If you haven’t heard of our new project, the On Fire anthology, this interview series will showcase our authors and their writing lives beyond their ignited tales. In Daniel M. Kimmel’s “The Burning of Atlanta,” director Frank O’Leary obsesses over creating the fire of all cinematic fires, and he makes one costly bargain to get it.
How long have you been writing?
Literally, since I could write. I had something published in the school annual in first grade. I think it was three sentences long.
How do reviews of your stories influence you?
As a human being, I like when people say nice things about me. As a veteran film critic, who has also reviewed books, I know I can’t please everyone and have to take my lumps. I don’t know that any review has influenced me, but the only ones that upset me is when the reviewer makes the amateurish mistake of reviewing the hypothetical book he/she wanted to read then complaining that my book wasn’t it.
How many stories have you written?
In terms of my fiction, one early unpublished novel, two published novels, my current work in progress, and a dozen or so short stories. I’ve finally had some luck with the short stories in the past year or two and plan to get back to them when I finish the novel I’m working on.
What interesting thing did you learn while writing your last story?
I was writing a scene in which I needed monster-themed music for a wedding. Some choices were obvious (e.g., “Monster Mash”), but I wanted something unexpected that might even be considered romantic. I did a Google search and found a song by En Vogue done for a Sesame Street special. It’s not something I ever would have come up with on my own.
Roughly what percentage of your time is spent editing?
As I used to tell my students, quoting Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather, the real work of writing is rewriting. After I finish a first draft, I will go over the material again and again making corrections, additions, and deletions, etc. It’s less time than I spent composing the first draft, but I will have read the text multiple times before letting it go.
If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self about becoming an author?
Here is a list of names of people who are enjoying the sort of career path you’re going to want for yourself. Go back in time and prevent them from being born.
Veteran film critic Daniel M. Kimmel was the Boston correspondent for Variety and currently reviews for NorthShoreMovies.net and Space and Time magazine. He is the author of several books including Jar Jar Binks Must Die…and other observations about science fiction movies, a Hugo finalist for “best related work,” and two novels: Shh! It’s a Secret: a novel about aliens, Hollywood, and the Bartender’s Guide, shortlisted for the Compton Crook Award for best first novel, and Time on My Hands: My Misadventures in Time Travel. His short story appearances including After the Happily Ever After, Alternate Truths, An Atlas to Time, Space, and Bonfires, Science Fiction Stories for the Throne, and It Came from the Boiler Room, as well as the website HollywoodDementia.com. He is currently work on his own take on the Frankenstein story.
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