Saturday, March 04, 2006

Pro-File: Doug Clegg

From Doug Clegg:

Born in the South, Lived All Over

If you really want to know about me, read my novels.

I was born in Virginia, and have lived in various places, but currently live along the coastline of New England with my partner, and we have a small menagerie of rescued animals (a dog, a cat, and a rabbit).

I wrote my first novel in my 20s -- it is called Goat Dance. Since that time I've seen more than 20 of my novels published in the genres of psychological suspense, horror, and fantasy, the most recent being The Priest of Blood: Book One of The Vampyricon, published by Penguin's science fiction and fantasy division, Ace.

My fiction has variously won a Bram Stoker Award, an International Horror Guild Award, and a Shocker Award; The Priest of Blood hit the New York Times bestseller list; my novel Bad Karma was made into a bad film; recently, my novel The Hour Before Dark was optioned for the movies; and none of that really means much at all when I sit down to write a new novel -- it's always a blank page. It's always the same road that spread out before me when I wrote my first novel.

Pro-File: Doug Clegg

1 Tell us about your current novel.

Three have come out recently -- The Priest of Blood, Mordred, Bastard Son, and The Attraction. The Priest of Blood is a medieval dark fantasy novel -- with vampyres, while Mordred is a twist on the Arthurian tale where Mordred is gay and has a very different version of events to tell. The Attraction is a short novel with a mummy who might be an ancient Aztec priest or not, and a bunch of college kids out on spring break. It's basically Mummys Gone Wild with a lot of terror.

2. Can you give us a sense of what you're working on now?

I'm finishing up Lady of Serpents, the second Vampyricon novel after The Priest of Blood. It picks up where the first novel left off, when Aleric, Falconer, the messiah of vampyres, has been captured and imprisoned by the woman he once loved. It moves between France and Mexico -- in the 13th century. Then, I'll be getting back to a supernatural thriller I've worked on for awhile.

3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?

Living inside the imagination and getting paid for it. The second greatest pleasure is hearing from readers who also went inside my imagination.

4. Thegreatest DIS-pleasure?

Watching a beloved novel not get support from a publisher. That has got to be the worst experience a novelist can face.

5. If you have one piece of advice for the publishing world, what is it?

Support the sales reps and editors so that everyone feels invested in the success of the books.

6. Are there two or three forgotten writers you'd like to see in print again?

There are too many for me to even pinpoint a few.

7. Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget that moment.

I lived three thousand miles away from Manhattan, but happened to be in the city through a fairly unusual circumstance. I visited an editor who had rejected the book but had liked it -- I wanted to thank her in person because she'd been so helpful despite the rejection. While in her office, the editor at Simon & Schuster called to try and track me down because she had called a number in California but had gotten a Chinese restaurant instead of me -- and she knew the editor who I was visiting would have my number.

I stood there, eavesdropping. The editor looked up at me and said, "Call her. She doesn't know you're in Manhttan. She wants to buy your book." I got the offer that afternoon and walked down Sixth Avenue, weeping as I went because I had waited since I was eight to consider myself a writer of fiction. I was twenty-eight at the time. It was my first novel, and it was bought by a house to which I had dreamed of selling a novel since I was a kid.

People on Sixth Avenue stopped me to ask what was the matter -- New Yorkers really are the best -- and when I told them, they all congratulated me. And one woman gave me her card, told me she was an actress, and if they ever made a movie, to give her a call.


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