Ambitious, Dean M Drinkel is a published author, editor, award-winning script-writer and film director as well as being Associate Editor of FEAR Magazine – he has also contributed several non-fiction pieces to various publications. He has over thirty credits to his name in the field of genre writing (including short stories, collections, novellas, anthologies); has written and directed fifteen theatrical plays in London and the South East of England and during the years 2002 – 2008, he wrote and directed several short experimental films. In 2016 Dean moved to Cannes, France to write a script with Romain Collier which was to become entitled “The Tragedy Of The Duke of Reichstadt”. This won two screenplay awards (Best Historical Drama / Best Independent Spirit) at the Monaco International Film Festival. In 2017 Dean directed the short film “15” for Midas Light Films (currently doing the festival circuit and screened at the Solaris Festival in Nice in June 2018). Dean has won five awards (thus far) for his script-writing and was runner-up for the 2001 Sir Peter Ustinov Screenwriting Award (International Emmys) – for his script “Ghosts”.Dean is a Full Member of the WGGB and is available for writing / directing commissions in either France or England.
KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
Hi great to chat with you and yes, of course. My name is Dean M. Drinkel. I am an author, compiler / editor of several anthologies, award winning script-writer, film director – I have also written / directed for the theatre and I’m in the process of setting up my own horror publishing company (DEMAIN PUBLISHING).
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
In all honesty this year (2018) I have only had a handful of days off due to my workload. I think it’s about five days where I haven’t done anything ‘writing’ related at all. I am hoping for some time off before Christmas and maybe might take a short holiday if I have the time. In the past when I’ve had spare time I enjoy going to the football (Spurs are my team), watching American football (Dallas Cowboys in particular) as well as binging stuff on either Netflix or NowTv. Right now I’m spending time between the UK and France due to projects – France is my home though – there I will go out most nights and wherever I can find it I don’t mind a bit of karaoke (and don’t worry I’m told I’m quite good at it – certain songs in my range anyway).
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
Ha – it wasn’t even my book, it was my brother’s: Enid Blyton’s “The Magic Faraway Tree”!!!! It’s making me smile even as I write this. Such fun. I’ve always wanted to make a film of it but I believe somebody recently bought the rights…a shame because I know we could make something special with it…but hey, good luck to them whoever they are.
KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
Music is VERY important when I’m writing. When I begin a project the first thing I do is buy a load of cds, download them onto my mp3 and off I go. I love the inspiration that music gives me when I’m starting something new. I make sure also that I listen to those specific tunes only when working on that particular project so (for example) if a year or two later I look back at what I wrote I can start hearing the music I listened to when writing it. It works in reverse too that if I hear a particular song on the radio (or whatever) then I’m transported back to that story / film. My taste in music is very eclectic so have several favourite albums but overall…okay, let’s say the soundtracks to “Les Miserables” or “Amadeus”. I love Mozart and “The Magic Flute” is my favourite opera – when I worked in the theatre I drafted a film version of “Flute” set during the first world war which I started to send out to producers…anyway, Kenneth Branagh beat me to it…I did like his (and Stephen Fry’s) version though so can’t complain (too much anyway!). I’m really into French (language) contemporary music which always seems to have a bad press but hopefully artists such as Christine And The Queens, Stromae, Orelsan and M83 are helping to buck the trend.
KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie / director?
Oh yes – Clive Barker is my biggest horror influence and it is because of him that I do what I do – I’ve met him a couple of times and I directed one of his plays “Frankenstein In Love” in London a few years back. I must add though that I have a massive soft spot for Rob Zombie in terms of music and his films. I was lucky to attend a screening in Cannes of the uncut version of “House Of A 1000 Corpses” before it was bought and put in cinemas. What a ride that was – there was me and perhaps 40 – 50 film buyers in that screening room. By the end of it there were only five of us left. Now, this was not because the film was rubbish, the complete opposite – the violence, the blood…ha, it was brilliant. People were throwing up in that room and screaming. When I took a friend to see it once the film had been released about 8 months later I think it was, I was like – what the hell is this, the film (though still good in my eyes) was nothing, nothing at all on that original version. I’d love to work with Rob one day and can’t wait to see the new “Three From Hell” which continues the adventures of the Firefly family. I didn’t mind his “Halloween” either nor his “Lords of Salem.”
KR: What are you reading now?
I’ve got a few on the go. As well as friends’ books (including those by Dave Jeffery, Mark West, Heide Goody & Iain Grant) I’m also reading: Dickens’ “The Tale Of Two Cities”, Bulgakov’s “The Master And Margarita”, Calvo’s “The Castle Of Crossed Destinies” and re-reading William Sansom’s “The Body” which I used to have the film rights to and so I’m familiarising myself with the book…just in case!
KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?
Clive massively as I’ve already mentioned; James Herbert, Stephen King (to some extent anyway, I’m not a massive King fan), Peter James, Graham Masterton (who wrote the introduction to my book “The Junk Merchants”) but my influences are not solely in the horror genre so I must thank writers such as Umberto Eco, William Burroughs, Arthur Rimbaud, Bret Easton Ellis, John Fowles, Lindsay Clarke, Shakespeare, Alexandre Dumas…
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
It really depends on the project. Recently I’ve been working on a lot of historical stuff so for that, as it’s based on real people / events etc I have to carefully outline the plot to keep accuracy. Generally the way I work is a title comes to me and then I go from there – of course whilst I’m writing plot points might randomly appear so I note them down and use / discard later as I see fit. Sometimes what happens is that I create a ‘stream of consciousness’ and from that I cherry pick parts I like to then write in the story proper. This year has been interesting as I’ve been working with some different film producers who have asked me to give them treatments / outlines before we actually start the script – it’s been a great exercise for me initially telling the story like that before presenting a finished screenplay. Whether or not I keep to the outline when I actually start writing, only time will tell.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Again, it depends on the project or the medium I’m working in. I’m writing something currently set during WW1, it’s a horror story so I’m using my imagination in the main but there had to be an element of research as it’s set in a mental asylum in France so there were certain questions I had to ask myself (and of the story / characters) before I put pen properly to paper…the reason why I relocated to France in the first place was to write a historical feature film script about the son of Napoleon (entitled: “The Tragedy Of The Duke Of Reichstadt”). I met (who was to become) my co-writer at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2015. We agreed the night we met to write this film and then spent the next six months meeting up in Cannes and Paris as well as carrying out other research independently. I moved to Cannes in Jan 2016 and we were able to start immediately because of all the work we’d put in. We were really able to hit the ground running. It took us nine months to complete the script (a three hour screenplay) and we then won two awards at the Monaco International Film Fest. It’s now going to become a major European tv series so last year my co-writer and I went to Vienna for additional research (it’s a French story but actually set in Austria). Right now I am writing a horror script set at the Battle of Waterloo with Napoleon as the main protagonist – so again, there is a need for some research but I’m able to use the freedom of my imagination…funny though is that I’ve been speaking to some Napoleonic re-enactors and they’ve asked me to join them for a weekend to live the life of a soldier…that will be very interesting and will give me lots of hands-on insight. I’m looking forward to it.
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
Up early, breakfast, emails, updating social media, two hours or so on a project. Break. One hour on a project, two hours on the publishing company. Dinner. An hour on a project. Final emails of the day. Social media. There will also be a couple of hours reading / researching thrown in somewhere there and recently I’ve been helping another publisher with his website…busy hey?! And more often or not this is 7 days a week.
KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?
In respect of film I would say that “The Tragedy” is definitely the favourite thing I’ve written (or in this case co-written) as there is so much of me / my co-writer in it. We had a fun time on it and the fact that we wrote it for actors who subsequently said yes and we won our awards for it and it’s going to be actually made – it meant so much…stories, I really really like “Curse Of The Vampire” though I know it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea (as it’s quite graphic)
I’m also fond of the tale I wrote for the William Burroughs tribute anthology “The Junk Merchants” (Nocturnicorn Books) – if it came down to a coin-toss I’d say the story I did for John Prescott’s “M Is For Monster” which was my return to writing fiction after taking a short break whilst I did the plays…and then the tale I wrote about the mysterious Doctor Papper which appeared in the anthology “Fear The Reaper” (edited by Joe Mynhardt for CRYSTAL LAKE PUBLISHING). I love that character and he’s appeared in a couple of other stories I’ve had published so far and hope to revisit him again in 2019.
KR: Do you read your book reviews?
Doesn’t everybody? You have to take the rough with the smooth however – what is important though is that you don’t take it personally (or too seriously). If you get a good one, great – but if you get a bad one, dust yourself down and get on with the next project. You should always ensure that your next piece of work is better than the one you’ve just finished so keep that as a mantra: I will and can always be better. One piece of advice worth heeding – never engage your critics / reviewers particularly in a ‘war of words’. You will never win and probably come across as petty to your readers and other players in the industry. Sure, it is okay if they have made a glaring error and you can contact them to tell them that (ie if they get the name of your story wrong or even your name) but otherwise leave well alone. I remember meeting a critic from a well known theatrical newspaper in England – he came to see “Frankenstein In Love” – he didn’t give us the best review as apparently he wanted our play to be a second “The Rocky Horror Show” which “Frankenstein” certainly wasn’t…anyway, I saw him again at the next show we put on but instead of attacking him about what I thought was some extremely unfair comments we shook hands, had a nice chat and he gave us a good review of the new piece. The industry is far too small to have enemies and with the way social media is nowadays you should spend your time writing not arguing / fighting with ‘keyboard warriors’.
KR: Any advice for a fledging author?
If I look back now at what I needed when I first started out, it was a mentor. My first book came out just after university and it would have really helped me in those early days if I had someone who could guide me, find markets, introduce me to people within the industry etc etc – sadly (because it’s not always easy for writers) true, but networking is key. Twenty or so years later I tried to be what I needed then to my French co-writer – of course the landscape is very different now to what it was due mainly to the internet / social media and the world seems so much smaller. I hope that the advice etc I gave him during the writing of our script was worthwhile – he’s now had three stories published (in English) and is working on his first novel so good luck to him. I hope it works out. I would also say to any writer: keep writing, write every day but also get out there and talk to people – that is so true about the film industry too (even as a writer) it is not what you know but who. And please, never, ever give up. No matter how long it takes you – never give up. You will get there.
KR: What scares you?
Um – well, I won’t fly now unless I have to. I’ve flown many times but I think I’ve used up my ‘nine lives’ so to speak. I have a friend in France who was one of only six survivors (I believe from almost 300 passengers) of a plane crash. What made it worse (if it could get any worse), is the day after the crash he was then involved in a serious car accident in Paris – he was the only survivor apparently! My last flight back from Vienna to Nice had quite a hairy landing due to the weather and then when I flew back to the UK for something or other a little while later I literally had a panic attack the whole way – I was grabbing hold of anything and anyone – bit pathetic probably. I also don’t like heights (they’re probably related) and in Cannes there is one of those carousel wheels – not that long ago I suddenly decided I wanted to go on it, so my mate and I did – it was a mistake, as soon as we were a few feet in the air and the wheel started to vibrate…wow, I was shaking so badly I actually couldn’t talk, I was petrified – thanks for reminding me.
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
All are cool with me – I would also add audio versions are becoming more and more important and this a medium I’m dying to work in. Personally I tend to buy paperbacks more than the others. I do have a kindle which is great if you’re travelling but I haven’t taken to it 100%. Hardbacks are excellent on a shelf but not always easy to carry in your luggage. I do love scouting around second hand shops buying 20 – 30 paperbacks at a time and then devouring them…I’m not sure if I have the time for that right now but it brings back happy memories of when I lived in London – I’d get the train over to Eton / Windsor – buy a load of books then spend the day in the pubs reading and drinking and chatting to the locals – yeap, happy days indeed.
KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?
Sure – our latest book is called “Into The Night Eternal: Tales Of French Folk Horror” which has just been published by THE LYCOPOLIS PRESS. There are four novellas in the book by Romain Collier, Jan Edwards, Phil Sloman and myself. Moving to France has been a massive influence on my work (and me as a person) – I’ve always wanted to do something French specific so one night I was out with Romain and we talked about a concept I had for a ‘folk horror book’. He said he’d be interested in doing something for it and pitched me his idea “Past By One”. I spoke to Jan and Phil who had both worked in the ‘folk horror’ genre and were keen Francophiles. They said yes and their three stories are excellent. From a personal point of view, whilst I’ve been interested in ‘folk’ tales, I wanted to set my story in a city – so I did: Paris. I also used Christianity as my ‘folk trope’. It was a pleasure to work on this project and we pray it will be a great success – we also hope to have it published in French in the near future which is something I’m actively seeking.
KR: What are you working on now?
So as well as the WW1 story and the Napoleon horror script, I’m currently writing a sci-fi / horror tale for Trevor Kennedy’s “Gruesome Grotesque” series called “(A)void”. In the background I’m also working on a French-language sci-fi script called “La Machine” which hopefully is going to be very clever indeed as well as two original horrors and one other historical (which I’m in discussions with a producer right now). As I mentioned, I’m setting up my own publishing company and we will soon be releasing a number of books (watch this space!). In 2019 I’m hoping to finally write my novel “The Keeper Of The Bees” which will be a horror / dark fantasy novel – so that has been very much in my thoughts of late. I’d love to go somewhere (perhaps Sweden), lock myself away and just write it. With Christmas just around the corner I’m also trying to do some promotion for my anthology “12 Dark Days: One Helluva Christmas” (NOCTURNICORN PRESS) which really deserves an audience.
KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with and why?
- Fictional character from my writing: Lucien Moncrieff – a French vampire who appeared in my novella “Curse Of The Vampire” (HERSHAM HORROR) – I’m dying to write a sequel and he has many many tales to tell – he can be both fun but sometimes a little sad but he’d definitely be someone I wanted to spend time with.
- Fictional character from any other book: Maurice Conchis from “The Magus” – what that character doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing! Also he loves to play games (mental and physical) which would be a boon if we were stuck on an island with not much to do.
- Real life person: Arthur Rimbaud – I’d be interested to know if it was true that he did actually stop writing poetry as is claimed (mainly by his family) before he was twenty or whether somewhere there is a treasure trove of work just waiting to be discovered. I’m also intrigued how he ended up being a gun runner in Abyssinia.
KR: Thank you very much Dean.
You can find out more about Dean by visiting his official website www.deanmdrinkel.com
Follow Dean on Twitter @deanmdrinkel
Dean’s author page can be found here
Inspired by a country thriving with folklore and folktales come four novellas by award-nominated and award-winning authors heralding from both sides of La Manche, Lycopolis Press presents – INTO THE NIGHT ETERNAL: TALES OF FRENCH FOLK HORROR.
The novellas included in this first volume are:
“LES VACANCES” by PHIL SLOMAN. Frank and Elizabeth, change the habit of a life-time and travel to the south of France in search of a rural getaway. However, their tranquil idyll is soon shattered as folklore and family bring calamity to them.
“A SMALL THING FOR YOLANDA” by JAN EDWARDS Paris. 1937. Laetitia Toureaux’s alter ego, Yolanda, infiltrates the murky underworld of Montmartre and finds herself trapped in mortal combat against creatures far darker than the notorious La Cagoule.
“LE CHEMIN DE LA CROIX“ by DEAN M. DRINKEL As the murder spree begins ex-soldier Thomas meets younger hotel manager Jean and falls in love. Will Thomas reveal his dark past? And Jean? Well, he has secrets of his own…
“PAST BY ONE” by ROMAIN COLLIER Journalist Clément receives a letter from an old friend, inviting him to the Hotel Carolina, thirty miles outside Paris. Clément eagerly accepts as he has been promised a story which will dramatically change his life…then he meets the mysterious Candide…
Nocturnicorn Books and FEAR Magazine present 13 sinister seasonal stories to freeze the blood from some of Horror’s best indie authors …
Reluctant vampire Lucien Moncrieff attempts to piece together the story of his wretched life from amongst the blood, flesh, and the carnage of his past. Intrigued by a letter from his long-dead father, he visits a Paris chateau to learn the truth of his pain, his agony and perhaps his very being.