Welcome to my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, scriptwriters, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with suspense / thriller / mystery author David Fingerman. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, David. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
David: Hi Morgen ~ Thanks so much for inviting me. I’m based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and have lived here my entire life (that’s not a bad thing). I used to work in the court system but walked away ~ now I write full time. I’ve always loved writing from as far back as I can remember. College ruined that love for a while and it took a number of years after graduation to get that feeling back, but the feeling did finally return.
Morgen: What genre do you generally write?
David: Wow. I’m kind of all over the board on that one. My book of short stories, ‘Edging Past Reality’ is mostly speculative fiction (think Twilight Zone). ‘Silent Kill’ is a suspense / thriller novel, while its sequel, ‘Playing the Hand She’s Dealt’ is suspenseful, but more of a traditional mystery. ‘Spyder’ is the hardest to categorize. My wife came up with a label that I thought really fits ~ Urban Noir.
Morgen: A great label. You’ve self-published, what lead to you going your own way?
David: ‘Edging Past Reality’ is self-published. As far as I know there aren’t any publishers willing to publish a collection of short stories by an unknown author (at least none that would publish mine). My goal was to get my name ‘out there’ and then go traditional with the novels. I have no idea how effective that was, but I did find a wonderful publisher ~ L&L Dreamspell ~ for my novels.
Morgen: Are your books available as eBooks? How involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
David: All of my books are available as eBooks. I was very involved with ‘EPR’ but L&L did all the work for the novels. I did finally break down and buy a Kindle. I love it ~ especially for traveling. That being said, I still prefer holding a real book.
Morgen: Most do. Like you, I enjoy both. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
David: Oh my. No offense to Louise (the protagonist in ‘Silent Kill’ and ‘Playing the Hand She’s Dealt’) but ‘Spyder’ was the most fun to write. My mind is always jumping around as to who might play him in a movie ~ maybe Jude Law or Jake Gyllenhaal. Ask me again tomorrow and I’ll have a different answer.
Morgen: 🙂 Did you have any say in the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
David: Being that it was self-published, I had a lot of say in ‘EPR’. L&L stayed with the titles I originally sent. Regarding the covers, I sent suggestions to L&L and they came up with amazing covers. Had I not liked them, I don’t know if I would’ve had any say about changing them.
I think the cover is MEGA important. If the reader doesn’t like the cover, why would they bother to pick up the book? An author once sent me her book to review and I thought the cover was incredibly boring. Had I seen it at the bookstore, I would’ve walked right past it without a second glance.
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
David: At present, I’m working on the third Louise Miller novel.
Morgen: Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
David: My wife is very supportive, but she did say if I don’t write every day she’d make me go out and get a real job. As mentioned earlier, I’m all over the board and do a lot of things that are frowned on by many professional writers, i.e. I’ve got three unfinished novels and a number of unfinished short stories. The general logic is when one keeps starting new things, the old ones will never get finished. I guess I’m the exception to that rule. Regarding writer’s block ~ because I’ve got a number of works open, when I get blocked on one thing I can jump to a number of others. For me it works.
Morgen: I’m the same, and most of mine are short. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
David: Short stories ~ I get an idea and run with it. Novels ~ I usually start knowing the beginning and end. The trick is connecting the two with about 250 pages of plot that will keep the reader wanting to continue turning the pages.
Morgen: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
David: I’m constantly editing. I know that it’s time to stop when something looks familiar and I realize that’s how I had it about 15 edits ago.
Morgen: Ouch. What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
David: It depends. ‘Spyder’ wouldn’t be nearly as powerful if told in third person. In ‘Silent Kill’ and ‘Playing the Hand She’s Dealt’ the scope would’ve been too narrow if told in first person. Does that make sense? And no ~ other than a high school writing exercise, I’ve never tried second person and have no intention of doing so.
Morgen: That’s a shame, but it doesn’t suit everyone. Do you write any poetry?
David: I did take a poetry class in high school ~ it’s the only class I ever failed. The only poetry I wrote semi-recently was when I lost a bet. The poet I bet with would’ve had to write a horror short story if she lost.
Morgen: I write very little poetry too, only when I have to for writing group calendar, really. I’m prose through and through. Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
David: Oh yeah.
Morgen: 🙂 Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
David: Rejections? Moi? HA! I was actually asked if I’d speak at a writers’ conference about dealing with rejection letters. I told them I was over qualified.
Every once in a while it stings when I thought I’d found the perfect market, but mostly it’s just a minor irritation and I’ll send it someplace else. I do remember sending out a short story and getting a scathing rejection ~ a full single-spaced page of everything that was wrong with it and how it would never sell. Without changing a word, I sent it to a different magazine and they bought it. Unless your writing is bad, it’s all subjective.
Morgen: It certainly is, just finding the right thing for the right person, as you’ve done. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
David: I think if an author wants to be published by one of the major houses, yes, an agent is vital. I’ve had three novels, thus far with no agent, published with L&L Dreamspell, and I’m thrilled with my success. BUT, a friend of mine wrote a young adult novel, got an agent, and that agent snagged her a six-figure two-book deal with Random House. So, as happy as I am with what I’ve accomplished, I am contemplating looking for one.
Morgen: Wow. Congratulations to your friend, and I’m the same as you; never say never. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
David: Favorite ~ sitting at my computer writing. Least favorite ~ marketing. Lots of things surprise me ~ I’ll say no more about that.
Morgen: <laughs> What advice would you give aspiring writers?
David: Write every day. Write for yourself first.
Morgen: If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
David: Jesus, Alvin Karpis, and Theda Bara (I have a lot of questions for Jesus and Karpis. I just have a crush on Theda Bara ~ I’m guessing from a past life). I’d probably have to cook something kosher for Jesus. It would promise to be an entertaining evening.
Morgen: Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
David: If fish could talk, they wouldn’t.
Morgen: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks?
David: In the autumn, I love driving up Highway 61 (yup, the same one Bob Dylan sang about). Read my books and you can imagine what my hobbies might be.
Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
David: I’m on a number of networking sites, but I’m not as active as I should be. I find they’re as valuable as you want to make them. Get involved and meet people and they become very valuable.
Morgen: Indeed, but they are very time consuming. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Morgen: 🙂 I like him already. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
David: I’ve perused your website ~ wowza ~ where do you find the extra hours in a day?
Morgen: 🙂 Thank you very much. At the beginning and end, to answer your question – I take my lodger to work at 5.30a.m. and rarely go back to bed then I often stay up past 10 if I’ve not yet been through the next day’s interview (quite usual). Great to have you join me today, David. Thanks again.
I then invited David to include an extract of his writing and he says this is a snippet from ‘Playing the Hand She’s Dealt’…
Louise pushed forward the back of her seat. Peanut bounded out and raced ahead of Karla to the front door. When he reached the front step he skidded to a halt and growled as best he could for a dog with severed vocal chords. Karla cocked her head at the dog as she reached for the door. Louise caught up to her partner and reached out, grabbing her shoulder and pulling her back.
“God damn it,” Louise whispered. She hadn’t touched her gun since she left the force. The .45 was sitting snuggly behind the bath towels in the linen closet. At least she hoped it was still in the linen closet.
The doorknob turned, unlocked. Louise turned to Karla. She had Peanut by the collar.
“Did you lock the door?” Louise’s voice was barely audible.
“I’m positive.” Karla nodded as she matched Louise’s tone.
“Keep a tight rein on him.” Louise turned back toward the door, inched it open and peeked in.
A man with gray hair sat on the couch. Louise could only see him from behind. Fortunately he hadn’t heard. She closed the door just far enough that it didn’t click.
“Give me the dog and you get out of sight. Call the cops.”
Karla snapped the leash on Peanut and handed it to Louise, then walked behind the car while digging through her purse.
“Should we wait for the police?” Louise whispered to Peanut.
He stared at the door, muscles tense.
“I don’t think so either.”
And the synopsis of ‘Playing the Hand She’s Dealt’…
A former cop is the target of a madman. Louise Miller is an ex-cop whose life could not be more of a mess. Unemployed and addicted to gambling, she comes home from the casino to find her front door unlocked and a corpse sitting on her sofa. Even worse, the dead man is Walter Farkos, a man she arrested shortly before resigning from the Minneapolis PD. Now Farkos’ murderer is obsessed with a sadistic game of cat and mouse. The ultimate goal: to destroy Miller piece by piece. If Miller doesn’t stop this madman she may not only forfeit her own life, but the lives of everyone she cares about.
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