Welcome back to the Confessions of a Reviewer interview with writer and all round good guy, David Dubrow.
In Part Two, tonight, David starts by telling you some of the stuff you need to know about the Armageddon trilogy and in particular, his new book, The Nephilim and the False Prophet.
This part of the interview is purely from the heart and to me, proves that as well as an imagination to die for, Mr Dubrow has qualities that a lot of us could learn from.
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 the Armageddon Trilogy. What did you want to get across with this series?
DD - I wanted to show the real-world consequences of the ultimate clash of philosophies: what would happen if there really was a Biblical apocalypse, and how it would affect not just individuals, but our culture and civilization.
My intent is to treat both believers and non-believers with respect by showing that each have very good reasons for thinking what they think and doing what they do. Even the bad guys, the ones working for Hell, are pragmatists. Also, it’s cool to have people fighting secret battles with holy relics, magic, and divine-inspired visions to shape the outcome of Armageddon.
CoaR - The Blessed Man and the Witch was a hell of an introduction to the possible happenings come the end of the world. Is this how you see it panning out or do you think it’s all impossible?
DD - It’s all impossible. I’m a staunch believer in the scientific method. I don’t believe in ghosts or magic or angels or demons. But I do believe in God.
COAR - Without starting a whole theological debate, how can you believe in both the science explanation and God?
DD - Many of our greatest scientists, including Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes, and even Albert Einstein were believers in both God and science. It’s only recently that the two have been deemed mutually exclusive, and I reject that.
What’s great about my religious beliefs is that I don’t require anyone else to share them: my faith in God is secure, well-considered, and personal to me.
CoaR - You continue the theme with The Nephilim and the False Prophet. It all has a religious theme and feeling to it. Are you religious yourself? Is this what inspired you to write it?
DD - Like I said, I’m Jewish, and the religious themes in the Armageddon trilogy involve, for the most part, the Christian faith. My Bible ends at the first five books: The Tanakh, or Pentateuch, if you will. Still, I find eschatology fascinating, especially of the Christian variety, and I wanted to handle the idea of Armageddon with respect and seriousness.
Some of my inspiration came from movies like The Omen and The Omen III: The Final Conflict, which I saw as a youngster and it terrified the hell out of me. Also, believe it or not, the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis inspired me: they have a depth and magic all their own, where miracles are commonplace from a present God and even the known and natural become things of wonder.
CoaR - When you read these books it comes across that you are extremely knowledgeable about the history. How much research did you have to do for the books?
DD - I did and do a lot. Part of it is an ongoing process: I’m a news junkie, and I read news and opinion pieces from both sides of the political aisle at least as much as I read fiction, not to mention books on recent and ancient history. My occult library isn’t huge, but it’s decent-sized. Having the Bible and the Apocrypha and A Dictionary of Angels nearby also helps. When it comes to the violence in my books, I have a good deal of personal experience with violence, the people most comfortable with it, and the tools most often used to produce it.
CoaR - Is it definitely going to end with book three or is there scope for more?
DD - It’s definitely going to end with book three. I promised a trilogy and I will deliver. I know how I want it to end, it’s just getting there that’s the challenge.
CoaR - Once this trilogy is finished could you see yourself writing something completely different in style?
DD - Yes, perhaps, but I like the multiple character approach, especially with a big story like the end of the world: you get to show a lot of it from several different perspectives. The limited third-person perspective also gives the character’s depth and adds to the dramatic tension: you only see what they see, know what they think. For me, the genre and plot help determine the style.
CoaR - What would your ultimate wish be with your writing?
DD - To entertain as many people as possible. Anything else that happens is a bonus.
CoaR - What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
DD - Spend time with my wife and little boy. We go swimming, hiking, visit parks, go to the beach, build Legos, do action figure battles, and other such things. I don’t have time for hobbies, as such, but one thing I like to do when I can is bake bread, from artisan boules to brioche to pizza.
There’s an art and a science to it: kneading, fermentation, resting, shaping, baking. It never loses its magic.
CoaR - Maybe write a cook book specialising on baking bread?
DD - I don’t know enough to do that. Bakers like Ciril Hitz, Peter Reinhart, Ken Forkish, and Beth Hensperger spent years and years in study and practice and teaching and learning before writing their books. All I would be doing is regurgitating (gross, yeah) what I’ve learned from them in a home kitchen. I respect their work far too much to assume anything more than a base level of competence. Also, I still can’t shape a baguette the French way and still achieve an open, airy crumb on the inside. My boules and batards are near-perfect, but the baguettes need work.
CoaR - What’s coming in the future from David Dubrow?
DD - The last book in my Armageddon trilogy. All fiction-writing efforts are bent in that direction. More original articles in multiple publications. I prefer longer works to short stories. Once the Armageddon trilogy is done, I’ll get started on the next novel, whatever it turns out to be, and then the next one after that.
CoaR - I find it very interesting that you don't have a list of ideas that might take you the next five years to write. Does such a list exist or do you only work on one thing at a time, novel wise?
DD - I only work on one thing at a time. I pour everything into it so I can be sure I’ve done the best job I could do. A reader deserves nothing less than a writer’s best effort. I have a few book ideas for after the Armageddon trilogy that have taken up persistent cranial attic space, but they’ll wait. Someday I’d like to try my hand at heroic fantasy (there’s a little bit of that in The Nephilim and the False Prophet). Science fiction is like pasta for me: I like to consume it, but I won’t bother trying to make it.
THE TEN CONFESSIONS
1 Who would you view as your main competitor in the writing world?
I have no competitors. Not that I’m terribly original, it’s just that I’m doing my own thing and other writers do their own things, and I treasure every reader. If my work stands out, it’s because I take a point of view in my religious-themed horror that’s respectful to Christianity and appreciates the breadth of thought and consideration behind Christian apologetics. Without me being a Christian, even. Louis Pasteur, Michael Faraday, and C.S. Lewis weren’t unsophisticated, Bible-thumping buffoons: they were brilliant, learned men who had an abiding belief in God. People of faith get a bad rap today, especially in fiction, which is unfortunate.
2 What book or author have you read that you think should never have been published?
I’ve read many books that shouldn’t have been published. The indie and self-publishing boom has been extraordinary for both readers and writers, but the lack of quality control sometimes makes it difficult to find the pony in all the horse manure. It’s just the nature of the changing world of books, so I’ve just got to work harder to push my material to the top and hope it whinnies.
3 Are any of the things your characters have experienced in your books been based on something that has actually happened to you? What was it?
In The Blessed Man and the Witch, Hector and his wife Reyna attempted to adopt a baby, and after they took the baby home and cared for him for a few days, the birth mother changed her mind and decided to parent instead. It’s a thing that can happen in the state of Colorado; the birth mother has five business days to change her mind before the paperwork is filed.
Something very similar to this happened to my wife and I the first time we tried to adopt, and it’s an experience that is about as awful as it sounds. But we came back from it, and a few months later we successfully adopted a different child, and we’ve never been happier or more fortunate.
4 Have you ever blatantly stolen an idea or scene and adapted it for one of your own books? If so, care to share?
No. Not blatantly, not subtly, not at all. I do have this idea, however, for a TV show about a pair of brothers who travel around the country killing monsters and saving people, and I bet someone’s going to steal that someday.
5 Have you ever anonymously left a bad review for someone else’s book? If so, care to share?
Yes. For several months I wrote book reviews for an indie horror site that I’m no longer associated with, and the site got many review requests for books that should have never made it past the critique group stage. Poorly-written books with frequent grammatical errors, overly repetitive sentence structure, unrealistic dialogue, and/or derivative to non-existent plots. While I didn’t like doing it, I helped the site by honestly reviewing some of those books and putting those negative reviews under the site’s banner rather than my own.
The mitigating factor is that the reviews never made it to Amazon or Goodreads, which could have harmed their sales. I won’t do that sort of thing again, as book reviewing is a gigantic can of worms, especially if you’re a writer yourself. It’s easy to make enemies in a small world. Negative reviews hurt, but you suck it up, determine if the criticism is valid, make the decision to learn from the experience (this is very important), and move on.
6 What’s the one thing you are least proud of doing in your life and why?
Man alive, Nev. Every day I do five things I’m not proud of before I get out of bed in the morning, and you want me to pick the worst one ever?
Impossible, but here’s a relatively recent one: I allowed myself to get pressured into giving a book review a much higher rating than it deserved because I didn’t want to make the author or his friends mad. As it turned out they got mad at me for entirely different reasons, so I was only delaying the inevitable. It’s a mistake I won’t make again. That reviewing can of worms thing again: learn from my mistakes.
CoaR - Are you saying you were asked / told to give a book a higher rating than you thought it deserved?
DD - Absolutely not. People are smart enough not to put something like that in writing. But if we’re going to be grown-ups about it, we do have to admit that peer pressure is a thing.
7 What’s the one thing you are MOST proud of doing in your life and why?
Marrying my wife, becoming a dad. I’ve done a bunch of things that are pretty cool, but nothing tops that.
8 What’s your biggest fault?
Overconfidence in my own rectitude. Obviously, I have quite a way to go.
9 What is your biggest fear?
The fear every parent has: something awful and irrevocable happening to my child. I’ve been around, seen stuff, done stuff, some of it terrible, some of it extraordinary. Whatever happens to me, I can deal. I just don’t want my son’s spark to dim, is all.
10 If you had to go to confession now, what would be the one thing you would need to get off your chest?
Well, Jews don’t go to confession the way some Christians do. However, our highest holiday, Yom Kippur, is the Day of Atonement, where we attempt to atone for our sins. It’s a fast day (that is, we don’t eat from the night before Yom Kippur through the day into the evening: moonrise to moonrise). So, on Yom Kippur, one of the things I would get off my chest is not sticking up for you, Nev, when a mutual acquaintance was running you down online. It was shitty and I’m ashamed that I didn’t speak up and I can’t believe I kept quiet. Some tests you pass, and some you fail, and that one I failed, and I apologize.
CoaR – I would just like to point out that this apology is not necessary. The situation in question was not something David could deal with openly at the time. It is none the less appreciated. Thanks dude.
Well that, unfortunately, is the end of the interview. You should, by now, know nearly all you need to know about David Dubrow.
If you want to know more then come back tomorrow night when I will be posting my review of The Nephilim and the False Prophet. 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 David or just follow what he’s doing.
I want to say a personal thanks to David for giving up his precious time to take part in this interview and for being so open and honest about every single aspect of his life. I know some of this was difficult to talk about in a manner that didn’t come across as facetious.
You pulled it off Dirty Dave!
By the way I would also like to point out that David Dubrow is not dirty in any way shape or form, that I am aware of! For whatever reason, I called him that one day and now I can’t get it out of my head.
Maybe I’ll change it to Diamond Dave!
Thanks again for visiting Confessions of a Reviewer!