With four books out, you must be super rich. Is writing your full-time job now or do you still have to work a day job? If so, how do you balance working for somebody else and writing as a second profession?
Ha ha ha! Excuse me, but I have to laugh so I can keep from crying. Neither is a pretty sight, believe me.
I don’t know many writers who can afford to write full-time. I’m definitely not one of them. Balancing a day job and writing makes for very long days, nights of less than five hours’ sleep (and, therefore, constant exhaustion), weekends taken up by long writing marathons instead of movie or TV marathons, ignoring family and friends, eating too much junk food, and sometimes making really bad choices.
But I can’t seem to be able to stop…
The horror genre is new to Samhain Publishing. What drew you to them as a publisher and how has the experience been?
As I mentioned, Don D’Auria was hired by Samhain after the near-implosion at Dorchester (who still hold the rights to Wolf’s Gambit and Wolf’s Bluff). It was only natural that I would approach him and ask if he was interested in my writing more for him. Fortunately, I had pulled Wolf’s Edge for nonpayment, so it was ready to go and Don graciously bought it again.
So far, the experience has been outstanding. But I’m biased, because I know how much better Don makes my writing – so I’m surely judging everything based on getting to work with him again. Don is a fantastic editor who manages to have a light touch while at the same time turning your potentially terrible sentences into great ones. That’s not easy to do. He genuinely loves the horror genre and it shows in every book he’s touched. Samhain’s other genres all flirt with horror anyway, so I can see why they wanted to make it official – and they got the best person to make it happen! I’m proud and thrilled to be a part of the horror line’s launch this October!
Brian: W.D., I’ve enjoyed working with Don myself and can’t say enough good things about him.
Writing a book takes a lot of focus and discipline. Can you share your writing process and tell us how you get into the creative frame of mind to write fiction?
It’s called desperation. I desperately want to continue writing, so I force myself into the frame of mind. Believe me, it’s not easy. I love reading other people’s books, I love movies, and I love music. There’s a whole lot of other stuff I could be doing, so writing fiction sometimes feels like torture… when I’m starting. But when I hit the groove, if I’m lucky, then it’s great. I try to write every day, a little, but on weekends I spend about 12-14 hours at my nearby Starbucks office so I can avoid all that other distraction. Unfortunately, the internet’s still available. I try to put in a couple hours at least three other nights, too.
I don’t do focus or discipline very well at all. It’s all put-a-gun-to-my-head kind of stuff to get me into a project, and sometimes other ideas try to crowd out the one I’m working on. I like to say I have many more burners than I have stove! But when that groove happens, when the action starts rolling, or even better, when characters start to do things on their own, ignoring the paths I set out for them, then it’s sweet indeed. I’ve been fortunate in that quite a few of my characters have rebelled against me and done their own thing, some of them lived and died against my wishes, and the fact that they surprised me has also hopefully surprised readers.
Brian: I can totally relate. There are days I have to force myself to sit down and write. But when I hit my groove, there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.
Also, I’ve collaborated enough with my friend David Benton, and found that projects we work on together flow a lot more smoothly because it’s two writers carrying the burden of plotting and writing scenes. You get more stamina, fresh eyes, and a partner who’s not afraid to tell you something’s not working. All this can have a good effect on your solo work, too.
As many people will know, Samhain Publishing is named for the ancient tradition that became every horror fan's favorite festival of Halloween. What would make for your best ever Samhain celebration?
Hard to say. I’m much more of an observer than a participant. I love the holiday and all its ancient and modern trappings. But you’ll never get me into a costume. But I so like to watch…
I find Halloween very intriguing, scary, kind of sexy, kind of dangerous, kind of illicit, kind of taboo. I take it all in. And I love chocolate…
|W.D. trying his luck against the Casino Beast.|
You live up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I once visited Green Bay and toured a cheese factory. All I know about the state is cheese, the Packers football team, and Milwaukee Brewers baseball team. Besides watching sports and eating cheese curds, what else do you do for fun in Wisconsin?
Fun? What’s that?
We dig ourselves out of tons of snow, shiver through 20-30 degrees below zero days (with windchills even worse), and watch our Packers and Badgers and Brewers doing very well this season! I’m looking for a Packers Super Bowl Re-peat, since that’s my game. And the Wisconsin Badgers are looking big-bowl bound, too. The Brewers, who knows, maybe it’s the Series for them after many years’ drought.
I love a good Friday fish fry, I do declare. And a good brew to go with it.
And yes, we put cheese on everything. What of it? (Am I being too defensive?)
Oh, and we’ve sure created our share of serial killers in this general area… wonder why?