This week’s blog post comes to you a few days early and in the form of an author interview! I last chatted to indie author Joel Dennstedt around a year ago. Since then he’s been travelling, writing and professionally reviewing books. Here he is talking about his travels, and the inspiration behind his latest release, horror collection, When Dolls Talk
1) Can you tell us where in the world you are right now, and where you are heading to next?
I am back where I began: my hometown of San Diego, California. Five years non-stop trekking through Mexico and Central and South America brought me home to visit family and to re-gear up for 5 more years. I plan to visit Scotland for the Scotch/Whiskey tour, then head to Eastern Europe and across Central Asia into Southeast Asia.
2) Has your travelling inspired any of the books you have written or are working on, and if so, in what way?
Traveling inspired my SF novel, GuanjoN, , which happens on a planet resembling the Amazon. However, I reached the Amazon after the book was written. So, maybe future thoughts prompted this eerie adventure about Earth natives endangered by indigenous aliens.
3) How has travelling changed you as a person and as a writer?
Oddly, travelling made the authentic me emerge. The true me as a writer. Travelling fulltime gave me the freedom to become myself. Transformation, while challenging, results in total liberation. And travelling is fun.
4) You have a new book out. A horror collection. How did this come about?
This doll spoke to me. Rather, a photo of this creepy doll. She wanted me to write her story. So I did. After that, they just came out of the woodwork.
5) Are you a fan of horror yourself? Who is your favourite horror writer?
Yes, I’m a fan and a follower. My style is inspired by Edgar Allen Poe with a contemporary twist. H.P. Lovecraft has a say for darkness. I worship Stephen King. I never miss a Dean Koontz debut. Overall, I prefer my horror on the literary side, and definitely with a dash of dark humor.
6) Where did the ideas come from for these stories?
Those damn dolls. Actually, I searched out individual creepy photographs to inspire each story. Then I let my fearful imagination go. I’ve posted the photographs on Facebook and in the Bonus Gift Pack that came with every pre-order.
7) I understand you first posted these stories on Wattpad. How useful was that for gaining comments and a potential audience for the book?
Wattpad has a unique audience to itself. They rarely buy the final book. But they keep me encouraged to keep on writing, they offer wonderfully perceptive observations, and they often provide desperately needed Amazon Reviews.
8) Is there a message in this collection? Or in any of your books? Something you wish the world to know? Only to this extent – a
Only to this extent – a marvellous author friend made the following observation about these stories: “So much more depth to them than just scary bump in the night stuff. They’re scary all right, but more about the scary human condition and experience, parables, metaphors, etc.” That is – the real horror in life comes from us humans being human.
9) What can we expect from you next?
Lord, I wish I knew. I want to write a sequel to Guanjo. I plan to write Book 2 of these short horror stories. I need to work on my literary novel, which is still a decade in the making. And I need to keep working on my book of travel short stories based on true events.
10) Is there any genre you would never attempt to write in and if so, why?
I don’t write in genres I don’t read. I don’t read much fantasy. I don’t read hot romance. I wrote a quirky little romance called Hermit, but nothing with muscled men and naked women on the front. But I’m already in trouble with the crowd who says you must pick a genre and stick with it. I cannot do that.
11) How has your journey as an indie writer progressed since we last chatted? Any highs and lows?
It’s a roller coaster; you know that. All highs and lows. More is never enough. The next good thing makes you manic. In the end, it really, truly, MUST be all about the writing. But … it never stays that way. So, I paid my ticket. I’m on the ride. Hanging on.
12) I know you review books professionally. Please give us your top three books so far! What have you read and reviewed that we really don’t want to miss?
That is difficult to answer. I’ll give you my personal favorites, but my taste is not yours. However, I have read many great books by Indie Authors, when I did not expect to do so.
1. Decline – by Jared Kane A perfect little book, a poetic literary
style – understated post-apocalyptic
2. The Finest Hat in the Whole World – by Colleen Parkinson
Resonates with the feeling and style of
To Kill a Mockingbird. Masterful attention to the details.
3. 602 Brigade – by Musashi Miyamoto
Like Decline, a poetic literary style.
A post-apocalyptic, anti-war tale.
Thanks so much for chatting with me again, Joel!
If you’d like to find out more about Joel, his writing and his travels, here are his links;
Independent Book Reviews: https://www.facebook.com/independentbookreviews