Q: Thanks for taking the time to stop by today, David. For those who may be new to your writing, and who haven't yet checked out the Angelkiller Triad, please tell us a little about yourself.
A: My standard answer is “I write stuff.” That gets old after a while, so I'll answer “I write things.” I started writing at a very young age and publishing shortly thereafter, about 30 years shortly thereafter. I have spent the majority of my life in the Southern US, although I did live for almost a decade in the Republic of Panama where I met and married my wife and both of my children were born. Upon my return to the States, I found that little had changed but me. I had a different way of looking at life after living in the third world. It gave me a broadened perspective that helped me develop as a writer.
Q: A broadened perspective, indeed! The journey from 'aspiring' to 'accomplished' can be a long one, even in the era of small presses and digital publishing. When did you begin writing, and how did you feel when you first saw your work in print?
A: I began writing long before there were computers other than those at universities that took up entire rooms to accomplish the simplest tasks. My first hand held calculator, which I bought in 1974, was three quarters the size of an adding machine (if anyone today knows what that is). So it is that I still write longhand and eventually transfer the work to computer. When did I begin writing? I wrote my first short story when I was seven years old. My first publication was in 1971 and I thought it was odd to see it in print. It turned out to be a fluke, however, as my next publication wasn't until 1997. Mundane life, in the form of work and family, had intervened.
Q. Did you choose to deliberately immerse yourself in 'genre' fiction because there's something specific that draws you to it, something you feel it offers that other genres don't, or was it just 'right' for the story you wanted to tell?
A: Not all my works are genre, but I prefer writing speculative fiction. The audience allows you more freedom to express your inner frustrations and bizarre ideas.
Q: For some authors, it's coming up with a title, and for others it's writing that first paragraph - what do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing?
A: Writing itself. There are times when I cannot find the energy to write at all. Then, there are times when I can do nothing else. It's annoying and disturbing both ways.
Q: I get that. Sometimes, characters can take on a life of their own, pulling the story in directions you hadn't originally anticipated. Has a twist or turn in your writing ever surprised you, or really challenged your original plans?
A: I find unruly characters to be extremely mortal. I usually avoid that particular pitfall by planning the story from beginning to end before starting the actual work, making a kind of outline. If the characters stray from that outline, I drop the story and start on something else. The result is I have fewer and fewer unfinished works, but the skeletons still reside in the filing cabinets.
Q: Is there a favourite quote or scene from your work that you feel particularly fond of? Maybe a line or two that sticks in your head and reminds you of why writing is important to you?
A: I seldom reread my own work, so there really isn't anything in particular I have become married to. Once a piece is finished and sent to the publisher, unless he/she wants an edit, I forget about it and move on to the next project. It's part of that “have to write” problem.
Q: When writing, do you ever consider how a reader or reviewer will react, or do you write solely for your own satisfaction?
A: I never think of how a reader will react beyond writing to evoke a particular emotion. I write to instill emotion in the reader. In that way, I suppose my work is a kind of poetry, about which I know very little except it's supposed to create emotion as well.
Q: In terms of reader reactions, what is the strangest or most surprising reaction to your work that you've ever encountered?
A: I get very little feedback from readers. In fact, in the last 35 years I think I've had no more than a handful of letters, so I can't address that. However, reviews have run the gamut from “avoid this book” to “very interesting”. I try to read all the reviews to see if I have accomplished what I set out to do with a particular work.
Q: One of the things that I’ve always found unique about Seventh Star Press is the illustrations they incorporate into the books. How much input do you have into those illustrations, and how do you think they influence the reader?
A: I work closely with Matt Perry, but I haven't had a single instance in which his instinct for illustration didn't perfectly convey the idea behind the passage we agree on. He has an unusually perceptive ability and a great artistic talent.
Q: It's nice when talents mesh so well. Is there a particular author who has influenced or inspired your writing? Somebody who either made you want to write in the first place, or who just refreshes your literary batteries?
A: Heinlein, Clarke, Bradbury ... most of the science fiction writers of the early and middle 20th century stand out, although the writers of the last part of the 19th also hold my interest, especially men like Bierce and Lord Dunsany. I had the great honor of meeting Ramsey Campbell a couple of years ago. His work influenced me in many ways.
Q: When you're not writing (or reading, for that matter), what are some of the hobbies and passions that keep you busy?
A: I am an inveterate gamer. I began gaming as a youngster with the strategic board games of the 60s and have never stopped. I find board games like chess and backgammon relaxing while online games are fascinating and entertaining.
Q: Assuming you had total creative control over the production, who would you cast as the leading roles, were the Angelkiller Triad to be made into a movie trilogy?
A: I really haven't given that much thought. My problem with that would be that, although I love movies, most of what I watch is hopelessly outdated. I seldom go to the theater and get most of my movies from rental outfits. I don't follow particular actors, as I am more interested in the stories than the actors' names.
Q: That's a fair answer - too bad more directors didn't take that approach. Is there a particular theme or message you're expecting readers to take away from your work?
A: Each work is different. For the Angelkiller Triad, I would like people to walk away with a feeling of hope in the face of the terrible events and disheartening atmosphere they might face every day, to know that there is a Greater Force at work in the background tirelessly pushing to make things better.
Q: Finally, before we let you go, what can we look forward to from you next? Are you hard at work on the next volume of the Angelkiller Triad, or is there perhaps a project on the horizon that you're really excited about?
A: I am working on the final book, Doom Angel, as well as another novel for a different publisher and several short stories for multiple anthologies. I also edit parABnormal Digest for Sam's Dot Publications of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, so that keeps me busy as well. My plate is quite full.
Thanks again for joining us, David!
Thank you for letting my connect with your audience. If they would like to know more about my work, I invite everyone to visit my homesite at www.thrankeep.com and watch my Facebook page.
He is also editor of _parABnormal Digest_ for Sam's Dot Publishing.
To find out more visit his Website at www.thrankeep.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Writer.HDavidBlalock.
Traitor Angel by H. David Blalock
In Traitor Angel, the second book of the Angelkiller Triad, the war between The Army of Light and The Enemy continues behind the scenes. Unknown to the general population, the battle for control of humanity is heating up.
Jonah Mason, called Angelkiller, faces more than one decision. His Army resistance cell is wounded physically and emotionally, on the brink of falling apart. The mysterious allies calling themselves Knights are pressuring him to abandon his people. Meanwhile, the world outside draws closer to Armageddon.
As Mason and his friends pursue their campaign against Dorian Azrael's global megacorporation, Andlat Enterprises, the stakes get higher with each desperate foray into the enemy's computers. They are fated to lose one of their number and gain an unlikely ally, but any advantage they gain could be fleeting at best.
If they fail, it could mean the end of The Army and all resistance to the forces of Darkness.