Patrick C. Greene Unveils Allison M. Dickson
Allison M. Dickson is the author of the story
in the new anthology from Sekhmet Press
Hi Allison! Thank you for joining me today. Let’s kick off this interview with the most important question. Have you ever encountered a ghost?
I’ve encountered very strange and palpable energies, particularly in abandoned buildings. I have a bit of an obsession with old architecture and feel like walls are sponges for the things that happen between them. I’ve walked through houses two centuries old as well as an abandoned mental hospital from the early 20th century and the feeling of residual life in them is unmistakable and chilling. I don’t know if this translates as “ghosts” per se, or more to an active imagination and sense of empathy, but it’s as close as I’ve ever come to something “other.”
What kind of music do you listen to for inspiration?
I live on a combination of Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, Massive Attack, and movie scores by Clint Mansell, though I am also a big fan of the score for The Red Violin and anything by Hans Zimmer.
Have you ever started a project, felt it run out of steam and had to abandon it?
Are you kidding me? I’ve had that happen with more projects than haven’t. My file of unfinished or half-started projects is huge. And it’s lucky that I never throw anything away because my upcoming book, THE LAST SUPPER, was just such a project. It was out of steam for three years until I picked it up and found new life lurking in it.
What’s the most shocking book or story you’ve ever read?
That would have to be Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. Particularly the story “Guts.” I haven’t been the same since I read that.
Do you remember a particular moment or incident that made you decide to be a writer?
I’ve been writing most of my life, but I the moment I decided I needed to do this for real was after I read DUMA KEY by Stephen King. It called to a dormant part of me and slapped it into wakefulness. There are so many great quotes from the book that call to the artists in us all, but this one is my favorite: “Stay hungry. It worked for Michelangelo, it worked for Picasso, and it works for a hundred thousand artists who do it not for love (although that might play a part) but in order to put food on the table. If you want to translate the world, you need to use your appetites. Does this surprise you? It shouldn’t. There’s no creation without talent, I give you that, but talent is cheap. Talent goes begging. Hunger is the piston of art.” It was a complete rebirth for me when I discovered I was truly hungry and decided to feed myself.
Do you have a certain space and time set aside for writing or is it more of a free-form process?
Definitely a free-form kind of thing. I try to get a good part of my writing done in the daytime hours when everyone is gone, but sometimes things don’t work out that way and I stay up a little late to get things done. I split my time between my laptop/recliner and my office. Some stories require a certain posture.
How would you describe your writing style?
I’m a pretty straightforward, no-frills kind of writer. My sentences don’t get too long in most cases, and I keep my vocabulary pretty simple. I do like description and voice, but I’m not terribly poetic or lyrical about it. Dialect slips in from time to time, but not overly so. I value clarity above all else. I like writers who settle down into their language like a well-worn pair of shoes and don’t get too pretentious with it, and that’s what I aim to be. You can usually tell when a writer is trying to grandstand with the language instead of just telling the story.
What other sorts of themes or genres would you like to explore?
I’m just now starting to get more into crime and suspense genres, and I really love it. Dark contemporary fantasy is another genre I’d like to spend more time in, and I have a few projects up my sleeves for that. One is an expansion on my story “Devil Riders” and another is a story about baseball, deities, and small town organized crime I currently have on a back burner.
Please briefly describe your path to publication.
Place pen on paper, make one giant scribble. That’s my path. Honestly, if Vincent Hobbes hadn’t found one of my free stories on Amazon, I don’t know where I’d be right now. I’d had a few short story credits and was making my way slowly into the indie world, but if he hadn’t found me, I’m not sure either Strings or The Last Supper would have happened, and I never would have met you or your wife and I wouldn’t be in Wrapped in White. One thing leads to another.
Who are your favorite fictional antagonist and protagonist and what was it about them that struck a chord for you?
Roland Deschain of The Dark Tower series is by far my favorite protagonist, probably because he also serves as his own antagonist. He’s a man driven by his own demons and obsessions to do both great and terrible things.
Aside from writing, what is your favorite artistic medium?
Movies and food. I’d love to have a career in both one day. Hey, maybe I’ll have a craft services business in Hollywood, where I can serve donuts to the stars!
Just be sure to save me a few! Thanks again for joining me today and letting us get to know you better. I wish you the best of luck with Wrapped In White and all of your future endeavours.
Allison M. Dickson is a writer of dark contemporary fiction. Two of her short stories currently appear in The Endlands Volume 2 from Hobbes End Publishing, and two of her collected works are currently available on Amazon along with her indie pulp novel, COLT COLTRANE AND THE LOTUS KILLER. Her debut novel STRINGS, a psychological suspense story, released to rave reviews from Hobbes End, and the same publisher will be releasing her dystopian sci-fi book, THE LAST SUPPER, in spring of 2014. When she’s not writing, she’s co-hosting a weekly podcast, Creative Commoners. After spending several years in Olympia, Washington she returned with her husband and kids to her native Midwest and currently resides in Dayton, OH.