Today, I interviewed author Darrin Wilson about his YA book, Dark Matter.
1.) Please tell us about your latest book.
It’s a paranormal thriller for teens called The Dark Matter Directive. It’s about two brothers who discover they can control ghosts. Only the first one they run into gives them a run for their money.
2.) What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m dabbling in other supernatural thrillers like my second book called Wraiths & Worlds. But I want to complete the next volumes of the Dark Matter books very soon.
3.) How do we find out about you and your books?
You can visit my website at http://www.wraithsandworlds.com
4.) How would you describe the genre in which you do most of your writing?
Paranormal thrillers and urban fantasy. Mostly for the YA segment.
5.) What motivated you to start writing?
A desire to write a story I really wanted to read myself.
6.) What kind of research do you do?
Lots of time spent in the library going over old texts and magazine articles, and of course Internet research. Asking people who are knowledgeable in the area I am researching is fun as well.
7.) Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
Definitely go with the flow. Usually at night and on weekends.
7.) Where do your ideas come from?
A very dark place that has no name.
8.) Who, if anyone, has influenced your writing?
Algernon Blackwood’s amazing dedication to the supernatural has influenced my desire to explore the dark.
9.) Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Not at all. I have always been fascinated with the graphic arts, and from a young age wanted to be a painter. Hasn’t always worked out but writing stories keeps me creative and I love it.
11.) What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
Knowing that somewhere out there, someone is reading my story.
12.) Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine?
I like The Dark Matter Directive for its potential to really get scary. But my favorite heroine has to be Abigail Moon from Wraiths & Worlds. She’s 80-years-old, blind, uses a wheelchair and kicks butt in Wraiths.
13.) Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)
I came to Canada from England when I was five with my family. My hobby has to be writing, and an unnatural desire to hike where I shouldn’t. I went to Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario to study visual merchandising then left to go work for a fashion designer in Toronto’s fashion district in the late eighties.
14.) Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
You’ve heard the standard “Don’t give up” and “Keep writing” many times. I never paid any attention until I actually started writing. Those clichés are clichés for a reason: they apply. What publishers pay attention to are great stories, and great stories come from trial and error. Put something out, if it doesn’t work, dust yourself off and get back to the keyboard. It’s hard work with lots of rejection but above all, believe in what you’re writing. Build an audience. Hand your stuff out. If you do that, you will get noticed.
15.) Tell us your website, MySpace, Blog, any urls so the readers can find out more about you.
My website ishttp://www.wraithsandworlds.com. I don’t Twitter or do Facebook. I’ll never say never on those but right now my writing takes up most of my time.
16.) Now for something fun:
Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla.
Erotic or inspirational? Inspirational erotica.
Favorite color? Black.
Favorite paranormal being? The creepy bad guy in Poltergeist (the movie).
Favorite mythological being? The Hydra.
Do you like science fiction, fantasy or horror? All of the above. Best served in one bowl.
All time favorite actor? Jeff Goldblum
Actress? Ashley Judd
All time favorite book? The Shining
Favorite TV show? In Search Of (With Leonard Nimoy)
Favorite Movie? Wizard of Oz (Lion cracks me up)
What makes you laugh out loud? Robot Chicken cuts the oxygen off from my brain.
If you could go anywhere in the universe where would that be? Alpha Centuri for the view.
A secret fetish? If I revealed it, it wouldn’t be a secret.
THE DARK MATTER DIRECTIVE
A Young Adult Novel by D. Charles Wilson
LightKey (December 2009)
Hardcover. 239 pp, $18.99
AUTHOR CREATES A BRIDGE BETWEEN ADULT HORROR AND TEEN ADVENTURE
D.Charles Wilson picks up where R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps left off. In most young-adult fiction, bad guys can be anything from mean-spirited ghosts, vampires or werewolves to the school bully. Rarely does a book, aimed at teens, venture into Stephen King territory by pitting kids against serious, realistic forces of darkness. So, can a “bridge” book between adult horror and teen adventure cater to young teens craving scarier books without having to incorporate blood and gore?
Author, D. Charles Wilson, has accomplished this in his debut novel, The Dark Matter Directive (LightKey, 2009), in which two teens discover that they are pitted against a very nasty, demonic enemy. The story is narrated by fourteen-year-old Eric Jessing who finds out that he and his thirteen-year-old brother can control ghosts like a pair of paranormal lightning rods. It’s an adventure that is equal parts of Huckleberry Finn, Stephen King, and Goosebumps spun in a way that is teen-friendly.
Over the course of the book, a dad has to let go of the insecure feelings he has for his kids, and trust them to embark on their own to resolve their frightening dilemma. By setting two teens loose to accomplish the tasks ahead, the story shows that teens can be depended upon by adults where adults are sometimes powerless. They can aspire to and work toward responsibility.
Then, of course, there’s the other side to this wholesome father and son story: confrontation with not just some bad guys, but a force of darkness that puts most demonic presences to shame. Wilson explains: “By making their foe the root of omnipotent evil, I would run into the ultimate crisis when it came time to understand the kids themselves have more in common with evil than they do with their own dad.” That made for a story that, Wilson says, was a challenge to envision. “Was it possible to shine light into the face of darkness and still have the evil shine through to scare everyone?” he says. “All I know is that it was an incredible thrill to write.” As a note to parents: despite the harrowing ride, the book finds a happy ending.
This is how this teen, “bridge,” horror book came into being: In November 2008, author D. Charles Wilson, had just put the finishing touches on his yet untitled work of adult horror. It was based on a story idea I had in 2003. “In this new book,” he says, “I wanted to create an evil so horrifying, I would have trouble sleeping." As far as he was concerned, he accomplished the goal. The resulting story contained graphic violence, end-of-the-world prophecies, demonic possessions, out-of-control psychics, and reanimated corpses. Then he had an idea: what if it could be turned into a kid’s book? That way, kids looking for a great scare without turning to Stephen King could find it here. “It was a challenge,” Wilson says. “I took my complete, unpublished adult horror manuscript, complete with graphic violence and end-of-the-world prophecies, stripped out all the violence, and inserted some particle physics along with kids having fun.” The result was a breezy 240-page adventure yarn.
Today, in the world of young adult fiction, themes have moved past critical mass for vampire lit and are now on bloodsucker overload. But it wasn’t always like this. There were actually other types of stories for fear-loving kids. In 1992, Scholastic published Welcome to Dead House by R. L. Stine. It was a new series dubbed “Goosebumps,” and over 60 books later created a worldwide phenomenon to the tune of 300 million copies sold. Never before had children loved to be scared. When Goosebumps hit its stride in the mid nineties, Wilson was already in his twenties and too old to appreciate the scares Goosebumps held for kids. But he still held a soft spot for terror tales.
As a 14 year old, he read any books he could get a hold of about monsters or the paranormal but was skittish of opening a Stephen King. "Stephen King just scared me as a teenager," he recalls. "Reading the back cover was enough to keep me awake at night. I really wanted to experience Stephen King. I just couldn't bring myself to do it."
It wasn't until twenty years later that he found he could release into the world his childhood dream: an adult horror novel made for kids.
About the Author:
D. Charles Wilson was born in Guildford, England, and his family immigrated to Canada in 1975 settling in Hamilton, Ontario. He graduated high school in 1987 in Hamilton, Ontario, and attended Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario.