Today’s victim is Eric Dimbleby
, Eric Dimbleby is an indie horror writer. He lives in Brunswick, Maine with his wife and three children. He’s been published in dozens of anthologies in the US, Canada, and Australia. In 2012, he won the “Best Speculative Fiction” award from the Maine Writer’s and Publishers Alliance, for his debut novel “Please Don’t Go.” Three of his novels have been published thus far, with more in the works
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
I work in the Information Technology field, but my favourite hobbies are reading and writing. I grew up in Rhode Island, but moved to Maine about ten years ago. My wife and I needed a fresh start and we certainly found it here. We live in Brunswick, Maine, which is one of my favourite towns in all of Maine, and I’ve been just about everywhere since moving up here. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written here and that’s one of my all-time favourites. So it’s a good fit in many ways.
I’m somewhat new to the horror genre. About two and a half years ago, I had a story picked up in an anthology from Severed Press. I hadn’t written a word in the 7 years leading up to that. I had quit writing fiction after college, having written quite aggressively through high school. So I had a sort of sabbatical and then tossed a story out there to see what would happen, and I got accepted on the first attempt. Then I got paid for it. I said, “Hey, this is A-OK. Getting paid (albeit not very much) for what I enjoy… isn’t that the American Dream?”
The writing bug had me. My first novel, Please Don’t Go, came out last year, and then over the summer I won an award for it from the Maine Writers’ and Publishers’ Alliance. I felt like maybe I can make a decent side career of this thing. My second novel, A Beast In Spring, came out in e-formats over the summer and my newest just came out this week. It’s called The Klinik.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
I like HORROR. The term is shorter and sweeter. Also, it’s only one letter away from being a palindrome. I love palindromes, because everything in life has two seemingly equal sides to it. Givers and takers. Republican and Democrat. Up and down. Left and Right. Good and Evil. Yin and Yang. Hall and Oates.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
I read a lot of horror (Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King, Richard Laymon, guys like that), but my favourite authors aren’t really horror. I love Daniel Quinn, Chuck Palahniuk, Kurt Vonnegut. Kurt, in particular, is probably my favourite author of all time. I’ve been big into science fiction lately–Arthur C. Clarke and Orson Scott Card. I also like several indie horror authors… folks like Matt Darst, Josiah Pitchforth, and Eric S. Brown just to name a few. There’s a great indie community of writers, both locally and nationally, on the verge of bigness.
What are you reading now?
The Wonderful Wizard of Ozby Frank L. Baum, Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub. and Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut. I always have 3 books burning at all times, between my Kindle and library books. I spread books out all over and read them when I’m in their proximity.
Which book do you wish you had written?
The Dictionary. I have a lot of good ideas for new words but the world is not ready for them. Here’s a free sample: snozzish (adj.)- describing a person of considerable thumb size. Example: My wife was born snozzish, so she has trouble holding chopsticks or handing over coins at toll booths.
How would you describe your writing style?
I’m all over the place. Whatever works for the story. I think a touch of humor and a quick pace really help the reader to feel like they’re not being dragged through muck. I try to keep things fresh for the reader. I don’t want a reader to ever predict where the story is going, so sometimes I’ll go off the rails. I will totally go in a new direction in the second or third act, as long as it serves the overall story. The place you start from should never be the place you end up, or what’s the point of it all? When I start a book, I never know where it is going. If I knew from the beginning, then so would the eventual reader. I don’t want that, so I keep it fresh for myself even in the writing process.
Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I only write on weekends, usually Friday nights after the kids are in bed. I have three kids now (twins Izzy and Amity are 1 and a half, Nolan is 3), so finding a regular, daily time to write is difficult. I only write a couple of hours per week, but when I do, I explode. I type faster than my brain can move, and I don’t take my fingers from the keys, except to stop for my late night snack (usually baked fish and frozen peas), or to get a fresh beer, or to use the water closet.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
I have a bizarro story coming out in a few months, called “The House That Wept Puddin’”, and it’s totally demented. I really loved writing that one, as it was the first time I ever wrote a story in the second person, which many publishers won’t even consider. Arcane (edited by Nathan Shumate, formerly of Arkham Tales) is publishing it. Can’t wait for people to read it.
I’d have to say my newest novel, The Klinik, is what I’m most proud of in terms of novels. It’s fast, funny, scary, and unnerving. I think it best epitomizes my style and leaves you uneasy.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
It’s my backlash against the way America is moving with health care. It started as a comedy, if you can believe that… and then I realized that it wasn’t very funny at all.
After my twins were born last year, we started receiving doctor bills, obviously doubled up because there were two of them. Even with good health insurance, I was expected to pay thousands and thousands of dollars on stuff my insurance wouldn’t cover. I ended up with excessive bills that I am still paying off today. I estimate I’ll have the bills paid off by the time they’re two years old. And this is for a hard-working person who pays through the nose for health insurance already, and who has never asked for a single handout his entire life`. It’s sad. Not even sad: it’s pathetic. The premise for The Klinik was born in this idea, that you are a slave to this industry. With my tale, it’s more than a metaphoric slavery. The Hippocratic Oath is meaningless in a world where profit overrides all sense of decency.
My next book is about the abolition of slavery. It’s an alternate history of the movement, if it went a totally different (and slightly insane) direction. It’s got a heavy touch of the supernatural, but is more about the concept of revolution and taking what is yours when you’ve been scorned. I won’t talk too much about it, because I think it’s going to be my most marketable book thus far and I have really high hopes for it. I’m having a hard time with the history that I want to be true, and the history that I want to change, understanding the motivations of folks like Lincoln, Douglas, of the South, of the North, and all the people in between. It’s a bloody good time though. Just because it sounds serious, doesn’t mean it is. There will be blood. Probably another year until that is ready, but keep your eyes out for it: you won’t see it coming and it’ll bowl you over when it hits.