David Fingerman: Hi Josh ~Thanks for inviting me.
HN: You’ve said that writing is something you’ve always enjoyed. Now it’s a full-time gig. What prompted you to make that leap?
DF: The opportunity pretty much fell in my lap. I worked as a clerk for a district court judge for years. She retired and I latched onto another judge. She got booted to the Supreme Court and I was assigned to another judge who was leaving the district court to become chief public defender in federal court. She just had to wait for the FBI background check to be completed (the wheels of justice move very slow). After she left there were no other judges in need of a clerk. Instead of transferring to a job I knew I’d hate, I decided to walk and try to write that novel that was banging around in my head.
HN: You’ve done some self-publishing (and called it an experiment). Have you found this experiment to be a success? Is it something you see yourself continuing with? Your writing is certainly polished enough, which is something that can’t be said for a lot of self-published work.
DF: Tough question. Thank you for the compliment. You mentioned polished writing, so before I answer, please let me sidestep for a moment and tell anyone who is interested in self-publishing ~ PLEASE shell out some bucks and get your work professionally edited! I’ve read so many self-published books (and a few traditionally published) that were just okay that should’ve been great. Typos, grammar mistakes, and general bad editing ruined a wonderful story. It’ll be worth it, especially when you see four and five star reviews rather than two and three.
I’ll get off my soapbox now. Back to the question ~ Edging Past Reality is self-published. As far as total sales, I can’t really call it a success, but that’s on me. As much as I try, I’m not a marketer/promoter and it shows. Like most writers, I prefer to write. As for putting out a product that I’m very proud of ~ I consider it a wonderful success. Right now I’m hemming and hawing about my three novels. The publisher they were with is now out of business. At the moment they’re all out of print and I’m looking for another publisher, but I might change my mind and do it myself. There are a lot of pluses and minuses no matter which way I go. Right now I’m in the process of weighing each side.
HN: You write in many different genres. Is there a reason the short stories in particular are mostly Twilight-Zone-esque tales, or is genre not something you tend to think about?
DF: I don’t give it a lot of thought. I get an idea for a story and it pretty much dictates itself as I go. The exception was Silent Kill. I kept coming up with these wonderful supernatural ideas, but had to force myself to keep it ‘normal world’ believable. I really wanted it a suspense/thriller without the supernatural.
HN: Do you find it harder to write short stories or novels?
DF: Novels ~ most definitely harder. I’ve read interviews from writers who say they have a much harder time with short stories ~ saying it’s too limiting. I’ve never had that problem. Plus, there’s no time to get bored with a short story. I can finish a first draft in one to two days. But novel writing can also be more rewarding. When I finish a short story, it’s ~ that’s nice, now onto the next project. When I finish a novel ~ it’s time to celebrate!
HN: I like the dark and twisted edge your stories have. Might we see a full-fledged David Fingerman horror novel some day?
DF: Thank you! You most definitely will. I find it impossible to fully devote myself to one project at a time. I’m always interrupting myself with short story ideas, but my main focus right now is the third in the Louise Miller series (Silent Kill and Playing the Hand She’s Dealt are the first two). When I get bored or blocked with that, I switch to working on a horror novel I’ve been playing with. As soon as I’m done with the Louise Miller novel, the horror novel will become my main focus. But who knows? The way my mind jumps around, the horror novel might become the primary.
HN: Do you read widely? What are some of your favorite books?
DF: I can’t imagine a writer not being an avid reader. With the exception of technical writing and romance (and yes, that includes paranormal romance), I’ll read pretty much anything. I mostly enjoy speculative fiction and suspense/thrillers, but every so often I’ll get drawn into a biography and on rare occasions, even essays. My most favorite book has to be Shatterday by Harlan Ellison. I reread it every few years and it gives me something to strive for.
HN: I liked the structure of Edging Past Reality. Stories grouped by characters’ ages is something I can’t recall seeing before. It’s a little thing, but adds something special to the collection. What was the genesis of this idea?
DF: Thank you, again! It’s so nice to hear that you can’t recall seeing it before. That’s the goal in all of my books ~ try to find something that hasn’t been seen before. While I sorted through the stories, trying to figure out the order, I noticed all ages were involved. All that was needed was a couple more senior stories and one more little kid story, and I was set. Also, writers are told their books have to have a theme ~ what’s your theme? You can’t have a book without a theme. I guess the life cycle is my theme in that one.
HN: Could you give us a little pitch on your latest collection, Two Degrees Closer to Hell?
DF: Here’s where my promotional skills (or lack thereof) come into play. Can I steal a line from Emerson Lake & Palmer ~ Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends… Two Degrees Closer to Hell picks up where Edging Past Reality left off. Not so with age, but no more of this edging past crap. It leaves reality far off in its wake. I’ve been obsessed lately with what’s on the other side of death. Two Degrees offers a number of possibilities. (If I’m going to get sued by using the ELP line, please delete)
HN: Can you tell us anything about what you’re currently working on?
DF: As mentioned earlier, I’m working on the third Louise Miller novel (about 45% done with 1st draft) The horror novel (about 20% done with 1st draft) ~ both untitled as of yet, and a number of short stories begging for my attention.
HN: Thanks again for talking with me today, David!
DF: Thank you, Josh ~ It’s been a pleasure.