1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I got into computers very early on, using a modem and talking to people on bulletin board systems and Compuserve, which was all pre-web and doesn’t really exist anymore. Because of computers, I started out studying electrical engineering in school. In college started reading great literature like Kerouac’s On the Road and Kafka and Camus and all the others which really blew my mind. I then switched to an English degree and ended up getting degrees in English and Psychology.
2. What inspired you to write?
Like I said in the first question, probably being blown away reading great books, then thinking hey, maybe I can do this too. I actually started out writing poetry before prose. Then it was short stories on and off for years, before finally attempting a novel. The massive frame of a novel appeals to me much more than the confines of a story.
3. What is the genre of your book(s)?
I have no genre. I guess I like to mix genres. The first novel I published is called Tease and is more a psychological thriller than anything else, although in its essence it’s really a love a story. It has some supernatural elements in the sense that the main character can dream the dreams of people he is close to. The second book is called The Angel Experiment, and the best fit is character-driven speculative fiction, although it has elements of science fiction. Being essentially genre-less makes it difficult to talk about the books, but they are fun to write.
4. What draws you to this genre?
I write about what interests me, what means something to me at the time. I am certainly drawn to the themes of love and madness. Those are fairly constant in my books. I also like elements of the fantastic, where strange things happen. The only thing I do try to keep totally consistent is writing something different every time.
5. How did you develop your plot and your characters?
I try to work out the basic story and flesh out the characters only slightly before starting the book, then the story progresses on its own for the most part. As the story grows, the characters grow along with it, and the blanks get filled in. I don’t like to map out the book too far in advance, because my ideas often change as I write, and I’ll come up with new ones all the time. But I generally have an idea of where I want it to go.
6. What inspired your protagonist?
The Angel Experiment has around 13 main characters. Some are loosely based on people I know, others made up.
7. How did you get in touch with your inner villain?
This story doesn’t have a villain, unless it’s each character’s stormy self. Human beings, myself included, are loaded with both the light and the dark. I don’t have a problem tapping into the dark, into my self-destructive impulses.
8. What was the hardest part to write in the book?
The hardest part of the book was putting all of the pieces together. I created this complicated and intricate puzzle which made it tough to get all of the pieces into place properly. That was easily the most difficult part of the book.
9. What was your favourite part of your book to write?
Probably the alien abduction chapter. I had been thinking on and off over the years of writing a satirical alien abduction short story. So when the chapter got going it pretty much wrote itself (which was nice!), and even surprised me a few times. Although the chapter is close to the end of the book, it still could work on its own as a short story if tweaked a bit.
Part time. I unfortunately have a real job that pays all the bills, although am still hoping for a miracle that will allow me to quit and focus on writing full time.
11. What are you currently reading?
I’m reading the underrated Steve Erickson’s Days Between Stations. He’s an amazing writer that should be way better known than he currently is. I read on Wikipedia that his hilarious and twisted Zeroville will be coming out as a film the end of this year! So that’s very exciting. I love that book. It was even embarrassing occasionally on the bus breaking down laughing while reading it.
12. Who would you say are your favourite authors?
Living writers definitely Haruki Murakami is tops, with Paul Auster and PG Donleavy (although he’s not writing currently, I think he’s still alive) to follow. Steve Erickson I’m enjoying, although I haven’t read enough of his work to really know how much I like him overall. As far as genre writers go, I love Ian Rankin and read everything he writes as soon it comes out, always with great pleasure.
13. How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, Nabokov’s Lolita, Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicles, PG Donleavy’s The Ginger Man, and maybe Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy. It’s hard to limit myself to only five!
14. What are your future projects, if any?
I’ll be publishing another weird book currently called The Woman of My Dreams, about a guy who literally falls in love with a woman who only lives in his dreams. I think it’s my best work to date. You can read about it on my site glennfain.com. I’ll probably publish that in a month or two. Then I plan on writing a ghost story novel, although it hasn’t taken form yet.
15. What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
Anyone can contact me on my web site glennfain.com. All my books are on amazon (currently only 2, with the 3rd to follow shortly), and everywhere else.
16. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
If you want to write and it gives your life more meaning, do it by all means. And don’t be afraid of writing something different.
Thank you to Glenn Fain for allowing me the chance to interview him. I hope to read his novels in the future! I hope that you check out his novels as well.