By J. N. Duncan
I’d like to welcome multi-published David Salkin, author of FOREVER HUNGER, his latest release, filled with thrills, chills, and romance. A graduate of RutgersUniversity, David is involved in the politics of his NJ town, and an avid scuba diver. A lifelong writer, David has written in many genres, and as you will see, believes no story should be confined within such rigid boundaries. So, without further ado, let’s get to those questions!
Give us the twitter version of FOREVER HUNGER (how would you tweet the plot in 140 characters or less).
I don’t tweet, so I’m at a loss… a quick description is below, and I’ll attempt a tweet after it!
When NYPD Sergeant Roy Ruiz began working the serial killings with Detective Tim Rosetto, they had no way of knowing the killer whom they were hunting had been dead for over two hundred years. The grisly crime scenes leave plenty of forensic evidence, but unfortunately, none of it makes any sense—unless you can open your mind to some very strange possibilities.
NYPD investigates serial killer dead for 200+ years!
This story involves the supernatural element of vampires, which traditionally might set you in the Urban Fantasy category on the bookshelf. As I also write supernatural crime fiction, I’m curious what your take on this whole genre bending is. What shelf would you put your book on in the bookstore?
THAT is the question! This is a contemporary crime thriller. The killer just happens to be an un-dead vampire-like creature that is a few hundred years old. It is a horror story. It is a vampire romance. It is a crime thriller. It is an urban fantasy… it belongs on every shelf! (What else would the author say?) While publishers think they have to fit every genre neatly into a cubby-hole, I don’t think authors have to be so limited. Readers want NEW and FRESH and IMAGINATIVE. Publishers think they want the same formulas and outlines. They probably know more than me about sales, but I’ll let the readers decide. If I had to pick ONE shelf, I’d pick the horror I suppose, so crime thriller readers wouldn’t have a meltdown when they realized they picked up an urban fantasy.
Personally, I love supernatural elements, and I also have a vampire in the world of my series. How does your take on the vampire element set it apart from the myriad stories out there with vampires in them?
This was certainly the FUN part of the creative process. I didn’t follow anyone else’s rules. My guy doesn’t sleep in a coffin, no garlic is going to ward him off, and he doesn’t turn into a bat. He is essentially, a made-up creature based on many animals in nature, folk lore, vampire myths, and extinct creatures.
Another twist on the character is the fact that he occasionally eats part of his victims. His “feeding” can be quite out of control when the animal takes over. It is much more animal attack than it is “Dracula seduction” in most cases. He also has refined his sensibilities to blood as well, the way a wine connoisseur appreciates a fine red. There is an element of sadness to his plight, and he can be, momentarily, a sympathetic character… until he feeds.
There’s a strong love story element in FOREVER HUNGER. I find that there is a fine genre line to walk when attempting to blend with other genres like crime fiction. Was this balancing act difficult for you? Did you find yourself wondering if you were writing more of a romance than a horror/thriller?
You ask the question as a professional editor, publisher and even author should, I suppose, but again, I didn’t feel, and I never feel “restricted” by staying in a genre. I know that the chances of being published are much better when writing “the formula”, but it would KILL the joy of writing for me. I wanted a horror / vampire story where the other characters weren’t “Von Helsing Types” that all believed and hunted vampires. I wanted REAL characters—modern day regular cops—who would NEVER believe such nonsense… until they HAD to. And in writing a “real” story, a “contemporary” horror story, I wanted even the monster to be three dimensional. He is basically acting on animal impulse and the urge to feed and survive, and ultimately, to reproduce.
I suppose it’s the old yin-yang ideal, that in all good there is some evil, and in evil, there is some good. The creature is horrific, no doubt. But I tried to convey that his atrocities weren’t born out of hate as they were out of necessity. It wasn’t until he met Sarah that it awoke some remnants of human emotion, which is the obvious love element of the story. But at the same time the reader sees the romance, the reader also see a sort of detached curiosity in his feeding as he eats victims in the most horrific animal attacks imaginable. That said, it is no worse than a lion, alligator or shark tearing apart another living animal as it feeds.
So, to try and answer part of the question, I was writing a horror story that was taking place inside a crime thriller in the Big Apple. The creature was a vampire, albeit slightly different than most, and had a romance with a human. SO… which genre is it? It’s all of them, because life isn’t so black and white!
What is your opinion on what makes for good crime fiction (I lump all of the crime solving stories, regardless of genre blending into this)?
I love thrillers. A good crime story has that page-turning frenzy that compels the reader to go on trying to figure out what’s happening. I like realism, and I think the characters should be believable, but also colorful and memorable. Also, it should have a degree of sophistication. Lee Child is great example of creating so many layers of the onion, in what is typically a simple plot at its core, but it sure takes a while to get there!
In FOREVER HUNGER, the detectives use real science to track a killer. It’s this use of DNA and fingerprints that convince them ultimately that the killer is not human, but the technology of the forensics kept it real, to a degree, (I hope!) for the reader. Believability is another key to a good crime story.
What was your favorite part of this story to write? Why?
Creating the creature was pure FUN. Making up my own rules, my own piece of European history, and deciding what all the details of his “being” were like playing with paint or clay. Total artistic freedom, and a heckuva lot of fun.
What three authors have influenced/inspired you the most?
My favorite authors, and it’s difficult to get below five, would be Robert Crais (I love Elvis Cole and Joe Pike), Lee Child (Reacher is awesome) and Michael Crichton. Crichton was great in that he could write five stories and have it appear to have been written by five authors… different genres, styles, stories, characters. He was a genius. I would be remiss not to add Ken Follett, Nelson DeMille and James Mitchener.
What three adjectives would you use to describe FOREVER HUNGER?
Original, horrific, thriller!
David M. Salkin lives in Freehold Township, NJ where he has served as a member of the governing body since 1994. David is currently serving as the Deputy Mayor of Freehold Township and has served as Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Township Committeeman and Police Commissioner over the years, as well as liaison to various Boards and Commissions. He is also a Master Graduate Gemologist and owns a jewelry store, Salkin’s Jewel Case, with his brother Eric. With four novels now published, and another ten finished, you’ll surely be seeing more thrillers, crime stories, urban fantasy / horror stories and military action and adventure yarns in the years to come.
To learn more about David, please visit his website.