PRO-FILE: DAVE ZELTSERMAN
1. Tell us about your current novel or project.
MONSTER is my Frankenstein retelling. The idea behind it is that everything a dying Victor Frankenstein told Captain Walton were outrageous lies to protect his reputation, and the monster now gets to tell the real story. In my version Victor is a fiend who’s working with the Marquis de Sade to bring their version of Hell to earth. The book is written in a faux gothic style to sound like Mary Shelley, but to be much easier for the modern reader to read. It also has the same extensive roadmap as Shelley’s book: Ingolstadt, Germany, Geneva, Swiss Alps, London, Scotland, Ireland, back to Geneva and finally to the Artic, but the traveling is done for very different reasons.
The hardcover and ebook versions were released last year, with the paperback coming out early 2014, and Booklist Magazine recently picked it as one of the 10 best horror novels over the last 12 months, and NPR Boston picked it as one of the best books of 2012.
2. Can you give us a sense of what you’re working on now?
I’m working on a thriller titled The Fantasmi. A billionaire and his family find themselves being hunted by a powerful secret society called the Fantasmi, and they have no idea why this is being done or what they can do to stop it. This book has constant surprises and twists, and things are flipped around several times, and has been a lot of fun to write so far.
3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?
The actual writing! I thoroughly enjoy every aspect of the writing process, and there’s no better feeling than when you disappear in your writing.
4. The greatest displeasure?
The business side of things!
5. Advice to the publishing world?
I have no idea what advice I could give them. While I’d like to say publish what they love instead of what they cynically decide will be commercially successful, with everything changing as fast as it is thanks to ebooks, I’m sure they are far more aware of what they need to do to survive and prosper than I am.
6. Are there any forgotten writers you’d like to see in print again?
I recently started reading Fredric Brown’s The Screaming Mimi and The Fabulous Clipjoint, and loved both those books, and am now being recommended certain titles that are out of print. So for a purely selfish reason, I’d like to all of Brown’s books back in print.
7. Tell us about selling your first novel.
Fast Lane was the first piece of fiction I wrote with the idea of publishing. It’s a very dark piece of psycho noir, and after having no luck selling it to a US publisher, I self-published it on iUniverse through a program they had with MWA. Some noir readers on Rara Avis started talking about it, which got a fellow who translates for Italian presses to read it, and he convinced one of the Italian publishers he was working with, Meridiano Zero, to buy it. Later the tiny micro press, Point Blank Press, which published first books from Allan Guthrie, Duane Swierczynski and Ray Banks, also published Fast Lane, but my first book sale was for the Italian translation of Fast Lane.