Welcome to Part Two of Confessions of a Reviewers interview with William Malmborg.
In tonight’s section, William starts by answering some specific questions on his newest book Blind Eye, continues to talk about his writing and life in general and tackles The Ten Confessions.
It’s only Tuesday but go grab something nice like a pizza and a beer, sit back and relax, but mostly……enjoy!
COAR - Moving on to Blind Eye, where did the inspiration for this one come from? What did you want to achieve with it?
WM - Blind Eye is an interesting one because it was born over the course of a decade from two separate novels I wrote early on in my career. The first novel was about a young man living with his mother who decides one day to become a private investigator, and starts working a case about a kid that goes missing. That was written when I was nineteen in November 2003 and had quite a bit of comedy in it due to the investigator’s mother constantly getting involved in his case and mucking everything up.
The second novel was much darker and involved a private investigator who was hired to find out if a husband’s wife was cheating on him while he was deployed overseas. The wife was a real estate agent, and soon the private investigator uncovered the real estate prostitution scheme and found his life threatened because of it. Neither novel ever went beyond the first draft stage, but the ideas stuck with me, and, eventually blended themselves together into Blind Eye. I didn’t consciously use the ideas, it just sort of happened.
As far as my achievement goal . . . I wanted to write a kick ass novel that people wouldn’t be able to put down, one that would hopefully introduce a new continuing detective-like character (characters -- if any others survived) that readers would love to follow from one book to the next. So far, if what my constant readers have said, I achieved that.
COAR - It is a big change in direction from the likes of Jimmy and Text Message in terms of the sometimes brutal horror in those and the free flowing blood. Why the change? Can we still expect to see the blood and horror to come back?
WM - Many have commented on the change in direction with Blind Eye, which is funny because I never really saw it as a change at all while writing it, or when rereading it prior to publication. Like Jimmy and Text Message, it is a very dark novel that forces one to look upon the horror that can exist within the peaceful communities where they reside, as well as the darkness that may hover just beneath the surface of their own minds. And those scenes with Rusty -- oh my god! I couldn’t believe I had written something so disgustingly twisted.
The only other time this has happened to me was during my reread of Text Message, which, admittedly, was even more grotesque, though not by much. Then again, I’m pretty squeamish, and seem to be growing more so with every passing year, so my reactions to the scenes in Blind Eye might be a bit outside of the majority when it comes to the horror reading community.
As far as what to expect down the road, well, I will have a new novel coming out during the holidays that features quite a few severed heads and a young serial killer who plays around in the steamy entrails of a police officer while he watches and breathes his last breath, so . . .
COAR - You have never shied away from writing about subjects that a lot of writers wouldn’t go near and this is also true with Blind Eye. Some of the scenes are horrific due to their context more than anything. Did you find yourself having to take a step back a bit from a line that maybe shouldn’t be crossed?
WM - Never. If I ever see a line drawn in the sand, I will cross it. This isn’t for shock value, and I will never create a scene that is merely there for the gross-out. Instead, I feel that showing such scenes is important because this is what happens in real life during these horrific situations. Blind Eye addresses a serious problem that we have here in America (and in many other countries) when it comes to how we view women and sex workers, and how such situations are reported to the public. Day in and day out, we are constantly trying to break women free from the underground sex trade, and shut down the industry itself, but have no idea what do after that, nor does anyone seem to care.
Once the headline about breaking up a sex ring or a prostitution scheme is printed, the public nods with satisfaction and then turns their attention to something else, their minds never giving a second thought as to what happens to the women that were ‘rescued’ from their situation. And then we shake our heads whenever the idea of legalization pops up even though it would provide regulation and safety measures, the puritan mind-set on women and sex in general is one that causes more harm than good. It’s ridiculous. Something needs to change.
COAR - Our hero, Alan Miller looks as though he has developed a flair for investigating. Is this going to be a series? Have you plenty more ideas to keep him busy?
WM - He really has, hasn’t he! And to stumble his way into a new profession like that . . . why can’t things like that happen to me? Heavy sigh.
My intentions are to continue along with the Alan Miller character. At the moment, I don’t have any other ideas on what he could investigate next, but I’m sure it is only a matter of time before something pops up and I find myself buried in manuscript pages as he struggles to find out what is going on and, if need be, to put a stop to it.
COAR - This is the first time I have come across a six hundred page book in a long time. Did you struggle to fill that number of pages or did it all come very easily?
WM - Believe it or not, the big struggle with Blind Eye was keeping it below one thousand manuscript pages. I had so many characters within this one, many of whom I originally used as viewpoints in telling the story, and such a complex situation, that the pages continued to pile up day after day. Toward the end, while still on the first draft, I realized I had to make some cuts and ended up removing everything that was from Rusty, Sam, Kristi and Walter’s point of view.
I also took out all but one of the blog posts from Alan Miller, the posts originally being interludes between the chapters. Finally, several of the characters found themselves getting killed unexpectedly, which really helped.
COAR - Alan Miller is similar to yourself in many ways. Is this a way to live out some of your own fantasies as a character?
WM - Next to Jimmy Hawthorn, Alan Miller is probably my most autobiographical character to date. I think, initially, I did this as a way of showing what life can be like for those of us who have a severe form of Crohn’s disease. Many of my readers suffer this horrible disease as well and have asked if I would write a book on my struggles with it, but since I’m not really geared toward writing non-fiction, I decided I would simply create a character that suffers the same thing and get my experiences out that way. Much more entertaining.
Also, it nullifies the potential for those who always want to argue against every little bit of medical information they see, which I have experienced countless times when simply writing about my disease in forums or on my own webpage. With Alan, if someone gets upset about how he handles his disease, I can tell them, ‘Hey, it’s fiction.’
As far as living out my own fantasies, I never do that with my characters, but with my credit card and the local escort companies. Much easier that way because then I don’t get jealous of my beloved characters and make them suffer. I mean, seriously, if I had to endure one more scene with Alan Miller casually going to bed with some breathtakingly beautiful young woman he had just met without being able to get off myself, this series would never have a second book because Alan would have ended up bleeding to death after being castrated by a randomly set bear trap in someone’s backyard.
COAR - What do you like to do when you’re not writing or reading?
WM - Typically, I sit in my cellar researching ancient occult formulas in hopes that one day soon I can create a potion that will make Jennifer Lawrence fall madly in love with me.
COAR - What’s coming in the future from William Malmborg?
WM - Several fun projects are on the horizon. The first will be the release of my novel Santa Took Them this November. Initially, the short novel (based on a screenplay I wrote in 2002) was going to be a simple distraction from another novel I was writing that was tentatively titled The Missing Key. Within hours of starting it, however, the Santa Took Them story took off, and before I knew it, I had set The Missing Key aside so that I could finish Santa Took Them. Writing Santa Took Them was one of the smoothest writing experiences I have ever had. The story, which is now nothing like the original screenplay it was supposed to be based on, pretty much wrote itself. It was great.
Following Santa Took Them will be the release of my Linger episode for Braun Haus Media, which is a publishing house that created the Linger series last year. Published under the name Edward Fallon, each novel of the supernatural series is written by a different suspense / thriller author that Braun Haus Media selected. The first five books were published simultaneously this past June, and the next five will be published sometime in 2016.
This was the first time I’ve ever been contracted to write a novel, and the experience has been fantastic. The only obstacle was using characters that were already established by other authors, which is something I’ve never done before, but overcoming that wasn’t too difficult -- really just a matter of writing the first couple chapters -- and now I’m smack dab in middle of it, adding pages every day.
Another project that has been simmering for a while and really needs to get going is my new website. I’ve had a simple blog-like webpage for many years and it does really well traffic-wise, but I would rather have an interactive site that is easier to navigate and provides more info on myself and my work, all while displaying great art pieces for my stories and novels. Following Santa Took Them and my Linger episode, and my rewrite of Crystal Creek, I will finally get the ball rolling on that.
Oh, that reminds me, I also need to edit and release the post-apocalyptic zombie novels I wrote as a distraction a few years back . . .
THE TEN CONFESSIONS
1 Who would you view as your main competitor in the writing world?
Honestly, I don’t view anyone as a competitor. Never have, never will. The world of writing isn’t a contest, and those authors who view it as such just don’t get it.
2 What book or author have you read that you think should never have been published?
God. His works are far-fetched, have no grounding in reality, and contain plot holes big enough to drive semi-trucks through. And as if that wasn’t enough, people somehow are able to use his stories to incite violence and bigotry. It’s madness.
3 Have any of the things your characters have experienced in your books been based on something that has actually happened to you? What was it?
Alan Miller’s front porch setup on Halloween in Blind Eye where he sits like a masked dummy waiting to scare trick or treaters. I did this for several years, the most memorable scare being with a young girl dressed as a witch. What unfolds in Blind Eye is pretty much what unfolded in real life. Her family kept insisting that I wasn’t real, and kept egging her forward toward the candy bowl. It was great.
4 Have you ever blatantly stolen an idea or scene and adapted it for one of your own books? If so, care to share?
Stolen, no, but I did use someone else’s general story idea -- with their permission. It was back when I was in college and taking a creative writing class. A fellow student had written a heart-warming tale about a man walking his dog through a quiet neighbourhood, and, after reading it to the class, said, “Bill, not even you could turn that into a horror story.”
Wrong. The following week I read “The Bone Yard” to the class, which was very horrific, and then, again, with his permission, sold it to Black Petals magazine.
5 Have you ever anonymously left a bad review for someone else’s book? If so, care to share?
Nope. I don’t leave bad reviews, just good ones and always with my name so that the author can use it as a blurb.
6 What’s the one thing you are least proud of doing in your life and why?
As a young teen I used to be a crazy Christian that beat people over the head with the Bible in an attempt to save their souls. What can I say, I grew up in Wheaton, IL, which has more churches per square mile than anywhere else in the world (I learned that from playing Trivial Pursuit).
7 What’s the one thing you are MOST proud of doing in your life and why?
Having my novel Jimmy translated into German by publisher Festa Verlag and watching as it hit the bestseller list in Germany. For nearly a year now it has sold steadily and even though it no longer sits on the bestseller list over there, it is always within a few sales of it.
8 What’s your biggest fault?
I watch way too much porn.
9 What is your biggest fear?
Going blind. Without being able to see, how would I engage in my biggest fault?
10 If you had to go to confession now, what would be the one thing you would need to get off your chest?
I liked The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy better than the book trilogy.
Well that, unfortunately, is the end of the interview. You should, by now, know nearly all you need to know about William Malmborg.
If you want to know more then come back tomorrow night when I will be posting my review of Blind Eye and will provide you with all the links to buy it and all the links you need in case you want to get in touch with William or just follow what he’s doing.
I want to say a personal thanks to William for giving up his precious time to take part in this interview and put up with me harassing him for answers.
Thanks again for visiting Confessions of a Reviewer!