Four from Below by Daniel Coffman
Four From Below tells the tales of ordinary people -or so they seem- thrust into extraordinary circumstances:
Ray Deet lives a life of shame. His mother abandons him, and the school bullies single him out for abuse. A chance encounter with a denizen of a world below changes the timid young boy, but are these changes for the better?
Charlie Vos has a scoop. Aging actress Victoria Manwell, his teen fantasy, is now a recluse. She has a tale to tell. But is Charlie ready to hear it?
Alexi Zachas has inherited his grandfather’s mansion, and the hidden lab below. Aided by an eager young assistant, this practitioner of the “sideways sciences” hopes to turn back the clock on the human body.
Apri Saluzar has a problem. Several problems, in fact: a domineering mother, insomnia, an unsatisfying job. Oh, and the occasional body part appearing in her home.
Interview with Daniel Coffman by Angella Graff
1) When did you first discover your passion for writing?
When I was very young. Around age 7, I think. I read voraciously from as far back as I can remember: books, comic books, comic strips, even labels. I’ve also nurtured a love of movies and television. I remember wanting to create my own comic book, and writing stories with that in mind.
2) Do you have a specific genre or style of writing that appeals to you?
These days, it’s horror, but just about everything draws my attention. I’m working on a post-apocalyptic sci-fi story now. Although, I guess you could classify that as horror…
3) How would you describe your typical writing day?
Hectic and random! Being the at-home dad to two teenage boys, whom I also home school, means my time is not really my own. Not that I’d change anything! Truth be told, I’m a bit lazy about my writing. I work in bursts, going days without putting a word down, then writing frantically for days on end, missing sleep.
4) What are your writing inspirations?
First of all is reading, of course. I find I get more work done when I’m engrossed in a new book. Second is my wife, Brenda, who has published two books of her own. She encourages my work, and is my first editor/critic. Without her, I’d never have had the guts to pursue publication.
The first inspiration I encountered happened to be an English teacher in 8th grade, Mr. Edney. Up until I took his English class, everything I wrote stayed hidden, even forgotten. I was embarrassed by it. My family never really encouraged my work. I submitted a story for a creative writing assignment. He ended up reading it to the class and praising it. After class, he drew me aside and told me to keep writing, that I had real talent.
I’ll never forget that. I plan on dedicating my next book to him.
5) What advice would you give to someone starting in a literary field?
Not that I consider myself an expert, but I do know a few things that helped me.
The first is obvious: KEEP WRITING. Write as much as you can. The more you write, the better you become. Second: Read. Read everything you can find, and read outside your comfort zone. Third: Seek advice from someone you trust and respect. Don’t let anyone discourage your work. There’s a difference between a critique and criticism. Fourth: Learn the craft. Take a creative writing course, or read a good resource for writers. I recommend On Writing by Stephen King, and The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Learner.
6) Where did you grow up?
A little town called Sykesville, PA. I grew up in the sticks. My closest neighbor lived a half-mile away, and the majority of my days were spent reading or in the deep woods that surrounded our house. I’m not saying that’s for everyone, but the lack of ANYTHING to do or other kids my age certainly sparked my imagination.
7) Other than writing, what are your interests or hobbies?
Reading, of course. Playing with my kids, watching movies. I’ve been trying to teach myself origami on and off for a couple of years now. Unfortunately, my stubby fingers are better suited to a keyboard than a delicate piece of paper!
8) Tell us something unique about yourself you’d love your readers to know.
I love cats. Most people see me –a big, hairy, biker-type guy- and assume I’m a dog person. They would be surprised to see me baby-talking to my cats.
9) What is your biggest habit or worst vice?
Food. I love good food, especially my wife’s incredible cooking. That, and cracking my joints: fingers, elbows, shoulders, knees, toes. If it bends, I crack it every morning. My wife hates that!
10) What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do but never have?
Go skydiving. I love the thrill of roller coasters and wild rides.
11) Tell us a little bit about your current project.
As I mentioned before, it’s a post-apocalyptic sci-fi story. I’m trying to blend a healthy mixture of action, empathetic characters, and humor. The idea actually came to me in a nightmare. I think it’s a pretty original concept, but I don’t want to say too much about it yet.
12) Is there a character in your story that you relate to the most?
Yes, but his part hasn’t been written yet. I can see him so clearly in my mind, can hear his words, his voice. He’s very much the anti-hero, but his worldview and dark sense of humor reflects my own so much.
13) What have you found to be the most difficult thing to write in your most current project?
The science. I hate research, but I want this to be as accurate and believable as possible. Being sci-fi, I can fudge some of the science, but I don’t want it too seem to outlandish or ridiculous.
Also, I wrote myself into a corner by the third chapter. Once again, I don’t want to give anything away, but the main characters would all have died by then. I had to go back and rewrite their origins while still staying true to the plot.
14) Please give us a little insight in your future works.
Once I finish this book, which I’ve given the temporary title of Thursday (subject to change), I have a handful of short stories for a second collection. After that, I have so many ideas floating around my head, in notes, and even partially completed on my laptop that I can’t comment what might be next.
15) Please list any links to your existing and ongoing works for our readers.
Four From Below-
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/coffmanauthor
I also write articles and short stories for Helium.com, although it’s been a while since I contributed, as I’ve been working on my books: http://www.helium.com/users/69485/show_articles
Thanks Daniel! I have your book Four from Below downloaded and on my TBR pile, so I can’t wait to dive in and do the review. For now, check out the links to download Daniel’s book, and if you do, remember to let us all know what you thought and leave a review!