- What’s your earliest memory about storytelling?
Well, I can clearly remember being very young, probably less than two years old, probably a LOT less than two years old, and my mom reading me the P.D. Eastman children’s book, ARE YOU MY MOTHER? I loved that book, and when I got a little older and began reading on my own (sort of), I pored over that book hundreds of times, maybe thousands.
As far as my earliest memory of me telling stories, it would have to be when I was around eight or ten. I had a cheap pressboard desk in my bedroom, and I remember sitting at it and writing a story about a kid who gets lost in the woods in the middle of winter and freezes to death. He’s found months later with one tear frozen to his cheek. I might not have known what genre fiction was back then, but I was already writing it!
- If you could live during any era in any land, real or imaginary, where would it be and why?
I don’t think I would want to live my life in any era or place besides exactly when and where I am right now. Being born a few decades earlier than I was might have been kind of fun; those Rat Pack guys looked pretty cool in their thin ties and fedoras. It’s a look I’m not sure I could have pulled off, though, so maybe things worked out for the best.
That said, what would appeal to me would be a time machine that would allow me to move around in history, sort of like Forest Gump, only instead of traveling through a few decades, I could use it to move back and forth over thousands of years.
Think about the possibilities. In addition to finding out exactly what happened in Ferguson, Missouri – not the narratives that have been fed to us by two different sides, but the real story – I could learn the details of the Kennedy assassination, discover whether Shakespeare was a real person or a composite of a number of different writers, find out what Jesus Christ was really like.
The sky would be the limit, and in addition to getting more story ideas than I could ever use, the prospect of actually living through the most significant moments in history would be totally cool.
- Would you talk about your upcoming books and the production schedule?
Right now I’m putting the finishing touches on the third novel in my Tracie Tanner series of thrillers, titled THE OMEGA CONNECTION. That book is due out in early January and also available will be a very cool “soundscape” album of background music, composed and recorded by Steve Buick of Evokescape. It’s a cool idea, and having heard the tracks, I can honestly say they add a lot to the reading experience.
Then, in April, my next dark fiction novel for DarkFuse is due for release. It’s titled AFTER MIDNIGHT, and is the followup to the 2013 novel, MR. MIDNIGHT. Milo Cain is probably the most vile, evil character I’ve ever written, and now he’s back with a vengeance, literally. I’m really excited about this book, and Evokescape will be producing a soundscape album of music to accompany it as well. As with all DarkFuse novels, AFTER MIDNIGHT will feature ebook, paperback, and signed, numbered limited edition hardcover copies.
After that, things are up in the air. I’ve begun work on another DarkFuse novel, but it will likely not be available until 2016.
- What are the next three books you’re planning to read?
I’ll be fortunate enough to receive prepublication ARCs of a couple of different books coming out soon. CONFESSIONS OF A HIT MAN by Richard Godwin and BLIZZARD by Buzz Bernard are up next.
After those two, I’ll probably read DRACULAS, the collaboration novel written by J.A. Konrath, Black Crouch, F. Paul Wilson and Jeff Strand. I love the idea of four talented authors collaborating on one unified story, and it just looks like a ton of fun – a gory, violent, quick read.
- What have you never taken the time to do that you really want to do? (bucket list item)
I’d love to see two places, and each is very different from the other. The first is Alaska, as even today it’s wild, vast, and mostly empty. The second is Australia, which I suppose could also qualify as wild, vast and mostly empty, although the temperatures probably aren’t very similar.
The likelihood of me ever getting to either place is pretty slim, but as far as bucket list items go, they would be at the top. And that’s kind of odd, because I generally detest traveling. I’m the ultimate hermit.
- What if you could trade bodies with one person for one day? Who would that be?
I think I’d probably trade with my wife. We’ve been together for almost thirty-five years, and it still amazes me she ever even talked to me, much less agreed to marry me and then stay with me for more than three decades. I would love to know what the hell she was thinking. So would she, probably, now that I think about it.
- Who are the authors that influenced your life the most?
There are so many I’m not sure where to start. But in the world of dark fiction, every writer owes a debt of gratitude to Stephen King. He takes a lot of heat, but King almost single-handedly breathed new life into a mostly stagnant genre back in the 1970s-1980s, opening horror/dark fiction up to masses of readers previously unimagined.
In the world of thrillers, Vince Flynn stands as a great example to anyone who wants to write books. In the face of rejection, he self-published and sold books out of the trunk of his car in an era where self-pubbing was considered career suicide. But he believed in himself and his work, eventually becoming one of the top-selling authors in the world.
- Who would you like to co-author a book with?
Well, King won’t return my calls and Flynn is dead, so I suppose those guys are out. But I’m honored to be a member of The Twelve with some incredible authors. Names like Robert Gregory Browne, Brett Battles, J. Carson Black, Diane Capri and all the other members are outstanding mystery/thriller writers. I would be honored to co-author a book with any of them, given the opportunity.
One member in particular, though, Vincent Zandri, would in my opinion make the perfect co-author for me. Our writing styles are pretty similar, as are our genre preferences. Vince is professional and talented, and was among the first authors to agree to blurb my debut thriller before it came out back in 2011. He’s a great guy and a great writer, and he would be my first choice.
- What five people – living or dead- would you invite to a dinner party? (Universal translators will be provided)
Jesus Christ would have to top the guest list. There aren’t many people—maybe not any—who have had a greater effect on world history, and it would be cool to break bread with The Man himself.
Next would be Mother Teresa. She worked so hard serving others for her entire life that it would be nice to see her just sit down and relax.
The third invitation would go to my father. He was the greatest influence on my life by far, and died almost seventeen years ago, long before I had the chance to say everything I wanted to say to him.
Edgar Allen Poe would also get a spot at the table. He was such a fascinating guy, and I would love to learn, from the horse’s mouth so to speak, the actual circumstances of his death. Assuming he could even remember.
Finally, I would extend an invitation to Lawrence Block. The man is a legend, and has been supporting himself through his writing since just about the time I was born. For a looong time, in other words. He very graciously agreed to an interview on my blog a couple of years ago, and I found him to be a thoughtful and intelligent interview subject in addition to being a great writer.
- How do you want the world to remember you?
Every one of my books represents a part of me that will hopefully live on long after I’m gone. But I would like to be remembered as a guy who worked hard, dealt with people honestly, and tried to do right by his family. I know I’m not going to change the world, but if the people who knew me remember me fondly—and maybe toss a review or two up on Amazon—that will be good enough for me.
Thank you so much for a terrific interview, Al! It was good to have you here. I look forward to reading your next book. Allan can be found on the web, on Facebook and on Twitter. Be sure to look him up!