Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Interview with Craig DiLouie

Craig DiLouie is an author of popular thriller, apocalyptic/horror, and sci-fi/fantasy fiction.
In hundreds of reviews, Craig’s novels have been praised for their strong characters, action, and gritty realism. Each book promises an exciting experience with people you’ll care about in a world that feels real. These works have been nominated for major literary awards such as the Bram Stoker Award and Audie Award, translated into multiple languages, and optioned for film. He is a member of the HWA, International Thriller Writers, and IFWA.
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I have to say that I am a huge fan of Craig and so honored that he agreed to grant this interview. His novel Suffer The Children is one of my all time favorites. I could not put this novel down when I was reading it. It is one of the few stories that will return to memory more than once as I wonder how the characters are doing today? Yes, I must be reminded the characters are not real. 
I present to you, my readers, Craig DiLouie.
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When did you decide to start writing stories?
Thank you for having me on your blog! I started writing when I was nine years old. My first story ideas involved a series of worldwide disasters—Washington, DC overwhelmed by a tidal wave, Moscow buried under miles of mud, that sort of thing. And the strange—what if the cartoon Tasmanian Devil was a real monster living in Australia? This fascination with disaster and the grotesque continues into this day and resulted in a large number of stories from zombie apocalypse to monsters growing up in orphanages in the Deep South. As I grew older, I became more fascinated with how people respond to such things, and these books reflect that—average people thrust into extraordinary situations in which their nature, morals, strength, and abilities are tested to the limit. And as I mature as a writer, I find myself less often emphasizing a dynamic plot and more often emphasizing character. How crisis acts as a catalyst for change and possibly even growth.

Why horror and suspense versus the other genres?Horror is an amazing genre. When some people find out I write horror, I get a funny look. “He was so mild mannered and nice, I never would have guessed he wrote horror.” The truth is the horror fiction community is filled with some of the nicest people you could meet. It’s also the only genre where a fan says, “You gave me a nightmare!” and you find yourself saying, “You’re welcome.”

What drew me initially to horror was it’s an energetic genre where you can really break boundaries. Hold up a fractured mirror to the human soul. Put the reader in a horrifying situation and ask, “What would you do?” For the reader, the result is thrills and catharsis, the ability to face the impossible and survive it, the same thing that drives us to get on rollercoasters. And if I’m doing my job right, I’ll also leave you feeling unsettled long after you read the last page.

Otherwise, I’m drawn to many genres. One of Us, my new novel which will be published by Orbit in 2018, is a dark fantasy. My self-published Crash Dive series, which is selling really well, is about a naval officer serving on submarines in WW2. And I recently came out with The Alchemists, a humorous Renaissance fantasy. I’m a roamer, but in the end, I usually come back to themes of disaster and the grotesque.

Who is your favorite character in Suffer the Children and why?I should introduce the book first. Suffer the Children is about a disease that sweeps the world and kills all the children. Three days later, they come back and ask for blood before returning to a deathlike state. If the children are given human blood to drink, they wake up and become the living, happy children they once were. But only for a short time. They die again, requiring more blood. Then more. The novel’s thematic question is, “How far would you go for your child?” In the end, the only source of blood left will be each other, and some parents will do anything to keep their children alive longer. The disease has turned the children into vampires, but the parents are the monsters. They become monsters because of the purest love in the world.

I wrote Suffer the Children to face my own existential fears both for myself and my two beautiful children whom I love more than I love myself. After my zombie stuff, which sold really well, I had an opportunity to get an agent, leave small press, and get into a major publisher offering bookstore distribution. I wanted to write a horror novel that would really hit people in the gut. I thought, “What’s the scariest thing I can think of happening?” If something bad happened to my kids, of course. I liked the idea of parental love ending the world. A lot of parents say, “I’d put my arm in a thresher for my kids.” But would they put your arm in a thresher? How many arms? I realized I had the core concept—the idea that the purest love in the world could result in murder and quite possibly the apocalypse.

The characters span what would be considered normal responses to this kind of crisis. Some who don’t want to participate, others who will go all the way. The result for me as the author was a harrowing journey as the characters kept changing direction but always went deeper. Of the characters, probably Doug is the one I most identified with. Like me, he’s a father who identifies as a provider. He’s reluctant to participate, he knows it won’t end well, but once he’s committed, he goes all in to do whatever it takes to provide. That being said, I loved all of the characters and felt their pain.

What are your plans for the next writing project?I recently sold a novel to Hachette. One of Us will be published in hardcover in 2018 and later trade paperback through Orbit (USA) and Orbit UK (Commonwealth). The story is about monsters growing up in orphanages in the Deep South in the early 1980s after an STD in the 1970s produced a generation of monsters. It’s more literary than my other stuff, though it delivers plenty of disaster and the grotesque. Picture To Kill a Mockingbird with monsters. I really think it’s my best work, and I couldn’t be happier working with a prestigious publisher like Orbit.

Dogs or Cats?
I’m thoroughly a cat person, though I love dogs. My cat passed away several years ago and I haven’t yet gotten a new pet. I had Kitty for nearly 20 years. I picked her up in Spanish Harlem back in the 1990s, when I was living in New York City, and she followed me around NYC and then to Canada. She was a good friend.

Thank you again for taking the time for this interview.

Check out Suffer the Children 


Nominated for a 2014 Bram Stoker Award and a 2015 Audie Award!

A mysterious disease claims the world's children before bringing them back. To continue surviving, however, they need to ingest human blood. As the blood supply wanes, parents struggle and compete to keep their children alive. 
In the end, the only source left will be each other. 
For these parents, the ultimate question will be:
 How far would you go for someone you love?


The Daily Ten-Minute Writing Prompt  


Write every day, even if it's just a little bit. Keep the creative momentum moving.
The rules are simple. Set your timer ten minutes. Begin to write and include the prompt somewhere in your mini-story.
The noun or pronoun can be changed to your requirement. The tense can also be changed. Feel free to share the results of your writing prompt in the comments below.

 Today's writing prompt is:
I can't breathe.






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July 2017 




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