Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Dancing With Myself: DAVE COUNTY interviews DAVE COUNTY

Debuts.  Don't you just love them?

Here are a couple of them which stand out for me.

When Two Way Split was released as Allan Guthrie's debut novel, I happened to be in the audience.  I'm not sure how that happened, but I'm awfully glad it did. 

There was something about the wording of the poster that caught my eye (Mr Guthrie would love that at Noir Originals where he has a whole section about the things eyes do in fiction) and I'd been listening to lots of Woody Guthrie at the time and so it made sense to get a ticket.

It was a brilliant hour.  He came across as such a great bloke and when he read from TWS he pretty much had me in his palm.
From that point on Allan was one of my favourite authors.  It wasn't just the event that caught my attention, but there was something about his style that I loved.  The book fizzes with characters almost literally to die for as a set of events unfold after a Post Office raid unfurl.  High octane stuff.  The usual pared style.  Great turns of phrase.  Dark humour.  And a bunch of crazies.

I've read all Allan's novels (and I can't say that about many) and have loved them all for different reasons.  Two Way Split remains one of my favourites and it's not just because of sentimental reasons. 

If you haven't read it, please do.  It's now available as an ebook and is a must for your electronic collection. You'll thank me in the end, honest.

The only thing I'd have changed, by the way, was the original cover.  Now that you can buy the book as another Kindle Bargain at 99p, even that's now top-notch. 

Talking about covers, how do you like the one at the head of this page? 

It's a beautiful thing, a piece of art put together by Boden Steiner for the second story in the mighty Speedloader.  If you read the story, you'll see just why this is so well put together, to say nothing of the use of colour, wording and subtlety.  I love it.  Boden was also the designer of the cover and I'm sure you'll agree that the guy's something special.

Someone else who is special is the other debutant I'd like to mention here.

Dave County's interview with himself is about to follow.  Just keep reading.

If you read my Speedloader review, you'll know how much I rated his piece. 

He takes a dark theme most people wouldn't dare to touch, takes us to the pit of its hell, then releases us with the craft and style of a very-practised hand.  This man will go far, I'm telling you. It's one of the stories you must read this year, for your own good.

Here's Dave, old WD himself.  A big Sea Minor welcome.

Q1. The press releases for Speedloader refer to you as a newcomer. When did you start writing?

A1. I'm honored to be included among the excellent authors in the Speedloader anthology. Every story is unique, every one captivating and a pleasure to read. I've enjoyed writing since drafting my first short story in high school four decades ago, but my first serious work was a fantasy novel based on a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that I'd played with my sons. The book took ten years to write. I was in love with it, but it didn't sell. So I wrote a few short stories, and another novel, none of which sold. By then I was hooked on writing; I couldn't stop, and I didn't know what was wrong with my creations, so in 2008 I went to a writing workshop. In ten days at the Writing Retreat Workshop I learned more than I'd figured out in ten years of trial and error. The following year I sold my first short story, "My Name is Priscilla" to Spinetingler magazine. Now I go to a writing workshop each year, and every month participate in writing critique groups. 'Newcomer' is the right word for me ... I'm still learning, and soaking it up like a sponge.

Q2. Both "Priscilla" and "Plastic Soldiers" are dark stories. Why did you choose the horror genre?

A2. Actually, most of my novels are Techno-Thrillers. But my short stories are dark, because horror's so good at packing emotional wallop into a small number of words. Danger puts every sense on alert, tenses every muscle in readiness for flight or fight ... the closer death stalks, the more passionately we want to live. Whether I'm reading horror, or writing it, my brain goes into overdrive. Time slows. Every detail takes on significance. Every puzzle piece frantically searched for a fit, every choice desperately analyzed for chance of survival. Horror makes me feel keenly, supremely, alive.

Q3. Who are your favorite authors?

A3. So many! Here are the top contenders: for horror, Steven King, Dean Koontz, and F. Paul Wilson. For SF, Orson Scott Card. And I grew up enthralled with Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein .... and the list goes on....

Q4. What interests do you have outside of writing?

A4. Well, I am fond of driving my Miata with the top down, wind in my face, slicing through life with no barrier to attenuate the sounds and smells of the world. Grinning with the feel of the road and car embracing on sharp curves.

But, if it's raining or I can't afford gasoline, I play chess, listen to music, or cuddle with my wife. Not necessarily in that order.


  1. As soon as I saw WD County's name on the Speedloader contents page, I got excited. I've been waiting for something new from him (now that I know WD is a him) ever since I first read 'My Name Is Priscilla.' And 'Plastic Soldiers' just tore my heart out. It was well worth the wait, but I hope the time between stories gets shorter -- I'm very impatient.

  2. Yeah. Plastic Soldiers is you can't look away but you want to then you hear Dave's voice saying: Don't quit. Don't look away. You need to know this. You must see bravery and sacrifice and hope where there should be none. You MUST hear this. It will teach you something about loyalty and courage. It will show how to be a human being.
    Damn Straight.

  3. Oh yeah. The illustration ripped my heart out and made me choke back a sob.

  4. "Plastic Soldiers" is one of the most powerful stories - of any length - I've ever read.

  5. Glad it wasn't just me. I was so uncomfortable! Twisting and turning in my seat.