Chat With an Author

An Interview With The Monstrumologist

In celebration of the release of the third (and NOT final) book in the Monstrumologist series, The Isle of Blood we declare today Monstrumologist Monday! We are thrilled to have author Rick Yancey over for a guest post – and not just any old guest post. Mr. Yancey has accomplished what many have believed to be an impossible feat: he has inexplicably wrangled an interview with the curmudgeonly Dr. Pellinore Winthrop.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to present: An Interview With The Monstrumologist.

Like an insecure actor, I am much more comfortable inside the skin of a character, and I wonder sometimes if that is why I’ve never written a book in the third-person. Every story I tell is from a single character’s point-of-view, a monologue that stretches for hundreds of pages. Maybe I dislike the sound of my own voice; who knows? So instead of rambling on about myself here, I thought I would celebrate the publication of THE ISLE OF BLOOD by yielding the floor to someone much more interesting than me. Without further ado, an EXCLUSIVE interview with the renowned and heretofore reclusive Dr. Pellinore Xavier Warthrop, the monstrumologist.

You’ve been criticized for your treatment of your ward, Will Henry. Some have even gone so far as to accuse you of neglect and cruelty that borders on child abuse. What’s your response to these critics?
I believe it was Franklin who said a man who represents himself has a fool for a client.

You’re referring the question to your lawyer?
One must be careful not to overlay the mores of one century over those of another. It is easy to judge – harder to empathize. I will say, as I always have said, that Will Henry’s services are indispensable to me. It would be counterproductive to my work to purposely put in jeopardy the continuation of his services.

That actually sounds like something a lawyer would say.
I will take your word for that. I have little use for lawyers.

Will Henry writes in THE ISLE OF BLOOD that lawsuits are an occupational hazard in monstrumology.
I’d rather face a rampaging horde of Anthropophagi than a single lawyer.

I’d take the lawyer, I think. Since the publication of the journals, I’ve been surprised at how many people express the desire to be monstrumologists. Why do you think that is?
It is the Hollywood starlet of professions: best admired from afar.

Does that mean you think Will Henry romanticizes it?
I am forty years in the grave when he wrote the journals, so I cannot speak to what Will Henry does or does not do. I will say he has the poet’s annoying tendency to paint a garish face upon the most plain of countenances. Much of my work many would consider the most mindless drudgery.

Leaving out being chased by Anthropophagi, hunted by Wendigos and stalked by the magnificum, the horrible beast in ISLE OF BLOOD?
A tiny fraction of the work. It doesn’t surprise me that Will Henry would dwell on it. He was a reluctant witness to history.

You say in ISLE that life would be terribly boring without monstrumology.
Do I? How embarrassingly obvious.

Why did you never marry?
I never met anyone interesting enough.

That seems a bit arrogant.
People marry for a variety of reasons and on the whole I have nothing against the institution. I understand it would be difficult for a species that puts so much stock in moral constructs to survive without it. The survival of my studies was of paramount importance to me, not the survival of my genes. The custom of marriage would continue without my efforts – monstrumology might not.

That sounds even more arrogant.
It is difficult for me to imagine a successful doctor of monstrumology without that attribute.

Because you flirt constantly with death?
It goes far beyond mere flirtation. It is more of a serious courtship.

Will Henry hints that this courtship is reflected in your desire as a young man to be a poet.
That is very quaint idea.

But untrue?
I would prefer not to dwell on the dreams of my youth.

They seem at opposite poles, writing poetry and practicing monstrumology.
Monsters of a different species.

In ISLE you meet the French poet Arthur Rimbaud.
A shell.

A shell?
An empty husk. He emptied himself of his essence and, unlike me, never filled it with anything else.

Will Henry said nothing gave you as much satisfaction as your work except a brush with celebrity.
And that makes me unique?

Yet you come off as contemptuous toward most people.
I do not suffer fools gladly.

So you disavow misanthropy?
I disavow that every individual in the species is somehow inherently interesting or interesting to another individual. All of us encounter this but few admit to it. I admit to it and am accused of misanthropy!

What about Will Henry?
Oh, he finds far too many more interesting than half that actually are.

I meant what are your feelings toward him? There are times when you seem quite . . . well, fond is too strong a word, but tolerant or . . .
He is indispensable to me.

He writes in ISLE that you say he is the one thing that keeps you human.
I have no recollection of saying that. Scientifically, it is a ridiculous statement.

All right, maybe you didn’t say it. And not scientifically, but metaphorically, is he right?
I will let his readers judge.

What’s your judgment?
Will Henry is indispensable to me. That is what I’ve always said upon the matter and that is all I have to say.

Since he was quite young, Rick knew he wanted to be a writer. After earning a degree in English from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Rick returned to his native Florida to pursue a career in the arts. While teaching part time and dabbling in the theater, he decided to take a job with the Internal Revenue Service, where he served as a revenue officer for over ten years. He continued to pursue his lifelong dream of being a full-time writer, however, finally leaving the IRS in 2004 upon the publication of his critically acclaimed memoir, Confessions of a Tax Collector. To date he has published six novels in addition to his memoir. Confessions of a Tax Collector, was named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the five best books on taxes ever written. His Alfred Kropp trilogy for young adults has been published in seventeen countries and was nominated for the prestigious Carnegie Medal, as well as garnering numerous awards since its inception in 2005. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed Teddy Ruzak mystery series for adults. In the fall of 2009, Simon & Schuster launched his newest YA series, The Monstrumologist to much acclaim.

Rick is the proud father of three sons. He lives in Florida with his wife, Sandy.

There you have it, folks. Make sure to stick around to check out our review of The Isle of Blood!

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  • danielle
    September 12, 2011 at 2:39 am

    gahhh i love this series. so happy it’s not getting cancelled. great interview!

  • Katie
    September 12, 2011 at 5:15 am

    I can’t wait to read The Isle of Blood! These are fantastic books and I love getting creeped out by them.

  • Book Review: The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey | The Book Smugglers
    September 12, 2011 at 6:14 am

    […] An Interview With The Monstrumologist […]

  • rachel
    September 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    LOL’ed at the part about arrogance! I’m married to a physicist, and let me just say I didn’t realize physics and monstrumology attracted similar personality types. But of course they would; it all makes sense now.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:54 am

    THANK YOU BookSmugglers and of course, Rick Yancey/Pellinore Warthrop for this awesome interview. I got my copy of Isle of Blood last night and have only 100 pages left. I am already dreading the long wait until #4 (though very thankful there WILL BE a fourth). This interview helps!

  • lissie
    October 22, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    ijust finished the third and how i wished i was apart of their world…

  • Steph
    April 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Overall, a fantastic series! That’s my favorite in my past -and almost- three years of Middle school! How I love how throughout the series it get so intense, and you see Will’s companionship being tested, each time. It’s also the fact that he didn’t even mean to get in this position, in the very beginning, that’s a little funny! They say the 2nd isn’t as good as the first, but the 3rd makes back up again! The slight romance in the 2nd book is just flung at you out of nowhere, especially when Warthrop mentions about Muriel, “Well, if you must know, we were engaged”. The end of the 3rd seems to confirm this. Oh, it does get quite emotional, how I cried in Chapter 8(You are the one thing that keeps me human)! I think Yancey aims for this emotion to be a little ironic, and though provoking, since in the 1st book, you’re thinking you’re just reading a simple horror. And the climax makes you realize how much Will Henry will actually sacrifice for the Doctor. And, *spoiler alert!*, I think you also realize the Doctor is really indispensable to Will Henry just as much as Will is to him, near the very end, when he says something to him very VERY…sweet. I find that- and using his responses from the interview- the Doctor is indeed very emotional but quiet about it, hence, you see he never pursued the poet dream. But he realizes that seeing achievements in Monstrumology, no matter how terrible, is his faith, and he must keep the emotion out, including poetry. But I think Will Henry is the thing that makes Warthrop’s emotion not disappear completely (thus, the only thing that keeps him human), because that would turn Warthop into the thing he’s “always on the brink of becoming”(as he mentions at the end of the third). You keep winding through series, and you see how monsters seem to just represent..certain things in life. That stinger on the last page let’s everyone know that it’s the very end of the trilogy. I’m very thrilled when I found out there’s going to be a fourth! Excited, excited, excited! Can’t wait to hear when it’s coming out. And for those of you who haven’t- read, read, READ the whole series! Good job Rick Yancey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Morgan
    September 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Omgosh i LOVE this series!!! I was so happy to find out the madness will be continued in book 4! I’ve reread the books loads of times and find something new every time (in book three, Will Henry says something a foreign language but does not translate it; I plugged it into google translate and it says, “Who fights monsters should see to it that he does not become a monster.” page 33). If anyone out there is as obsessed as I am, post it so I’ll know that I’m not the only one! (my family thinks I’m crazy…)

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