I Still Wish I Could Fly

Kenny Loui Author Interview

There is no Shrimp…and Other Lies My Mother Told Me is a collection of creative stories and alternative truths that you were told as a child by your Mother. What inspired you to share these with the world?

I’m a criminal justice professor and one of the classes that I teach is juvenile justice. Among the topics we discuss in that class are drug delinquency and gangs. While talking about those topics, I ask students to discuss their experiences with D.A.R.E. or other drug prevention programs they experienced in their youth as well as positive influences in their lives—for example, parents, teachers, peers, etc. I also share my own personal experiences related to those topics. One example I like to give is how my mom and Pee-Wee Herman were two positive influences in my life and the major factors in keeping me drug free to this day. Every now and then, I’d find myself sharing stories from my childhood, often times involving mom and dad, in relation to the topic of juvenile justice. So one day I thought to myself: “Wouldn’t it be fun to share these stories with the world?” That was the impetus for creating There is No Shrimp… And Other Lies My Mother Told Me. FYI: The Pee-Wee Herman anti-drug story is featured in the book.

What was the creative process like working with illustrator Yamawe?

I live in the U.S. Yamawe lives in the Philippines. Needless to say, our creative collaboration is very much a long-distance relationship, but one that’s very much a success. In brief, I write the scripts, she does the artwork, we go through rounds of revisions, and then I make the final edits and send the pages off to the printers.

Getting to this point and publishing There is No Shrimp… And Other Lies My Mother Told Me, as well as Life Lessons from a UFO Catcher, was a four-year endeavor. We both have “real” jobs, so it was a challenge juggling full-time jobs and our other commitments in addition to this side project/hobby of ours. I knew early on that I wanted to release these stories about mom as a graphic novel as opposed to just words on pages… although there’s certainly nothing wrong with the latter option, it wasn’t the approach I wanted to take. I consider myself a fairly decent artist—not great, but decent—however, I’m very much old school; a pen and paper are still my tools of choice. Yamawe, who’s well-versed in both traditional and digital media, is an amazing artist and illustrates in a style that I felt was the perfect fit for my stories. I’m just glad that Yamawe decided to come along with me on this creative journey, because I couldn’t have done it without her. She has been such a joy to work with!

What is one of your favorite stories your mom told you, and what one do you wish was actually true?

If you’ve read There is No Shrimp… And Other Lies My Mother Told Me, you definitely know how much of a creative thinker and truth stretcher my mom is. Of all the lies or “alternative truths” my mom told me when I was a kid, my favorite one would have to be the one that the title of the book is based on: That there was no shrimp in my food. When I was younger, I hated shrimp. Not necessarily because they tasted bad, but because they looked like little aliens, like the ones in the Alien movies starring Sigourney Weaver. Those movies terrified me as a kid, and thus, shrimp did as well. Mom, wanting me to eat shrimp, because it was “good for me,” would always sneak tiny bits of shrimp into my food but tell me that there wasn’t any shrimp in the food. Long story short, I love shrimp now, and I have mom to thank for that.

One of the lies that mom told me that I wish was actually true is that if you keep jumping off a bed with a cape on your shoulders that you’ll eventually be able to fly like Superman. To this day, I still wish I could fly.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently working on the second volume of Life Lessons from a UFO Catcher: An Autobiographical Manga and a sequel to There is No Shrimp, tentatively titled Dad vs. The World. The first book continues Kenny’s arcade exploits as he continues to liberate plushies trapped in those claw machines. But this time around, his twin sisters, Jinny and Sammy, are tagging along with him on his UFO-catching adventures! The latter book will focus on more of my childhood stories. However, the main character of the book, as you can probably guess from the title, will be my dad… although my mom and her penchant for stretching and manipulating the truth will make cameo appearances in some of the stories. I am delighted to be partnering with Yamawe again for this “second season” of my autobiographical manga. We hope to release the next two books in the Life Lessons series within the next year or two, so stay tuned!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website


If you’ve read Kenny’s autobiographical manga and webtoon series, Life Lessons from a UFO Catcher, you’ve gained some insight into his quirky adult life and UFO-catching adventures. But have you ever wondered what your favorite UFO catcher was like as a kid? Wonder no more as you flashback to Kenny’s childhood and meet the person who shaped many of his unique perspectives on life… his mom!

Why are shrimp so terrifying? How are babies really made? What is the secret to superhuman flight? Discover the answers to these questions and more in UFO Catcher Ken Presents: There is No Shrimp… And Other Lies My Mother Told Me, a compilation of “alternative facts” a loving mother told her naïve and gullible son.

Posted on May 15, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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