H. David Blalock: I usually write while sitting on my front porch. I live on a wooded lot in rural Tennessee and the quiet helps me concentrate. I find the noise of a television or radio distracting. As far as preparation goes, I like to have a glass of scotch on ice standing conveniently nearby. Purely for medicinal purposes, you understand.
TLR: With what media – or genres – do you work? How did you come to this media or genre?
HDB: I write speculative fiction in all its manifestations – science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc. I started writing very young, intent on doing a better job at storytelling than some of the books I read. I still try. I suppose I must have some measure of success. People accept my work for publication, a fact that still astonishes me sometimes.
TLR: Do you have a “day job” in addition to being a writer—or is that your day job, too? If you have an unrelated day job, how do you balance your creative and work time?
HDB: I am retired from my day job. When I was working, my spare time was taken up with the minutiae of daily life at home. Writing was my escape from everything, something I couldn’t indulge as often as I liked. I discovered that simply saying, “Be there in a minute,” didn’t give me the time I needed to finish that short story. I learned the out-of-sight, out-of-mind concept worked better.
TLR: What tips do you have for other writers? This could be anything from a time-management strategy to an inspirational quote or exercise.
HDB: My tip for writers is – write. Write every day, even if it’s just a few hundred words. Writer’s block is the result not of running into a problem with the story, but with stopping writing. Write through it. Take on more than one project at a time so you can shift to another project if the first one stalls. Keep writing. Use any method you can think of to write. Even dictation into a recorder works as long as you write it down later. But, and I cannot stress this too strongly, finish what you’re writing before you edit. The best way to get sidetracked is to edit as you go along. Even a masterpiece can be ruined by “just one more little tweak.”
TLR: What are your thoughts on the creative process in general and your creative process in particular?
HDB: I view the creative process as part of being human. Everyone creates something. It’s simply a matter of finding out what you’re good at creating versus what you’re not so good at. Writing, art, cooking, whatever channels your creative spirit is what keeps you mentally healthy and growing as a human being. In my view, when you stop creating, you start dying. I intend to be around a while.
TLR: Where do your ideas come from? What inspires you? Intrigues you?
HDB: Most of my ideas come from asking “What if?” A lot come from observations of how people react to events around them. I am fascinated by the possible and thrilled at the improbable. I guess that’s why I write mostly fantastic fiction. I’m always trying to find out how to pass the impossible.
TLR: What interview question would you most like to be asked? Least?
HDB: Most: If you were offered a million dollar contract, would you take it? Yes. Then pass out.
Least: If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it? I have no idea. But I’d love to find out.
TLR: What about upcoming publications? Awards and other accolades?
HDB: I have a short story coming out in Seventh Star Press’ Southern Haunts 3 anthology, a short story in Alban Lake Publishing’s Potter’s Field 5 anthology, a short story collection coming out hopefully very soon from Pro Se Press, and various other projects on the horizon. I was editor for the recently released The Idolaters of Cthulhu anthology.
TLR: What are you working on now?
HDB: Currently, I am working on several short stories for various markets, including a historical fiction, a detective story, and a hard science fiction thriller.
TLR: Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years? Ten?
HDB: Hopefully still writing. Ten years from now I’ll be on the high side of 70 years old and just happy to get out of bed in the morning.
TLR: Anything else you’d like to add that I haven’t asked?
HDB: Writers have a responsibility to all mankind to reflect, critique, and encourage society. Speculative fiction writers have a special responsibility – to see mankind at its best and its worst and, in showing all of us the truth about both, how to fix what is wrong and build up what is right. The written word has always been held in respect. As writers, we need to recognize the responsibility that goes toward deserving that respect.
TLR: Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. I know your – and my – readers will love learning more about the man behind all the great fiction you pen. I really enjoyed working with you on past anthologies!
H. David Blalock has been writing speculative fiction for about 40 years. His work has appeared in novels, novellas, stories, articles, reviews, and commentary both in print and online. Since 1996, his fiction has appeared in over two dozen magazines including Pro Se Presents, Aphelion Webzine, Quantum Muse, Shelter of Daylight Magazine, The Harrow, The Three-Lobed Burning Eye, The Martian Wave and many more. His current novel series is the three-book Angelkiller Triad from Seventh Star Press. He served as editor for parABnormal Digest from its inception until the end of 2012, and currently serves as an editor at Pro Se Productions and Hermit Studios Press (Denmark).
Personal website: Thran Keep
Blog: Pure Reason
Facebook: HDavidBlalock – Writer
Latest project: The Idolaters of Cthulhu