Ten Questions for Ed Gorman
Ed Gorman is the Shamus-award winning author of over thirty novels. He’s won a Shamus award for best detective story (for his short story "Turn Away"), been nominated for a Stoker and an Edgar, and continues to write with such fecundity he rivals Stephen King in terms of sheer output. Gorman's new novel Voodoo Moon (St. Martin's Press $22.95) just appeared. Fangoria said "...in simple but incredibly compelling prose...Gorman gives us a mess of semi-inbred monsters of the human kind, dark secrets locked away in the attic and a general nastiness that make this a very unsettling ride. It's his portayl of a dark and damning world that cements his place as an entertaining writer and Voodoo Moon a worthwhile read." Masters of Terror said "The story is a powerhouse...adrenaline-stirring entertainment...and atmosphere that is more sinister than in most horror novels." A writer of many styles and many genres, Ed Gorman seems to have mastered them all. Recently, he took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few of my questions.
I was recently asked to share a stage with John Updike at a local college and I declined. I told the woman booking the evening that it'd be like having Lawrence Olivier and Bobcat Goldthwaite on the same ticket. I don't belong in the company of Oates and Updike and I'll be damned if I know how I got there. I'm a pulp writer and know my place. This isn't aw, shucks self-effacement. Just the simple truth. And I'm damned happy being a pulp writer, I should add.
There has been a rush to judgement (in my opinion) on e-books. Certainly, they'll play a major role in future publishing but I think we're still a few years away from that. My grandkids will grow up with e-books. They'll be a natural form to them. Downloading books is still alien to Boomers like me.
Except for The Fugitive Stars, which is an adequate Fifties invasion-type novel; Zone Soldiers, which is my OK Keith Laumer sf adventure novel; and The Serpents Kiss, which I think is a good, solid horror novel, all the Ransoms (I'm not even sure how many there are) are crap and not worth reading. I didn't know any better/desperately needed the money.
Very perceptive. Jerry Springer exactly. That kind of floating sociopathy endemic in our society today. We know that serial killers are secretly proud of their bloody work; so, apparently, are beer-swilling fatsos who rape their nine-year-old daughters. I think if I was humping my first cousin, I'd probably keep it to myself. I wouldn't go on Springer and have a fist fight with my other first cousin, who was also humping her. Even perverts should show some discretion for God's sake.
Writing what I know. I'm one of those folks who live in little Midwestern burgs and pass through life pretty much without notice (except for my drinking days when I attracted far too much notice). I think small, I dream small, I don't want fame or fortune, I just want some kind of peace and when my time comes to pass, to pass over without undue terror. My favorite noir actor wasn't Bogart or Mithcum but Robert Ryan--that kind of nervous Catholic grief. There are millions and millions of me and I write about us because, if I don't always admire us, I think I at least understand us. My loved ones are my utmost concern. They give me joy and wisdom. Kissing my wife, holding my grandkids, making my mother laugh--those are my true pleasures. The rest of life is largely abstract and bullshit.
I've written my share of "typical" detective stories, I suppose, but I try not to. Old men have always fascinated me, especially the tough working-class old men of the various neighborhoods I grew up in. My Dad had a lot of factory friends like that and in the early Fifties they'd sit on our porch at night and drink Falstaff and swat mosquitos and catch fireflies in their hands and tell all kinds of stories about women and the war and the things that scared them and the things they held dear. I'd sit on the porch and listen and long years later a lot of those tales found their way into my fiction. "Turn Away" could easily have been a porch story.
I've mismanaged my career from the start but I've done a number of things I'm proud of so fuck it.
I'm not sure most of my fiction takes place in bygone days unless you mean my westerns. The McCains I write just because now, in my Fifties, the emotional truths of my youth (and I mean small truths, nothing cosmic) have come clear to me. I don't think of it as nostalgia so much as a kind of retroactive therapy.
I never answer this question. I'd leave somebody out and hurt his/her feelings.
Night Shift, The Shining, Pet Sematary/Misery. Plus all kinds of other stuff. The funny thing was, I didn't care much for him at first and made a negative comment in Twentieth Century writers that I've always regretted--to the degree that I literally cringe every time I think about it. Then my then-girlfriend was reading Salem's Lot and I picked it up one night and stayed up all night reading it (literally) and it proved to be one of the two or three most influential books I've ever read--like Graham Greene's Brighton Rock. It changed my whole approach to writing. I re-read King now constantly.