Exploring Your Imaginings: Interview with Author Paul Dail

Pride. Power. Mustache.

When I first started this blog up, things were quiet for a long, long time. I didn’t get many readers, and didn’t pick up many followers. Tumbleweeds, I tell you. Then one day a guy named Paul Dail started commenting on my posts. WTF, I wondered, where did this guy come from? So I checked out his site, and – hey, how about that? We had a lot in common. Similar tastes in reading (and thus influences), similar taste in films, and even some similar life experiences.

I bought his book a few months back, but only just got to start it recently thanks to my hectic schedule. Still, as things have grown and changed, Paul and I have stayed in touch. He featured me on his site a few weeks back, and I was all too happy to return the favor, as he’s a pretty interesting guy, and I’m really enjoying his book. Look for a review very soon, as I may actually finish it this lifetime. I recently sent him some questions, and managed to wrangle an interview out of him.

What provided the spark of inspiration for The Imaginings? Any long-term influences that you’d like to cite? 

I actually lived in an old house where we had to cover the windows in heavy plastic one winter.  It was already pretty surreal not being able to see outside, but one night during a storm, the power went out for just a second, but in that brief moment, I came up with the idea for a short story about a demon that has come to earth to take innocent souls to Hell (what is now Chapter 1 of The Imaginings).

The funny thing is that it wasn’t until almost seven years later when I was working on another short story that I realized was actually the continuation of the earlier story and that I had my first novel length idea.

As to influences, these days I try to read in as many genres as possible, but growing up I was a big King and Koontz fan.

How long have you wanted to be a writer, and what is your earliest writing memory? 

I’ve always been writing stories, but I didn’t decide I really wanted to pursue writing as a career until about fifteen years ago when I stopped studying Biology and moved to Missoula, Montana to get a degree in Creative Writing.

As to my earliest serious writing memory (as opposed to grade school assignments I still remember for some reason), I remember writing a story about a war between rats and cinnamon bears (the candy, mind you, not the actual bear).  There was ring of power which I probably lifted from The Hobbit, and if I really thought back, even the idea of rats vs. candy was probably borrowed from somewhere.  The Nutcracker?  But those illustrations were all mine, baby.

What was the last book you read, and is this part of your chosen writing genre or a departure? 

Funny you should mention.  I recently finished Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, set in a speculative mid-1800’s England where magic is not necessarily commonplace but it ranks up with science as far as validity in the public eye.

As to the second part of your question, I’m actually planning on reviewing it for my blog (in fact, I might be doing it around the same time this interview comes out), and the hook for my readers is the fact that I don’t generally read fantasy.  But again, see the first question.  I like a good story, regardless of genre, and this one was recommended by a friend.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’m currently reading The Slab by Jeff Marriotte and thoroughly enjoying it so far.  And that I look forward to reading The Corridors of the Dead, of course.

There’s a lot of moving around in Imaginings – I already know that the characters are in Colorado and Montana, and one character is from Utah, where you currently reside. Have you visited all of those states, and did they leave a big mark on you to include them?

I have actually lived in all of those states (as well as a few others in the union), so I knew I could write about them.  And Missoula has a quirkiness about it that felt perfect for what needed to happen in what I would consider Act II.

And just wait.  Without giving anything away, I’ll just say that there’s more truth to the Hawaii scene than I should probably legally be mentioning, even under the guise of “fiction.”

What might your readers be surprised to learn about you? 

Well, someone already pegged me on the Neil Diamond thing, so I’ll say that at least one of my three loyal readers would be surprised to know that I have a children’s story project about a leaf that decides one year not to drop from the tree.  It’s called Hardy, the Leaf That Wouldn’t Leave.

What’s on the horizon for you? 

Yikes.  How much time ya got?  I know we’ve talked about the time involved with marketing, but I’ll say what I really want to be working on is my next novel.  I’ve had the idea for about six years now, but I’ve never been able to really dive into it until I felt like The Imaginings was done.  Now that The Imaginings is finally out, I’m finding I still don’t have time.  ha ha… ha?

But that’s what I know I need to be doing.  I’m also planning on getting out some e-book short stories over the next few months with a collection of shorts hopefully by next summer.

Oh, and I’m still shooting for having The Imaginings in trade paperback before the end of the year.

Oh, and a couple other things…


Hah, I know how that last one goes. Check out The Imaginings, seriously. I’ve enjoyed it, and I think Paul deserves a lot more attention than he has received so far (and Paul, get that print copy done, I want a signed one!).

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  1. Love the Neil Diamond shout-out! I’m firmly in that frat-house, myself.
    Very cool interview, guys. We read each other’s stories and see the covers of others yet to be read, but hearing the details that took us there is terribly fascinating to me. Thanks for sharing.
    You guys have a great weekend and try not to get bogged down with all of that marketing…I, of course, am stuck in that frat-house, too.


    • Thanks for the comments, Jimmy. I agree. I love author interviews (especially ones with me 🙂 ) for the opportunity to really get to know the person behind the words, Tweets or random facebook updates. And it’s also fun to find out the backgrounds of stories. I had a professor who once said that the best thing about fiction is that we can take something that actually happened to us and if we didn’t like the ending, we could change it.

      Hope all is well with you.

      Paul D. Dail
      http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

    • Sorry for the delay in responding, had a crazy weekend. Yeah, I love these interviews, less as an ego-stroking exercise and more in what you learn about one another. So much of writing is not only about your own experience, but the experience of others, as well, and this is a great way to share the real “you” and receive those things as well.

  2. Jonathan, thanks so much for the interview. It’s been a true pleasure getting to know you, and I’m confident that if we lived closer we’d be friends in real life (not just this cyber world).

    And I love the pictures you appended to my responses. As always, you make your blog entries as much visual art and written art.

    Oh, and hope you noticed that I have passed the Versatile Blogger Award much deservingly to you in my post this week. Look forward to your 7 facts. Hope you have a good weekend.

    Paul D. Dail
    http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

  3. The property managers of the building I work are doing some sort of exterior maintenance to the facade of the building. This, for some reason, involves covering every, single window in a five story office building with thick, opaque plastic. I posited it was to save money on the heating bill. Then I read The Imaginings … This post reminded me that I can’t help but associate the covered windows with demonic possession.

    My earliest writing memory is from the second grade. I produced a book that had a very snazzy cover. By snazzy, I mean I glued fabric to cardboard. It rocked. Do I remember the story? Nope. But I remember that cover & know anyone judging that book by its cover is so awed they can’t remember life before having seen it. Or something like that…

    I’d be interested to hear your reasoning behind the staged launch of your book. I am also planning on doing e-book first, and paper at a later time. My decision was made for monetary reasons, but also to help take some of the stress out of a first-time publication experience.

    Jonathan, thank you for hosting this interview!

    • Hey Aniko, maybe you need to consider a different job 🙂

      I love the image of the fabric book cover. Clearly worth judging.

      And honestly, I thought I had a plan, but mostly I’ve just been going by the seat of my pants. And sometimes they’re on fire.

      Seriously, though. Would gladly talk shop with you. It’s nice to have other writers to commiserate (and hopefully celebrate) with. (yup, I know what I just did). Shoot me an email.

      Paul D. Dail
      http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

    • Aniko, I think you might need an author interview soon yourself 🙂

  4. Nice interview! I’m soooo looking forward to my upcoming vacation so I can read The Imaginings by the pool 🙂 (There aren’t any scary swimming pool scenes, are there?)

  5. You’re not going to Hawaii, are you?

    If not, you should be okay reading it. Regardless, I’m jealous that you will be someplace where you can sit by a pool.

    Glad you enjoyed the interview. I loved Jonathan’s questions.

    Paul D. Dail
    http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

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