David Oppegaard is the author of the Bram Stoker-nominated The Suicide Collectors (St. Martin’s Press), Wormwood, Nevada (St. Martin’s Press) and The Ragged Mountains (eBook). David’s work is a blend of science fiction, literary fiction, horror, and dark fantasy. You can visit his website at davidoppegaard.com
What first attracted you to horror writing?
When I was little pipsqueak, I was a big fan of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series and their freaky illustrations. Around the start of middle school I started reading Stephen King, Dean Koontz, H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. Horror freaked me out, but it made the real world a little less terrible by comparison. My parents were getting divorced, but at least I wasn’t stuck in The Overlook Hotel or hanging out with Annie Wilkes.
The Suicide Collectors. It was a finalist for a Bram Stoker Award and received a fair amount of critical acclaim.
What are you working on now?
Burnt Bridge is about to roll out my novel And the Hills Opened Up, a horror-western about a mining town that’s besieged by a murderous creature called the Charred Man. Also, I just sent my agent a thriller (my first ever) called Bring Her Back.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
Anyone who can make a living from it. I’ve taught I Am Legend by the late great Richard Matheson in a graduate level writing program. It’s a beautiful example of world building, character development, plotting, and emotional resonance.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
For fiction I’d say 85% chills and 15% gore. This lets the gore really stand out, like blood on a wedding dress.
Why should people read your work?
When I was in middle school (around ten years old) everybody in my grammar class had to write a story and read it in front of the class. I got really into it and wrote ten pages on our black and white Macintosh and then printed the story out and bound it with yarn, using black and red construction paper for the cover. The story was called ‘Deadly Forces’ and concerned a man named Axel Gibson (I was really into GNR and Lethal Weapon) who underwent various ordeals as he passed through a violently haunted castle in a quest for a magical amulet. I read my story last. The bell rang for the end of class while I was still in the middle of the story, but nobody made a move to leave (and we normally flew out of that damn grammar class) so I kept reading until the end of the story – Axel Gibson triumphed and I received a loud ovation. I’ve gotten even better at writing since!
Recommend a book.
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. The Ulysses of horror literature, it’s an arduous read but will crawl into your brain and stay forever. I know someone who refuses to have the book in her house at all.
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