Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Master of the Macabre: Author David Fingerman

If you’re like me, you have to watch horror movies or read spooky books during the day. So guess what? I have as my 13th guest on the VBT, a master of macabre writing, David Fingerman. Do you think it’s mere coincidence that he is my thirteenth guest, as opposed to being another number guest? Maybe there’s something in this. (Shiver!) I mean, David scored Edgar Allen Poe as his crazy writer in a recent quiz…. David Fingerman, a master of the unforeseen and unpredictable, will take you on a number of seemingly ordinary journeys and then smoothly veer off course, surprising you with twists and turns that propel you toward destinations that are not only unexpected, but often terrifying.


Let’s have a look at David’s collection of shiveringly scary short stories.

Get ready to expect the unexpected when you read this collection of chilling short stories. The short stories of Edging Past Reality will take you to the precipice of reason and then push you over the edge. If you think you can always believe your eyes, and you're sure that what you believe is true, it's time to check your certainties at the door ... and start Edging Past Reality. In this collection of short stories, as you're warned in the introduction, ''the most common and familiar elements of life ... explode into a circus of horror.'' Imagine an inviting, lush meadow that turns shockingly deadly. A mirror that holds more than mere reflections. A trial where your life hangs by a call-in vote.


More about David:
You worked in the court system for 20+ years. Your experiences in the justice system have certainly given you lots of food for thought and many themes I am sure. Do you think that your work there influenced your choice of genre (horror, macabre/human condition etc) or is this something you just enjoy as a theme?
I've had a love of horror and the macabre long before I started working for the justice system. When I was young, my parents had a TV in their bedroom. After they sent me to bed, they'd go back downstairs and I'd sneak into their room and watch Alfred Hitchcock Presents, or The Twilight Zone, or Outer Limits depending on the night. So, as for my choice of genre, the courts had no bearing. That being said, my years working there has given me more fodder for ideas, plots, human behavior, etc. than I'll ever be able to write in this lifetime. I feel I've gotten to see the best and worst humanity has to offer. And what great stories that can create.

Apart from Alfred Hitchcock, what writers have influenced or inspired you?
Again, reverting back to childhood—I was an avid reader. The Hardy Boys were my favorites. As I got older I drifted more towards science fiction (which included speculative fiction). I couldn't read enough of Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Ray Bradbury (there were many others, but those were the top three. Then I went to college, and pfffftttt! I had no desire to read anymore until a couple years after I graduated when I saw a copy of Pet Sematary by Stephen King. He was my new fave until a friend of mine loaned me a book of short stories called Shatterday by Harlan Ellison. I really enjoy reading short stories and that book showed me there was a solid market for it. I've always loved to write, but it was mostly as something to do when I was bored. Reading Shatterday planted the seed of me wanting to become a serious writer.

Your first book, Edging Past Reality, is a collection of short stories. Now you have moved on to novels. What made you decide to write novels, and what was the experience like for you? Easy/hard/killing?
For me, novels are much harder to write than short stories but also more rewarding. (I'm still amazed when chatting with some authors that they find novels much easier to write.) One thing I love about writing short stories is that by the time I get sick of ever looking at it again, I'm done. During the editing and rewriting phase of the novels, I had to put them away for a while. I couldn't read a passage without hating the whole thing. Although I still write short stories, moving to novels was a natural progression. Like Stephen King's novels, my short stories were getting longer and longer anyway. My first inclination for Silent Kill (soon to be released) was a short story, possibly a novella. Once I got started I knew there was no way I could do justice to it as a short piece of work. Once that decision was made, the floodgates opened and that possible short story finished at 95,000 words.

Your Desert Island books, or what you read for pleasure?
On a desert island? Um, now I'm thinking Gilligan's Island and making an air conditioner out of coconuts—but you didn't say stranded, so never mind. Ahem, sorry. Pretty much anything by Harlan Ellison. I still have a couple books left in Stephen King's Tower series that I haven't read yet. I love horror, suspense, mystery, and occasionally I'll be in the mood for history and biography. If it's fast moving and lets me escape from reality, I'll probably enjoy it. There are also a number of authors I've met on this tour whose books sound fascinating and are now on my list.

Are you afraid (very afraid...) when you read your own scary novels late at night?
LOL. Yes, but in a little bit different context—when I'm reading something really sick and twisted and thinking, what disgusting and disturbed mind ever thought that up? Oh yeah, it was me. That's kinda scary.

Your favorite short story from your own collection—can you give me a paragraph?
Oohhhh, tough one. My favorites change with my mood. Okay, here's a short passage from "Marty's Toy" found in Edging Past Reality.

“Marty's bedroom stood right above the kitchen, but from the second floor he was able to see a small section of the vacant lot. Through the weeds, acting like a cloak, two blazing orange eyes stared back from the corner of the lot. Sparkling in the night, teeth shone like stars.”

Readers with nerves of steel who would like to win a copy simply post a comment. Visit David at his author site for more detail on purchase links and release dates for his next two novels.
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