Friday, March 16, 2012

VBTC Guest Post with Steven Novak - Goats Eat Cans

Today I'm pleased to introduce you to Steven Novak. Steven is the author of Goats Eat Cans and I think you are going to love it. As part of his tour, Steven is also giving you a chance to win a Signed Chapter Art Illustration or a Signed Paperback. All you have to do is comment on one or all of his posts during his tour, which you can follow HERE, and don't forget to leave your email in case you win. At the end of his tour 2 randomly drawn commenters will win!

Born in Chicago Illinois, Steven Novak has spent the whole of his life creating. After attending The Columbus College of Art and Design for four years he moved to California where he married his wife. The pair have been together for nearly a decade. He likes pizza. He’s sort of a nerd. He has terrible luck and worse personal hygiene. He also hates having to write bios about himself. He thinks bios are stupid. His work can be found online at


When I was asked to give my thoughts on writing humor versus writing fiction, I honestly wasn’t confident about which way to take it. Sure, I’ve done them both, but have I done either of them well?

That’s certainly debatable.

Last year I put the ol’ kibosh on a young adult fantasy/adventure trilogy titled Forts. The books were wordy, and they were heavy, and they were personal. I dealt with my fair share of ups and downs when it came to the original publisher and the whole process in general. When all was said and done, I’d dumped nearly three years of my life into writing them. If ever there was a story that I felt like I “needed” to write, it was Forts.

My most recent endeavor is, for the most part, a funny book. I’m not saying that there isn’t anything personal or worthwhile in Goats Eat Cans, because there is. There are also a lot of poop jokes, bizarre references to half-remembered 1980’s cartoons, and the occasional mention of Kardashian’s booty, though.

To the best of my knowledge there isn’t a single Kardashian posterior in Forts – not even Khloe’s.

Goats Eat Cans is basically a humorous retelling of some of the important moments in my life and how they ended up being more screwball than important. I’m Charlie Brown and the world at large is Lucy. That’s pretty much Goats Eat Cans in a nutshell. I tell you about the day I lost my virginity, and the day I got married, and give you a firsthand account of the day I decided to let a doctor slice open my testicle sack and prevent me from ever unleashing my unholy spawn onto the world at large.

Oh, I also tell the story (in remarkable detail) of the day my butt started spurting blood.

So that’s one you don’t want to miss.

Anyway, back to the question at hand.

So what’s the difference between writing fiction and writing humor? Is there even one? In my specific case, the answer is a resounding, no.

I think that when you get right down to it, in the end it’s all the same. Writing is writing no matter what you’re writing.

Okay, maybe that little quote doesn’t necessarily extend to the writing of a grocery list, but you get my point.

The fundamentals of good writing don’t adhere to genre and a good story is still a good story, no matter how it’s told. Tell your story, tell it in the best way possible, and get your readers involved. That’s it. That’s my advice.

If that sounds like I’m avoiding the question and instead settling for the simplest answer, I guess I sort of am, but I’m also not. In this case the simplest answer is the correct answer.

In Forts I dealt with child abuse and loneliness, and the healing power of creativity set against the backdrop of a war on in a faraway world. In Goats Eat Cans I used one chapter to the story of the time mu childhood friend poured a gallon of his own urine onto the head of his sleeping brother.

So yeah, they’re pretty different stories.

At no point, however, did I feel like I had to completely change the way I approached telling them. Let the reader get to know your characters and get them involved in the story. It really is that simple.

Don’t over think it.

If you’re writing humor you should probably crack a joke every once in a while – maybe that’s the only difference between the two. That’s pretty important thing, I suppose.

Oh, it also wouldn’t hurt to make sure the jokes you’re telling are a little bit better than my Khloe Kardashian butt-gag earlier in this very post.

That might help too.

Remember the weird kid with the greasy hair and the odd smell you went to school with? You know, the one who never talked to anyone? That creepy little jerk who sat alone at lunch? The oddball who never took a shower in gym class? The one you imagined might one day go on a shooting spree?

Believe it or not, that kid grew up.

He grew up, he got married, he never shot a single person, he wrote a book, and he even started taking showers after his workouts – most of the time.

Goats Eat Cans is his story.

Follow along as Steven Novak recounts the sometimes hilarious, sometimes hilariously painful, and sometimes painfully hilarious moments that have made his life so wonderfully frustrating. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you might even vomit. No matter what, you won't be able to stop reading.

Goats Eat Cans features 55 stories, 55 illustrations, 99 luftballons and enough nonsense to keep you chuckling and giggling for days on end – or hours – or at the very least a few minutes.

Thank you so much for stopping in and sharing with us today Steven. As always, it was a great time.



Great post!! Looking forward to reading!! :)

Mary Ann Bernal

Love your wit Mr Novak. Kudos on a great post.


Great post, Mister Novak Sah! Hope you have a happy blog tour.

Steve Novak

@JENNIFER - Thanks! I'm looking forward to you reading and enjoying the fact that you're looking forward to looking forward to reading!


That's not right.

Steve Novak

@MARY ANN - I do what I can - which usually isn't much - but I still do what I can.

Steve Novak

@MANDY - Thank you kindly, Maam! It's starting off well. You'll hear no complaints from me.

Lisa Cox

I really, really want to read this book. I need to find a book store somewhere sorta near me. I live in the boonies in Missouri. It may take a little bit of a drive.

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