Author Interview: Calvin Demmer, Book 17 in the Short Sharp Shocks! series The Town That Feared Dusk
We welcome Calvin Demmer to the Demain family with his Short Sharp Shocks! entry, The Town That Feared Dusk. Dean and Calvin recently spoke about the book prior to publication.
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Hi Calvin, let’s just go for it, can you tell us all about the The Town That Feared Dusk and what made you write it?
CALVIN DEMMER: Hello and yes, of course. An earlier story of mine featured a supernatural event occurring nearby a bridge, but I wanted to explore the idea of having the structure being more of a focus in a story. I also wanted a connection between the town nearby and the bridge, and thus the seed for the tale was planted. The Town That Feared Dusk was one of the stories I had in the ‘working on’ folder the longest, and I had a rough first draft written almost two years ago. I’ve tinkered with it quite a bit and received some helpful feedback from people who read early versions of it. I’m very happy that it’s found such a great home.
DP: Us too, we really enjoyed reading / publishing it. Did you face any particular challenges when writing it?
CD: There is a shift that comes later in the story. That required a few rewrites to get it exactly how I desired it. The other challenges were a certain thread I wanted to have running from start until the end and then making sure everything was tied up (to a point).
DP: I love it when there are some ‘loose ends’, it lets my imagination run riot. When you wrote The Town That Feared Dusk did you base any part of it on events in your own life?
CD: There was a strange bridge in one of the towns I’ve lived in that I kept in mind when trying to create the atmosphere of it. But, other than that, I can’t say any events were based on my life, though, there are strange stories I’ve heard over the years that went into/contributed to some of the ideas I had for the tale. I probably share some of Sylvia’s (a journalist in the story) curiosity and drive. It would be hard for me not to go and check out a landmark or building if I heard it might be haunted.
DP: Ha ha! Recently I was asked to spend some time in a so-called haunted castle, I was all bravado and up for it, until the last moment when I declined as the ‘fear’ overcame me...one day I might give it a shot when I’m feeling stronger. But not today. So, would you say that you have a specific writing style?
CD: I have a style that usually shines through no matter the story, but I do like to experiment, and will always try out new approaches, if it benefits the tale I’m telling. The hardest part for me is polishing the story to get it exactly as I want.
DP: Sure, and I suppose the old saying is true: a story is never finished, it’s just abandoned. Who influenced / influences you / your writing?
CD: Dan Simmons, Stephen King, Philip K. Dick, Shirley Jackson, Clive Barker, Richard Matheson, Lauren Beukes, Jeff VanderMeer, and Ania Ahlborn are just a few of the authors that influenced me early on in my writing journey. I read so many new authors nowadays that it would be impossible for me to pick one favorite. I’m always drawn to authors who have unique voices and approaches. I also enjoy it when an author never rests on one formula, but can surprise you with the next book by going down a road (be it via tone, theme, genre etc.) that you didn’t expect.
DP: Yeap, I’m an admirer of that too. There are some authors I will also work with for that very reason. What are you working on at the moment?
CD: I’m always working on more than one project at any time. At the moment, I am looking to collect some of my short stories, and I’m working on a novella-length work as well. I also have some other short fiction in a really cool anthology, coming out later this year.
DP: Good for you, good for you. Writer’s block – you ever suffer from it?
CD: I haven’t yet. There are times where it can be harder to hit the zone, when words don’t seem to come easily, but I’ve never not been able to write something. If I’m battling a bit, I can usually eek out a few words, which sometimes helps to get back in the groove. I don’t force it, though. I find sometimes just taking a break (this also helps with thinking of new ideas to add to the tale, or when I’m stuck on a plot point) or working on another project for a while helps.
DP: Exactly, exactly – I’m wondering then do you outline your work before you start or just go for it?
CD: I’ve tried both approaches, and I found that either can work depending on the story. For The Town That Feared Dusk, for example, I just went for it on the first draft. I like to have fun when creating all these different stories, so I’m always up for experimenting to see if another approach might work better for that story, character, or theme.
DP: Finally, what’s your favourite theme to write about?
CD: I don’t have a specific favorite theme or genre. Most of my work tends to be dark fiction of some sort, but I’m always open to exploring new avenues. I usually finish a first draft and then start to decide what the main theme/genre is, although sometimes I will know in advance if I have a specific vision for the tale beforehand. It all comes down to what the main idea was that got me interested in writing the story. Was it a scene? A character? A theme? Etc.
Well, thanks for the chat Calvin – all the best with The Town That Feared Dusk.
If you would like to connect with Calvin direct:
Website Address: www.calvindemmer.com
Twitter Address: @CalvinDemmer