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Josh Malerman

answers the Usual Questions

photo, Josh Malerman, courtesy of the author; 220x220

Josh Malerman

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

Sure it has. I talked more books at the World Horror Convention in Portland, Oregon than ever before. And the feeling I got from fellow readers, fans of the genre, not only bolstered my own feelings, but got me reading twice as much as I already do. I bring this up because we all know that writing and reading are sisters, and that you've gotta feed one or the other gets pouty. So anything that inspires more reading is gonna inform the writing, right away.

Also, sometimes I'll catch a conversation, online, where my name isn't tagged, just two people discussing Bird Box, and those instances, when they might not think I'm listening, are exciting as hell.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

This one fella in Oregon told me that he keeps a notebook of everything he reads. Said he writes the first paragraph and the last paragraph of the book in this notebook to sort of give him a gist of it, years later, when he goes through his notebooks again. I think he told me he was reading something like 50 books a year for 17 years running. Crazy great numbers. That was inspiring, demanding even.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

I like artists who have gone mad with persistence. Guys and girls who put out a book or an album every year for decades. Hitchcock was like that. Stephen King. Woody Allen. Bob Pollard and Guided by Voices. I love the canon, the oeuvre, the body of work. Once you put out enough stories, you kinda become a tapestry yourself... where Magic in the Moonlight can't be experienced without thinking about Sweet and Lowdown, Blaze without Cujo, Family Plot without Strangers on a Train. I think about this kind of thing all the time, how bands used to put out two albums a year in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. How those bands were so well documented that we can literally listen to them growing. That "model" is gone now. Now a band releases an album every year and a half, two years, and either we missed the steps they took to get there (and would've loved to hear them) or they got nervous and ended up making the same album twice 'cause it'd been so long since they did something and they didn't want to let people down. The TAPESTRY. An unchecked variety, a scope, a world.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

That's gotta be Allison Laakko, my fiancé. Cause then we could make out and it wouldn't be weird.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

For now I'll take Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons. Haven't read it yet. 900 pages or more... an epic horror story. Sounds perfect for a trip to outer space.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

The same thing I've always wanted; to add to the genre. To add another door, another room, to the improbably thrilling house that is Horror.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

You know, for a long time, like between ages 19 and 29, I had so many ideas. I'd think, "Oh, I'm gonna write about this and this and THIS!"; But I just didn't know how. Didn't know how to get those ideas into books. A breakthrough at 29, and suddenly I'm surrounded by rough drafts. If there's a satisfaction in writing (and there are many), it's the knowledge that I did it, I figured out how to do it, I broke through something internal.

submitted by Josh Malerman

2 October 2014

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Just the facts:
Born: July 24, 1975. Southfield, Michigan. USA
Resides: Ferndale, Michigan. USA

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