–Welcome to Dames of Dialogue, Dylan. Tell us about your latest book, Dominio della Morte.
The book is a collection of 19 short stories, the best I have to offer since I started writing seriously ten years ago. The stories are diverse, yet all include monsters in some form. There are vampires, werewolves, zombies, trolls, demons, sea creatures, ghosts, and the monster inside all of mankind. Some of them are long stories, over 6,000 words, yet others come in at a little under 500 words. There are three stories that are previously unpublished anywhere, written in the last six months. The others have all seen “print” before, either in magazines or online, and a few of the stories have been published more than once. At the end of the book are preview chapters to some of my longer works, teasers to my novel Hosts, my novella October Rain, and also the opening to my novella trilogy series Blood War. There’s something in here for every horror fan.
–As a horror fan, I’m hooked. Where did the name Dominio della Morte come from and what does it mean?
The name originally came from a novel I wrote a few years ago. The unreleased work tells the story of the End Times, a war between Heaven and Hell, and it had a scene with the demon Belphegor in his lair: a forest of charred trees upon which were tied the souls of those mortals he’d killed throughout his centuries of persecuting mankind. I wanted a name for this forest, and came up with either La Foresta di Morte (meaning the forest of death), or Dominio della Morte. I eventually chose La Foresta di Morte, but Dominio della Morte stuck in my head and I decided it’d be a great title for a collection of short stories. The title is Italian, and means Death’s Domain.
–Oh, I like that title. Perfect for a horror story. The cover of Dominio della Morte is very dark yet eye-catching. Tell us about it.
I love the cover, and the feedback about it has been very positive. It’s inspired by the book’s title, which in English means Death’s Domain. The title inspired me to write Death’s Domain, the opening story in the collection, which places a tormented man in a bone graveyard, an abandoned wasteland decorated with the skeletal remains of millions of dead people. The book cover is just that . . . a human bone graveyard.
–Sends chills up my spine! Why did you decide to release a collection of short stories?
Most of my stories have not been read by many people, as a lot of them were published years ago in venues that have now closed down. It just felt like the right time to gather up the best of these and put them out there to the public. I guess, with so many other projects I have underway at the moment I didn’t want the hassle of searching new publishers who took reprints—it was just easier to collect them all together and release them in one combined edition.
–A smart decision. Pick your favorite story and tell us why you like it so much.
A hard one because I love all the stories. The Passenger: this is a ghost story about the horrors of mankind’s past. I love this story because of its personal horrific nature.
–Where did you get your ideas for some of the stories?
Where most of my ideas come from: images from daydreams. I seldom have stories forming from proper dreams or nightmares, but almost always from my vivid imagination. Travelling through Poland once on a work trip and watching the countryside pass by, I had an image in my mind of murderous happenings on a train late at night—this became The Passenger (although not quite in its current incarnation). A family day out on a boat to a small island picnic had me sitting by the sea imagining voices of the dead rising from the surf—this became Melissa. The music used during the official trailer for the 2010 movie The Wolfman, gave me an image of someone trapped in a cabin surrounded by werewolves—this image became Beasts at the Door.
–You have a very creative imagination. Can you share a little bit about what you’re working on now or what’s coming next?
Right now I’m editing a full length novel called Flesh, which I hope to release towards the end of this year. It’s a good ole fashioned monster horror about the Wendigo, a fun story to write and I hope a fun story for people to read. Also, you guys might remember my previous interview here which focused on my novel Blood War—well, unfortunately the publisher of that novel has been forced to close and as a result all rights for the book have now been reverted back to me. It’s by no means the death of this project, as the novel itself was divided up into three “novella-length books” that told the centuries-old conflict between vampires, werewolves, and hybrids. I will be releasing those novella-length sections in a trilogy of eBooks during this year, starting next month.
–So glad you’re putting it back out there. Any teachers who influenced you…encouraged you or discouraged?
Not really, no teachers who openly encouraged me to write, or influenced me in any way, but this does remind me of one episode in school when I was pulled up to the front of the English class and was asked from which book I’d copied a recent essay. Apparently the English teacher said the writing was so good for our grade, I couldn’t possibly have come up with the story myself.
–That’s a real compliment. Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
From reading other authors. Reading well written work makes me want to write my own stories, and likewise reading poorly written fiction makes me strive to better my own prose so I don’t end up letting myself down. Movies or the news or daily events do not inspire me at all—it all comes from the written word.
–Yes, I’m like you. I’m inspired by authors whose work I admire. Were books an important part of your household when you were growing up?
They weren’t important, not fiction at least. There was never a huge bookshelf in my family home as I grew up, and the majority of the books we had there were factual, or true life tales. My father was an avid mountain climbing fanatic and he had many books written by climbers about their expeditions all over the world. How the world of fiction, and horror fiction at that, came to me, I cannot remember.
–Are you in a critique group? If so, how does it work and specifically how do the members help your writing?
No, I’m not in a critique group but I understand the importance of one and why many people find it invaluable. Personally, I use proofreaders, valuable writers whose input I trust and who I know wouldn’t feed me a line just to make me feel good. It’s important to get told clearly what’s not working in any story so that you can make the correct adjustments to get the story as good as it can be, which is why other writers make the best critiquers. I would advise any author to get proofreaders they trust, or at least to join a critique group, as doing so will greatly improve your work.
–I agree regarding proofreaders. I never release a manuscript without having my sister Cyndi (Caitlyn Hunter) read through it. She has a great eye for inconsistencies in plot points as well as catching typos and grammar and punctuation mistakes. For those wishing to get a copy, where can people buy Doiminio della Morte?
People can buy the Kindle version from Amazon using these quick links:
The book can be purchased at Smashwords in all electronic formats:
It can also be bought at Lulu in eBook format (http://www.lulu.com/shop/dylan-j-morgan/dominio-della-morte/ebook/product-20924285.html) and print format (http://www.lulu.com/shop/dylan-j-morgan/dominio-della-morte/paperback/product-20956685.html)
Thanks for joining us today, Dylan. For more information about Dylan and his works: www.dylanjmorgan.com