched by knowing and befriending John Skipp, and recently I got to talk to Joe Lansdale. Your heroes are open, they’ll talk. Stage fright robs you of so much.

My current mode of transportation involves: walking… and the bus.

My current favorite fast food item include: fries with cheese and meat of some kind.

My current workout routine consists of: …I need to get back to that. Haven’t been walking like I used to because it’s so damn hot. Thankfully fall is coming.

My current regrettable decision involves: getting back on energy drinks. I keep yo-yoing on this massive caffeine addiction. Coffee burns cleaner but is not as loaded with immediate kick. I have to get myself to keep at coffee.

My current hopes and dreams are: to keep writing books that test me and broaden me. I want to be seen and known for doing this and be someone who younger writers go to for guidance. I mentor and I make books happen but I want to stop feeling like an underachiever.

My current projects and hobbies include: going through the Dark Souls games to challenge myself. I’m 40 and have major visual/spatial disabilities so they should be impossible but that drives me. I’m working on a literary sci-fi/horror novel and marketing my new book Charcoal, which drops in October. It’s Gothic, it’s human, it’s devastating and it’s the best I’ve written—hopefully until the next one.


Garrett Cook is online at

Brian Alan Ellis runs House of Vlad Press, and is the author of several books, including Sad Laughter (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2018) and Hobbies You Enjoy (serialized daily on Instagram: @hobbiesyouenjoy). His writing has appeared at Juked, Hobart, Fanzine, Monkeybicycle, Electric Literature, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, X-R-A-Y, Heavy Feather Review, and Yes Poetry, among other places. He lives in Florida.


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