Name – I was born Ernest Robin Dover – but that is changing to Ernest R. Robin Dover. I want to be a bit more like J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin. So…
Age – I am 57 as of this writing. My birthday is 22 March, 1957. I was born on a Friday at 09:16 AM Greenwich Mean Time. Mom said I almost killed her when I was born.
Where are you from – I was born in Arrington, Cambridgeshire, England. I was raised in between England, California, Texas and Arkansas – and that’s a very strange place to be raised. But I liked it.
A little about yourself i.e. your education, family life, etc.
I came from a military family. Dad was U.S. Army/Air Force – WWII and Korean War. My brother was U.S. Air Force/Army. I was U.S. Army. I went to school – Kindergarten – 1st 2nd Grades – in Guadalupe, California – we migrated to Benton, Arkansas where I started off in West Side Elementary and was transferred to Caldwell Elementary because we finally moved out of Granny’s house with the outhouse and into our own home with an inside toilet – then to Westside Junior High School to Bryant Junior High School and from Bryant High School to Benton High School due to fighting in school and differing opinions and conflicts of interests. But I didn’t mind because I was able to absorb a wider cross-section of the educational system and its various methods of didactics. I also enjoyed pretty much coming and going as I pleased. I skipped school once for three weeks straight. I ended up leaving High School, almost completely, during my junior year. Shortly thereafter I was captured and finally removed from incarceration in Carthage, Texas. My sister Judie took me out of jail. I literally didn’t recognize who she was. I thoroughly questioned her in order to make sure it was her. I had just watched my closest friend at the time, Wayne Lee Crossley, hang himself in the jail cell next to me. He was on the FBI’s most wanted list. He survived the hanging and spent several years in prison. My hair was down to my waist. After a brief summit meeting, my family decided my hair was my problem and it was cut away until my ears were once again visible. My head looked like a small peanut. High School began again in Fairmont, Minnesota. That was freaking cold. Things got crazy one evening over dinner and I was promptly placed on a Greyhound bus and sent away to northwest Arkansas to start again – this time with my brother, Ken. It was deemed prudent that I should leave school completely at this point and I began shovelling dog food in a freezer for a living. It’s amazing how well ground up chicken carcasses packed into cardboard boxes can be stacked so neatly ten pallets high. Working in the raw processing poultry and pre-cooked poultry industry didn’t last long, however, and I reluctantly moved away from northwest Arkansas dressed like Alice Cooper, complete with face paint and a boa constrictor, and hit the mean streets of Dallas, Texas. Dallas was good until the winter came. I couldn’t take it any longer. I moved to Key West, Florida when I was 17 and fell in love with the island. I just can’t get it out of my mind. I remember climbing the walls of the Ernest Hemingway home picking and eating the belladonna flowers. I think that’s a little enough – for now. We can discuss my educational experiences in college, institutionalized Universities, the Military, Monarch Mind-Control and trucking off across the sky later. Maybe I’ll write a book…
Fiona: Tell us your latest news
– I’ve recently published a new short story with Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc. The story is entitled, Turn Me On, Dead Man. You can find it in Journals of Horror: Found Fiction for sale on Amazon. JOURNALS OF HORROR: FOUND FICTION is Pleasant Storm Entertainment’s first horror anthology. On its debut on Halloween 2014, Journals of Horror hit #1 in the Fiction Anthology Bestseller List in Australia! My story, ‘Turn Me On, Dead Man’, is included in this cutting-edge anthology. The found footage subgenre is possibly the biggest in the horror film market. In Journals of Horror: Found Fiction that style of storytelling has been translated to the page. The stories presented here are horrific journals discovered in a variety of hidden places. The most interesting part of this anthology is the numerous places where the stories have been found: journals, diaries, legal pads, cocktail napkins, fortune cookies, instruction manuals, food ingredients, post-it notes, grocery lists, chalkboards, translation books, crossword puzzles and more. JOURNALS OF HORROR can be found anywhere! These tales are straight forward accounts, warnings or secret messages hidden in text. This collection has been compiled and edited by Terry M. West. Found footage is a genre of film making, especially horror, in which all or a substantial part of a film is presented as discovered film or video recordings, often left behind by missing or dead protagonists. I am also very proud that as an anthology Journals of Horror: Found Fiction made it through the selection process by the Horror Writers Association to the 2014 Bram Stoker Preliminary Ballot for consideration for a Bram Stoker Award® under the category of Superior Achievement in an Anthology. Although ultimately we were not selected and nominated to be considered on the final ballot, it was wonderful to have been a part of this tremendous journey and to have made it this far. AND – I have recently self-published, independently, a new piece of long-fiction entitled, Wake Up Little Susie. This story was inspired by my paternal grandmother, fondly known as Granny, who constantly kept me and my little sister, Shanni, scared out of our wits. It was based on an old legendary myth known as the Dead Man’s Supper. It also addresses child abuse and the consequences that could and should follow these ignorant and careless choices adults too often make. I’ve had a team of people working with me on the cover of that one: myself; my wife, Cora; Mariola Weiss provided the amazing artistic photographic cover art; Peter Koevari applied a very talented twisted hand to the final cover product. I must say, I’m very happy with the outcome. I wanted a sinister feel – something sexy and deadly – and in good taste. I thank everyone and think we did a fantastic job of the presentation! It’s currently available on Amazon in ebook formats and also as a paperback. I also re-released a short story that originally appeared in When Red Snow Melts, a fantastic anthology which included not only my work, but also work from Joe R. Lansdale, Terry M. West, D.S. Ullery and Glenn Rolfe from Matt Molgaard’s Horror Novel Reviews. The story is entitled A Spicy Apple Glaze and has an amazing cover from Terry M. West. AND – I’ll be attending the Stanley Hotel Writer’s Retreat in October of 2015. That’s where I plan to be Shining… the best laid plans Of Mice and Men. I’m also currently working on the cover art for another two short stories. The first is entitled Ass Baby and the second is entitled Living Dead Girl. These two stories are re-worked re-releases that were first published in 2009 with Turner Maxwell Books. I’m really looking forward to these being out in the world again. I’m hoping to see Ass Baby ultimately go through the journey as a comic book series and then on to Adult Swim, an American cable network that shares channel space with Cartoon Network, both of which are owned by Turner Broadcasting System.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I was a kid when I began writing. I think I was 8 or 9 years old when I wrote my first short story. It wasn’t a school assignment. No one asked me to do it. I just felt like writing a story of my own. It was a fantasy story about passing through the large 33 1/3 vinyl disc record album cover of the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night album and into a parallel universe existing somewhere in England. It was a story about me hanging out with the Beatles. I was just a kid hanging out with his musical heroes at the time. When I turned 16 I began my first novel entitled, Perturbatio, a story about exploring the disturbing depths of insanity. I never finished that novel – it was like the infinite edges of insanity knew no end and wouldn’t allow me to stop. Although the more that I write the more nostalgia spreads over me and I feel drawn into it all again… someday. After all, that novel is a continuous saga. I first started writing because I thought it was fun to create an alternate world to escape into and as time has gone on, it hasn’t changed much. Often, I find it extremely cathartic. Moods alter my writing style – sometimes I find it extremely easy to kill a character – sometimes – I cannot do it. If I’ve had alcohol, I can do almost anything in my writing – devious – debauched – disturbing – you name it. But there are times when I have no alcohol that I find I am much more benevolent and compassionate as a writer. If there is a terrible scene that I feel needs to be written and I am in one of those overwhelming compassionate moods, I have to put that story away and either write something sweet and lovely or go for a walk until I get it out of my system. I haven’t had a drink in over three years now and have miraculously learned how to tap into that darkness without a ticket. My horror tends to be disturbing – as I feel horror must be on some level. However, I don’t strictly classify myself as a horror author. Sometimes, I love to write fantasy, science-fiction, romance, mystery and thrillers with elements of crime. I also love threads of black humor coursing through my writing. I enjoy it all, really. I try to keep myself on track for whatever is on the slate to complete.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I would have to say it was when I finished my first novel, The Mind of God. I was 37 years old. But it needed a lot of work, editing, re-writing and it was never published. White Wolf Publishing had an initial look but declined due to confusion with a magical numerological theme that was still in development. As time has passed, it has expanded into a trilogy and has been written under the pseudonym of James King. James King is the primary protagonist in my Shadows of Obsession series. I thought it would be cool to refer to him, on occasion, as King James. And I did finally manage to get those magical numbers sorted out. It’s quite the journey.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I always have strange things passing through the maze of my mind. I enjoyed writing short stories although I never really thought much about completing a compilation of short stories. I didn’t seem to be interested in gathering them into a collection. I want to do that, now. But because I have always had so many strange things flowing through my mind, and when I was a teenager these strange things multiplied to such an extent that I thought it would be a tragedy if I failed to capture these things for posterity’s sake. I experimented a lot with psychoactive substances when I was very young and these experiments manifested into visions that were genuinely experiences that were indiscernible between fantasy and reality. I still wonder. As quantum physics continues to explore concepts such as the quantum mind and quantum consciousness; multiple/parallel universes; and collections of distinct ideas seem to open doorways of possibility in perception, I ruminate upon these early experiences. These powerful experiences contributed to the inspiration of writing my first book. And although I love hardback books as well as ebooks, Paperback Writer by The Beatles is still one of my favorite songs. I listened to that song a lot when I was 9 years old, so…
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
We all have a voice, a style, and manner in which we approach the things we say and write and as time passes, that style or voice changes. Sometimes, I’m just not interested in jerking a reader into my writing from the onset. I like to be a bit more subtle at times. It may estrange certain readers, especially some editors or publishers or fast-food connoisseurs and aficionados, but I think as we mature into our writing and become more comfortable, a truer voice emerges. My style: I think it’s a little on the eccentric side and yet I feel it’s still accessible. Although there are times when I allow myself to go completely over the edge and if you come with me you are likely to be found freefalling. It isn’t blatantly avant-garde – all of the time – although there are plenty of scenes that are strongly surreal. Some may accuse my writing to lean toward light and dark contrasting one another. I love shadows. I find that many spiritual, fantasy and investments into horrific worlds require thinking outside of the box. How do you thoroughly and authentically explain a dream you had to someone complete with every sensation? How do you recreate a nightmare? How do you bring someone to any specific point inside of your head? I do it honestly, brazenly and without apology. After all, if you want the truth of the fiction then you must embrace the body of the darkness that it emerges from… the domain of the unknown. Style is also influenced, although not controlled, by those that we read. I’ve read a lot of George R. R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Joe R. Lansdale, Dean Koontz, Terry M. West, Trent and Roger Zelazny, Tom Piccirilli and the list goes on. Sometimes I read things that I don’t particularly enjoy and think to myself, ‘I want to try to avoid doing that in my writing’ and then I probably end up doing it anyway. The story must be told. I do the best I can at the time of my writing and move on. I want my style – and my voice – to progress. If you keep going and never stop, making adjustments along the way, that’s what will happen. I do feel that most of what I write has a bit of a noir edge.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Hmmm… that is a good question. I have over sixty novel titles stored in folders on my computer. So, rather than take all of these titles and expound on each one of them, because that would be an entirely separate and lengthy interview, let’s focus for a moment on the title of the first novel I began working on: Perturbatio. I chose that title because I wanted it to deliberately reflect not only the state of mind of the primary protagonist in the story, lost deep in confusion, disturbance, insanity and also a tremendous amount of wonder and the inevitable state of mind that I would have to acquire in order to affectively pull it off. I found that in order to do that, I had to become a detached observer – like having an out-of-body-experience – in order to pull that together. So often now, I find that to be the case whenever I’m writing. Another title: The Mind of God. I came up with that title through exploring the idea of a group of people transferred into the mind of one man held in a condition of physical stasis within a cryogenic chamber. The man nevertheless maintains awareness of deep subconscious activity and mental functions. He selects one man who has been transferred into his mind – a man named Immanuel – and begins a series of intermittent psychic communications with him. He identifies himself as God to Immanuel, develops a vengeful objective and inspires Immanuel to do his bidding, calling him to function as his Prophet. Without giving away too much about the story, I’ll just say there is another reason the book is entitled The Mind of God, but you’ll have to wait until near the end to discover this. By the way, this book has expanded into a trilogy, soon to be released. Most of the time, my titles evolve from the original idea for the novel. However, there are times that a title just pops into my head and I’ll develop the story around the title. And, sometimes, after the story unfolds, I end up changing the title.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel (writing) that you want readers to grasp?
There’s always a message intended, but that message isn’t necessarily MY message. – In my novel, Perturbatio, I want people to understand the need for respect. Insanity as our society currently interprets it continues to be buried beneath fear, stigmatization and desperate grasping to the established norm. But without creating spoilers during this interview, I’d also like to say that as I have changed over the years, the messages I intend through my writing have changed, too. I want people to get the message the story and the characters intend – and I feel this is much more possible and has its greatest potential by not forcing a story and force-feeding a personal message from the writer per se. I really don’t want to be an evangelist. When I finish writing a story, I want to be able to get a message… to receive a message… a message that was waiting for me. I also want a message that can only be revealed to me, as a writer, by writing that story, and that can only be revealed to a specific reader by reading that story. They all don’t need to be the same. What message did you receive from Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven? What message did you received from Stephen King’s The Shining? What message did you receive from Pablo Picasso’s Girl Before A Mirror? What message are you getting from what I’m saying right now? It may be a message I expect you to receive. It may be something completely different. This may seem a little more esoteric or philosophical in a surreal way but there is a message in everything within every moment that has a lesson for us. If I’m writing a horror story, it may be that my message is I simply intend to scare the hell out of you. It might be my intention to introduce you to yourself. A message? Yes, absolutely. But I’m not particularly interested in controlling you or your thoughts through a profound narrative message of thought manipulation. I just want to be influenced through self-realization.
Fiona: How much of the (your) book(s) are realistic?
My writing can be very realistic. If you’re referring to plausible, then that would depend on whether or not I include unicorns and dragons in the story and how much evidence exists for either. J So far, most of my stories at least touch base in the world we all live in and in this respect, many of the elements will ring true and realistic. However, I think good fantasy and horror fiction – possibly all fiction for that matter – will stretch the limits of a reader’s thinking, belief systems and personal convictions and cause them to possibly re-think the world as they have previously known it. I’m not writing the tall tales of Paul Bunyan or Pecos Bill, but I hope my writing will find a reader allowing themselves to suspend their disbelief long enough to escape the trappings of their judgments and give themselves permission to be immersed in another world with different laws, rules and principles. I hope I offer my readers places to go on their next vacation, holidays and journeys away from the humdrum, sometimes tortuous grind of daily life. I hope readers might even find my writing a good alternative to addictive substances. And I hope you won’t hold it against me if you’re frightened by my writing – especially if I inform you’re reading horror or something very dark, indeed.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes. I always derive elements from real life experiences, people, places and things I have encountered, although, oftentimes, I also derive elements found during dreams when I sleep as opposed to the dreams when I’m awake. I use some of those, too, however. I have translated nightmares into short stories as well as foundations for novels. And I have also found directions that short stories and novels have taken and found them worthy guideposts for directions in my life. I’m always thrilled when something like this happens. When we can write something and it ends up teaching us something about life. It can happen when we read the work of someone else: we become inspired and make a positive change in our lives because of it – fiction and non-fiction. But I think it’s especially nice when that happens from sitting down and reading your own written work. It helps to shape new and valuable experiences. Reading is so important. Please: read. And read something besides Tweets, Facebook posts and text messages. Read a book.
Fiona: What books have influenced your life most?
I think every book I have ever read has influenced my life. I can’t think of one that hasn’t. I don’t think it’s possible. And I have read a lot of books: I’ve read every word of the Quadruple Combination consisting of the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrines and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price to the ancient magical grimoires such as H.P. Lovecraft’s Necronomicon, Francis Barrett’s The Magus, the Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor Lavey, The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses and the Clavicle of Solomon to Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny and Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King to A Song of Fire and Ice: Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin and The Hobbit and Lord of Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. The list goes on and on. So, I suspect I really should include the Tall Tales of Pecos Bill and Cosmic Trigger by Robert Anton Wilson, Sally, Dick and Jane by Helen Mansfield Robinson and Curious George by Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Elizabeth Rey. They really did influence my life.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
There is more than one. Professional, published writers: Stephen King, Lawrence Block, Norman Mailer, Henry Miller, Ernest Hemingway… these writers published works specifically designed to teach writers about writing… I have said before and I will say again – I am not strictly a horror writer. But to highlight people that I consider as mentors, these that I have already mentioned as well as a whole trove of writers published in Writing Horror: A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association edited by Mort Castle; Dark Thoughts on Writing: Advice and Commentary from Fifty Masters of Fear and Suspense edited by Stanley Wiater are teaching about writing. Some of these writers giving advice and commentary designed to benefit developing writers are: Harlan Ellison, David Morrell, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Weinberg, Clive Barker, Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Anne Rice… quite a stable of authors from which to glean wisdom. I would also like to offer a special mention to Dr. Sara Chetin my professor of English while I studied Creative Writing at Richmond College: The American International University in London. To be fair, if you’re REALLY willing to READ, every writer is a mentor. Some teach you what not to do, some teach you what to do, but they are all revealing their personal voice – it isn’t your voice. You may unabashedly work toward emulating it, but in the final analysis, you have to become your own mentor. You can’t be the next Clive Barker or the next Stephen King or the next Dean Koontz or Joe Lansdale – you have to discover YOUR voice and become YOU. Read. Read. Read. And pay attention to what you’re reading. Comprehend it – not only the deeper meanings within the story but the structure – the rules being followed – and acknowledging the rules that are being broken. After you absorb all of this, then it’s your turn. Break all the rules – but know the rules you are breaking. Although I enjoy them all and hope I echo each and every one of them, in some small way. Break new ground.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading these books right now: Voiceless by Trent Zelazny (completed); The Rose Man by Terry M. West and Legends of Marithia: Book 1 – Prophecies Awakening: Uncut and Extended Second Edition by Peter Koevari (completed) and Revival by Stephen King – A Choir of Ill Children by Tom Piccirilli and Sexus by Henry Miller. I have a ‘to read’ list for the rest of this year that includes another eleven books. That’s my target.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Absolutely… these are certainly not necessarily authors new to writing, but authors new to my reading regimen: Peter Koevari; James A. Moore; Tom Piccirilli; D.S. Ullery and Josh Malerman.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m very close to finishing the final book in the 9 novel series of Shadows of Obsession. I’m also fleshing out and editing the Mind of God Trilogy that springboards out of Shadows of Obsession. And I have a project that I come and go from, I give it a little here and a little there. It’s refreshing after being so deep into such extensive writing. It’s called Black Scabrous Shards. This is volume one of a short story collection series – A Collection of Short Stories, Poetry and Journeys into the Wyrd. It has to do with the gift I offer all of my readers:
“Millions of scabrous black shards impatiently wait to deeply embed themselves into the tender flesh of your susceptible mind. They lay concealed like bloodthirsty parasites. Wearing unnatural faces of the evil in your long forgotten, worst nightmares. Preparing to reveal to your conscious mind the horrors your subconscious mind never want you to know. About your true self. About your disease. If you but dare look…”
But, alas, like all offerings, we decide whether or not we accept the gift and complete the circle of the giving. 2015 and 2016 are going to be very busy years.
I’m also a very active interviewer of authors primarily for HalloweenForevermore.Com. And also a reviewer of books, stories, music and musicians. Currently, I’m waiting to complete an interview with Bram Stoker award winning author, Tom Piccirilli and with an American musical group that has been working mainly in the genre of gothic music since 1997 and is based out of Chardon, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland known as Midnight Syndicate.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Good Friends – they have been my biggest support. But, having said that, I don’t really think they count as an appropriate answer to your question because I have always felt that good friends ARE family. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart. So, possibly a better answer regarding an entity would be to specify an organization. To me, the Horror Writers Association has given me the greatest support. But here we go again… it’s about people. Rocky Wood, may he Rest in Peace, gave me a tremendous amount of support and encouragement before he passed away from Motor Neuron Disease or ALS two months ago. He encouraged me to, once again, become a member of the organization and inspired me. And, once again, he was a friend, i.e. family. Ask me that question again in a few years from now.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I most certainly do. However, for me, it hasn’t become my sole vocation. And to be fair, I love music and guitar so much, that I will always want to include music in what I do, as a way to express myself and what I offer up for sale. I currently have an 84 page resume. I’ve probably had over 100 jobs. I spent almost 9 years in the US Army. I have been at my current job for 7 years which allows me a bit of time for writing on good days, which frees up some time at home to take care of domestic responsibilities, trying to stay fit, practice guitar and try to reach my 2,000 word per day goal with my writing. It has also inspired the beginnings of a novel entitled Motel 666. I also try to stay active in social media, promoting myself and supporting fellow authors, publishers, events and projects. But I don’t write and play music or create because I expect to end up like Stephen King. I do what I do because I’m fortunate enough to be able to do what I love. I have learned how to survive with less money and have more love to give and receive from family and friends. It is what it is. If I win the lottery tomorrow or am offered a million dollar contract on my next novel I will continue to do what I do. Of course, I’ll need to sign that contract but I’ll continue to work toward fulfilling my commitments – always.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I don’t believe so. I do the best I can at the time with the resources I have and try to allow myself enough freedom to let the story evolve within more of an organic process. Now, if the question was “If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your life?” My answer would probably be yes. Give me a time machine and let me go back and play Robert Heinlein and I’d shift this over here and that over there and take my chances. I’d still jump out of that aircraft that was burning but I wouldn’t set that oily rag on fire that burned my foot to the bone. Yes – I would change a few things.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Fantasies floating through my imagination – nightmares and strange or fantastic dreams – adding to these thoughts, memories and reveries and becoming excited about getting it all down on paper to relive later. That was in the early days. Reading. Reading fueled my passion for writing even more. It still does today.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure – here’s an excerpt from Book Nine of Shadows of Obsession – The Illuminati – The World Monarch:
‘The little girl put out her hand.
James held out a one hundred pound note, “Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.”
“My father says that to me all the time… every time he is whipping me,” the little girl said.
“Your father is a wise man, at times,” James said. “Spare the rod – spoil the child.”
The little girl snatched the money from his hand, turned to run and abruptly stopped.
“I can still see her. I think she’s dead. You’re a killer,” the little girl said.
She turned and faced James, “You think this money will stop me from telling my family everything you’ve said. But it won’t. I’m going to tell them everything.”
James clenched his jaw, “Good. Go back to your family. Tell them I agree that it really is in their best interest if they mind their own business.”
The little girl stared.
James pulled a box of ammo from beneath the seat of the truck, slipped rounds into the magazine until it was fully loaded and slammed it into the base of the pistol.
“Tell them that there’s no use calling the police. A friend of mine already called them not so long ago and they still haven’t found me. That was back in the town called King. Over near Folkestone south of Hawkinge and Whitfield,” James said.
The little girl jerked, “How do you know what we’ve been talking about.”
“I have an interesting background. I see things and I hear things… and it appears to be growing stronger,” James said.
The little girl froze and stared into his eyes, “Why are your eyes so red?”
“I’m tired,” James said.
“Your face is black. You’re so dark… but it’s like a light around your head. No. It’s around your whole body.”
“I’m not afraid of you. I don’t think you’re very scary. You’re nothing like the Sacky Man,” the little girl said.
“No. I’m nothing like the Sacky Man. And as far as I’m concerned and in my most humble opinion, the Sacky Man is nothing but a time waster. He likes to frighten children; he scoops them up inside of his pathetic burlap body and tosses them around; it’s more thoughtless play for him than it is anything with sacred meaning. I think of him as a Tosser…
“I mean business. And I don’t waste my time or anyone else’s time by doing a poor job. A poor job is defined in many ways: sloppy work; unsuccessful attempts; half-hearted approaches; showing up late; ad infinitum.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means there’re no half measures with me. I have never been late in completing a job and have never failed at doing a job that was meant to be done at a certain place and at a certain time.
“When your number is up, it’s up. And that’s my job. That’s my business. When it’s your time, I’ll make it your business,” James said.
The little girl turned to run away again, stopped and said, “Nyah! Nyah! I already know when I’m going to die! You can’t scare me! My Mummy and Daddy read the Mind of God and they read it out loud to me and I’m not afraid to die. I read parts of it, too! So there!
“I’m not going to die today. I’m not going to die for a very long time,” the little girl said and bolted away.
James watched as she ran back to her family. Her father took her by the hair of the head and whipped her with a belt.
The young teenage couple was already leaving the beach heading into town.’
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find the most challenging thing is to be there to help everyone in my household with their projects, needs, questions, problems, difficulties, while at the same time meeting my writing goals and deadlines. It’s not as difficult when I don’t have deadlines imposed, but I find that sometimes I take on too much and then end up having an out-of-body-experience in order to fulfill my commitments.
Fiona: Who are your favorite author(s) and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have a single favorite author. I have many favorite authors. But as far as more contemporary writers are concerned: Stephen King; Dean Koontz; Joe R. Lansdale; George R.R. Martin; Roger and Trent Zelazny; Peter Straub; and Rick Hautala. Without drawing together an exhaustive list, I return to these writers again and again. What really strikes me about their work is the degree of mastery that has been garnered over the years they have invested in writing. I have said repeatedly that writing and music are forms of hypnosis. I am a Certified Hypnotherapist and have written many hypnotic inductions and subliminal scripts. I even include some in my writing. When you read something by any of these authors, you are definitely ushered into a trance and leave the world as you know it. And when you return, you’re not the same. Regarding my favorite authors of times and ages past: Ernest Hemingway; J.R.R. Tolkien; Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft; John Steinbeck; Henry Miller; C.S. Lewis; E.B. White; George Orwell; Oscar Wilde; Aldous Huxley and Bram Stoker. These authors, besides giving us their shoulders to stand upon, once again have shown us what real mastery is all about. All of the authors I have mentioned, contemporary as well as those established as time proven maestros, have given us as readers, roadmaps that lead us to personal and secret gardens within their minds. Now, it’s our turn as writers to provide treasure maps into the sanctity and privacy of our worlds and our minds. Sometimes, I do not write to immediately pull you in. I don’t write to push you away, but if you’re only looking for something to immediately pull you in, then I’m definitely not always going to be the author for you. I don’t believe in always following the rules. Often, I prefer to break them. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a journey that lays a foundation to keep you from losing your mind completely before it’s all over, then you might find my writing is just what the doctor ordered. Because there will be times before you finish that your knuckles will be white as you hang on for dear life. For the most part, I don’t write for the impatient. But I do know how to use a sledgehammer. I’m an experienced member of a wrecking crew with a track record and I’m not afraid to use it. Some readers need a sledgehammer.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
With today’s technology, travel has become as easy as an internet connection. Aside from memories, notes, journals and experiences from my travels all over the United States, Mexico, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and Africa, I primarily utilize the internet for research. Very often, I include real elements from real places. I take these people, places and things and twist them into disguised distortions to fit the theme of the story. In these cases, often, I am drawing from memory, embellished and exaggerated for effect.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
So far, it has been a combined effort between yours truly, my wife Cora, Terry M. West, Mariola Weiss and Peter Koevari. But I’ve seen some incredibly amazing work from David Ho. Although in the anthologies, When Red Snow Melts and Passages of Pain, Lyrics of Loss… these were done by the talented Danny Melby. When Red Snow Melts is where you can find my story A Spicy Apple Glaze. In Passages of Pain, Lyrics of Loss you will find my poem, One Black Tear. Personally, I think I have some great ideas but I prefer to leave covers to those who devote a significant portion of their lives to visual arts. I prefer to create the words and the music.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing?
For me, it is often simply allowing myself into that hypnotic state I mentioned earlier. This is, for the most part, a state of consent. If I have no distractions, it can be pretty quick and easy. But if I’m besotted with interferences, interruptions and disruptions, that state when the muse and my Possessed Chicken are sitting comfortably in my lap having strange conversations can be slow and painful.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I am constantly reminded of how to allow myself to tell the truth of my story. I also learn, over and over again, about time management and priorities. And I never seem to get it right. But that doesn’t stop me.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
“Write what thou wilt is the whole of the law…” Write often. It doesn’t have to be every day but write a lot. Write as much as you read and read everything you can get your hands on. Read good books on writing: Telling Lies For Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block; On Writing by Stephen King; Henry Miller on Writing; The Spooky Art by Norman Mailer, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King; The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White; and then write a book on writing yourself. Listen to Joe R. Lansdale in Facebook. He is constantly offering wisdom on writing – genuine treasures that cover writing from every angle and genre.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes – it is to be found in each of my stories… find out what it is for yourself. Always listen to your own voice. Trust the person you are.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I believe the first book I ever read was Sally, Dick and Jane by Helen Mansfield Robinson. I remember “See spot run” very well. I was around 5 years old. But by the next year it seems as though my third eye opened wide and I found myself most drawn to Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. I was reading everything, cover to cover. My favorite was the 1963 King Kong issue as well as the Famous Monsters of Filmland Yearbook that was released in the summer/fall of 1962 – this was the 1963 Yearbook. I also read a lot of Marguerite Henry such as Brighty of the Grand Canyon, Misty of Chincoteague and King of the Wind. I remember locking myself in the bathroom and imagining that I was alone and the bathroom was floating in the ocean – far, far away – like an island in an imaginary sea of endlessness. I was reading a lot of Buffalo Bill by William Frederick Cody. I’m so glad my family didn’t suffer bladder problems. I was also extremely fond of reading the many fine articles in Playboy magazine.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
People and the condition of the world we live in.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would like to meet and why?
No, not really. Although I would like to meet many people past and present. But, no… there isn’t only one person. Having said that, I’d like to meet the current leader of the Illuminati and have the opportunity to study their psychology and explore their deepest motivations. And I’d like to meet the Adam Weishaupt who was purportedly instrumental in the formation of the original Order of the Illuminati or the original Bavarian Illuminati formed on 1 May in 1776 – I would also like to meet both of my grandfathers. And I would dearly like to meet my paternal great-grandfather who was a Native-American Shaman. I’d love to explore his belief system.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
The names of the people I love because I want them to remember how I feel and pay them tribute. We’re all in this together.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Rather than hobbies, I prefer the term Magnificent Obsessions: Playing guitar, bodybuilding, camping and fishing, meditation, shrinking skulls, ventriloquism, creepy dolls, manikins and puppetry.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Past and present: Dark Shadows, Gilligan’s Island, The Twilight Zone, Supernatural, Game of Thrones, Groundhog Day, Forrest Gump, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Hook, The Haunting of Hill House, The Exorcist, Equinox, The Green Slime, Bonnie and Clyde, Blackbeard’s Ghost, The Jungle Book, Bubba Ho Tep, Lost Boys, The Last Samurai, The Shining, Hulk, Night at The Roxbury, the list goes on and on. I’m not so much on watching a television series but I do enjoy movies a lot. I’m sure I’ve watched over 1,000 movies but very few televisions series in comparison. I’d rather be doing everything else rather than being glued to the TV.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Virtually any and all Indian cuisine, masalas and Balti dishes; Fish and Chips; Marmite; Branston Pickle; pretty much anything barbecue except barbecue chicken; Nachos with lots of Jalapenos and Spicy Hot Cheese Dip – and – I’m a definite Cookie Monster. I’m moody with colors, black and white, aquamarine and deep blues, blood reds and I go through periods when canary yellow and green really captivate me; instrumental guitar is my favorite, ranging from classical to rock and metal virtuoso guitar, players such as Troy Stetina, Joe Satriani, Buckethead, Randy Rhoads, Ritchie Blackmore, Eddie Van Halen, Barrie Gledden, Steve Vai, Jason Becker, Jan Cyrka, Darren Hurst, Neil Zaza and Andy Timmons to name only a few. But I’m also a big fan of Mark Tremonti, Smokin’ Joe Kubek, Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, Ted Nugent, Zakk Wylde, Jake E. Lee, Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. As far as bands: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steppenwolf, Yes, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Dio, Deep Purple, One Thousand Violins and Rainbow. Godflesh, Creed, Alter Bridge, Collective Soul. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots… there are so many. I also love more ambient forms of music such as Midnight Syndicate, Tangerine Dream, Jean Michelle Jarre and Enya. Music is wonderful.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
would probably want to become a famous Rock guitarist. Who wouldn’t want to be a Rock-Star? Okay, I know some of you really prefer country. I love country, too. I was raised on rock ‘n’ roll, blues and country music. I love it all. When I was a kid there were three things I said I wanted to become when I grew up: First I wanted to be a doctor… a mad doctor style like Dr. Jekyll because he turned into Mr. Hyde; Second I wanted to be a Stinkenstein… kind of like Frankenstein but much worse; and then when I finished these things, I wanted to become an ape, like King Kong. Well, having said all of that, I have accumulated an 84 page resume and I’ve already done quite a lot – but – if I could go back… I think I’d like to raise miniature ponies.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yep: http://www.robindover.com and I can also be reached in these several other places. Here are a few of those: Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/robin.dover.79 and Twitter – https://twitter.com/RobinDover and on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Robin-Dover/e/B00N3JUT88
I’d like to take a moment to say thank you, Fiona, for asking me to do this interview. I was touched when you asked. I think it is always an honor when someone genuinely wants to know about your life. Thank you for your patience, for showing interest in me, and for wanting to share me and my work with the world. I really do appreciate your kind attention. I have a long way to go, a lot to learn and I appreciate all the help I can get. We all need a little help sometimes. It’s about the journey and I absolutely love to travel. Thank you, so much, again. It has been an honor.