Marissa Bell Toffoli

Interview With Writer E E King

In books, fiction, writing on October 12, 2010 at 8:46 am

EE King

E E King. Photo by Marissa Bell Toffoli (2010).

An introduction to the author of Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife: All You Need to Know to Choose the Right Heaven Plus A Five-Star Rating System for Music, Food, Drink, & Accommodations (Exterminating Angel Press, 2010). E E King has published a number of short stories, but this is her first novel. As her author bio at the back of the book explains, “She was raised in a household that doesn’t force religion on kids. This book is the result.”

Quick Facts on E E King

  • King’s website
  • Home: Los Angeles, California
  • Comfort food: fudgesicles
  • Influential reads: Kurt Vonnegut (especially Cat’s Cradle), John Irving, Neil Gaiman, The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, Island by Aldous Huxley, Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, Shakespeare, Marcus Chown. I like to read a lot of biology and quantum physics.
  • Current reads: The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean, rereading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

What are you working on at the moment?

I had previously written a children’s book that I’m working to get published. I’m constantly working on short stories. I’d love to put out a collection.

Where did the idea for Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife come from?

Divine inspiration.

Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife was originally a short story. I’d had a bunch of success with it, but I can’t really tell you how I decided to turn it into a novel. I worked with a bunch of different editors and kept adjusting it along the way.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I hope they laugh a lot. I hope they learn some biology. It would be nice if it made people more tolerant, but I don’t really think that it is going to have a profound change on most people.

Who do you picture as the ideal reader of your work?

A reader with a sense of humor and a sense of the absurdity of the world. Readers who like Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, and Kurt Vonnegut.

Where and when do you prefer to write?

Not early in the morning. I do think of things sometimes at night that I have to jot down. I recently dreamed an entire story. As a painter, I was always very serious. I used to paint eight hours a day, but with writing I’m less strict.

Do you have a philosophy for how and why you write?

Generally, I have an idea that I want to share. Stylistically, I suppose I draw from Douglas Adams and other writers I like.

Where would you most want to live and write?

Hawaii. I like to spend my summers in Deia (where Robert Graves lived) on the island of Majorca. Really, I could live anywhere. The next place I want to go is the Andaman Islands.

Do you listen to anything when you work?

When I’m writing I’d rather have silence. While I paint, I listen to books on tape. When I listen to music I want to move.

Is there a quote about writing that motivates or inspires you?

There is a Ray Bradbury quote: “My stories run up and bite me on the leg—I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

There are no rules. Everybody does things differently. You have to follow what your inner muse tells you. You do your best and then put it out there in the world. It’s nice if you can find a good writing group, or a friend whose advice you trust, to read your drafts.

Write, write, write, and read, read, read.

What book would you like to own a first edition of?

On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.

What question do you find surprising that people ask about your work?

Related to this book, they’ll ask me which is my favorite afterlife, but nobody has asked me if I think there is an afterlife, and that surprises me in a way. In answer to that, I guess I am a true agnostic.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

I love to travel, scuba dive, free dive. I love animals and taking care of them. I go horseback riding and bicycling. I listen to audio books. I like to make stuff with my hands, and drink red wine.

About E E King

E E King has been a ballet dancer, actor, comic, teacher, artist, biologist, horticulturalist, mushroom hunter, free diver, art and science director, and wild animal rehabilitator. She has won various awards, but is far too modest to mention them here. Read King’s book blog with tour updates or find Dirk Quigby on Facebook.

[Toffoli, Marissa B. “Interview With Writer E E King.” Words With Writers (October 12, 2010),

Dirk Quigby's Guide to the Afterlife

Dirk Quigby's Guide to the Afterlife by E E King (Exterminating Angel Press, 2010).

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