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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

(How a Mask Started Everything)
So, this is a blog/meme meant to increase exposure for those of us within the writing community... I believe it's mostly horror and/or science fiction writers, but I could be wrong... Anyway, my friend and Cinema Knife Fight editor L.L. Soares sent me a list of ten questions...  I'm answering those this week.  Next week, answers to those same questions will be supplied by writers I admire.  They include the very talented Deborah LeBlanc, spec fic wizard Michael Lea, horrormeister JW Schnarr and promising newcomer Dennis Copelan.  I was supposed to invite five, but one of them had already been asked... Ah, well.
So, on to the questions!
1) What is the title of your next work? It's a novel entitled KUSHTAKA: The Faceless One.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?  I have a series of Time-Life books called "Mysteries of the Unknown."  I saw a picture of a Tlingit ceremonial mask, and the idea popped into my head of a god who refused to be represented by any mask, an evil entity who did not want humans to have any power over it.
Tlingit Bear Mask

3) What genre does your book fall under?  Dark fantasy, horror, magical realism.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?  My main character is Jimmy Kalmaku, a Tlingit Indian who is a former shaman - I often see someone like Graham Greene playing him. As for Jimmy's best friend George Watters, perhaps Bill Cobbs.  And NY detective Stan Roberts?  Someone tough but troubled, like Robert Patrick.
L to R: Graham Greene, Bill Cobbs, Robert Patrick

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  A disillusioned shaman living in a rest home is the only one capable of stopping an ancient evil.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  That remains to be seen - I have the book out to a couple of publishers, but am determined to see it in print in 2013.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?  About six months.  I mostly wrote it on lunch hours at my old job.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Lisey's Story by Stephen King, Mystery Walk by Robert McCammon, Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman and Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?  I have Cherokee and Creek blood on my mother's side, so a realistic and non-stereotypical portrayal of any Native American is important to me.  I also have been inspired by the works of Stephen King, Robert McCammon, Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury, and how they can so adroitly weave realistic characters who have an encounter with the fantastic or supernatural.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?  I'm very proud of the characters in this book. In fact, Jimmy and George started as minor characters and took over the book!  I also did a lot of research into the history, culture and beliefs of the Tlingit people in Alaska, and the book also examines the importance of myth, belief and creation of masks in human culture. Finally, it was interesting and great fun to work with the figure of Raven, who is often benevolent but also a trickster... A god who sometimes will grant a boon while having a laugh at your expense.