By Jason Harris
David Price is the author of Dead in the USA. He resides in Massachusetts. His new story, “Necrophone,” appeared in the online sci-fi & fantasy magazine, Buzzy Mag, today.
JH: How did your adventure in writing come about?
DP: Well, I’ve always loved reading. I was a huge comic book fan, and later moved on to Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brian Lumley and many other speculative fiction writers. In my freshman year of college, I absolutely aced Composition 1. I was undeclared, and my professor suggested I become an English Major. That’s really when I first started thinking seriously about becoming a writer.
JH: What was your first published work?
DP: I had a short story based on the haunted experiences in my life published in a collection called Tales from the Grave.
JH: Do you have a specific writing style?
DP: The most frequent comment or compliment to my writing is that it’s “page-turning.” I’ve also been told that I do particularly well with dialogue. I don’t tend to bog down on details or describe a scene for very long. If you like extensive, detailed descriptions, I’m probably not for you. If you like stuff that moves along, I might be your guy.
JH: What year were you published?
DP: 2012 was the first time I saw myself in print, other than an online article or two.
JH: Have any real life instances influenced your work?
DP: Oh sure, I’ve put many of my real life experiences in my work. In my story “Necrophone,” coming out in Buzzy Mag in March, I mention cliff jumping at a quarry. That really happened. Actually quite a bit of that story is based on my relationship with my grandfather, as I wrote it shortly after he died.
JH: What books have influenced your life the most?
DP: Hmm, my life or my writing? The Stand is my favorite book, so it’s certainly influenced me. The works of Stephen King have changed the way I see the world, at times. Some of the ideas in the Dark Tower series will always influence me, I think. And then of course, there’s J.R.R. Tolkien. The fact that The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are the main influence for the Dungeons & Dragons game is important. D & D is the inspiration for the series of epic fantasy books I am currently writing.
JH: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
DP: Stephen King, hands down. Even when his stories don’t quite hit the mark, he has the way of always getting me to care about his characters. I don’t think I write much like Stephen King myself, but I am always conscious of trying to get the reader to care about my characters.
JH: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
DP: Well, J.K. Rowling isn’t that new, but I consider the Harry Potter series pretty much revolutionary. I’m a big fan of John McIlveen, having recently read his collection, Jerks. Bracken MacLeod is an up and coming writer, as anyone who is paying attention to the horror and crime markets will tell you. Kealan Patrick Burke writes so beautifully, that I doubt I’ll ever equal his style.
JH: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
DP: As I said, “Necrophone” is a short story that will be published online in Buzzy Mag on March 27. It’s about a man who discovers a phone app that allows him to communicate with the dead, in this case, his recently deceased grandfather. Other than that, I’m putting some more polish on the first book of my epic Lovecraftian fantasy series: Lightbringer.
JH: What was the last book or piece of work that you had published? What was it about?
DP: Last year I had my essay “Shark Bait” published in the collection, Phobias, from Hidden Thoughts Press.
JH: Do you have a ritual before you write?
DP: Not really. I’ve used music at times, usually Tool or Puscifer. Sometimes I drink coffee, sometimes wine.
JH: Do you have any advice for other writers?
DP: If you don’t have the stomach for rejection, this might not be the business or hobby for you. I wasn’t ready for all the rejection, to be honest. I mean, I knew it was part of the business, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be to handle at times. That story, “Necrophone” that I’ve mentioned already? That was rejected more than ten times. I finally sold it to Buzzy Mag, making it the best paying story I’ve sold to date. You just never know. Stick with it and try not to take it personally. Just keep writing, keep improving, and keep submitting.
JH: Are you going to be signing anywhere in the near future?
DP: I will be at Super MegaFest in Marlborough, MA, April 17-19, Anthocon in Portsmouth, NH, June 5-7, Necon in Portsmouth, RI, July 16-19, Granite State ComicCon in Manchester, NH September 12-13, and possibly Necronomicon in Providence, RI, August 20-23. That’s all for now!
Q: Your newest book The Eagle & The Arrow is a sequel to Beware the Hawk. What are they about?
A: Beware the Hawk followed a couple of spectacularly bad days in the life of a young woman who was a courier for a secret organization called The Resistance.
The Eagle & The Arrow takes place about six months afterward, and features the young woman’s boss, a bureaucrat named Helen, who is tasked with cleaning up the mess created in the first book while keeping her decaying agency a secret and keeping her own career afloat.
Q: Did you always envision Beware the Hawk to be part of a trilogy of novellas?
A: I didn’t. Originally, my publisher contacted me about Beware the Hawk, because Vagabondage Press was putting together a series of novellas, and my editor remembered Beware the Hawk from a writers’ group we were both members of in 2003. It was only after Beware the Hawk was released that we decided to go ahead and make the book into a trilogy.
Q: Is the third one planned out already?
A: Well, no. I have some notes and outlines put together, but I haven’t figured out every step of the story.
Q: When did you start the series?
A: I wrote the first draft of Beware the Hawk 10 years ago, although I dreamed up the premise earlier. At the time I was a 25-year-old journalist, in my first writing group ever. When I didn’t have to cover a Tuesday night school board meeting for work, I went to writing group meetings in a local Barnes & Noble. Eventually, I needed some work to share with the group, so I started writing Beware the Hawk down.
Q: Will the series go beyond the three novellas?
A: I don’t know. Right now, the plan is to stick to a trilogy. I’d like the three books to form a neat little unit of storytelling. But you never know – I might revisit some of the characters with stories or books devoted to their character arcs later.
Q: What was the inspiration for the two books?
A: I started thinking up Beware the Hawk in 1999 and 2000. At the time, I was working in Boston and regularly visited friends who lived in New York and Connecticut at the time. I did a lot of traveling by public transit and I had a lot of time to think on those trips. It occurred to me that anyone on the bus could be carrying anything. This was before Sept. 11, and security wasn’t so tight, so I’d spend bus trips thinking about the sort of things a person could get away with.
The Eagle & The Arrow was inspired by recent events as much as by the original novella. I’m intrigued by the phenomenon of WikiLeaks as much as I am horrified by prison camps like Guantanamo Bay. I thought that, when the time came to write the second book, it would be appropriate to look at the first book in terms of terrorism, because although the word “terrorism” never occurred to me when I was writing Beware the Hawk, that’s what it’s about.
Q: When did you start writing?
A: I’ve been writing since childhood. My mother tells a story about me as a toddler, playing with my toys and trying to explain what a plot was, but I don’t remember that. I do remember writing my first novel as a freshman in high school. It was awful, but the hours I spent on it were the happiest of my day, and I used to read chapters to my friends over the phone. The fact that they put up with this proves that they were true friends.
Q: Has your occupation as a journalist helped with writing your books or writing fiction in general?
A: Now that I don’t work at a daily, yes, I think my experience helped me. As a reporter you learn to economize your language, and that can only strengthen writing. When I was writing for work every day, however, journalism took away from my fiction. I was too exhausted at the end of a day of writing to write anything creative.
Q: What newspaper do you work at and what have you done there and what do you do there currently?
A: I haven’t worked for a paper for a while, although I freelance when I can and both write and edit for a website. I worked for the Hour Newspapers in Norwalk from 2001 to 2010. I was education reporter, mostly, covering schools in several communities, but I also covered municipal business in Stamford, and I worked for a year or so covering entertainment for the features section. That was fun.
Q: You’re a teacher? What do you teach, where and how long have you taught?
A: I’m an adjunct at Norwalk Community College. I’ve taught journalism there since 2008. I advise the student newspaper, and developed our digital journalism course, which I also teach.
Q: You are an editor at the online magazine, Geek Eccentric. When did you start there and what drew you to the magazine?
A: I started at Geek Eccentric this past spring, after being recruited by John Hattaway, our publisher. John went to grad school with me at the Fairfield University MFA program and knew that I was into science fiction, fantasy and comics, so he asked me to join.
I was drawn to the site because it was a chance to continue work I enjoyed. When I worked for the Hour’s features section, I loved writing about entertainment. Geek Eccentric offered me a chance to write news and opinion blog posts about entertainment that appeal to me, so naturally I jumped at it.
Q: Do you have a writing routine?
A: When I’m not teaching, I try to write at least 500 words a day in the morning. I set writing goals weekly with another writer so that we have some accountability. We send each other our goals for the next week on the weekend, and then check in at the end of the week to see if we’ve made progress. It helps.
A: This might sound odd, but my mother, who used to be a librarian (and who loves her a mystery) is the reason I joined Sisters in Crime. She picked up a pamphlet at an event and then made sure I couldn’t miss it. And of course a conversation I had with you and Stacey [Longo] are the reason I joined the NEHW.
Q: What has been one of the best experiences/conversations since becoming a published author?
A: Running into people who have read my book. On the street. While I was lugging groceries from the car to the house. That was pretty amazing; I felt like a celebrity. Also, hearing from people I don’t know on the Internet that they loved my book.
Q: Any advice for writers who are about to be published? Or just advice to writers in general?
A: Yes, and this is advice I have to take myself sometimes: Make the time to sit down and write. Don’t worry about what you’ll write or if it will be any good or not, just sit down and write as often as you can.
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
A: Margaret Atwood, John Steinbeck, Virgina Woolf, Flannery O’Connor and Graham Greene are some of my favorite literary authors, but I also love Terry Pratchett, George R.R. Martin, Frank Herbert and J.R.R. Tolkien. Despite his elvish poetry, I’ve loved Tolkien since I read The Hobbit in the fourth grade.
Q: What are some of your favorite books?
A: Oh, this could turn into a Top 50 list. Let me see if I can pick out a few. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is a favorite of mine. So is The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. Graham Greene’s The Quiet American is another favorite. So is the original Dune, and Silence of the Lambs, both of which I’ve read over and over. Right now, however, I am most excited about A Song of Ice and Fire. I read all the books this spring, and George R.R. Martin cannot get The Winds of Winter published quickly enough. There’s an author who knows how to build suspense.
Thanks to A.J. for taking the time to do this interview for Jason Harris Promotions. You can find out more about her on her website here. You can purchase signed copies of her books at Books and Boos or through its website here.
The Seventh Annual Boston Comic Con happened this weekend at the Seaport World Trade Center. It was originally scheduled for the weekend April 20 through 21 at the Hynes Convention Center, but was postponed because of the lockdown following the Boston Marathon bombing.
The convention organizer’s expected this year’s attendance to be 15,000. There were artist and event panels. There was also an Independent Film Festival on Saturday and a Zombie Film Festival on Sunday.
Boston Comic Con’s biggest celebrity guests were Laurie Holden of The Walking Dead and Kristen Bauer of True Blood. The other guests included Aidan Turner and Dean O’Gorman, who play the dwarves Kili and Fili respectively in The Hobbit movies.
The convention had many comic book artists such as Mark Bagley and James O’Barr. It had celebrities for the reading crowd too such as authors Joe Hill, Christopher Golden, and Steve Niles, who have all written comic books.
There were authors there that are not involved with comic books.
Author Estevan Vega isn’t new to big conventions. He was meeting fans and signing books at last year’s Rhode Island Comic Con.
If you went to the convention to see what attendees were dressing up as then you weren’t disappointed.
Pictures of the crowds, vendors, game players and groups at this year’s Boston Comic Con.
Boston Comic Con is over, but I’m looking forward to the 2014 one.