I Was Crying When I Met YouAn Interview with Mitchell Warren, author of Cry On Cue.
Mitchell Warren, the author of Attempted Rapture, first released Cry On Cue in 2005 as a follow up book, but only revealed himself as the editor. Instead, a woman named Floren Felvturn was credited with penning the work, a supposedly delusional woman whose insane ramblings Warren pieced together to form a coherent story.
Now, nearly ten years later, Cry On Cue is being rereleased under the Subversify Entertainment imprint in an all new “Unmedicated” edition free for Warren’s fans. While Floren’s fictional profile and social media presence fooled many people ten years ago, Warren has finally come clean and admitted her fictional reality, although his inspirations behind this bizarre character are no less disturbing. In this rare and exclusive interview, author Mitchell Warren finally takes credit for the book, albeit with more than a few cautions.
SU: Why did you release Cry On Cue as an editor and claim Floren Felvturn was the author?
MW: It was a marketing ploy. The idea of a chick-lit writer written by a man didn’t seem prudent. So I determined I would give them the female writer the industry wanted, but make her as insane as possible. The entire book was a criticism and parody of chick-lit books. Floren was an exaggeration, a caricature that helped degrade this genre of literature.
SU: Do you really hate chick-lit that much?
MW: Not necessarily. I hated the advertising behind chick-lit. I felt it really talked down to its audience. So I had the idea of creating Floren, a character that talked at a level far above her audience, so the point where she came across as insane, rambling and psychotic. But I actually wrote the book much earlier, about 2002. And the intent was not to make it a chick lit book but a black comedy. However, by the time I edited it at the request of some agents, the anti-chick lit angle was brought to my attention. So we went with it.
SU: How did people respond?
MW: Not especially well, since many chick-lit readers were offended at the marketing materials and the depiction of a post feminist character. But then again, we also got a lot of controversy which made people take note.
SU: Is Floren Felvturn an offensive caricature of feminism?
MW: She’s not supposed to be a feminist, but a caricature of chick-lit novels, who are themselves poor role models and generally dumb characters. Floren was a burlesque exaggeration of femininity—a role reversal of an aggressive female who chases after men and goes through life just annoying people profusely.
SU: What possessed you to write a female character and in such an odd genre of fiction?
MW: Like Rapture, this was a book that defied genre fiction. It wasn’t a comedy, it wasn’t a drama, and it wasn’t a horror. It was definitely a freak show and an experimental novel that took an idea—or actually a number of ideas about life and the human experience—and created this opera of evil and tragedy.
SU: But how did you as a male writer find common ground with Floren?
MW: Because I think she is actually a unisex accessible character in many ways. She is a woman but she thinks aggressively and behaves aggressively. Quite a few female readers told me they have friends that act like Floren, so I don’t think she was that far-fetched a person. Just uncommon.
SU: How much of Floren is you, or is she entirely out in left field?
MW: Floren is every woman and every man who has ever been afraid to trust somebody. She builds walls around her and distances herself from people, even though she wants intimacy and goes about in all the wrong ways. Anyone who has ever been lonely can relate, anyone who’s ever trusted someone only to be stabbed in the back by a friend, can relate. There’s also something to be said in the fact that Floren finds greater peace in a normal friendship than in a romantic relationship, or with her therapists.
I also think that with Floren I was able to acknowledge my own feminine spirit and deep inner feelings—which every male has by the way—but we spend a lot of time suppressing that. So if Attempted Rapture was my way of exiting religion and that lifestyle, Cry On Cue was my way of exiting the machismo, men-don’t-cry philosophy that I was surrounded by among conservative Christians, who were very anti-feminist, anti-gay, anti-emotion, and so on.
SU: Do you think this book came across as too critical of the psychology and psychiatry fields?
MW: Not necessarily. I think the two doctors in the book were correct in their viewpoints, and it was Floren’s choice on whether to listen to them or not. And I think she did listen and made some progress. But it just wasn’t what the doctors wanted to see. This actually illustrates two different methods of psychology. Behavioral modification and client-centered help therapy.
SU: Without giving too much away about the plot twist…were Floren and Paula ultimately likable protagonists or were they anti-heroes?
MW: Definitely heroes, definitely protagonists. I think that’s why I like the story so much, is because they are both shown to do heinous things at different times. But in the end, you do understand them. And they are both worthy of happiness. But like the quote goes, everybody wants love on their own terms. And who are we to stand in the way?