I’m so excited to have Dan Wells by the blog today as part of our Keepers of the Crypt event. He is the author of the John Cleaver series as well as the Partials series. If you enjoy devouring thrilling post-apocalyptic &/or paranormal thrillers with unique and exciting characters then Wells has you covered with his enthralling works.
Welcome to Fictitious Musings, Dan!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Dan Wells, and I live in Stuttgart, Germany with my wife and five kids. I grew up in Utah, and I’ve also lived in Mexico for a few years; I’m a big fan of traveling and experiencing new cultures. I’ve been writing since I was in second grade, though I didn’t get serious about it until college, and I didn’t get published until several years after that. I have six books out, plus some short fiction here and there, and hope to continue writing until the day I die (and long after).
The John Cleaver trilogy tells the story of a teenage sociopath with a knack for stalking monsters. Have you considered continuing the series with a spin-off?
Absolutely! I have two other books to finish first, but when they’re done I’ll definitely be starting a new John Cleaver book…though the form that book will take is still a secret. Maybe an update, maybe from the demon’s point of view, maybe from the POV of a major character in I DON’T WANT TO KILL YOU, I don’t know yet. I haven’t decided, but it will definitely happen.
The Partials series is post-apocalyptic and the John Cleaver series is paranormal thriller, very different types of novels. Why did you choose to go in two vastly different directions with your novels?
I write whatever interests me, and in this case that was paranormal and post-apocalyptic. My next book is adult SF, a corporate satire that couldn’t possibly be more different than the others. AND YET, while the genres and executions differ wildly, the themes and balance stay the same. Every one of my books deals with the use and abuse of power, and the deep questions of morality and identity. Who are you? What do you believe? How much do you believe it? How far are you willing to go to defend it? My books are very different in a lot of ways, but they all come back to these same questions.
John is a very disturbed individual. How much research was involved in creating the character of John Cleaver and the series as a whole?
Not as much research as you might expect, because I was already a huge “fan” of sociopathic psychology; I know fan is the wrong word, maybe proponent? Armchair psychologist? I’ve been studying abnormal psychology as a hobby my whole life, and turning it into a character was kind of my way of processing it all and organizing it in my head.
During your research of serial killers, what was the most disturbing fact you uncovered?
Modern psychological theory suggests that serial killers are five to ten times more common than we think, because most serial killers are harder to spot: we can identify the ones that have showy methods and clear hallmarks, but the rest fly under the radar because we never suspect that their kills are related. So, sleep well tonight I guess.
In your recent novel, The Hollow City, the main character Michael Shipman is a paranoid schizophrenic; in the John Cleaver series, John is a sociopath. Is there a reason your characters have mental health issues?
Because mental health is fascinating. The ability of your brain–a physical organ ruled by chemicals–to completely screw with you, to change your personality and your capacity and even your perception of reality. I love to get inside these heads, these ways of seeing the universe, and try to present their view in such a way that it pulls the reader in and helps them to see the world in the same way. It’s also just an amazing storytelling device, because it’s so easy to set up the pins and then knock them all down in a dramatic, reader-grabbing way. I love it.
A lot of authors listen to certain songs to set the mood while writing specific scenes. Do you have a playlist you listen to while writing? If so, what songs are on it?
I set a different playlist for each book I’m writing. Partials was written with a series of protest songs and “grrl power” rock songs, like “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones and lots of cool stuff by The Breeders and Veruca Salt and The Dollyrots.
What projects are you currently working on?
My current manuscript, which should be done by the end of the month, is called Extreme Makeover: Apocalypse Edition, and it’s a corporate satire about cloning and the health and beauty industry. So, you know, completely different than all my other books
Favorite Halloween candy?
Would you believe I don’t actually eat a lot of candy? I don’t like sweet things in general. I do like gummi bears, though, maybe because they’re so mild. Mostly I’m the kind of weirdo who’s excited when somebody gives out apples or hot dogs.
Vampires or Demons?
From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire.
Favorite childhood Halloween costume?
My son, when he was three, was dressed as Tigger, but then he wanted a cloak, and then he wanted to be everything else he saw while trick-or-treating, and he ended up introducing himself at one of the houses as Vampire Ninja Robin Hood Power Ranger Tigger. I don’t know if I can even imagine a childhood costume cooler than that.
Would you stay overnight in a haunted house?
I’m pretty sure I already have.
Trick or Treat?
About the Author
Dan Wells is a thriller and science fiction writer. Born in Utah, he spent his early years reading and writing. He is he author of the Partials series (Partials, with the second book coming early 2013) and John Cleaver series (I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don’t Want To Kill You).
He has been nominated for both the Hugo and the Campbell Award, and has won two Parsec Awards for his podcast Writing Excuses. His newest novel, The Hollow City, was released in July.
Tags:Dan Wells, I An Not A Serial Killer, I Don't Want to Kill You, John Cleaver Series, Keepers of the Crypt event, Mr Monster, Paranormal thrillers, Partials, Partials series, Post-apocalyptic, The Hollow City, Young Adult fiction