Israel Finn is the author of Dreaming At The Top Of My Lungs and a winner of the 80th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition.
He is a horror, dark fantasy, and speculative fiction writer who’s had a life-long love affair with books, weaned on the likes of Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, and Richard Matheson, and later discovering Robert McCammon, Dean Koontz, F. Paul Wilson, Dan Simmons, Ramsey Campbell, and Stephen King, as well as several others.
Israel lives in southern California with his wife, Eyde, and his dog, Sammy.
He’s currently working on his new novel.
KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
Sure. I’m a writer and a transplant from the Midwest to southern California. I was a musician for many years and came to SoCal to try and make a career of it. After a few more very hard years I decided to call it quits and try my hand at writing, which was my first love.
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
Mostly read, watch a little bit of TV, and hang with my family.
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
I read a lot of Edgar Rice Burroughs and the like when I was a kid, mostly because that’s what my dad had laying around that I was allowed to read. I think the first book to light up my imagination was Tunnel Through Time by Lester Del Rey.
KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
Wow, that’s a difficult question for an ex-musician, or I guess any music lover. Sometimes it’s Dirt by Alice In Chains. Other times it’s Magnified by Failure. I also love Lou Reed, and The Strokes, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Nirvana. I do sometimes listen to music when I write, but I have to be in the mood for it. Usually I prefer silence.
KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director?
Again, it’s hard to choose just one, but I’d have to go with John Carpenter, mostly because The Thing is one of my all-time favorite horror films.
KR: What are you reading now?
The Outsider by Stephen King. But I just finished Kill Creek by Scott Thomas, which I thought was exceptional.
KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?
Stephen King, Richard Matheson, Robert McCammon, early Dean Koontz, Dan Simmons, Ramsey Campbell, Ray Bradbury, to name a few.
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
With short stories I pretty much just jump in, because the ideas are almost always fully formed. But when it comes to longer works I’m somewhere in between. I never go in completely cold, because I find I need at least some structure, but I also like to leave myself plenty of room for spontaneity. I think when a writer is surprised, then that magic can be conveyed to the reader as well.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
That totally depends on the story. The more details, the more complications, the more research. I would warn new writers not to depend on sites like Wikepedia when researching, because they can be unreliable. Use trusted sources, and when in doubt, go to your local library.
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
It’s never the same. Sometimes I write in the morning, other times I write at night. As long as I’m getting words down I’m happy. I even take notes on my phone when I’m out and about.
KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?
The Present, which appears in my collection, Dreaming At the Top of My Lungs, and is also for sale as a standalone on Amazon.
KR: Do you read your book reviews?
KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?
Write as often as you can, but don’t beat yourself up when you can’t. And don’t get too caught up in social media. Also, don’t be a dick.
KR: What scares you?
The government. Or something happening to my wife.
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
Hardbacks are good for collecting, but they’re unwieldy. I love paperbacks. But I find the convenience of e-books very appealing. I can hold a whole library right there in my hand. Plus they’re great for reading in the dark. I know some people seem to have an inherent dislike of them, apparently because they prefer the physical aspect of a “real” book. I get it. But for me it comes down to the story. If that’s good I couldn’t care less about anything else. The story lives in your head, after all.
KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?
It’s a collection of dark fiction called Dreaming At the Top of My Lungs. There’s a mix of horror, sci-fi, suspense, and dystopian fiction in there. I’m pretty proud of it.
KR: What are you working on now?
I’ve got two novels and a novella in the works, as well as a story for an anthology which I’ve been asked to keep under my hat for now.
KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?
You can choose…
a) One fictional character from your writing.
Will Dunham, the main character of a book I’m writing now. He’s got some unusual abilities that might get us off that island.
b) One fictional character from any other book.
From a practical standpoint, maybe Robinson Crusoe.
c) One real life person that is not a family member or friend.
Stephen King. I wonder how many times that answer has been given.
KR: Thank you very much Israel.
You can follow Israel on Twitter @Israel_Finn
You can visit Israel’s official website www.israelfinn.com
You can visit Israel’s Author Page here
Twelve Dark Tales From The Mind Of Israel Finn:
-A man who is faced with the prospect of losing the most important thing in his life—his son—but instead loses his mind. And then finds himself trapped in a waking nightmare with no way out.
-A frustrated man who curses life for having the audacity to pass him by, but discovers how it feels to be truly forsaken when the universe chooses to teach him a horrifying lesson.
-An outcast who must decide between vengeance and forgiveness in a world turned upside down by war and famine.
-A woman on trial in a world where telling the truth is a crime.
-A boy who lives in constant terror of someone who is supposed to love and protect him, but who has betrayed that trust. A horror story that examines the real-life beasts who walk among us every day.
This is the story of a woman brutally abused by her husband in a time when there was little recourse for such victims. But one day she is given a possible way out of her torment. The only thing is, the way out may be a way in to something even more horrible.
The short story of an outcast who must decide between vengeance and forgiveness in a world turned upside down by war and famine.
The story of a man who is faced with the prospect of losing the most important thing in his life—his son—but instead loses his mind. And then finds himself trapped in a waking nightmare with no way out.