Exclusive Interview: Dope Tits Author Bix Skahill

I don’t think sex sells. I just don’t. But I think sex gets your attention. Nobody buys a car or a beer because there’s a sexy lady in the commercial; but that sexy lady does make people watch that ad. It is with this thought in mind that I present the following interview with writer Bix Skahill about his provocatively-titled novel, Dope Tits (paperback, digital). A title that alone won’t make you want to read it, but I bet it caught your attention.

Dope Tits Bix Skahill

In a very basic sense, what is Dope Tits about?

At its core, Dope Tits is your basic demon-comes-to-earth-to-destroy-all-humans kind of a deal. Though, of course, it is so much more. I use this central idea to make fun of religion, greed, and other ideals central to the American Dream.

One thing that disturbed me as I wrote it — which took me about two years — is that the story depends so much on Christian dogma. I tried to avoid it, but it I found, through many drafts, that I could use the Christianity tropes such as hell, demons, and all that shit as a short-cut. About halfway through writing it, I read this interesting article about how the horror genre perpetuates Christianity. I found that idea fascinating and, as an atheist, kind of frightening, but I saw no way around it in my own book. Sorry.

Where did the original idea come from, and how different is the final version from that original idea?

I hate to admit this, but Dope Tits started with the title. If I heard another author say this, I would think, “Jesus Christ, what a weak reason to write something.” I’m sorry, shame has just washed over me like an ocean.

But once I started with the basic premise of a demon with psychotropic breasts, I expanded on it greatly.

I’m one of those writers that starts writing without a complete idea of where the novel is going. I hate outlining. That seems really fucking boring to me. I worked for ten years as a writer in Hollywood, writing movies and TV shows. In “The Industry,” it’s all about outlines. Outline after outline after outline. That way, producers and other know-nothings can shit on your work from the very start, even before the actual writing process starts. I can’t do that anymore. For me, knowing exactly where something is going is like writing death. I like to discover things as I go along. Dope Tits is a prime example of this kind of writing. I started with basically nothing.

On the cover, it says that Dope Tits is, “a novel, of sorts.” What does this mean and why do you feel Dope Tits isn’t just a novel?

It says on the cover that Dope Tits is “a novel, of sorts” for no real reason. I just thought that it would be funny to say “of sorts” to make people wonder. It was one of those things that when the guy doing the artwork was nearly done, I said, “Hey add ‘a novel, of sorts’ at the bottom of the front cover.” It was impulsive and a little silly, which is exactly why I buy a pack of gum every time I go to the store. I now have enough gum to last a lifetime.

What writers and which of their books do you feel were the biggest influences on Dope Tits, both in terms of what you wrote and how you wrote it?

Dope Tits, like all my writing, is heavily influenced by Kurt Vonnegut. Growing up in the middle of nowhere, books were my salvation. I read all of Vonnegut’s books growing up, and I’m old enough to have read the later works as they came out. I’m not the type of person who re-reads books, so I was thinking the other day how I always talk about what an influence Vonnegut is but I haven’t read a Vonnegut book for over twenty years.

In Dope Tits, our heroes make a drug they call Purple Hayes by mixing ecstasy with the flesh from the penis of Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th President of the United States. Did you go with Hayes because you thought of the name Purple Hayes, or was there some other reason you thought his genitalia would have narcotic qualities?

When it came time to name the drug in the novel, I thought “Purple Hayes” was a funny name, but I had no idea where it came from. Then I thought, why not from Rutherford B. Hayes? When I started researching President Hayes, I was amazed to discover that he was born in Fremont, Ohio, where I had lived for a few years as a kid. Suddenly, I had a setting for the novel — before that it was set in small-town Iowa — and that’s when things really started to fall into place. Using his dick as some sort of magical ingredient was because I’m basically a fourteen-year-old boy and I find dicks funny.

So, do you have a statement already prepared if someone really does dig up Rutherford B. Hayes to mix his dick with ecstasy, or is that something you leave for your lawyers?

As this novel is based on an actual case where someone dug up Rutherford B. Hayes and used his dick for a drug…no, just kidding. I never thought about being sued for someone actually stealing a dead president’s body. I know how trite this sounds, but I write to make myself laugh. I don’t really think about other people reading it. In my past, this has had some shocking results. I wrote a movie for Warner Bros in 1999 called Chain Of Fools. It’s a comedy heist movie. In one scene, these two security guards, who were really just extras, were gunned down during a robbery. When it came time to film that scene, I found it highly disturbing. I felt really bad for these two characters, who weren’t even bestowed with names, who had to die to make the plot work. They were innocents.

But no, nobody go out and dig up Rutherford B. Hayes’ body. Though I’m not a scientist, I’m pretty sure his dick has rotted away.

Also, by calling it Dope Tits — as opposed to Dope Boobs or Dope Thingees or whatever — you’re somewhat limiting where the book could be sold. I would think; I may be wrong. Given that, why did you call it Dope Tits and not Dope Boobs or Dope Thingees or whatever?

I knew calling the novel Dope Tits would be dicey. Yes, I tried to think of it as Dope Boobs or Dope Jugs or something not so controversial, but it never quite worked.

The interesting thing is that I haven’t really received much blow-back. I’m sure some people are pissed but I’ve yet to hear the outcry. In fact, when I table at conventions and such, I get the most positive response from older women. It’s weird.

I’m thinking the title would also be a problem if someone wanted to make Dope Tits into a movie or TV show. Has there been any interest in that?

About fifteen years ago, I wrote a movie called Life Without Dick that got made by Sony Pictures. It was about a woman, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, who accidentally kills her boyfriend, Johnny Knoxville, whose name is Dick. Yeah, a stupid dick joke, but I found it funny. Sony Pictures did not. All the way through filming, they kept telling me that I would have to change the title of the movie or they wouldn’t release it. After we wrapped production, and I still refused to change it, Johnny went on David Letterman’s show and when he said he’d been working on a movie called Life Without Dick, the audience cracked up. I never heard another word about that issue from the studio.

So, could a movie be called Dope Tits? I don’t know. The world keeps changing, keeps getting a little looser, which is good for me. Young people are never offended by my work. I’m going to be huge… after I’m dead.

Do you think it would work as a movie or TV show, and if so, which do you think would be better? Or would be better as a video game or Broadway musical or something?

Dope Tits would probably work best as a movie, as far as the entertainment world goes. But I could see it as a board game or a video game or a new type of sushi.

Dope Tits Bix Skahill

Finally, Dope Tits is not your first book. If someone really enjoyed it, which of your other books would you suggest they read next and why?

If people like Dope Tits, they should check out my book Babes In Gangland from Eraserhead Press. Also, I have a new book, Tenderbear Goes Apeshit, which is coming out in June from Thicke & Vaney Books.

 


Please Leave A Reply