Welcome to Dean M. Drinkel
Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born in Surrey, live in London for another few weeks and then relocating to Cannes, France.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example, genre, title etc. I am primarily a horror writer as well as being a compiler / editor of anthologies. The last four or so years have been quite manic – this year alone has seen: Within A Forest Dark (novella), Tales Of The Titanic (anthology), Demonology (anthology) all from Lycopolis Press; Curse Of The Vampire (novella) from Hersham Horror; Masks from Black Shuk Books. December 2015 will see my final anthology of the year Chromatics (Lycopolis Press). I have also contributed a number of poems to The Book Of The Night by MoonDream Press. Next year is already shaping up quite nicely too with a number of contracts signed for collections, anthologies and novellas.
Where do you find inspiration? Absolutely anywhere and everywhere. It can happen whenever I least expect it, so I’m always carrying out a notebook and pen or if for some reason I can’t then I’ll type something direct into the phone to pick up the next day. I use the trains a lot and I’m able to phase right out now and write no matter who is around me. I’ve been known to write at football matches too.
Are your characters based on real people? They can be yes – sometimes an amalgamation of different people but then sometimes when I’m writing something and someone pops into my mind, fully formed as it were, I just think yeah – why the hell not? Change the name, perhaps the age or a characteristic but other than that just keep them as they are. Of course that sometimes backfires when someone reads a story of mine and they recognise themselves and then they try to take me to task about it but I’ll just take them for a couple of drinks and convince them they’ve got it wrong!
Have you ever used a person you don’t / didn’t like as a character then killed them off? Okay the answer to this is 100% yes. The lead character in Within A Forest Dark is totally based on someone I couldn’t stand. The first time I met him I thought he was a dick (don’t worry, I wasn’t the only one who thought this) and when I started writing the story I found I needed a complete and utter asshole and well, one thing led to another. I had great fun putting him through the ringer and killing him off. The good thing is that I am writing a sort of sequel in 2016 so am going to bring him back for a couple of pages and do it all over again! The lesson here is don’t piss me off.
Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? There has always been an element of research for me because the majority of my stories are set in Paris, France. So when I feel I need some inspiration or if I need to check something out then I’m on the coach or Eurostar over there as quick as I can. This is a great question because at this moment in time I am in the middle of researching a big project for 2016 – it is not a horror story as such but a historical film script set in the middle of the 19th This is a going to be something massive – I’m working with a young French writer on it (Romain Collier) and I’m actually relocating to France for this. We’ve spent some time in Paris checking out some key places and whilst I’m actually moving to the south of France we will also be taking in Vienna, Austria for some major scenes. We have been working on the background research for a month or so and then will be sitting down and writing in late December / early Jan. Many books have been sourced and it’s been great fun thus far, though of course the hard work hasn’t yet started. I’ll let you know how we get on.
Is there a message conveyed within your writing? Do you feel this is important in a book? A lot of my short stories can be quite extreme – I love playing with boundaries but also the reader’s perception. Characters which may start off as ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ then end up sleeping with each other or murdering each other or murdering other people and then you realise that they weren’t related at all – I love fucking with people. I seem to have a go at Catholicism a lot too – this isn’t on purpose really, it’s just there is so much iconography / symbolism contained within that particular religion – it is such a deep sandpit to play in. I’m not sure if there is a real message as such except perhaps for this – life is so short, if you’re lucky to find someone along the way that loves you for being you then make sure you do everything to hang onto them – live for the moment because you never know what’s around the corner. Be happy and always keep smiling.
In what formats are your books available? Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? At the moment definitely paperback / ebooks but I am really interested in audiobooks – I’ve got some great actor friends who would be perfect for this so I’m tentatively dipping my toe into that so let’s see what we can do in 2016. I’m also thinking about graphic novels / manga – I’m always up for experimenting.
What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? One: write, write and write. Every day. Even if it’s only a few lines – it’s true what they say, the brain is a muscle and it needs to be flexed. Two: believe in yourself. When your story is the best that it can be – get it out there, show it to friends, show it to family etc etc. Let them tell you their opinion and some of it you should / could take on board – but never doubt yourself. You will know when it is read and then start subbing it to editors / Anthos / competitions etc etc. Three: find a great editor, approach them, work with them but never piss them off and if you do that, they will take a chance with you. I’ve been compiling / editing an antho recently. It was invite only but as I was then approached by a young writer who had been told to contact me. I asked him to send in some stories and one of which actually fitted the theme – it was a very good story but needed a little work. So I went through it with a fine tooth comb and in his words turned a story which was 89% or lower into now something which was 100%. There was no quibbling from him about my edits, he could see that I had done something special with his tale – so we were both happy. He could have turned around and said “fuck you” but he realised the power of a good editor and all going well, we will be working together again in the near future.
Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? As I mentioned above, I’ve been reading a lot of historical non-fiction of late. I’m a great admirer of Umberto Eco and David Mitchell too so I’ve been reading their new books these last couple of weeks. I have just finished Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission. I won’t say too much about this except that I enjoyed it immensely and whilst it is set in the near future it makes some great comments on the world (and France in particular) today – and could almost have predicted those terrible events of a couple of weeks ago in Paris – a city that I know and love very much.
Do you have a favourite movie? Doesn’t everyone? Hellraiser was the one that set me on my writing path; I also love Rob Zombie’s movies – particularly House of a 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects BUT I’m actually going to say that Amadeus is my current favourite movie – ask me this next week and I’ll probably give you another answer but for now let’s go for Amadeus. I’m a great lover of Mozart’s music and I simply love The Magic Flute…but the story here between Tom Hulce’s Amadeus and F. Murray Abraham’s Salieri is near damn perfect. I’ve never seen the original play but hope too at some stage…I also think Jeffery Jones is great as the Emperor. Damn it…as I’m typing this I’ve put it on in the background. I’d love to direct my own version of The Magic Flute if I could…love to do it in the open air…
Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing? I started writing whilst at University – I was lucky that my first collection came out not long after. It was only a small publisher and I sat by the front door every day expecting “Hollywood” to come calling offering me loads of cash to turn my stories into films – anyway, that didn’t happen so as I lived in a shared house I needed to bring in some money so a friend and I joined an employment agency and they got us some work at Heathrow airport – cleaning aeroplanes! There were the quick cleans that meant that as the passengers exited from the back we would go in via the front, we would be given one cloth which we had to clean the tables etc but then also used them to wipe down the toilets. Yes, the same cloth! It was absolutely disgusting and is one reason I don’t fly anymore. Where I can I mention this in my stories…filth, my friend, filth!!! But don’t get me started on that…