Tuesday, January 14, 2014
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Eric Robert Nolan
1. When and why did you decide to become an author?
I honestly can’t remember a time when I wasn’t telling stories. I grew up in a working class Irish family in New York, and poems and stories were a big part of the culture. For as long as I can remember, I was making up my own. The first poem I remember writing was when I was about eight or so. I think it was about a boy befriending a wild horse.
2. You write poetry, short stories and novels. What is the biggest distinction between the three and which is your favorite to write?
For me, poetry is about economy. You can say a lot with only a few words. You can convey an image, feeling or message in less than a page – something that prose is often unable to do. All writers are communicators – they have something that they would like to get across. Poetry enables you to do that quickly. I once recited a love poem for a co-worker when we were sneaking a cigarette break – it took less than a minute, and when I was done, he knew exactly how I felt about the woman who was the subject of the poem.
Prose is about detail. I try to put as much thought as possible into characterization, setting, and “world building,” Here is where you can communicate at length with those who have more time to read. I would like to be the kind of writer that can draw readers into the world of the story. I want them to inhabit it – in the same way I’ve been able to inhabit the worlds of my own favorite writers.
3. Whose work inspired you when you were younger. Whose work do you enjoy today?
Two writers have been my primary influences as both a child and an adult.
Since the age of 16, I have loved the poetry of W.H. Auden. In my own humble estimation, he was a sublimely beautiful mind, whose work is both brutal and lovely. It can simultaneously move you to sadness and give you a love for the English language. I think he was quite brilliant, and often sad, but I believe that he never really lost hope. For me, Auden himself will always be the “affirming flame” that he wrote of in his poem, “September 1, 1939.”
Stephen King will always be my favorite storyteller of all time. He is unmatched in his ability to immerse readers in the thought processes and emotions of diverse and complex characters. I suspect he knows much more about the human mind than most practicing psychologists. And he can do these things while serving up a good old-fashioned, fun, creepy campfire story about monsters, ghosts or aliens.
4. Dagda Publishing in the UK published your poetry collection and first novel (The Dogs Don't Bark In Brooklyn Any More). Can you tell the readers how you got involved with them? Do you plan on publishing
more work with them?
Dagda Publishing has a strong commitment to helping new or emerging writers, and the company also has a very active Internet presence. Reg Davey, Editor-in-Chief, once “reblogged” a poem that I had published in another online publication in Britain, Dead Beats Literary Blog. So I began submitting poetry to Dagda, and from time to time, they’ve been kind enough to feature it.
I indeed hope to publish more with Dagda. They are a smart, professional team, and a pleasure to engage and work with.
5. What was the inspiration for TDDBIBAM?
There were a number of influences. The primary influence was Saki’s “The Interlopers,” which my father read to me when I was a boy. This is a classic short story with a surprise ending – if you’ve read “The Interlopers,” you basically know the story of TDDBIBAM and the planned subsequent books.
Another influence was the animated film adaptation of Richard Adams’ Watership Down. (I am embarrassed here to admit that I actually have not read the classic novel upon which it is based.) Watership Down portrays intelligent animals, yet they are not fully anthropomorphized. (They have their own distinct language and culture.) I wanted to take this idea and turn it on its head. What if we had intelligent animals who were bad guys, while the human characters were the story’s protagonists?) I’ve hoped since I wrote it that people might find this an original idea.
Finally, I was influenced by the real story of David Berkowitz, the “Son of Sam” serial killer. When Berkowitz was finally arrested by New York City police, he confessed that he was motivated to his crimes by his neighbor’s demonically possessed, talking dog. That image, or idea, is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever heard. I’ve always thought that talking animals could be the basis for a great horror story.
6. You said you're writing a sequel to the novel. How many books will his storyline span, do you think?
I currently plan to write three books. I’ve also flirted with the idea of writing a book or short story serving as a prequel novel – maybe a book entitled The O’Conners, following the early lives of Patrick and Flynn O’Conner (Rebecca’s father and uncle).
7. Are any of the characters based on people you know in real life?
No. The characters are not based on real people, nor is Rebecca an “author proxy,” either consciously or unconsciously. I have no idea where my characters come from.
8. Would you like to see a film made out of your novel or any of your stories? Who would be the stars?
To be honest, I’m not sure that I would like to see a film based on the book. I’m not sure why that is.
If a movie were made, I could easily see Gillian Anderson as Rebecca, Elizabeth Mitchell as Janey Auburndale, and Rose Byrne as Molly Landers. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit here that I have harbored crushes on all three of these actresses.) I think Rutger Hauer would make a perfect Michael Donlon. And if you have seen Elijah Wood’s performance as Kevin in Sin City, then you know that we absolutely need him to portray Francis Lestrade.
9. Are you working on anything else aside from the sequel? Is there anything you can share with KSR?
I continue to write poems and short stories. My newest short story, “At the End of the Worlds, My Daughter Wept Metal,” will appear in Dagda’s upcoming anthology, All Hail the New Flesh. This is another doomsday science fiction story, and readers of TDDBIBAM will find that there are a couple of “Easter eggs” – character and thematic references just for them.
10. You wrote that you sold your first book in Italy and just recently autographed your first book. How did it feel to have your hard work appreciated?
It was amazing. I never thought I would see the day when I was asked to autograph anything – except maybe a photo of actor James Wood. (We’re lookalikes; people comment to me constantly about the uncanny resemblance.)
I am always surprised at how kind and gracious horror fans can be. The people I’ve met in the writing community and the fan community have been incredibly generous to me in their words and support. It leads me to want to be a better person, and to be supportive of the efforts of others. It’s a wonderful part of my life.
11. Do you have any inspirations outside of poetry/literature?
I’m a movie nerd, and I’ve long drawn inspiration from my favorite films – everything from Vanilla Sky to Blade Runner to Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey. If any George A. Romero fans read my writing, I feel certain they’ll recognize me as one of their own.
I am also an extremely vivid dreamer, and draw a lot of inspiration there.
12. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
Gosh, that’s a very difficult question to answer. If it is one thing that life has taught me, it’s that it’s unpredictable.
I can tell you where I would like to be. I would like to continue publishing. I would like to make enough money to afford airfare to visit my friends around the United States and the rest of the world. (My writing has helped me find friendships with many good people who are far away from New York.) I would also like to find a way to employ my writing to serve my country and community. I’m not sure how I might do that, but I would like to try.
13. What, if anything, do you wish for readers to take from TDDBIBAM?
TDDBIBAM is largely Rebecca O’Conner’s story. By the end of the book, whatever her own failings or inner demons, she is an adult who tries to do the right thing. She might lack the depth, the insight, or even the character of the people around her. She’s only human.
But she is fighting the good fight, despite how life and fate have brutalized her. She is committed, above all things. She’ll never flag in her determination. She’ll never stop. No matter how hard it hurts. Maybe that is what really makes someone a soldier.
14. Is there a genre you haven't before tackled but would like to in the future?
Yes – historical fiction, contemporary military fiction and mainstream romance.
15. Thank you for participating in the interview! Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
Thank you! It is a pleasure for me to be here! Three things that surprise people about me?
I am not James Wood.
Most of my poems and stories are connected with New York, but I absolutely love the American South – especially South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, DC.
I studied psychology as an undergraduate, and once dreamed of working for the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit.
Find Eric Robert Nolan online via the following:
The Book Marketing Network
Find Dagda Publishing online via the following: