Interview Five Minutes with Dan I Russell
Today we have Daniel I Russell, as well as being one of the very first authors I ever reviewed Dan has been featured publications such as The Zombie Feed from Apex, Pseudopod and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #43. He was nominated for two Tin Duck Awards in 2011 for best novel (Samhane, from Stygian Publications) and best short story. Author of Come Into Darkness, Critique and The Collector, Daniel is also the current vice-president of the Australian Horror Writers’ Association and special guest editor of Midnight Echo.
I’ve been writing for nearly ten years and am originally from Wigan, UK and now live out in the countryside of Western Australia. I have a handful of novels published with the likes of KHP Publications, Dark Continents, and German translations with Voodoo Press. There’s also a new novel coming out with Blood Bound Books in 2013.
On the editing front, I was the associate/technical editor of Necrotic Tissue and a guest editor of Midnight Echo.
Homewise, I have three children and I play more videogames than is mentally healthy.
Do you prefer the term
I like horror and have always been comfortable with the word. It depends on who you’re talking to when it comes to the mix between horror and dark fiction terms. A general reader or bookshop owner might be more likely to take a punt on you if sell your books as dark fiction. But for me, horror denotes threat, and in my books anyone can be killed at any time! So yes, in my heart it’s horror all the way.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Aside from the regular offenders that us horror peeps tend to name, I enjoy the work of Brett McBean, Sean Williams, Matthew Tait (who should get more attention in my eyes), Greg Chapman… I’ve recently been introduced to the urban horror of Robert Essig which is worth a look. Andrew J. McKiernan seems to hit gold with anything he writes (the sod!). I adore some Ed Lee and need it on a regular basis (yay Deadite Press!). My favourite writer is H.G. Wells. The Time Machine and War of the Worlds are masterpieces to be read over and over again.
What are you reading now?
Lord Loss by Darren Shan. Strange choice, yes? This is a middle grade horror novel that really opened my eyes to just what you can get away with in a children’s books. A young girl, killed, hollowed out and worn? Amazing. The reason I wish I’d written it would be to combine various aspects of my life: horror writing, parenting and teaching. Obviously, my children and students can’t read my novels (which can be extreme at times!) and something like this would be meeting all that halfway.
It was the Shan series of books that inspired to try my hand at a middle grade horror novel, which is currently in an agent’s slush pile!
How would you describe your writing style?
Pacey, straightforward and brutal. I prefer to try to yank out an emotional reaction to what’s happening in the story than appreciation towards lengthy literary panache.
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I try to get 1000 words down a day. This doesn’t sound like much at all to hardened veteran writers, but it’s doable, and I’m more likely to sit down and get it done for an hour. My habits are very dependent on the time of year. I have a desk in the garage (I play loud music while I write and don’t want to disturb the family) which can get awfully hot in summer. So for the hotter months I’m a morning writer.
If I’m struggling to get settled or the weather is simply too hot to work in, I like to write in the pub. I go to the Bridgetown Hotel, sit on my very specific table and have a single pint of James Boag’s while I write. I’m VERY particular with my set up!
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
Undoubtedly my novella Critique. It was a very different book from my usual style with very little violence or strong supernatural presence. Although, it seems to have evoked much more of a reaction than some of my more traditional horror novels. Also, rather than it being solely to entertain like some of my earlier books, Critique has an awful lot to say for itself.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
My books tend to have a delay of some years before they are published! The last book that I finished was the aforementioned MA comedy-horror called Scientia Horrificata: Zombie High School which was a hoot to write. It was effortless to get on paper, which is always a good sign.
My latest novel acceptance is another of my earlier and more extreme books, Mother’s Boys, which is due out with Blood Bound Books early next year. Imagine a cross between The Hills Have Eyes and I Spit on Your Grave set in a sewer network under a city and you’ll get the vibe!
My current work in progress is a book temporarily titled Charlie Says. This is more of a psychological terror piece, in which the life of a middle-class house wife starts to unravel following the arrival of an antique wooden clown into her home. I’ve always wanted to complete a psychology degree, and research for this book is sadly as close as I can get. Again, no gore or torture (wha?) but thick atmosphere, twists and turns and what I hope will be a few genuinely upsetting moments for the reader. Yes. I’m an evil bastard.