Episode 108A – Paul Bahou – Sunset Distortion

Overview

Paul is a musician, runs a recycling business and lives with his wife and kids in California. He has spent 5 years tweaking this book to get the right blend of humor and sci-fi goodness.

PAUL BAHOU is the author of Sunset Distortion: The Pyramid at the End of the World. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Cal State University Long Beach with a minor in music. He began his career writing grants while playing in his rock band, eventually moving out of music and into the sustainability sector. He lives in Southern California with his wife Melissa, daughter Sophie and son Harrison. He writes fiction, music and the occasional dad joke in his spare time.

His Book

Lazer is an almost made it, middle aged guitarist who plays in an 80’s
hard rock cover band at a Sunset Strip dive bar. While not quite a rock
star, he plays to a packed house nightly. His blissful inertia is disrupted
one night however when he is abducted by aliens and given a strange
imprint on his hand: A key which will send him on an intergalactic
journey in search of an artifact that gives its possessor “infin ite life.”
With the help of his new friend Streek; A timid floating octopus creature
with an English accent, Lazer will have to survive encounters with
monsters, robots, alien pirates, inter dimensional brain leeches and
much more. Will Lazer get back home What does ‘infinite life’ actually
mean? And why does everybody in space speak English? All answers
await at the pyramid at the end of the world.

Website

https://paulbahouwrites.com

Favorites

YouTube

https://youtu.be/6tDM9tTdMnk

Transcript

[00:00:44] Stephen: Hello, welcome to episode 1 0 8 discovered. Today I have Paul bow, who he’s a, from California, we bonded as musicians. It seems a lot of authors are musicians, which I think is great. [00:01:00] Uh, so he and I had a little discussion about that, but he also is the author of humorous Saifai and, uh, we had a good talk about that.

He mentioned, um, Douglas Adams Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy. So, you know, it’s gotta be good if that was one of his influences. So before we get DePaul again, anybody, if you’re listening, if this book sounds good, go pick it up. Go read it, leave a review for it. If you have other books you’ve grabbed and read, please help those authors out, leave reviews for them.

And if you do like the podcast, Like that we get all sorts of new authors, a big variety, have some good talks. Good interviews, please. If you’re thinking of podcasting, if you’re thinking of doing your own, uh, thing, uh, like this, uh, click on the links, check it out. Uh, the links are affiliate links from the site in the show notes.

They don’t hurt. [00:02:00] Uh, when you get something, but they helped me out a little bit. If enough people did it, it helps support some of the costs for the show. So before I go any further, why don’t we just turn it over and let’s talk about. Let’s go. Alright, let’s go. So Paul, welcome to a discovered word, Smith.

How are you doing today?

[00:02:19] Paul: Just PG. It’s a beautiful day. My son just turned one all as well with the universe.

[00:02:24] Stephen: Yeah, that’s a good thing. Good fun time. Birthday cake tonight. I take it.

[00:02:28] Paul: Yeah. And he doesn’t know he’s won it just, he still eats random things. He finds on the floor. He doesn’t,

[00:02:35] Stephen: it’ll be fun for you guys.

Yeah, that’s

[00:02:38] Paul: right.

[00:02:39] Stephen: Paul, before we get, go and talking about your book, tell everybody a little bit about yourself, where you live, what you do, some things you like to do outside of writing.

[00:02:48] Paul: My name is Paul Babu and I’m turning 40 next month. Wow. People say, oh, you know, you’re getting your next decade. I’m like, ah, my knees feel like they’re 60.

So I’m already. [00:03:00] No, I, my brother and I own a recycling company. Um, we have a plant in California, plants in Dallas. That’s what I do with most of my time and married with two small children. They’re both quite wonderful except at nighttime when they want to just rave all night and not sleep, but that’s how children are.

And then what I’m not doing that I write, I write science fiction, horror, short fiction, and the occasional day.

[00:03:25] Stephen: Oh, you’re good. Dad jokes. I was talking to mark, Leslie LaFave while back he’s famous for his dad jokes. So I’ve sent him a couple. So after a couple, oh,

[00:03:35] Paul: I love him. I love dad jokes because laughter is great, but just the eye roll in the grown that’s the.

That’s the ticket. That’s what, you know, you’re really

[00:03:45] Stephen: landed it. Yeah. There’s actually a dad joke game out. That’s the last man standing dad joke game. Oh man.

[00:03:54] Paul: I have a list on my phone. I call the dead database and I got. [00:04:00] It’s a pun within a joke around wrapping. Goodness. Wholesome. Good molds, Cisco. I, my, my days of being edgy are long behind me.

[00:04:12] Stephen: The kids will start looking at you soon going. Yeah, dad, come on. You’re too old.

[00:04:17] Paul: Oh, my daughter already thinks I’m really weird. And she’s weird too. So this is a straight down the line

[00:04:23] Stephen: with having a family young family. I know how difficult that is and this recycling business with your brother, what made you want to start writing?

[00:04:33] Paul: So I’ve always enjoyed writing. I’ve been a writer for a very long time. Even when I was in, when I was in middle school, sixth grade, I won my school writing contest, but you had all the other kids. There stories were terrible. Mine was slightly less terrible.

[00:04:50] Stephen: Terrible, right?

[00:04:52] Paul: Yeah. I think mine actually had a beginning, a middle and the end.

So like that alone, just put me over the top. Forget about any ability with pros [00:05:00] and no, I’ve always been writing the beginning of my career. I like a business now, but when I got to graduate from college, it was a grant writer. So I was writing grants for 10 years in the recycling industry. And you know, that’s definitely a lot of times.

And that medium and I developed a short story. This is the book in particular. We’re going to talk about. Sunset distortion, the pyramid at the end of the world, it started off as a short story that I wrote in college. Then I tried to develop it into a comic with a friend fizzled out, but I was in rock bands for a very long time.

And he could tell, I got the long here, let me let the glory out here. So yeah, I played in rock bands for a long time and. I play bass. I play guitar. I can sing a little bit. You play bass high school. What do you play? What’s your, what do you have?

[00:05:54] Stephen: I have a five string Yamaha and my very first base still was a Westone.

I still have it. [00:06:00] No,

[00:06:00] Paul: you always have to hold on your first base. You don’t you’ll collect them and they’ll come in and out. But your first base never get rid of it. Uh, I have a fender jazz bass. That’s always been my favorite. I just love it. It has that T like that perfect tone for rock music. Yeah.

[00:06:16] Stephen: When I first started my friend guitarist, his guitar teacher, let him borrow her bass.

And I didn’t know what I was playing, but it was a 1965 fender precision. And. Uh, if I could get that base now it’s

[00:06:33] Paul: beautiful base. Oh yeah. P bases are phenomenal, also. Great, awesome sound and I play guitar. I know I’m okay. It’s singing. My wife’s a better singer than I am. We actually had a band together.

We were called the infamous. They, the, they, the, the mysterious people behind all the world’s problems.

[00:06:50] Stephen: Did you write like an origin story for the band? It just screams. You should have written an origin story. The album

[00:06:57] Paul: was called the history of. [00:07:00] And I concept album about transcendence, if you will. And yeah, it was kind of like psychedelic indie rock kind of in the, I always thought people in the vein of like, I would say like pink Floyd, weeds, TV on the radio.

If you know that everyone is deployed, actually here, fun little thing. So my brother and I, our business global plastics recycling, and we do fun shirts that we make for. All of our employees and here’s our new, here’s our new one. You’re ready. Remember we’re recycling company. So

[00:07:37] Stephen: worldwide reveal. Oh, that’s awesome.

Yes. I grab a copy of that. That’s nice. Yeah.

[00:07:45] Paul: We’ve got all sorts of ones. We had, we also did a red hot chili peppers. One it’s like the asterisk, like the red with the words going around. And so we tried to make each end of the asterisk, like a little bottle, but then it just looked like a COVID.

[00:07:58] Stephen: Well, [00:08:00] good idea.

Bad. But

[00:08:03] Paul: yeah, so it was in that vein, uh, of style of music. It’s you can listen to it on Spotify. If you want to check it out. I put game step in, broke up right around the time my wife and I got married. And then we started a family and just doing the music thing was kind of, not really in the cards at that point.

So I was like, I’m going to finish this novel. I’m going to do it, got to make it happen. And throughout the pregnancy, and while my first child was very little, I just, every night I wrote for two or three hours and made it happen, we’ll it into existence.

[00:08:37] Stephen: So tell us again what the book’s called and tell us a little bit about it now, giving away too many spoilers.

[00:08:43] Paul: All right. It’s called again. You have to be grand and dramatic when you’re saying sunset distortion and the pyramid at the end of the world. If we can throw some reverb monitors and maybe some like lightening sound effects or something. So it’s a story about a man. [00:09:00] Laser is a, he plays guitar and an eighties, heavy metal, hard rock cover band on the sunset strip his band killer Orca almost made it, but didn’t and he was, he just kinda stayed stunted in that part of his life.

So he’s living in a van behind the venue. You could go get an apartment if he wants, but he’s just, he is just absolutely stuck in. This idea that this is who I am, I’m this musician. And so he was never able to really grow as a person. And all of that is shaken loose when it gets abducted by aliens. Okay.

So he’s yeah, he’s abducted by aliens and sent on this. The intergalactic Odyssey in the end, he gets, he gets mixed up with a couple of shady characters in their search for this artifact that gives its possessor infinite life. But what does infinite life [00:10:00] mean? They get into this whole kind of, kind of debate about it.

Is it infinite life? Okay. Like Mario, where you die and you just come back. Is it infinite life that you don’t age? Is it infinite life? Like you’re resolving and you just don’t, you don’t die, but you have to read the book to find out the deeper meanings of that. But it’s on the humorous side of science fiction.

I wouldn’t call it hard. Saifai by any stretch of imagination, it’s less technical. Speak more.

[00:10:28] Stephen: Okay. Nice. So why did you want to write this particular book? Why Saifai, why this particular story?

[00:10:37] Paul: So I love science fiction. I grew up with science fiction when I was a kid, my, my dad and I, when I was little, we used to always watch all of that like Twilight zone.

And then I got into outer limits tales from the crypt. X-Files a lot of that kind of. Well, Saifai mystery, horror, blended genre, [00:11:00] weird tales, all these kinds of things. And I just love that Joanna, like it’s limitless. You can do whatever you want. And as long as you stay true to the rules you set within your university, create guys a limit.

So everything is on the table with that. And. I, I, I played in bands for a long time before the band with my wife, I was in a touring band. We were called inverse. You can find stuff on YouTube or whatever. And we did a lot of touring. We had a residency at the Viper room, and so I lived that world in that world, in my twenties.

And so I met a lot of people who were very much. Ride or die. They’re still living the dream, even though they’re middle-aged and it’s, they’re still living like they’re 20 and to some degrees that’s great. And to some degrees that’s not, and that kind of concept gets explored in the novel, but yeah, they would say write what, you know, I know rock music and I know science fiction.

So I married the two and. [00:12:00]

[00:12:01] Stephen: Great. So if someone was trying to figure out if they wanted to read your book, what other books out there would you say it’s similar to? So

[00:12:09] Paul: it definitely has the Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy aspect, just in terms of this guy from earth, launched into space and trying to, struggling to figure it out on the fly.

So it has that fish out of water element. It’s definitely a lot of, there’s a lot of humor, a lot of jokes. Lots and lots of jokes. So it’s definitely a lighter side of it’s it, it has it’s it has a serious moments and it’s, it’s more important undercurrents and everything. You always want to tell a story beneath the story, but yeah, if you, like, if you like space

[00:12:45] Stephen: aliens, The Hitchhiker’s guide is one of the top books around my house quoted quite often.

[00:12:52] Paul: Oh yeah. Yeah. It’s it definitely, it has a lot, like that book really influenced me and just the humorous side of science fiction in [00:13:00] general. I like the hard side by stuff. Love star track, but that’s not what I create as much. I just, I don’t know. I always got to make it funny for some reason.

[00:13:11] Stephen: W. McFarlane show that’s supposed to be the parody of star Trek.

[00:13:17] Paul: Oh, oh, the Orville.

[00:13:19] Stephen: Yeah, actually it’s interesting because it started off the first couple episodes, really parody humorous, but then they got away from that and turned it into a real science fiction show,

[00:13:33] Paul: but they still in the jokes became less punchline and more. Bespoke into the story, if you will. You know, I was really like that.

There’s all one episode. Have you, have you seen, have you seen them have, you know, what was that one alien got? Like they’re only ma they’re only males and they’re speeding. And they find them on the holiday. I could just see cause these giant orgy scenarios and they won’t get an

[00:13:58] Stephen: alien. [00:14:00] Yeah. I heard they’re doing a third season, so it’s supposed to be coming out soon.

Yeah, that’s what I heard. I’m ready. I’m ready. I’m a reboot.

[00:14:09] Paul: I give, Hey, they got the original voice of bender. So I’m in good vendor. I’m not interested.

[00:14:18] Stephen: Pretty much everybody.

[00:14:19] Paul: Futurama is my favorite show of all time. Yeah, I would actually say totally my novel is closer to Futurama probably than the, you know, if I had to pick one thing that it’s closest to probably lives in that kind of vein of humorous science fiction.

[00:14:37] Stephen: Okay. So is this indie published or traditionally

[00:14:41] Paul: I self published it. I went through. The whole rigamarole with, I started sending out all of the there’s like a whole thing you’re supposed to do when you’re getting things off the ground as a new writer. And I, I borrowed a book from my neighbor about, cause [00:15:00] she’s a college professor who wrote a memoir and furthest other end of the pool in terms of writing I’m and she’s like very serious.

And so we were always share notes on how to try to get our work out there and get to that next level. And she’s like, yeah, you always have to be sending these things out. And I read the book that she was reading and it’s just like, yeah, you have to always treat it like a job. And you’re always sending out, you’re going to get denied a hundred times before.

And I was just like, yo, I got a business and I have two kids and I do not have the time. To do that. So a lot of my experience with music, I took that route. So I said, I’m going to go, I’m going to put it out myself and I’m going to start my own thing and I’m going to just start building it and build the machine at my own pace.

And if you’re out there and you’re a new rider, and you’re just trying to figure out where to start, start one step at a time don’t overwhelm yourself. It doesn’t have, you don’t have to be. You know, okay. Over an overnight [00:16:00] sensation takes 10 years before they’re an overnight sensation, right? Realize there’s a lot of work that goes into it before you even get any recognition.

And before you really get anywhere. So don’t overwhelm yourself and don’t try to burn yourself out because you will, and then you’ll just walk away. And then what now, the only people that have read your book are your close family and friends. And even then half of them probably have. That’s probably very true.

Yeah. But it’s one of the things that it’s your building machine. I always liken it to building a business. There’s so many things that you have to put in place to make it work and for everything to sync up. And if you don’t have all day to do that, if you’re not already at a place where you can just write all day and build your, your brand or your business and your websites and all the other stuff, then the loose ephemera of being around.

Just do it at your own pace. There’s no wrong way to do it. And the, the thing I love about writing is that you don’t need a gatekeeper. You can [00:17:00] put things out on your own. You can be successful. Publishing directly through KDP and Amazon and all of that. And so we, my, my neighbor, and I know it took different tax cause she is still just sending out the packets and getting the rejection letters.

Even if she gets anything at all. And me, I’m just like, Nope, I’m going a different route. I got my website. It’s almost done all who writes.com. It should be up by the time this interview layers. And if not shortly thereafter putting it all together without stressing myself. And I think that’s the key is you gotta enjoy the process of anything.

There’s where the process don’t make it overwhelming. Don’t make it work. Don’t make it a job. Just do what you love to do, which is right. And then try to help set yourself up to keep doing that. Don’t lose sight of why you’re

[00:17:50] Stephen: doing this. Agreed. So what type of feedback have you been getting from readers?

[00:17:56] Paul: I it’s funny. I got the [00:18:00] first, when I first put it out, like all my friends and family bought it and everyone is, they’re only going to say nice things. I’m not going to be like, it sucks. Your trouble rider. Just keep recycling. Recycle. Yeah. No, it’s, I’ve gotten very good feedback. People really enjoyed it.

I’ve done probably two dozen podcasts by this point. And some of the podcasts read Reddit and they’ll be like, yeah, I love it. They’ll gosh, I’ve gotten, you know, some other I’m now at the point where people, I don’t know are buying the book. It’s. I’m definitely not Stephen King by any stretch of the imagination.

I’m moving some units, but it’s, it’s, it’s largely positive. I got one negative review from someone and it was like, this wasn’t what I was expecting. And then they gave me 205 stars. I’m like, okay, so it’s not your genre, but not like the writing’s bad. The story is stupid. No, it’s just, I wasn’t expecting this man.

[00:18:51] Stephen: It’s like alien attack spaceships from Jupiter. And then someone puts a comment that there wasn’t enough romance. W where did you get romance out of [00:19:00] that title?

[00:19:01] Paul: Let’s flip it. Your romance novel did not have enough aliens patients

[00:19:05] Stephen: always cracked me up. Is this the first of a series or is it a standalone?

[00:19:11] Paul: It is a five-part series because I love taking on gigantic projects, like starting a family, right? Yeah. It’s a five-part I’ve already got the whole thing. Sketched out a book. Two is probably. 60 K words in, so I’m three quarters of the way through it, although it can put it on the shelf for a minute. I’ve been working a lot on my short fiction.

And so I think by next release, after this is going to be a collection of, um, short stories and novellas, and I’ll just put together for your enjoyment.

[00:19:43] Stephen: Nice. Okay. Something to get out in between the rest

[00:19:47] Paul: of it. Yeah. I needed a palate cleanser and I think when you’re someone. Is creative and you do creative things, be it a painting or writing music or write writing fiction.

But [00:20:00] there’s a thing that happens when you’re recording music, because all my analogies always come down to music. Cause that’s where I was. My creativity was is there’s a thing that happens when you’re recording music. Is that your ears just get so tired that everything just sounds like a wash. And you’re trying to like, you’re like, is this guitar tone right?

Where it needs to be? Do I need to get the drums a little bit too? Over and over and over and over and over again. And it just, it’s all white noise at that point. Your brain just can’t process it. And that same thing happens with writing where you’ve gone through this chapter over and over and over again.

And you don’t really feel like you’re making the headway. You need take a step back, take a breath. You’re not on a timeline unless you have a publisher. In which case you’re on a timeline. Panic. No, you’re you’re okay. It’s all going to be okay. But just like the sushi bar have a little bit of ginger, take a cleanser palette, and it’s always good to have some other stories just there for you to [00:21:00] hop to when you need that mental break.

And especially when you’re trying to do something as complex as a novel, it’s good to be able to step away. So I want to say about four months ago, I stopped writing that book and I said, I’m going to just take a long break. I’m going to start writing some short stories. I forget where I’m at with that book.

It helps a lot. And just take a step away. I’m going to work on some short fiction. And then I started just, boom, my creativity was flowing and I was cranking out short stories, like crazy. And. And I said, oh, okay. This is where my, my head is at right now. So I’m really working on that side of it right now.

And then once that’s done, I’ll pop back to the other, the part, two of the sunset distortion series, and I will be refreshed and have clear mind. Nice.

[00:21:46] Stephen: Okay. So if you had a choice, what would you rather do? Turn this into a movie or a TV series,

[00:21:54] Paul: a TV series. Definitely. Would you

[00:21:56] Stephen: go for Netflix or are we talking to ABC?[00:22:00]

[00:22:00] Paul: Oh, definitely. Netflix. There’s a lot of violence in this thing. Lots of monsters getting squished, stabbed shot exploded. It’s a gleefully gory. That’s a PG 13. There’s not really a profanity, no like sexual stuff, but definitely, uh, creatures big and small meet their demise over the course of the book. But the it’s very episodic because it.

Influenced by the Odyssey. And just this idea of you have a wider kind of arc going on, but really he’s experiencing these different slices of life and outer space coming across these different creatures and, and it all like weaves in together. So it’s one chapter he’s abducted by aliens and the next chapter he’s abducted by the alien, after being abducted by the double abduction.

He’s sold his food, do a little big, big gladiator monster [00:23:00] who lives in this spooky S castle. Like it just, it, it kind of goes and goes. And so each it has a certain episodic within the context of the wider story. So definitely a Netflix type show.

[00:23:14] Stephen: Okay, great. So. Finding out a little bit more about you and your influences.

We’ve already talked a lot music, which is great. But what about reading and authors? What are some of your favorite books and authors? I

[00:23:27] Paul: love Kurt Vonnegut. I think the man was brilliant. I really appreciate it. And how he approached writing his stories and there would be these aspects of his personal life that would bleed in and his own experience.

And you would try to make a wider. Yeah. I people always say, what’s her favorite book? And I’m like, slaughterhouse five. It’s brilliant. The, the greatest novel I’ve ever read by a mile. Um, and, but even his other work too, I, I really like her bond to get, I think he’s great. I [00:24:00] like Chuck Palahniuk. I like stories that are just left of center and don’t really follow like traditional narrative and make their own rules and make their own way as they go.

I really appreciate it. Okay.

[00:24:13] Stephen: And where you live, where did you see live? Sorry.

[00:24:17] Paul: I live in Temecula, California. California’s wine country, baby.

[00:24:21] Stephen: Got it. Do you have any favorite bookstores close to you that you like to go to? Amazon?

[00:24:29] Paul: I have been full, fully and firmly switched over since the pandemic and the others.

There’s this nice used bookstore. That’s in town, but I don’t even know what still open anymore. I haven’t. Since COVID I honestly, either Amazon or I used to travel a lot for work. So every time I go fly, I’d pick up a book and the little airport stores and just find something interesting and read it while I’m flying around.

And was a lot of the, your kids have

[00:24:56] Stephen: any favorite books that you’ve been reading to him lately? [00:25:00]

[00:25:00] Paul: My daughter, she’s almost four. Her name is Sophie. She is just the magical little gremlin greeter. And she wanted me to read the Lorax to her every night for six months. And I finally got her to get out of it over these last couple of weeks.

I’m just like, Hey, so. Do you want to read this one? It said, and she’s okay. And I’m just like, oh, thank you. I can from memory at this point, probably my, I think it’s a wonderful children’s book and it’s a very important message that kids need to, I think, grow up with in terms of inability and environmentalism and all that stuff.

And then I just want to do for a living. So I’ll definitely,

[00:25:41] Stephen: yeah, maybe that drone followed you influenced her choice.

[00:25:45] Paul: She. There’s another book it’s called the serious goose. It’s a whose name is he? He’s one of those, like the, not the tonight show. The other one, the guy who used to host the Mancho. What’s his name?

Oh, he’s the one that’s [00:26:00] not is the one. That’s not Stephen Colbert. What’s the.

[00:26:02] Stephen: Oh, Kimmel Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel.

[00:26:06] Paul: So yeah, Jimmy Kimmel wrote it and it’s wonderful. It’s, I’m a big fan of, I’m a big fan of children’s books that can be interactive when you read to your kids and it involves a certain amount of them getting engaged with the story and how you read the story and present it to them.

That’s another good one. Pick it up. I get my policy little approval.

[00:26:33] Stephen: Good. So before we move on to talking about some author stuff, tell everybody one last time why they should get your book

[00:26:41] Paul: because it’s hilarious and amazing. Okay. There you go. Yeah. It’s, I’m very proud of it. I put like five years into my life into that thing.

I went over it cover to cover probably a dozen times. Just really dialing in and trying to not. Not get too [00:27:00] self-indulgent with the pros. I don’t want to lose anyone. I want you to just want to clip along and the jokes that harder when you’re not meandering around too much, spending a page to describe what this random laser sword looks like or something it’s fun.

It’s a fun read. If you want something just to hang out and read on the beach or something, you can crush on a weekend. That’s not going to horribly depress you like the rest of the world is outside right now. I need a little pallet cleanser for this whole.

[00:27:28] Stephen: Okay. So before we move on to author stuff, tell everyone the title of the book, where we can get it, your website and that type of thing

[00:27:35] Paul: at sunset distortion, the pyramid at the end of the world, my website is Paul Babu rights.com currently in development should be up soon.

In the meantime, you can find me at facebook.com/paul, Bob who writes and come drop me a line every once in a while. I’ll put up a short story or something like that. You can find it on Amazon and online bookstores. That’s how that whole deal goes. [00:28:00] I ended on the internet, everything’s on the internet.

It’s easier with the internet.

[00:28:03] Stephen: Great. Well, thanks for sharing the book with us. That sounds like a good time. Thank you.

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