Hello my Freaky Darlings,
Today on 13 questions we have Joseph Pinto. Joseph is the horror author of two published books and numerous short stories; his most recent works can be found at Midnight Echo magazine and Sirens Call Publications. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association as well as the founder of Pen of the Damned, a collective of angst and horror driven writers. Indulge in his unique voice on his personal blog josephpinto.wordpress.com and PenofTheDamned.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JosephAPinto. Joseph hails from New Jersey where he lives with his wife and young daughter.
1. What drives you to write?
Passion drives me to write and has since I’ve been a little boy. Various circumstances and sacrifices I’ve made on a personal level pushed my dream to the side for a very long time, and during that period I grew lean and hungry. Passion is the fire needed to achieve any goal no matter the length of time or obstacles involved.
I also write with my five-year old daughter in mind. In addition to being the best dad I can be, I want to leave a tangible footprint behind for her. My hope is that one day she’ll look over my achievements and say, ‘If my Dad could pursue his dream, then there is no reason I shouldn’t do the same.’ If she applies that to her own goals in life, no matter what they may be, then I’ll know my passion has not led me astray.
2. What attracted you to writing horror?
My father used to keep horror novels on the bookshelf in his basement, and I’d sneak various books out and voraciously absorb them. I can’t properly express the impact those books had on me or my imagination, but it was a fatal attraction to say the least. All I knew was that I had to create such works of inspiration on my own.
3. Who are your favourite horror writers?
One of my favorite horror authors is Robert McCammon. ‘The Wolf’s Hour’ is the one novel snuck from my father’s bookshelf that opened my eyes to the craft of horror. My love for werewolves traces back to that novel as well. I’d also have to say the earlier works of Stephen King. Aside from those two legends, I’ve made sure to read equally from authors both famous and obscure.
4. Which horror novels do you think every horror fan should read?
Being biased, I’ll again say that ‘The Wolf’s Hour’ is the one horror novel every horror fan should read. It is a marvellous World War 2 action thriller about Michael Gallatin, who was born into Russian aristocracy but raised by a pack of werewolves. McCammon wrote it in 1989 and it still holds me spellbound.
5. Ebooks or paperback?
Most definitely paperback. Nothing against ebooks, but a paperback is tangible; it’s alive. A paperback has weight and scent. It has character and uniqueness. A paperback nestles into your hand as a puppy would; it will nurture you as much as you nurture it.
6. What would make you pick up a novel by a new author?
I would pick up a novel from a new author if I could first sample his or her writing style. I don’t necessarily go by referrals or reviews. They tend to be quite skewed. So if the premise intrigues me and their voice grips me, then I won’t hesitate to purchase their book.
7. Who is your favourite fictional character?
I’m going to cheat and go outside the realm of literature per se (although he has been featured in many novels), but my favorite fictional character is Darth Vader, hands down. A good man becomes tainted by events in his life and then gives in to the ‘dark side,’ I mean, that’s something that anyone of us could easily succumb to. And yes, Joan, I sometimes breathe deeply into my coffee mug and do my best to mimic Lord Vader.
8. Do you plot your stories or does it just unfold before your eyes?
My stories definitely unfold as I write them. I start with a loose idea and roll with it from there.
9. Do your characters take on a life of their own and do things you didn’t plan?
10. Do you listen to music when you write or do you need silence?
That’s a great question, Joan! I always listen to music during my first draft. The emotional connection I find with a particular artist or collection of songs in conjunction with whatever I’m writing is crucial to my mindset. But once my first draft is complete and I move on to edits, I crave absolute silence. Call me crazy!
11. Do you do a lot of research for your stories?
The research varies story to story, but I always make sure that my elements are sound, or at the very least, plausible.
12. Facebook or Twitter?
Twitter. I can talk to people who truly wish to listen on Twitter, and reach an audience that’s unfathomable. I can promote one minute and have a meaningful conversation the next.
13. What really pisses you off about writing?
The one thing that completely pisses me off is the lack of reciprocation a writer might have for his or her readers. And by that I mean a simple thank you; if someone has taken the time to read your work and reach out to you, then take the time to say thank you in return. It takes no effort at all, and affords you the opportunity to make another person feel good.