Due to tank renovations, David Dunwoody‘s visit has been prolonged. He’s endured quite a racket and several tons of dust, but he’s persevered through monster wrangling and cat herding. He even managed to keep out of the acid pit.
Why writing? What drew you to it? Why do you continue?
I’m not entirely sure what brought me to writing as a kid – maybe a need to vent my overactive mind and keep my head from popping off – but as an adult I know I can’t not write. Even if I could never get another work published I’d keep writing. I remember writing dozens of stories as a kid that just sat in binders, never seen by anyone else. And for the young me, that was good enough. I wish I still had those!
If you were freezing to death and the only thing left to burn were the books in your library, what 5 books would you burn last? (And yes, everything else burnable has been burnt.)
King’s IT, one of my Lovecraft editions (choosing which would be a horror in itself), Barker’s VISIONS OF HEAVEN AND HELL, Silverstein’s WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS and KITTENS IN THE SUN. That last one is just photos of cats.
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done (in life or in writing (your choice))?
Forcing myself to get up when I don’t know whether or not I can stand – when, in fact, the odds are impossibly stacked against it. More than once I’ve opted to give up, but I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t taken one leap of faith and fought to hold onto this – whatever “this” is, whatever defines one’s place in life. And I know it may not have worked, but there’s only one way to find out and maybe that’s the big lesson. There’s Only One Way to Find Out.
What’s one word or phrase that drives you nuts? Why?
“The Lord works in mysterious ways.” So often this is used in place of “I don’t know,” as if giving the question away to a higher power absolves us of the responsibility to ask. We shouldn’t be afraid to recognize it and own it when we don’t get something. That’s how questions get asked and answers are found.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve created? If so, who is it and why?
At present I’d have to say Jack DaVinci from THE HARVEST CYCLE. He reflects a lot of my own quirks and flaws, but in there I think you also see a positive, someone who isn’t truly resigned to a dysfunctional existence. He just needs a kick in the ass. DaVinci makes it a little tougher to find that positive since he eats people’s brains.
Creepiest place you’ve ever been? Has it appeared in your fiction? Why or Why not?
Great question. Answer would be in handcuffs. Not because I was scared of jail or court but the personal consequences of my recklessness and selfishness. Forcing loved ones out of my life. It’s that sobering realization that you’ve maybe burned your entire life to the ground over nothing. That’s haunting. That must be what Hell feels like. One of my WIPs deals with that, but it was a long time before I was ready to commit that to prose (and in truth, I’m still struggling with it).
In terms of traditional creepiness, the answer’s my house in the middle of the night. It isn’t hard for me to start imagining movement in the dark and get worked into a state of sheer spookedness.
What’s the best rejection you’ve ever received?
I have received some very constructive rejections – and an editor is never obligated to take the time to do that, so I am grateful – but “well-written, but too weird” has to be my favorite. It doesn’t mean the story is an esoteric vision that others simply can’t grasp, but it does mean I’ve veered off the beaten path. I’m onto something. I just have to ask myself: why, if I think I understand it, am I doing such a poor job of describing it?
How did you get that scar?
Mary Ellen Moffat. She broke my heart.
What song would precede your entrance into a room if we all had personal soundtracks?
The Swingers’ “Counting the Beat.”
Promote yourself and/or your writing
My latest novel, THE HARVEST CYCLE, is a post-apocalyptic tale that blends Lovecraftian monsters and robotic sci-fi. It’s about a world where humans have been reduced to wild game that are hunted once every year by nightmarish predators. Worse still, the robots that used to serve Man have become corrupted and embarked on their own hunt. In an effort to end the madness, strange alliances are formed and a journey through dreams and across the former U.S. begins.
Final thoughts before you run screaming for your life? Check out these crazy fish, they look like Xenomorphs
Thank you, Mr. Dunwoody, for your informative interview. I left a few windows open during the renovations. The place needed a good venting. Once you find one and wiggle through, please close it behind you. Don’t forget to take some ointment for the scrapes.