Books Reviews

Interview: Johnny Walton’s ‘The Moonlighter’

By: Zachary Amendt

interviewJohnny Walton lives in Charleston, S.C., home of Tara Lipinski. He teaches Navy recruits how to operate nuclear reactors on submarines. ‘The Moonlighter’ (KBR, 2013) is his first novel.

ZA: The Moonlighter feels authentically collegiate, which is interesting because you’ve never enrolled in college.

JW: I applied to Ivan Franco University in the Ukraine. I didn’t go. I accidentally joined the Navy instead. For 10 years.

ZA: Explain ‘The Moonlighter’ in one sentence so I don’t have to.

JW: Kid plays Dr. Phil for a bunch of nerds and fucks it up.

ZA: We don’t like talking craft. I think it’s because for me writing is like, idk, repairing an engine. I’m sure there’s some artistry to it, but I just want the thing to run, you know?

JW: Writing actually sucks and I think it stems from an emotional deficit or excess. Life is fodder for writing so it’s more useful to talk about sex and alcoholism and to bitch about politics. Next step is to write that stuff. Next step it’s to tell girls that I wrote a book.

ZA: You’ve criticized Faulkner for being a bad postal employee.

JW: He definitely fell from a pedestal when I found that out. I like his books, but seriously, fuck that guy. It couldn’t be worse than the bullshit we go through to put gin on the table.

ZA: And you admire Glenn Danzig.

JW: Yeah. I’m sorry.

ZA: What does The Moonlighter add to the self-help/college canon?

JW: Moral relativism.

Ego prevails over attitude.

ZA: We’re anachronistic for Millennials — we don’t use chat functions or Netflix or Tinder — we don’t even sext — yet people treat you and I as authorities on this generation.

JW: The aloof watcher has a better vantage. I don’t, in fact, sext, but I do like lady gaga. That has to count for some street cred.

ZA: The Moonlighter was published in Brazil and the United States.  So your work has been translated into one language.

JW: I can’t find Portuguese copies, so either 1 no or 2 I am computer illiterate or 3 both.

ZA: The Moonlighter is such an interesting title. Where’d you get the idea for it?

JW: My mentor gave me the idea, but when I originally rejected it, he threatened to hurt himself. I capitulated, but every day I wonder if I made the right choice. And then I remind myself: I never make bad decisions. Absinthe does. Gin does. Bourbon does, but I don’t.

+ Zachary Amendt’s story collection, STAY (Montag Press Collective), is out this summer.

Categories: Books Reviews

Tagged as:

2 replies »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.