CdO: How is born your relation with the italian publishing house GARGOYLE BOOKS?
I was originall introduced to Gargoyle by author Joseph Nassise, who’s novel was one of the first Gargoyle put out. It took a few years to make the right contacts, but when my agent signed a contract with an Italian literary agency, it wasn’t long after that I signed my contract with Gargoyle. I also have a good friend, Matteo Curtoni, who is an Italian translator; his help and advice were very valuable to me.
CdO: During your adventurous life, you also were called Church of Christ’s priest. In how way this experience has defined narrative choices of your romance IL VANGELO DELLA MADDALENA?
I chose the voices of Mary Magdalene and Judas Iscariot for several reasons. In my novel, Mary is a fallen angel. Much of my dislike of organized religion has grown from a realization that people just don’t believe what they say they do. Even in The Bible, the apostles would witness miracle after miracle, and turn right around to fight over which among them was more important, missing the point entirely. Through the voice of Mary, I was able to write the story from the outside, looking in – from the point of view of a character who didn’t have to have faith in God, or Heaven, but who knew first hand that both were very real.
Judas I chose because I think he got a bad deal. Either he was set up from birth to be the one who betrayed Jesus, as The Bible would tell us, in which case he never really had a chance – or he was a scapegoat. I chose to make him a hero, and to give explanations for his actions, and for the reactions of the other apostles. In the end, it is Judas, a man, who sacrifices eternity – along with Mary – to save the world. This sacrifice is much more powerful than that of a God-Man who already knew he would be lifted back up to heaven laying down his life, at least in my own admittedly skewed opinion.
CdO: During your career of horror writer, you’ve published 13 novels and 150 stories. Which of them do you believe draw you mostly to American reader’s attention? And which of them make you particular proud for writing it?
It’s really a difficult question. The readers of the various books I’ve written come from a variety of backgrounds, depending on what book it is. My “Grails Covenant” trilogy brought me a small measure of international fame, but mostly among lovers of the White Wolf Gaming industry. My novel “This is My Blood” has had the best and most powerful following, but newer novels like “Deep Blue,” and “Ancient Eyes,” are starting to build readership. I’m probably proudest of “This is My Blood,” which is – in Italy – “Il Vangelo…” There is a little bit more of myself written into those pages.
CdO: You’ve been Horror Writer’s Association President, maybe the higher dignity for an horror writer. Can you explain to aspirant writers and to italian readers what exactly is the Horror Writer’s Association?
The Horror Writer’s Association is a group of professional horror writers – founded by some of the biggest names in horror, Dean Koontz, Joe Lansdale, J. N. Williamson, and others. The purpose is to promote horror fiction in all its various incarnations, and to provide a support, networking, and shared creative environment for horror writers at all levels of the craft, from beginners to best-sellers. The organization has sponsored many anthologies over the years, and they sponsor the annual Bram Stoker Awards.
CdO: You also won a glamorous Bram Stoker Award... but for poetry! Are you also a poet? And what was the poetry who won?
It’s kind of ironic that I won that award. I fought very hard against including the poetry category in the awards, because I just don’t believe one can really be a professional “horror poet.” Still, I’m very proud of the award. I won it along with co-authors Rain Graves and Mark McLaughlin for our joint collection “The Gossamer Eye,” which contained a great deal of poetry, and also some short fiction. The most significant collection of poetry I’ve published to date was titled “Cities of Light & Darkness,” and was published by Kelp Queen Press. The poems in that collection were written after I’d spent several weeks touring the ruins of Italy, oddly enough. It’s still available in a beautiful broadside set, signed, numbered and illustrated by the lovely and talented Lisa Snellings.
CdO: What writers influenced mostly your way to write?
I go in cycles, but the lasting influences are Edgar Allen Poe, Peter Straub, Ayn Rand, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, and a bit from some of my contemporaries, like Caitlin Kiernan and Poppy Z. Brite.
CdO: How is the american editorial situation actually, for what look at horror literature?
Horror is caught in a sort of odd place in American literature. Some of our most popular books are horror, but seldom marketed as such. Only a very few New York City publishers still have what could be considered a “horror line” – but all of the major publishers publish books that I consider to be horror. It’s as if the word “horror” was the problem, and not the stories, characters, or authors.
CdO: In your opinion, what chance would have an aspirant italian horror writer who want to try to suggest himself to american publishing houses?
I can see two ways this might happen. Either the Italian author would have to be VERY fluent in English, or they would have to have already sold the novel in Italy and gotten good reviews – in which case a publisher might pay for a translator. I think any good book has a chance, as well as any author, but for anyone who has English as a second, or third language, the struggle is that much harder, because competition is stiff. Anything is possible, though, yes? I speak Spanish, but not Italian, and I’m published in Italy!
CdO: Can we expect that we could read other romances of yours with Gargoyle Books?
I very much hope so, though they will likely not be very much like the first one. That is a very different sort of book – a once in a lifetime sort of book. I have a lot of stories to tell, and I hope to have a long pleasant relationship with Gargoyle.
CdO: Thank you David, for your graceful availability. I hope i can meet you, sooner or later...
I hope to meet you as well – and thanks very much for helping me to promote my work.
(interwiev by Domenico Nigro)
Un ringraziamento speciale alla dott. Enrica Begliatti,
che ha tradotto le domande di questa intervista in inglese