TheDC: As you know, “The Lizard King” has been compared to E.M. Forster’s “A Passage to India” because of its depth. Which authors do you look to for inspiration? And which other authors, if any, would you compare yourselves to?
JW: For both answers: the Prophet Muhammad, the romance literature of Saddam Hussein and whoever is responsible for “Gilgamesh.”
TheDC: You are, of course, referring to “Zabiba and the King,” Saddam Hussein’s beautifully written, semi-biographical novel. It’s interesting that you would mention that as an influence, because reading “The Lizard King” reminded me of reading “Zabiba and the King.” It definitely has that vibe.
JW: I’m pleased to hear that.
TheDC: Moving on. You edited out the lizard sex scenes that were in the narrator’s original manuscript, and yet a lot of people are saying that your book is highly sexualized. Why is that?
JW: Who is saying this? Is this what you do in the mainstream media? Make things up?
TheDC: There’s an awful lot of sexual tension between the Valerie Jarrett character and the David Axelrod character. That’s all I’m saying. Switching gears a little bit, the book suggests that the president of the United States is literally an animal, insofar as space lizards are animals. To what extent is “The Lizard King” a meditation on the status of animals in our society?
JW: A lizard man is an animal in the same way a centaur is an animal. Which is to say it is not an animal. Therefore, the answer to your question is no, “The Lizard King” is not a meditation on the status of animals in our society.
TheDC: What is the role of the nation-state in “The Lizard King”? Is it a celebration of America or a condemnation of it?
JW: We would never condemn America. So by default, I guess it is a celebration.
TheDC: That’s certainly how I perceived it. What effect do you think “The Lizard King” will have on the upcoming presidential election? Will it hurt Obama or help him?
JW: We don’t know. We aren’t political people. We are merely truth-seekers.
TheDC: Fair enough. I’ve always said that the e-book is the richest literary medium. “The Lizard King” is an e-book. Why should people read it? What will they get out of it?
JW: People should read it because reading is fundamental. They should also read it if the truth matters to them. If they enjoy laughing, that’s another good reason to read the book. People will get a lot out of this book, but we promise not the Ebola virus.
TheDC: Thank you so much for your time, Jamie. This has been a great discussion.