What kind of books/stories do you write?
What do I write, or what do I publish? It's interesting, because I really like to write literary stuff, even poetry, but from a publishing angle, most of my work that gets published has a horror or Gothic flavor to it. I'm still trying to crack the code on getting a book (novel) published - I've written a dozen, all over 50,000 words, most in the 80 to 90k realm, and all different genres. I have to admit, every one of them has an element of the dark - not full-on horror, but definitely horror. I think the reason is because I like to look at things from all angles and the dark side, so to speak, is always a little more interesting, a little more literary, a little more sublime.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Do you ever realize it, or are you just a writer without knowing it for most of your life? I think I came to that conclusion early on reading comic books - I loved comic books, but I loved making up my own stories more - I think the early days of my "writer" self was like so many others before me - imitation - although, ironically, I never really imitated Poe or the good horror stories in the Bible, both of which I head read as soon as I could read, probably 5th or 6th grade. When I got to college, I thought I wanted to be a poet, which is kind of a writer, right, but several classes, a BA and MFA later, I guess I realized I was a writer.
What do you consider the most influential book you've ever read?
I keep reading that book. There was one called As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, kind of a non-fiction, self-help book, but I think what really influenced me was W. Somerset Maugham. I started with Cakes and Ale and The Moon and Sixpence, which I read for fun while I was reading Dickens in college. Then I read The Razor's Edge and most of his short stories. I was hooked. I think in later years, I would have to say the only novel that has really affected or influenced me would be Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian. It's a continuation of the Dracula saga set during the Cold War: it was a page turner and I read it every October, just like I read Dickens' A Christmas Carol every December.
What other authors are you friends with, and how have they helped you become a better writer?
I have to say by brother, M.L. Forman, and C.R. Langille, of course, who I consider closer friends than several of my other writer friends - I have a stable of colleagues from graduate school days, and then several friends I've met through the Horror Writers Association, LDStorymakers, and the League of Utah Writers. I think how M.L. and C.R. (what's with the initials) have helped me is we are all serious about writing - it's more than just a hobby - and each of us are at different places, no matter where we started - we keep each other going, we teach each other, and we learn from each other. It's nice also that some of my other writer friends, who are pretty famous, still treat me just like a normal guy. They give me the determination to keep going, that I can do it, I can make this thing work!
What’s the best way you've found to market your books/stories/poetry?
I haven't - one of the reasons is I'm still stuck in a traditional mindset - I want a publisher to discover me and do all that marketing stuff for me. Unfortunately, what I write is so niche I'm afraid that no agent or publisher will pick me up (which also kind of confirms I haven't found a way to even market myself, let alone my books). Per the previous question, my brother, my friend, C.R., and others, are helping me get the courage to jump off the curb and into the gutter of self-promotion, self-marketing, and even self-publishing (Indie sounds so much better). That story is still being written.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I do a $hit-load of research - can I say that here? My wife would recommend I say Buttload, which according to research is 126 gallons - actually, a butt is is two hogsheads, which vary in size: typically a hogshead is 63 gallons and a butt is 126 gallons. That said, I do my research as I write, which can be really distracting at times. I write a lot of stuff that needs authenticity, for example, when I bring the Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos into my work and I want to make Abdul Alhazred, the Mad Arab, more real by finding an actual Arabic name, it can take some work. I also want to get places and history right, which makes writing so much fun because I've always liked to learn. I also like to read non-fiction for ideas. I just finished a great book called The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston, which has given me some great ideas, in fact a short story I'm working on currently, The Curse of the Fire Monkey. Unfortunately, non-fiction also makes me have to change some things from time to time: in Preston's book, it mentioned that Ubar or Irem, the lost City of a Thousand Pillars, had been found, which made me have to go back and re-examine/re-write portions of my Mad Arab novel. So...
Any last thoughts for our readers?
Keep reading, support your local authors, and read my work if you can - ha ha ha...