Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Creepy Crabs, Frightening Frost and a Damning Damsel
Next September at the RMFW Gold Conference, be ready for Halloween to come a little earlier. Horror author Ronald Malfi will be one of our keynote speakers.
So, I thought, why wait? Let’s stir the bubbling witch cauldron this Halloween and get to know the author. Man, I’m glad I did. Every year about this time, I select some macabre movies and books to enjoy up to All Hallows Eve. Borealis by Ronald Malfi caught my eye and delivered. Nice creep factor. Great premise.
CIR: Thanks for joining us, Ronald! Borealis takes place on a fishing (crab) boat. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you worked on such a vessel. Did you research this to extremes?
RM: Well, I’ve never worked on a crab boat, although I did do some minimal research. The story itself didn’t require too much research, with the exception of some details about the boat and what specific crabs the men might be after in that particular sea. But beyond that, I feel it’s mostly a story about people—a father and his lost son, really—so I focused mostly on those relationships.
CIR: Do you remember where/how you got the idea for Borealis? You wouldn’t have happened to have been watching The Perfect Storm were you?
RM: I’m not exactly sure where I got the idea for the story itself, although I do recall reading a very well-written and harrowing article about a writer who went out with a group of these men on a crabbing expedition. This was maybe fifteen or so years ago, and I can’t remember the magazine in which it was published off the top of my head, although I think I have it packed away somewhere. The details were fascinating and vivid and it seemed so...otherworldly...to me at the time. I tried to capture some of that otherworldliness in my novella.
CIR: Rue Morgue magazine (the classiest horror periodical as far as I’m concerned) gave you a nice review for Passenger. And I believe the said title is one of your favorite compositions. Do favorable reviews encourage you? If there are any unfavorable reviews, do they have an opposite effect?
RM: Rue Morgue has been consistently kind to me. And yes, Passenger is probably tied with my more recent novel Floating Staircase for my personal favorite. I lean strongly toward strong character-driven stories, and these two books exemplify that the most. They were also the most satisfying to write. As for reviews, I certainly enjoy good ones, although I don’t put much stock in them. It seems everyone has a book review blog, or can post reviews on Amazon or Goodreads or whatever else, so what you really get are opinions, and not necessarily reviews in the traditional sense. I mostly enjoy emails from readers who have enjoyed the books. Nice emails make my day.
CIR: Got to ask. Who is your favorite horror writer?
RM: Nothing earth-shattering here, I suppose: a tie between Stephen King and Peter Straub. Let’s say that.
CIR: Tell us about a cool horror novel or book (well, okay it’s actually for me) that a lot of people don’t know about and knocked your socks off.
RM: Glen Hirshberg’s The Snowman’s Children.
CIR: Thanks, Ronald! We look forward to meeting you in September of 2013.
RM: Thank you! Looking forward to September.
Interview conducted by Gusto Dave Jackson