Sunday, January 16, 2011

Interview with Donald Gorman

Laurie:  Hello, Donald.  I am pleased to get this opportunity to chat with you.  Thanks so much for taking time out for this interview.

Donald:  Hello, Laurie. And thank you for inviting me to do this interview.

Laurie:  You write mostly books that fall into the Horror genre with some supernatural elements. What inspires you?

Donald: I always enjoyed scary movies as a kid. Ghosts and demons are my favorite. I can’t say I truly believe, but there is a lot of fun in the myths and lore that go into our ghost/horror stories. The fear of the unknown is one of our most primal emotions. Deep emotions are exciting to explore in the written word. I like to explore all deep feelings in my writing: fear, love, depression and our propensity for violence. I love brutal violence and carnage in my stories. What can I say? I’m human. Still, studying how we can be so easily drawn to brutal, unkind, violent behavior even though we know it’s wrong is one of the subjects I like to tackle…simply because of my own idle curiosity. Plus, I just write whatever stories pop into my head. I never run short of ideas.

Laurie:  There is a quote on your website that I think really sort of captures the essence of those same thoughts. Tongue-in-cheek, you say:

"I find the swift, blinding, gratuitous violence and carnage very soothing and relaxing. Nothing calms me down after a long hard day better than senseless bloodshed...and lots of it!"

I had to chuckle and to agree. It was especially true when I was still working 10-12 hours a day at a high-stress job with a long daily commute. I’d like to veg out afterwards with a good book or a scary movie.
I read Paradox recently and loved it.  It is told in an unusual manner.  How did you come up with that idea for conveying the story?

Donald: I write with a minimalist style. I first tried a very stark, rigid minimalism in my first book, The Brick Mirror, probably the closest thing I have to a paranormal romance. That book still has special appeal to me. But in subsequent books, I have learned to ease up on the minimalism, keep its best qualities while enjoying a more casual “storytelling” attitude. People seem to prefer the mix of the two styles.

I was introduced to the style by authors like Richard Brautigan (my favorite) and a few others like Raymond Carver. I like the fact that they don’t beat you to death with inane details. They tell you what you need to know and assume the reader is intelligent enough to fill in the rest. Physical descriptions of characters are sparse, for instance. Sure, you may need to know a character is old and bald let’s say….but the rest can be visualized by the reader. And I may not tell you where you are or who is speaking right away. The reader becomes more a part of the story when he/she discovers these things for themselves.

Personally, I get bored when writers drift away from the story too often for too long because they have to tell you every detail about characters and places right up front. Certain things will come to light as the story progresses. Readers will find out what’s important on their own when the time is right (if the story is well-written). And discovering the truth is half the fun of reading.

Laurie:  Yes, I can see that. It seems to me you try to encourage your readers to stretch their imagination and expand their cognitive abilities. 

The family dynamics and brief conversations found in Paradox are really the driving force that steers this story to its climatic ending. Do you observe these traits in everyday people you interact with or do you make up the personalities as the story is being written?

Donald: All my characters have traits and suffer flaws I have seen in others. That is why they exist in my books. But none of my characters are direct copies of any real people. I would never need to use direct impersonations to achieve my purposes.

Deliciously Evil: A Cookbook for KillersCertain things are mapped out ahead of time. Some things occur as they are being written. When I write a scene, I have an idea of what is going to happen. But I let the scene play out in my head as I write. For instance, in my Deliciously Evil: A Cookbook for Killers there is a scene where I know a main character is going to have an argument with his girlfriend that was not going to end well. That was a part of the plot. However, I was not aware that the girl was going to lock herself in the bathroom until it actually happened. That totally surprised me. It steered the book in a slightly different direction, but did not alter the outcome of the book. I guess surprises happen sometimes.

Laurie:  Indeed, they do. As a reader, I relish those moments when an author truly surprises me in a way that makes complete sense in the story but blindsides me, never-the-less.

Of the books you have written so far, which one is your favorite?

Donald: Paradox. I always have all the characters of a book living in my head while I write. This was one of the most brutal and rewarding examples of what happens when you allow so many people in your brain for 8 months at a time.

Laurie:  Please share your favorite short excerpt from Paradox.

Donald: I would like to share this excerpt with your readers. It’s from chapter 7.

ParadoxWhen he was done, he stepped out from behind the dumpster. He was about to go to the parking lot.

          However, he saw a man. Or rather, it was the silhouette of a man. In the dim lighting of the alley, he saw little more than just a faceless shadow.

          “What are you looking at?” he asked in a threatening voice.

          The silhouette didn’t reply. It just stood still.

          “Hey!” he shouted. “I’m talking to you! What are you, deaf?”

          The silhouette still remained silent and still.

          “Say something!” he warned. “What’s the matter with you?”

          Then, he gasped. In this insufficient light, it was suddenly obvious that the shadow-man was holding a gun.

          With a new sense of fear, he took a step backward. “Hey,” he said. “What is this? What’s your problem, pal?”

          The shadow-man took a step toward him.

          He took another step back. “Why don’t you put that thing away?” he suggested. “There’s no need for any of this.”

          He began to tremble as the shadow-man pointed the gun squarely at the middle of his chest.

          “Come on!” he coaxed nervously. “Joke’s over! Cut it out! Who are you? Are you that guy Lindsay keeps talking about? What’s his name? Danny Stark?”

          There was a silencer on the gun. It hardly made a sound as the silhouette fired two shots. His target stumbled back against the brick wall as the bullets sunk deep into the ribs near his heart.

          He dropped the keys in his hand. He slid down into another shallow puddle. He was in pain. His chest was bleeding.

          Even from his vulnerable position, he still couldn’t see a face in that silhouette as it stood over him. He looked up from the puddle. The one light from the building next door made it look as if the silhouette had a halo.

          There was no face. But there was a halo.

          The damp drizzle kept everything in a haze. And as he looked up from the puddle, something else made him gasp. He didn’t know if it was the haze, the blood or the pain.

          Maybe it was the alcohol.

          But somehow, it appeared as though horns had grown out of the silhouette’s head! Just like the Devil! It sent a cold chill up his spine.

          “Oh my God!” he cried. “Who are you? The Devil? Satan? Lucifer?”

          The shadow-man still said nothing. He just aimed the gun right at his target’s face.

          “No, Lucifer! Please!” he begged. “Don’t kill me, Satan! Please! I don’t want to die! Please! Spare me, Lucifer! Please spare my life!”

          He cried as he begged.

          The shadow-man still said nothing. He just aimed the gun. He pulled the trigger.

          ----------End of Excerpt-----------

Laurie:  I am so glad you picked that for the excerpt!  Without giving away too much, I will say that I certainly didn’t feel much compassion or remorse for the victim this time. Shadow-man did a good deed there when he took out that trash.

Are you currently working on a new book?

Donald: I am not currently working on any books. It is not because of a shortage of ideas. It is because of a shortage of time. I’m always busy. I’m sure I will write again. I just have to find 8 months or so when I can afford to have 100 people living in my head at one time (including heroes, villains, ghosts, lovers and haters, etc.)

Laurie: I can understand that but I hope you will find the time sooner rather than later. You have outstanding story-telling talent and I have a voracious appetite! LOL

 Meanwhile, How can your fans contact you? (Maybe if we pester you enough those 100 characters living in your head will seem peaceful, by comparison, and you will pick up the pen!).  Just joking – I’m greedy and envious.  

Donald: You can find me on GoodReads under my name, Donald Gorman, or at my website

Laurie: Is there anything else you would like to mention today that I should have brought up and didn’t? 

Donald: No, I think you covered most of the important stuff. I just might reiterate that I enjoy exploring all aspects of the human condition: fear, terror, love, violence….anything that is a true part of the human experience.

Laurie:  Thank you again.  It’s been fun. You have a warm and fabulous sense of humor and I appreciate this opportunity to share some of that today!  

Donald:  Thanks again for having me here. I enjoyed it.

Books by Donald Gorman: (with links to Amazon)

As I mentioned in the interview, I had the pleasure of reading Paradox a couple of months ago. Below is my review.

4 Stars
ParadoxAn unlucky prostitute is found with a bloody, cryptic note pinned to her chest.  A crazed serial killer who horribly mutilates his victims begins his diabolical rampage.  It is up to Detectives Paczecki and Grogan to discover the identity of and arrest the killer but clues are scarce. Time becomes yet another enemy as the murders escalate. The victims seem to be randomly selected but soon unlikely relationships are uncovered. A family is torn asunder by hate, betrayal, and loss. Who will survive? Read More


missleanore said...

I never saw this Interview! Donald, you sound wickedly talented. 'To scare is to be!'
Great job, Laurie!

tlynnetolles said...

Donald...Awesome interview. To other's out there, Paradox was a real roller coaster ride. I've also read The Red Veil and A Grave in Autumn, two great ghost stories.
Thanks Lori for hosting a glimpse into Donald's head.
Best Wishes

grammy1 said...

Hey Donald and Laurie

What a great Interview and what a chilling excerpt!!!! Donald still waiting for you to Submit a book for review to the Paranormal Roamnce Guild!!!


Krisi Keley said...

Excellent interview, Donald and Laurie! I'm not that familiar with the minimalist style and am fascinated with the idea of a story where the reader's own imagination plays an even bigger role. Loved the excerpt and I'm really looking forward to reading Paradox, already waiting on my Kindle! Much success with all your writing, Donald, and best to you both!