interview by Joe Vaz


From Issue 13 (Sept 2011)

 

Where is home?

I live in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn, NY, with my lovely wife and two mischievous gnomes who claim to be my sons. We will also be getting a cat soon.

 

Are you a full-time writer?

For my full-time job I run a news service for cardiologists based out of a research foundation located in Midtown Manhattan. It’s a very daily-journalism kind of gig, so that keeps me pretty occupied. Whenever I’m not doing that, I’m writing my own stuff. Throw in a very busy family life with two boys and you can imagine that I don’t have a lot of down time.

 

What inspired this story?

I was thinking about The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, which is one of those plays we all read in high school, and this image popped into my head. A beautiful girl (Abigail Williams) with a wicked smile, just walking down the middle of the street in 17th century Salem, and behind her, the town burns. To me, that was the essence of the story, that there really were witches, but not in the way you think. That a few key people, like Abby and Judge Danforth, really did work for Satan, but in reality they went from place to place, getting the townspeople to destroy themselves out of their own wickedness. It wasn’t until I realized I needed to tell the story through the eyes of a different character, like Mary Warren, who had her own internal demons, that it all came together. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to work in John Proctor. That would have been cool. Oh, well!

 

Did you do much research into the Salem Witch trials?

I did do some research, how the witch trials started, the time period, the mode of speech. It helped me pick a realistic time and place for the story forty or so years after Salem, ie, Doylestown, Pennsylvania. At that time, conflicts with the American Indians would’ve been much easier to use than witches to stir up trouble, so that was a more natural backdrop for Abby and Danforth to take advantage of.

But I did as much research on the play itself, the different interpretations, how the characters were rendered and viewed, etc. Because the story, which essentially takes three characters from The Crucible and transports them forward in time, was as much about the principles from the play as it was about the actual witch trials. Strange, I know, but I just kind of went with it.

 

Youre writing a bi-monthly online novel for Dark InSpectre (http://darkinspec.blogspot.com/). What are the pressures of that like, and how does it differ from a conventional novel?

The differences are pretty basic. A novel has a few large story arcs each with twists and turns all leading up to some big climactic sequence at the end. The Dark InSpectre is an online series with bite-sized episodes, each one with some kind of cliffhanger or hook at the end that will hopefully get you to tune in next time. That being said, clearly there’s still an overall arc, it’s just a lot more nerve-wracking getting to the end. At least it is for me.

I definitely feel more pressure writing the Dark InSpectre. I have to have my next episode ready to send to my editor when the last one is posted. And if there’s stuff she doesn’t like, then we go back and forth a couple of times. As it is, I always keep myself four episodes ahead of what’s posted. It requires a good deal of discipline, and a very understanding wife.

 

Which authors influenced you most?

Early on, I would say authors like Raymond Feist and David Eddings as I tried to write fantasy-adventures, but lately, much more James Ellroy, Elmore Leonard, Joseph Wambaugh, and Donald Westlake as I’ve been writing more noir crime fiction. I read several detective fiction authors as I worked on The Dark InSpectre. Raymond Chandler, Peter Lovesey, and then I read Ellroy. The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential, and many more. I wasn’t prepared, my mind exploded. I could not put them down.

 

Are you working on anything right now?

Well, in addition to the ongoing Dark InSpectre, I have just finished a straight crime fiction novel. No paranormal at all (okay, maybe a tiny bit). Hopefully, that will be coming out in the near future.

 

Where might we be able to read more of your work?

I have another story also coming out in September in an anthology called Pirates and Swashbucklers, published by Pulp Empire (http://pulpempire.com/mag/). It’s supposed to launch on Talk Like a Pirate Day, Sept. 19, which I consider an absolute riot. Anybody who wants to catch up with my other writerly activities can visit my web site at www.jrkahn.com.

 


[hana-code-insert name=’ArticleBlockOpen’ /]

Joe Vaz

Joe Vaz is the founder and editor of Something Wicked, which occasionally affords him the honour and good fortune to hang out with really cool people.
In his other life he is a film and television actor who gets small parts in big movies, most recently in Dredd 3D, due to be released in September 2012.

[hana-code-insert name=’ArticleBlockClose’ /]

Comments are closed.