Interview with Dan Glaser

What motivated you to become an indie author?
The freedom. Apart from writing, I spend most of my time as an independent filmmaker. Film is such a fantastic medium, but it has a lot of restrictions: length, censorship/ratings, etc. With novels, you're spared those confinements, and can focus on giving the story what it needs: the right length, the right tone, the right amount of scenes that would otherwise be too costly and require special effects, etc. The mind doesn't need to render, it make-believes all on its own. Also, film is quite a collaborative art form, which I truly enjoy, but it's really nice to have an outlet where you're the only fountainhead - whatever decisions you make, you've made them. If you make a mistake, it's yours. My good friend Timothy J. Meyer (author of "Hull Damage") was the first person to really teach me the freedom a book's pages can give you, the breathing room it allows for imagination, and the brave and wily sort of pride that comes from being the sole artistic voice.
Who are your favorite authors?
J.R.R. Tolkein really started it all for me. I absolutely adored "The Lord of the Rings" growing up; his novels made me want to become an author, and it's something I've dreamed about doing since I was in 7th grade, journeying through Middle-Earth with Frodo and company.

Other authors/playwrights I'm quite partial to (and my favorite works by them) are Ayn Rand ("Atlas Shrugged"), George Orwell ("1984"), Cormac McCarthy ("No Country for Old Men"), James Ellroy (The L.A. Quartet), Ernest Hemingway ("The Old Man and the Sea"), George R.R. Martin (The Song of Ice and Fire Series), Ray Bradbury ("Fahrenheit 451"), Samuel Beckett ("Waiting for Godot"), Martin McDonnagh ("The Pillowman"), Joss Whedon ("Astonishing X-Men"), Kurt Vonnegut ("Slaughterhouse 5"), William Gibson ("Burning Chrome"), Chuck Palahniuk ("Fight Club"), Bill Waterson ("Calvin and Hobbes"), and Smashwords' own Timothy J. Meyer ("Hull Damage").
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Haha yes, unfortunately. As I mentioned before, I'm a huge Tolkein fan; he was definitely my idol growing up, and so naturally my first attempt at a full-blown novel was just a blatant rip-off. The trilogy ('cause of course it was a Tolkein-styled trilogy) was called "The Light in the Shadow," and I'd completed both part one ("The Ten Stones of Time") and two ("The Shadow's Thrall") - and was even part-way done with three ("The Ending War") before I realized that the work was not really homage...so much as plagiarism. Haha, my dad seemed to like it - but then again, that's his job. Eh, I was a seventh-grader, I'm not sure as you should blame me for trying. Least I caught wise...most people tend to actually try and publish their Tolkein rip-offs.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I'm not sure exactly what the first story I ever read was, but I remember the first one that really captivated me as a reader - the one that made me fall in love with books. It was called "The Farthest Away Mountain" by Lynne Reid Banks. I was in fourth grade and the teacher was reading to us as a group, but I remember adoring the story so much that I had my parents buy me my own copy so I could read ahead and not have to slog through only one vocalized chapter at a time. I've been meaning to reread it now, as an adult - I'd be curious to see how it affects me now.
What are your ten favorite books?
It's sort of a fluid answer, but my current tops are: "The Lord of the Rings," "Atlas Shrugged," "1984," "Les Misérables," "A Game of Thrones," "Fahrenheit 451," "Slaughterhouse Five," "The Old Man and the Sea," "The Inferno," and "Hull Damage"
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly crime fiction...or something equally cynical, existentialist, and violent haha. McCarthy, Ellroy, and the like. I'm not quite sure where that fascination comes from; I'm a rather idealistic human. I'm optimism-guy (which I'm officially claiming right now as my X-Men name when they finally call me up to join the roster). But I'm very enthralled by the criminal mind, and what violence does to a human being. Where does that lifestyle come from? What does it do to you once you've given in to it? Violence just raises the stakes for me, I suppose, and helps flush out the story's underlying theme all the better.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle, for sure. Which is a bit of a shame, since I'm such an avid Barnes & Noble lover. It's easily my favorite store. But Amazon is also my #1 online retailer, so I guess it's a bit of a toss-up. I just prefer the look and feel of the Kindle to the Nook. Plus, I do most of my hardcopy buying on Amazon, and their Matchbook initiative is pretty nifty.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Food.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
As I mentioned before, I'm also an independent film director/screenwriter. My production company Unmarked Van Films--of which Smashwords author Timothy J. Meyer ("Hull Damage") is also a co-founder--is currently in the process of developing our second feature-length film, which Meyer wrote and will star our longtime collaborator Steven Molony. I'm also toying around with a graphic novel, at present. As an avid comic book lover, the prospect of working in that medium is incredibly alluring to me. So, I guess we'll see what happens with that, down the road. Does Smashwords publish graphic novels? I'm gonna go on record saying that they should.
What are you working on next?
Next up is the sequel to "A Fistful of Nothing." There's four planned dieselpunk noir novels in The Hollywoodholes Sonata (of which "Fistful" is Book #1). The sequel ("A Lungful of Glass") takes place under the ruins of Disneyland--now called Futureland--and branches away from the single POV narrative that "Fistful" offers, giving readers three new characters to follow through the dead, dark underworld of The Holes: an African-American machinist that goes by "Lazarus," a taxi-dancer turned hit woman named Jackie, and a furtive fugitive known only as "The Boxer." I wanted to explore all the shadowed crannies and back alleys of noir in this series, so it won't revolve so much around a P.I. sniffing out a case; not as much, anyhow. I'm excited for people to read it. I think it's gonna be an interesting, if not a little demented, funhouse ride.
Published 2014-03-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Fistful of Nothing
By
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 88,060. Language: English. Published: March 18, 2014. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
Chrome giants. Traincar shanties. Electromagnetic revolvers. Welcome to The Hollywoodholes - where an ex-private eye scours the collapsed metro tunnels of an alternate 1952 Hollywood for payoff on a gamble gone wrong...and stumbles instead on an underworld metropolis divided by vice, vendettas, mysteries, & murder plots.