Interview with Dan Dillard

What are your five favorite books, and why?
Good ones. Something that captures my imagination and holds it. It's really that simple.
What do you read for pleasure?
Lately, I've been reading books from movies that I loved as a kid. The last three I read were Jaws, Poltergeist and Psycho. I finally read Gone Girl as well. And I'm catching back up on my Stephen King. Haven't read him in a while. That dude writes a lot of damn books.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Nook, but I'll admit, I use the Kindle app on it. I also use Overdrive for library books and I'm a big fan of audiobooks because I have a healthy commute to and from work.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Early on, the free book or free chapter was teh most effective technique.In the last couple of years, sales have been struggling. It has a lot to do with the amount of competition out there, and a lot to do with the fact that I just don't do as much legwork as I used to.
Describe your desk
My desk is homemade and green. The computer monitor and keyboard sit in the middle. There are shelves in the back that hold part of my skull collection and various toys including my Nightmare Before Christmas set and my black and white Munsters collection. One day I'll have my dungeon and I'll move the writing desk down there.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Connecticut, but moved when I was five. I spent age five to almost sixteen in central Indiana and then sixteen through college in southeastern North Carolina. There's a lot of folk lore in both of those locations. I grew up watching late night horror hosts and my mother was a huge fan of true crime and the likes of King and Straub. I was doomed in the best possible way.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote a lot as a kid and won awards in high school. Local stuff, nothing major. Then I found music and for about fifteen years, I didn't really write anything. When I joined the Navy at twenty-nine years old, I found floating around in the Pacific ocean gave me a lot of time to think, and time to write. After I got out of the Navy, I started publishing books.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, Dig, is about a family that has been digging a hole for seven generations. They don't know what is at the bottom, but they're about to find out. Meanwhile, a man named Rusty is home after twenty years away for a high school reunion. He notices something is fundamentally different about his hometown. Something is wrong, and it's getting worse. As the violence grows, Rusty must figure out what is going on and that he may be the only one who can fix it.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Lack of patience. Waiting for a book to be accepted by a publisher and then waiting for the book to be edited and compromising on titles, cover art, release date, etc. just made my chest hurt. It can take a year or more to get a book published traditionally. Once I published my first book, I was hooked.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has definitely given me abilities I wouldn't have had otherwise. I wouldn't say I've really had any success just yet, but when I do, Smashwords will definitely be on the thank you list.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Seeing where the characters go because you don't always know when you create them. You just know who they are and then let them react to situations. When a scene works out or a chapter works out or a story arc works out, it's worth all the headache...and when someone else reads it, gets it and says, "Hey, that was cool." It feels really good.
What do your fans mean to you?
It's a kick to have people read your work and like it. The ones who take the time to say so are the greatest. The ones I don't know about are the greatest, too...I just don't know about them! I would write whether people read my work or not, but it does give some validation to my writing, and that is cool.
What are you working on next?
I have another short story collection called "Down the Psycho Path" that I'm finishing up. I'm always writing short stories and occasionally those grow into novels. Other than that, I'm focusing most of my energy on writing screenplays because film is where I really want to be.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
What else are you going to do? Kids, wife, pets, job, life. If I could live without sleeping, I'd never go to bed. Unfortunately, I need at least six hours of sleep or I'm a worthless lump.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Full time job. Wife, children, pets, friends, watching movies, soon to be making movies, and I still love video games.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Typically I venture into the deepest, darkest jungles of the Amazon with my native guide. After I climb down into the ancient caverns and avoid the booby traps, I tip back my fedora and adjust my whip, check the sand bag, set it on the pedestal and remove the golden idol. Then, when the boulder comes, I run.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
E.T. 2: The Sequel. I think I was in fourth grade. There are probably earlier stories, but I remember writing and illustrating that one with my friend, Joe...and I still have a copy of it somewhere.
What is your writing process?
Butt in chair. Fingers on keyboard. Brain on fire.
Published 2015-06-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Down the Psycho Path
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 74,440. Language: English. Published: February 27, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
A hearse-load of new horror shorts and flash fictions from the author of Demons and Other Inconveniences, Dig, Light as a Feather and How to Eat a Human Being.
Dig
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 77,750. Language: English. Published: May 12, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Horror » Ghost
For seven generations, a member of the Gates family has been digging the same hole. If they ever reach the bottom, it could mean the end of the world.
The Journeyman
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 77,490. Language: English. Published: October 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
Chelsea Ritter is a high school student with an odd problem. Her next door neighbor murders women in his basement and she knows about it. Not only that, but he knows she knows. She has video proof, she has a plan...but it isn't what you think.
The Wicked
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,430. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Crime
Charlie-bear is a nine-month-old who is living a nightmare--rather, he has a nightmare living inside his head, and in his bedroom. The doctors assure his parents it is colic and that he'll grow out of it, but his father, Sam, isn't convinced...and his mother, Faith, just wants to get some rest.
Light as a Feather
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 53,910. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
If you've ever played "light as a feather, stiff as a board", you'll understand why these five children are so excited. If you haven't played...consider this a warning. Todd, Danny, Matt, Sean and Robin let their imaginations run wild at the thought of levitation...of contact with the other side...of asking questions of the spirits and getting answers. The answers they get may be worse than death.
The Toothless Dead
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 38,700. Language: English. Published: February 9, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
A group of neighborhood kids fear the Tootheater, a boogeyman who comes for them if they don't leave their baby teeth on a manhole cover by the overpass at the edge of town. When one of their friends goes missing and the others have to go find him, they discover an evil even deeper and darker than they imagined.
Giving Up The Ghost
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 53,490. Language: English. Published: March 22, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
Gerry is a man who uses alcohol, drugs and women to fill the gaping hole where his soul should be. His elderly parents, Bill and Margo, are tired of his lack of responsibility and fear for his future, and the future of those around him. The decide the only way to help him...is to haunt him.
Lunacy
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 47,140. Language: English. Published: May 31, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Horror » Occult
Here there be witches and werewolves. The moon illuminates magical things that could otherwise hide from view. Nightmares don’t go away just because we grow up. Several tales of the night from the author of DEMONS AND OTHER INCONVENIENCES.
How To Eat A Human Being
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 48,120. Language: English. Published: May 30, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
Mirrors tell a murderous tale. An old man finds the key to immortality, as long as he pays in installments of blood. Another man wakes up to find everyone else is dead. Mushrooms are a precursor to something demonic. And there's a cooking class about cannibalism. From the author of: Lunacy Demons and Other Inconveniences What Tangled Webs and Giving Up The Ghost
The Unauthorized Autobiography of Ethan Jacobs
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 41,450. Language: English. Published: January 14, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
Ethan Jacobs is obsessed with the paranormal... it could be that the paranormal is also obsessed with him. From the author of: Demons and Other Inconveniences What Tangled Webs Lunacy How To Eat A Human Being and Giving Up The Ghost
What Tangled Webs
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 53,160. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Cheating death, cheating time, looking for the easy way out. These things have consequences. Consequences that can be violent and painful. "What Tangled Webs" is short story collection that tells it like it might be.. when the balance is off and the monsters come out. From the author of: Demons and Other Inconveniences and Giving Up The Ghost
Demons and Other Inconveniences
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 70,130. Language: English. Published: April 23, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Demons can't scare you, unless you let them. Face some demons inside. Other books by Dan: How to Eat a Human Being Lunacy The Unauthorized Autobiography of Ethan Jacobs and What Tangled Webs and Giving Up The Ghost