13 Questions with David Thorndill

Coffin Bell: Introduce yourself.

David Thorndill: With degrees from Oakland University and Johns Hopkins University I have been Professor of Biology and written the novel First Contact at Cabo Rojo, and Tales from the Confessional, a collection of short stories narrated by Catholic Priests. Stories from Tales won a $3,000 prize from the Maryland State Arts Council. I have recently written feature screenplays for Rise of the Dolphins, The Last Vikings, and The Voyage of Genesis 2. The screenplays have received recognition from several film festivals.

CB: When you write, do you start with a plan and move from there, or do you generally go where the writing takes you?

DT: I always have an ending before I write a story. It’s like planning a trip from Ohio to Peru. The challenge is deciding the most interesting and quirky way to get there.

CB: What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

DT: Write for yourself. Don’t expect family or friends to want to read your stories.

CB: What advice can you give new and emerging writers?
Don’t listen to me if you want to make money. But if the ideas in your brain makes your head ache, like a full bowel, let them out onto paper for relief…the words, that is.

CB: What publishing advice can you give?

DT: I don’t write to get published though I hope all of my children could get published. No one is going to discover your works unless you spend time letting people know what you have written. It’s not fun and it takes a lot of time and energy.

CB: Who are your influences?

DT: I loved the stories of Edgar Allan Poe and O’Henry. That’s why I like to add a dramatic twist on the end of my stories. My story “The Execution of Alice Templar” was inspired by the press release for Stephen King’s Dolores Claiborne.

CB: What’s one thing you wish every journal editor knew?

DT: Though some stories are weird, morbid, or macabre I’m just a normal family man.

CB: Taphophobia is the fear of being buried alive. Tell us about your fears.

DT: My fear is that most of my writing will never be read by anyone.

CB: What draws you to dark fiction?

DT: I am a biologist and study life and death with a great passion for family roots–genealogy. My wife often asks me if I’ve found any more dead people as I search through death or cemetery records online. And I do like to roam around cemeteries.

CB: How does the darkness in your piece enhance the work?

DT: Every death is a who, why, or how. My story, “Do they play poker in Heaven?” begins, “The day we buried my father was one of the best days of my life.”

CB: How important are your surroundings when you write?

DT: I often think and plot when I’m walking, but I prefer my desk computer when writing.

CB: If you had to summarize your philosophy of literary creation, what would that be?

DT: When the right idea, opportunity and time coincide just write what you “must.”

CB: Where can we find more of your work?

DT: Coffin Bell has been kind enough to publish three of my stories. I have also published feature screenplays, The Last Vikings and The Rise of the Dolphins, available in print and eBook at Amazon. The are both BIG ACTION stories waiting for someone with BIG MONEY to make them into films.