Tales From the Vault-Verse: The Last Book You’ll Ever Read

Dan interviews the writer of one of the most provocative books about the human condition to be published in recent memory.

It seems as if my multidimensional friend neglected to mention that Olivia Kade’s book SATYR may be the root of mass violent hysteria on this Earth. They neglected to fill me in on that little fact until I was already on this Earth because and I quote, “I thought it would be funny to see your reaction. It was worth it.” So now I am sitting in the waiting room to speak with her during her book tour. Journalism is fun, right? It’ll just be nice for once to not have to explain the whole multidimensional traveler thing. Silver linings.

Interview with Olivia Kade

Credit: Cullen Bunn/Leila Leiz/Giada Marchisio/Jim Campbell (Vault Comics)

Dan: Ms. Kade, it is a pleasure to meet you. I like to start all of my interviews with a real heavy hitter…what’s your favorite sandwich?

Olivia: Did you know that it wasn’t that long ago that I was working at a sandwich shop? It’s true. I worked my way through much of college working at a deli, slinging turkey and swiss sandwiches. 

Funny how things change. 

And how rapidly. 

Anyway, in regards to your question, my favorite sandwich was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that my father made for me when I was five. I remember sitting at the table, watching him work so meticulously to make that sandwich for me. His method of sandwich construction was so different from my mother’s. Mom would mix the peanut butter and jelly in a bowl before slathering it on the bread. Dad put jelly on one slice of the bread so evenly, so smoothly, and peanut butter on the other. He cut it into perfect halves. He cleanly sliced the crust off. 

It was the best sandwich I ever ate, because even at that young age, I appreciated that it was such a fleeting treat.

I knew it wouldn’t last. 

Dan: So SATYR…when did you start writing it?

Olivia: When I finished that sandwich maybe? (laughs)

This book wasn’t my dream. 

No, my dream was to write erotic horror fiction. I have several manuscripts somewhere in my office. They’re full of violence and bloodshed and sex. Most of them are unpublished. A couple of them saw print, but they were quickly forgotten.

I think I was working too hard to follow the “rules” of writing, and it stripped all the vitality from those pages.

Interestingly the unpublished manuscripts, the ones my agent quickly rejected, were much more satisfying. 

I started writing SATYR a couple of years ago. I went on a bit of a sabbatical, a retreat, to try and focus and prepare for my next novel. I secreted myself away at this great little bed and breakfast type place, out in the woods, away from everyone.

The book I planned on starting, though, didn’t come out the way I expected at all. It became, almost from the first word, the book you know as SATYR

It was the dreams, I think, that set me on that path.

The dreams…and the bellowing from the woods. 

Dan: The cover is a lot more tame than one would expect about a book exploring the morality of the human condition. What made you go that route?

Credit: Cullen Bunn/Leila Leiz/Giada Marchisio/Jim Campbell (Vault Comics)

Olivia: “Tame.” That’s an interesting choice of words, isn’t it? We’re all so tame. It’s true, though, I suppose. My publisher put together a number of different cover concepts, many of them far more sensational, even a bit shocking in some cases, but I thought it much more appropriate to start from a position of safety and comfort. The simple icon of a satyr, playing his pipe for all of us to dance to, seems appropriate. 

Dan: I heard you were recently attacked at a signing! I hate to bring it up but it’s my job…what was going through your mind as you were attacked?

Olivia: It’s to be expected, I suppose.

Credit: Cullen Bunn/Leila Leiz/Giada Marchisio/Jim Campbell (Vault Comics)

Dan: It seems as if a lot of attacks are happening and the media is trying to pin those crimes onto your book. How does that feel?

Olivia: You can’t really ask for better publicity, can you?

Certainly, there are times where I am frustrated with how my work is being represented… with how I am being represented as a writer… but I can’t control the message from the media any more than I can really control the message you’ll find in the pages of SATYR.

Now, you might say, “But you’re the author. Don’t you have complete control of the message?”

And that is a naive assumption, just as it is naive—even willfully ignorant—to say that my book is causing this collapse.

The collapse would be here with or without SATYR

I’m just trying to make the transition—the Wilding—a little less painful. 

Dan: Do you feel that your book shares anything similar with other famously controversial novels like Lolita, The Catcher in the Rye, and American Psycho to name a few?

Olivia: Hmm.

I don’t think a comparison to those books is quite right. 

If we’re going to make a comparison to a controversial book responsible for mass violence, maybe THE BIBLE?


Dan: In the book, you make a claim that people are becoming more feral…do you mean this in a way that we are more animalistic or less conservative with some of our etiquette?

Olivia: The concepts of conservatism and liberalism, moderation and orthodoxy, traditionalism and pliability, are flying out the window, and as the glass shatters, the structures housing those windows are collapsing. It’s not that any one person is becoming more feral. It’s that we’re all heading that way. So etiquette is going the way of the dodo, along with social graces and politeness and expectations and even laws. I mean, do we value those things anyway? We like to say we do. But those are old, self-inflicted wounds and we’re starting to pick the scab away in order to see how our flesh is scarred underneath. 

Credit: Cullen Bunn/Leila Leiz/Giada Marchisio/Vlad Popov/Jim Campbell (Vault Comics)

Dan: Do you think the written word holds the same power today as it once did before the invention of the technology the world relies so heavily on today? And we can keep this one off of the record Ms. Kade but I have to ask for myself, do you think you are going to be okay after all of this? If all of this does link back to you…how will you sleep?

Olivia: Soon enough, the technology of it all won’t matter. You see that, right? We won’t be communicating as we are right now, not using technology, not using the written word, definitely not using them in conjunction with one another. And yet, the written word, translated through technology, doled out in small bites without the safety blankets of intonation, intention, and context, have moved us towards the singularity. Our steadfast determination that our ideas, philosophy, and faith can be conveyed in less than 280 characters…our knee-jerk reactions to those distilled opinions and belief systems… have been gnawing away at the paper-thin skin of civilization for years. 

When the dust settles, I imagine I’ll sleep just fine, along with the rest of the pack, nuzzled up together in a dark, warm den, somewhere deep in the earth. 

I am, after all, right here in the middle of this with everyone else. 

My book isn’t the cause, I mentioned. It’s not even a testimony. It’s more of a survival guide, really. 

The Last Book You’ll Ever Read is on sale now from Vault Comics! Written by Cullen Bunn, art by Leila Leiz, colored by Giada Marchisio and Vlad Popov, and letters by Jim Campbell!

And a thank you to Cullen Bunn for the interview!

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