Tanner-on-Tanner on books

Why did you write a book? 

I’ve always wanted to. I’ve always been writing. I’ve been an avid reader and have been writing in almost every capacity. Writing a book always felt like the end goal. It’s a monumental task, but I try to be naive with my art and get myself going. I generally find out how hard something is once I’m already far too invested to back out. I thrive under pressure. 

You wrote a book, but aren’t you a musician? 

No, I’m a writer and a performer. I’ve been most active as a songwriter but I’ve always stressed the writing part. That’s what I’m good at. I get by as a musician but feel the written word is where my heart is. 

What’s the book about? 

It’s about friendship in the pre-internet days of rural Alberta. It’s about finding your     voice as an artist. It’s about misadventure and self-discovery. It’s a Huckleberry Finn story with more illegal drugs. 

Is it a true story? 

Parts are true, parts are heavily exaggerated and parts are nonsense. 

Why is it called I Am The Lizard King? 

My friend had a shirt with a lizard on it that quoted the late Jim Morrison. Everytime he wore that shirt it seemed like he was possessed by the spirit of the altered beast. The book contains a chapter of the same title. It was just something that always made me laugh. I thought it would be a bizarre title. If Jim wants to sue me he is going to have to do so posthumously.  

Does your friend know you wrote a book about him?  

Aggghhhhhhhhh.....No....not exactly. I’ve lost touch with the character the book is based upon. I plan to tell him, but his reaction will not change how I deal with the material. I believe every person is entitled to his or her side of the story, I’m simply taking mine and putting it out there. 

Will you write another book? 

Absolutely. I loved the writing process and I learnt and became a much better writer because of it. I will absolutely write another book soon enough. My music has been ignored because of my literary ambitions as of late, so for the next six months or so, I really want to get back to writing songs and working on my live show. 

Did you have an editor? 

Yes and no. Technically I didn’t hire anyone to operate under that official title, but I had some very qualified friends who spend countless hours on chapters with me. The book took 2 1/2 years and has probably 300 pages that were simply edited out or completely altered. There are enough lost chapters to form another book altogether. So I absolutely had editors, but just not in a traditional sense. I also took advantage of the Writer-In-Residence program through the Calgary Public Library and received some fantastic mentorship. I joined the Alberta Writers Guild and have been trying to utilize their services. I would call my friend Mandi my unofficial editor. 

Are you self-releasing the book? 

Yes, because I am in a unique position. I drive around and play to an audience that I’ve already build as a touring musician. Most authors don’t have that luxury, so an independent publishing house just didn’t have that much to offer that I couldn’t do on my own. 

When can I read your book? 

I will be releasing the first chapter in April. I haven’t finalized a release date for the physical book, but I will likely be selling copies off stage this summer. (UPDATE: The book is now available via the website for order) 

Are you a narcissist? Isn’t it kind of weird to interview yourself? 

That’s an odd question coming from myself. Maybe narcism isn’t the right word. Maybe deluded or self-opposing would be more accurate. Why am I even answering this? What am I trying to prove here? 

What else is new? 

A) I’m going to put out a new record this year, I’m trying to start a new Punk/Emo band (yep, not joking about that) and I’m loosely thinking about starting a non-profit publishing press. I’m also taking some Urban Planning courses. I’ve been doing Crossfit for a few months now, that’s a pretty messed up thing to put your body through. I started going to church and reading more sacred texts. I’ve also been dreaming about taking up skateboarding this spring. I thought about brewing beer but I think that market may be becoming oversaturated too quickly.