Let’s face it … Technology is changing the landscape of how film, music, and literature are being presented to the marketplace. Netflix is doing the bulk of its business via streaming (either through its website or on various other consoles such as the Xbox 360 and the PS3). Services like Rhapsody and iTunes are making downloading music quick, easy, and affordable.
Recently Amazon reported that eBooks for the Kindle, Nook, or eReader outsold printed books for the first time in history. Without question, all of these new modes of distribution are the wave of the future. One company, Crossroad Press, has positioned itself at the forefront of the eBook and audiobook market in a big way by gathering together an impressive list of titles by such respected authors as Skipp & Spector, Tom Piccirilli, Chet Williamson, Al Sarrantonio, Melanie Tem, Elizabeth Massie, Brian Hodge, David Whitman & Weston Ochse, and Crossroad Press owner, David Niall Wilson. As impressive as Crossroad Press’ roster is now, plans are in place to release even more eBooks and audiobooks. (In the spirit of full disclosure, they even published my novel, No Flesh Shall Be Spared , on November 24, 2010.)
Dread Central recently spoke with David Niall Wilson about Crossroad Press and Wilson’s extensive and remarkable bibliography.
Dread Central: Let’s start by getting some of background. Where did you grow up, when you started writing, did you do the whole English Major thing, what your first publication was… that sort of thing?
David Niall Wilson: I grew up in a small town, Charleston, Illinois. My step-dad was a barber, and my mom ran one of the food services at the local university, Eastern Illinois University. I lived on a hill beside a lake and a river, out in the middle of nowhere, and then later on in a very old haunted house in town. I spent a lot of summers with my grandparents in an even smaller town – Flora, Illinois – and a lot of who I am, and what I have ended up writing, came from those early, formative years. I always said I would be a writer – right up until the time that I started saying that I was a writer – and then on into the time when I actually started writing. In High School I wrote a couple of stories that stuck with me, and a lot of pretty bad poetry that still managed to win contests. I read every book I could get my hands on. I had mountains of comic books, old paperbacks, even older hardcovers grabbed from yard sales and basement boxes. My childhood was spent very isolated, so I had to entertain myself, and books were my chosen weapons. I plowed through Tom Swift, the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, The Three Investigators, and pretty much every similar series by the box load. I read historical epics by Kenneth Roberts, and nearly everything by Abraham Lincoln one summer on an odd mental bender. Somewhere about halfway through high school, I was told to go to a bookshelf and pick out a book for a book report. The book I found was THE SIRENS OF TITAN, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. I read it that night, and returned to my teacher the next day to ask a: had she read this book and b: would I be graded down if I actually talked about all the – well – SEX – in it. She assured me she was quite aware of the contents, and I never looked back.
I worked my way through Vonnegut, all the classic science-fiction authors, and moved into fantasy series books where I could get more pages for the buck. Since I read constantly and very quickly, it was always a problem keeping myself in books. For all that, and for all the good grades and studying, I did not go the English Major, college route. I joined the US Navy the minute it was possible to do so. My desire to get out of that place stemmed from an up-and-down social life and a drunken, domineering step-father that I hated. I had to go, and the quickest way out was to sign up – so off I went. And even then, I was in an odd place. My last year or so in high school was spent studying to be a minister in The Church of Christ. I had determined that’s what I wanted to do – to preach on a campus somewhere. It wasn’t until several years into my US Navy career that I came to my senses and realized that organized religion was never going to be my cup of tea. Not long after that, the guys on the ship started passing THE SHINING around, and I was hooked. I left the fantasy novels behind very quickly, started reading every bit of horror I could get my hands on, shifted from religion to studying the occult, the kabala, odd bits of history, and started writing more seriously.
My career really began, I suppose, when I signed up for the WRITER’S DIGEST course, “Writing to Sell Fiction,” which was a short story course. My assigned instructor was J. N. Williamson, who not only taught me a lot during that short period, but introduced me to the horror small press, which was very active at the time, and got me to join H.O.W.L – later the HWA (which I eventually became president of). Everything since then has been a progression. I was having little luck selling short stories, so I started my own magazine, THE TOME. I did thirteen issues and grew that thing to international distribution, but we couldn’t get the money from the distributors when we needed it, and it folded. That magazine got me the connections I needed, and my stories started to sell. Then, after Karl Wagner reprinted my vampire story “A Candle Lit in Sunlight” in YEAR’S BETS HORROR XIX, I started to have luck with books. I sold the novel THIS IS MY BLOOD, based on that short story, and then on the basis of that novel sale managed to sell (just on pitches) a STAR TREK VOYAGER novel and a WRAITH Novel to White Wolf Publishing, who then commissioned a DARK AGES VAMPIRE Trilogy. Everything expanded quickly from there, and it’s been a long, interesting ride to say the least. My first published piece was a poem titled: A Poem… My first published story was “A Charm Against Boredom,” a dark fantasy piece published in a photocopied hand-stapled thing called Dark Starr. My first novel sold was THIS IS MY BLOOD, but the first published was the Star Trek Voyager novel: CHRYSALIS.
DC: You straddle the worlds of horror, dark fantasy, and sci-fi in your writing. Do you think there is much room for overlap given the conventions of each genre? Which sandbox do you prefer?
DNW: This is a pretty common question, and one that I don’t have a solid answer for. I have tried, through most of my career, to write the stories that present themselves to me. What I mean by this is, if I happen to be struck by what I think is a great science fiction idea, that’s what I write. If a cemetery catches my eye, or some bit of news, or a snatch of borrowed conversation floats to me on the breeze – I tend to run with it. I don’t think about what genre I’ll write to, or what market I’ll try to hit – at least not all the time. Obviously my licensed work has had to be reigned in somewhat, but even there I’ve bucked convention and often had to bicker and battle with editors because I wrote something the way I felt it – and they wanted it the way they thought they could market it. My novel DEEP BLUE could be considered a horror novel, a fantasy novel, a dark fantasy novel, paranormal, or even urban fantasy.
The work that has mattered to me over the years has not been written to genre specifications, and the rest is – for the most part – just filler. I tend to be more comfortable with dark fantasy than anything else. I think it’s the way my mind works, and it’s certainly where my tastes lean these days as a reader. Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman – King and sometimes Koontz … Caitlin Kiernan and Kathe Koja are all authors who push the boundaries of our reality so that they sort of slide over the line and let in the magic. If I could only choose one genre to work in, and if there is a genre classification that fits it, I suppose it would be simply Dark Fantasy, which encompasses a lot of different types of settings, characters, and stories without being too narrow and restrictive.
I detest genre classifications, as a rule. It leads down an inevitable pipeline to marketing hell where authors are stuffed into boxes regardless of shape and size, and seldom let out again once packaged. It leads to wonderful horror novels being classified as Paranormal Romance, or not published at all because the horror section has been whittled down, but this section over here? The one with the Glittery Vampires? Or that one, where everyone wears leather and brass and rides in a zeppelin? Those are hot…can we slot it in there, do you think? I think not. Maybe if I write enough, and long enough, I’ll get the privilege afforded the very few … a genre of my own where I write whatever the hell I want to write and it sinks or swims on the merit of the stories and characters.
DC: I know you’re a runner. How does running influence you and help you to be more creative / focused?
DNW: It’s funny you should ask that. I haven’t always been a runner; it’s an obsession that comes and goes. When I’m running, I listen to audiobooks, or I think. A few years back I was writing a novella, “The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs & The Currently Accepted Habits of Nature,” which was based in my fictional town of Old Mill, NC. Old Mill is based loosely on a combination of several places here in NC. There’s a little of Hertford, where I live, of Old Mill, even smaller and closer to the swamp, and the surrounding countryside which I take a lot of license with. When I was writing that piece, most of the parts came to me while I was running. In those days I got up at 6:00 AM and ran about 2.5 – 3 miles every morning. The course through town that I set up passes through a very old graveyard – Catfish Hunter, the baseball player, was buried there, as were hundreds of old North Carolinians with very cool family names and ornate grave markers. I also ran down the street by the water, which is where the oldest and grandest of the historic homes are located. Each has a sign out front stating what year it was built, and who built it. There is a hardware store run by a man named (I kid you not) Eerie Haste. The side of the wall is painted with a huge mural that involves Native Americans and a rebel flag. Cletus J. Diggs, my protagonist, grew up in this place, and I found bits and pieces of his life all over those streets, yards, parks, and gravestones.
I also remember using my running time when I started one of my works that is still in progress: TATTERED REMNANTS. In TATTERED REMNANTS the protagonist is a sociopath who binds books. He’s found ways to keep himself mostly out of trouble over the years, but he creates books that truly capture the essence of what they are about. A butterfly book bound to look like a butterfly, colored with the dust from wings… a book about rats that uses bones in the spine, rat hair, and other bits and pieces for the finer trim…he is not well. Each day when I set out to run, I’d first go over the last thing I’d written in my mind. As I ran, I tried to take it further – tried to figure out what came next, how the characters would react, and how I could move the plot ahead. The key to this was, I could not write a word until I was finished running, so I had nothing to do but create and let it all sort of grow and evolve in my mind. I think when it’s done that this will be one of the finest things I’ve written. Mostly, though, in a life so full that sleep is only occasionally an option, running keeps me healthy, raises my energy level and ability to focus, and gives me time to listen to audiobooks. I need a steady diet of stories to keep me sane.
DC: What impact did your winning the Stoker Award have on your writing career? What are your thoughts on writerly organizations like the HWA (Horror Writers of America) for which you served as President?
DNW: I don’t know that winning the award, per se, has made a huge impact. I suppose that the line “Bram Stoker Award Winning Author” might sway someone one way or the other a time or two, but mostly it just looks good and makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something. I think the gift awards like The Bram Stoker Award grant to authors is that of inspiration. There may be little or no economic return if you win, but this doesn’t stop the desire to have one of those little haunted houses for your very own from getting into your head. Once it’s there, it can inspire you to write harder, promote better, and that is enough good to come out of it for anyone, I think. I actually have two…the first was for poetry, and the second for a short story. The year that my story, “The Gentle Brush of Wings,” won the award, the collection that it appeared in, DEFINING MOMENTS was also a finalist. Having my colleagues honor me in that way – knowing that it was other writers who chose me that particular year to honor, felt like one of the many plateaus you seek along your way to accomplishing your goals in life. You want to sell a story…then you want to sell a book…then you want to win an award. Each time you reach a plateau, it inspires you to move on to the next. I’m proud of the two awards. They sit beside the love of my life, Patricia Lee Macomber, my sometimes collaborator and always better half’s Stoker, won for editing the online magazine CHIZINE. It’s a sense of legitimacy, I suppose…acknowledgment that, while you aren’t tearing the world apart with your prose, you can write. As for writer’s organizations, it’s all about the networking. When all is said and done, you meet people who understand what you are talking about. You share with professionals who have similar interests. You learn from people who have been doing what you want to do longer than you have. You help one another when you can, and you create an extended family of creatives who you can call on in times of need, or who may call on you – another chance to feel legit. Writer’s organizations and awards aren’t going to make, or break a career, but used wisely, and with some perspective, they can advance that career and help to sustain it.
DC: I know you routinely participate in the NaNoWriMo exercise. How influential has that been a) to you writing and b) as a motivational tool?
DNW: I have a lot of affection for NaNoWriMo. When I first decided to sign on and do it, I was at a very down point in my career. I’d just left an agent who kept asking me to come up with new versions of THE DA VINCI CODE. I must have written five or six extensive outlines with fifty pages of sample chapters for her. She didn’t like any of them. It was always something she “couldn’t be enthusiastic” about. I had recently gotten divorced, and my life was in upheaval…in short, it sucked to be me. Then I got an e-mail out of the blue from author Janet Berliner, who’d read something of mine (don’t recall what) and wanted to know about who was representing me. You may recognize Janet’s name – she is also a past president of the HWA, a Bram Stoker Award-winning author, and, back in the day, she had her own agency. Janet wasn’t actively agenting at the time, but her partner and protégé Robert Fleck was. Bob and I hit it off, and I kicked off from the old agent like I was leaving a springboard. About that time, I sold my novel DEEP BLUE. This (as you might suspect) eased my angst a bit. That left me with a new agent and nothing new to be agented, so I decided to hit the NaNoWriMo challenge running. My family had just gone through Hurricane Isabel, which was a very sobering experience. I had a proposal for a novel that the previous agent had determined was no good, but I still liked it. I sat down, and I began to write. In 30 days (29 actually) I wrote THE MOTE IN ANDREA’S EYE, a sci-fi-ish romantic thriller that is sort of FOREVER YOUNG meets Twister. It was nearly 80k words, and I’d done it in a month. I sold that book to the same publisher that had taken DEEP BLUE exactly one month after I finished writing the rough draft, and I never looked back. I started finishing the novels that I’d started for the previous agent, and revising older ones that were taking up space on my hard drive. I finished THE ORFFYREUS WHEEL one year, GIDEON’S CURSE (still not quite done, but more than 50,000 words one November) and the first of my urban fantasy series THE DECHANCE CHRONICLES, all during consecutive years of NaNoWriMo.
Last year I wrote a book with bestselling author Steven Savile, a sort of dark fantasy western, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER meets CARNIVALE meets DEADWOOD – with angels. That is with several publishers now…this year I wrote a science fiction novel – THE SECOND VEIL: TALES OF THE SCATTERED EARTH –which, along with some partners who have also written licensed fiction over the years, I hope to turn into a large franchise. In other words? NaNoWriMo has been good to me. Let me state as I usually do, writing 50k words in a month is just not the big deal it seems to be. It’s only 1,667 a day – most working writers claim to write 2k or more, so they do this all the time. I certainly write that much on a monthly basis…but NaNoWriMo allows me to create one new thing that is just mine each year, and I remain positive and grateful for it – regardless of what anyone else things. My son Zach finished the challenge this years as well (he’s 17). He wrote the first 51k of CAPTAIN SHI AND THE SEARCH FOR ETERNAL YOUTH BOOK I and I could not be more proud.
DC: You’ve written a number of books (Deep Blue, The Mote In Andreas’s Eye, Maelstrom, Vintage Soul, The Grail’s Covenant Trilogy and Stargate Atlantis: Brimstone to name a few) and screenplays (Killer Green, Redneck Dragon, and The Milk Of Paradise). Is the writing of one more difficult that the writing of the other?
DNW: I’m not really sure. It’s very much like my answer about genre – sometimes I see a movie in my head, and sometimes I see a book. Other times they interchange. One project of mine started long ago as a short story about a priest who experienced The Stigmata. ON THE THIRD DAY was published in my first fiction collection, but the story wouldn’t let me go. Eventually I thought it might make a good project for learning how to write a screenplay, so I pulled it out and tried writing it as a feature film. The problem was, it was too short. It sat that way a long time, and then, in a period when I was doing a lot of screenwriting, I pulled it out and lengthened it with a lot of new material. Once again that story grabbed me, and the next thing I knew I was writing it as a novel. It’s currently out as an eBook… I like screenwriting. I tend to lean toward dark humor more than other genres when I am in that mode, and it’s very liberating for me to just let go and work on something that I have no idea what I’m going to do with. That’s how the screenwriting is for me.
My first feature, written from an outline provided to me by producer/director/actress Roasanna Jeran of Blurgirl Productions, was GODHEAD. It was produced, but it took seven years from the time I wrote the first script to the time I saw the digital final. It’s a very strange film in which I may have broken some record for use of the word fuck…it’s the alchemical process in film, told by the dual characters Magus and Zero…there is alchemy, a Beau Gestesque Viking funeral, a peep hole in the floor…but there is no Oscar, obviously. It is what it is…a very artsy feature put together by a filmmaker who – up to that point – worked mostly in shorter length art film. Since then, though I have been optioned, nothing I’ve written has made it to the silver screen. I still have great hope for KILLER GREEN, and the more recent REDNECK DRAGON – but for me it’s a secondary thing. I know I can sell stories and novels, and while they take a bit longer to complete, they are my comfort zone. On the other hand, it takes a lot less time to finish a screenplay, and the format is very simple and direct. I like working in both worlds, and hope to have plenty of opportunities to do so.
DC: Your novel, This Is My Blood, contains a fictional gospel of Judas Iscariot. In it, Mary Magdalene is portrayed as a fallen angel who is cursed with a form of vampirism and Judas is portrayed as being the best of the apostles and the only one who fully understands Christ’s teachings. He even lays down his own life for the salvation of all. Was it uncomfortable or weird for you when the translated coptic codex that was said to be written by to Judas Iscariot was released?
DNW: I found that whole thing hilarious, to be honest. I wrote my novel and my fictional book of Judas many years before that came to light, but the parallels were astonishing. My agent and I tried for a short period to point out the similarities just to see if I could get a burst of marketing out of it, though that never really happened. It didn’t really feel any way at all, though. My version was sort of my literary reaction to those early years I mentioned studying for the ministry, and the things I came to realize about organized religion along the way. The most important concept I address in THIS IS MY BLOOD is that of Mary Magdalene’s perspective. In my novel, she is a fallen angel. She does not require faith to sustain her – she knows full well there is a Heaven, and a Hell – has walked the streets of both. She is disgusted with the weakness of the apostles, and their dishonesty. I find it odd myself that an entire religion has been built on the backs of those men who – even while their savior walked at their sides and performed miracles – could only worry over whether they’d be harmed, or fight over who would be in charge once Jesus was gone. Man is like that – always has been, and likely always will be. With Mary looking in from the outside, I was able to observe from a distance and concentrate on pointing out the flaws.
DC: I am not someone who really “gets” poetry. Can you talk a bit about what I’m missing and why you write it?
DNW: I like things to be distilled. I like whiskey, and I like poetry, and I suppose it’s why I like the idea of alchemy – boiling the world and the man away until only the purest essence remains. If a novel is like a movie, a short story is sort of a slide show, and a poetry is a still shot. You can encompass a lot in a single photograph, but you have to do it with artistry. You have to use just the images available in that one instant to create a reaction in those who view the shot. Most photographs are just photographs – some are absolutely inspiring. It’s the same with poetry. You have a very few words to create an impression – or an image – or a story. You have only the bare-bones of the language, but it’s not the important parts that are cut away – it’s the detritus. Most poetry is crap. Poetry as an occupation is a thing of the distant past. That doesn’t mean good poetry has left us – it just means that it has become something you do for the sake of doing it…not for reward, or adulation – though some still seem to believe it works that way. Musical lyrics are poetry, and among the most powerful left to us. We lack an outlet in our society for spoken poetry, and to read it is just not popular or cool…not in the way it once was. I have written a lot of flash fiction, and it’s similar in nature. You are after emotion and reaction. You want to bring something to life, but do so with as small a catalyst as you can provide, while investing as much emotion as possible. It isn’t easy. It’s much, much harder to write a poem that will stick with people than it is to write a story, or a screenplay. It’s the difficulty that brings the magic. I doubt this answer has been much help at all…and I will end it by simply saying that, like most of my writing, I write poetry because it comes to me. I write down what inspires me in the moment. Sometimes it’s a poem.
DC: You run Crossroad Press and Macabre Ink, which distribute eBooks and audiobooks. How did you make the jump from writer to publisher and what were the motivations behind that decision?
DNW: I resisted electronic publishing for a very long time. In the day, it was mostly a place where people went who failed to find traditional publishers, and I was not then, nor am I now, ready to relegate myself to that group. Things have changed though, as is their nature, and so – being the sort of guy who will catch a passing car rather than have to walk a hundred miles later on, I jumped into the fray. All I intended at first was to get my own fiction into eBook formats. I started with collections and short stories, and started branching into my own out of print novels and novellas soon after. It took a lot of study, work, frustration, and time to start getting it right, and I managed to do that just as things were really taking off for Amazon and the Kindle. Some of my friends noticed, and I said I could do their books too. From that, it blossomed. I set up my business model, taking as little as I felt I could without doing the work for free. Next was the audio. I love audiobooks, and I’ve always wished some of my titles could make it to that format, but it’s a rough business. They mostly produce audiobooks for titles they feel have huge marketing potential, or that come from best-selling authors. Narrators got paid up front, authors got an advance that probably never earned out, but if it did, were given only about ten percent beyond that point.
Enter the home studio, and Crossroad Press. After paying to have my first book done – ROLL THEM BONES – it occurred to me that, just like the changes in eBooks and print editions, audio was due to be turned on its ear. Too much of the work was being done by authors and narrators, and too much of the money was ending up in the accounts of the big publishers. I created a new, revenue and risk sharing model, and started knocking on virtual doors. We now have more than twenty titles in Audio with another small mountain in production. We have major distribution, have garnered some great reviews and attracted some amazing narration talent, and are on the verge of making something big and wonderful from my small dream. In the process, I’ve gotten several of my own titles into audio as well, which has been fun, gratifying, and inspiring. I have learned a great deal from my partner, Jeffrey Kafer of Springbrook Digital and from each of the authors and narrators I’ve had the privilege to work with.
To finish answering your actual question…the motivation started as a need to get my own work into digital formats to meet the challenges of this new, downloadable world we live in. It ended up as that same motivation, only directed at a number of authors instead of just myself. Whatever anyone may believe, my entire focus is on helping each author and each narrator get the most they can get for their work, while maintaining control. I am not out to get rich unless it happens, but I do love to help people.
DC: Where are the Crossroad Press and Macabre Ink releases available?
DNW: Our books can be found at all the normal outlets, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, as well as at Overdrive.com – a library and school distributor. We are always adding new outlets, though of course we prefer it when people buy direct at The Crossroad Press Store.
DC: How do you go about choosing what titles Crossroad Press and Macabre Ink represent?
DNW: At first, as I said, it was my own titles, and those of friends. What I quickly came to realize was that there is a huge mountain of books out there that have been out of print a long time, and have great reviews and generations of readers who’ve been denied them. That’s what I started with. I went after (and still go after) out of print paperback books in all genres…I started with guys like Bill Crider who wrote horror as Jack MacLane back in the day, and added in Ronald Kelly and Sid Williams, T. M. Wright and Elizabeth Massie – names that are known – books that are available only in difficult to find out of print paperbacks or hardcovers. Now the same principle is opening bigger doors. As you know, John Skipp and Craig Spector’s novels, starting with the already available THE LIGHT AT THE END, will all be coming to digital life through us. We have the audiobook of Poppy Z. Brite’s LOST SOULS about to hit – all from that same Splatterpunk time-frame. These books are as timeless as horror fiction gets – they still speak to readers after decades have passed – and readers want them. Now, through the wonders of eReaders and MP3 players, they can have them. As well as the Skipp and Spector novels, we’ve published Craig’s first solo novel, “A QUESTION OF WILL,” and his musical debut as well, an MP3 released titled – aptly – SO LO.
Along with those old books, we’re getting a lot of new collections of fiction out by our authors, and even branching into some original fiction. We have published a couple of my own novels that never made it to traditional print, as well as the recently released NIGHTJACK by Tom Picirrilli and the the sci-fi—horror thriller THE SUFFERER’S SONG by Steven Savile. Every day we get something new from one source or another. For instance, it was Craig Spector who sent me the e-mail that said “You’ve got to read this” and led me to you, and your novel, NO FLESH SHALL BE SPARED. This is the kind of book that excites me the most because it is new – it is, in my opinion, the most original ‘zombie’ novel I’ve encountered in years, and I think it has a chance of making a huge splash. We’ll be in at the beginning of that with the electronic edition, and hopefully following up with the audiobook – when the rest of the world catches on, I’ll be able to say we were part of something new and cool. In the end, that’s what it’s all about in marketing, and in life. You need to stay relevant. You need to be part of what’s going on around you, or it goes on without you, so I try to keep myself “living” and not just sliding from day to day. New music – new books – new people.
DC: Obviously you’re banking on the continued success of eReaders. Can you talk a bit about what you think the impact of things like The Kindle and The Nook will have on the fiction market. Do you think they will ever replace books in the public’s mind?
DNW: There are distinct boundaries, and then some blurred ones. I live in both worlds. I grew up with cheap paperbacks and comic books. I quit buying books on impulse when they started costing (about) $5.99 and became much pickier, and I think it was about that time that the decline of books as a constant form of cheap entertainment started to wane. I have shelf after shelf of books. I have so many there have been arguments and fights over the shelving, and I don’t see myself giving them up. On the other hand, I love my Kindle, and when I need something quick and cheap to entertain me, that’s where I turn. Now I buy books that I can see myself wanting to keep in print editions, and the rest I read electronically, or listen to on my MP3 player. This new generation will soon reach the point where they believe there have always been eBooks, Kindles, Nooks, whatever. They will grow up reading on their iPods and hiding under the sheets to do it. It’s not important (at least not to me) how the stories reach the readers, as long as they do. As long as I get the chance to use my words to help people launch to some other, better place, or scare the crap out of them, or make they cry and wish for something that I created to be true, damn it, and REAL…as long as it’s like that? I’m good. I don’t’ think any time soon print books will disappear, but the acceptance of the electronic is simply inevitable. Try and find a kid who remembers a VHS now, or who doesn’t think there have always been cell phones – or even one who remembers what an actual cellular phone WAS (since they are all digital now). It’s the present, and it’s the future. It’s a digital revolution, and I intend to ride the wave.
DC: What’s upcoming for you as a writer and for Crossroad Press and Macabre Ink as a publisher?
DNW: As a writer, I have a ton of things in progress. A lot depends (as usual) on the fickle tastes of editors. I have a number of books out being considered for publication. I am working on several more projects. I mentioned a few upstream in this interview, TATTERED REMNANTS is one, the DECHANCE CHRONICLES, my urban fantasy series – if I manage to get the rights to the first book back from the hands of the bunglers who mis-marketed it and only sold 60 copies – will be marketed again as a series. I have a historical zombie novel titled GIDEON’S CURSE that needs to be finished, and on the science fiction front I’m working on a huge multi-world space-opera style project with some other authors titled THE SCATTERED EARTH. I also have a book of short stories written with Neil Gaiman due sometime in the future. We’re waiting on one last story from Neil, and then the publisher and artist Lisa Snellings have to finalize the presentation and details. All the stories in that book are inspired by Lisa’s art and written by myself, or Neil.
Crossroad Press has so much coming up I hesitate to even try and encompass it in a short answer. For starters, we have the rest of the Skipp & Spector novels to get out, starting with the next release in a week or two – their last novel, ANIMALS. We have started to gather the works of Al Sarrantonio, and we are in negotiations for works by a number of other bigger name authors, each of whom add credibility and marketing power to the company. We have launched The Digital Drive-in – a review site where we will be featuring regular podcasts, video commercials, audiobook excerpts, readings by authors, and a lot more over the months to come. You can see what we have so far at The Digital Drive-in site. You can also keep up with the Skipp & Spector news at here. We are branching out tentatively into music publishing, starting with Craig Spector’s SO LO and we are investigating some avenues for print-on-demand copies of our original novels. We have audio coming up from world-famous narrator Dick Hill, who will be narrating T. M. Wright’s bestseller A MANHATTAN GHOST STORY, and the haunting performance of Mr. Chris Patton of Poppy Z. Brite’s LOST SOULS. I can’t say from day to day what I’ll be doing, or where I’ll be doing it, but one thing is certain. I’ll be busy. I’ll leave you with a quote from my work-in-progress TATTERED REMNANTS, which I suspect will be the best thing I’ve done to date. The quote if from an old librarian named Mortimer who has been teaching my protagonist, Lucien, how to repair and bind books. It’s spoken on the occasion of Lucien’s first solo-creation – a book made up of the tattered remnants of many old, ruined books… “Never forget,” the old man said. “Your work defines you. That book will be a thing of beauty when you are no more than a whisper of dust in the wind. Most of the words inside were written long before I was born. It’s not as important what you are working on as it is how you go about that work. Never halfway. Never without thought and planning. Never without a vision in your mind of what it should be in the end.”
DC: Where can people get in contact with you?
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