Dermott O’Malley, an ON TIME Author Interview


Join us as we peek behind the scenes of our upcoming anthology, ON TIME. Learn more about Dermott O’Malley in his featured interview.


What inspired your story?

Time travel in fiction often revolves around the butterfly or chaos theory. But what if there were a being that could manipulate events at will without damaging or causing a dangerous ripple-effect? What would that creature want or do with that power?

Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?

We don’t know much about our protagonist for most of this story, but I imagine him as an introvert tossed into the situation we find him in. He is easily manipulated, but not by way of ignorance; he is reserved and avoids confrontation, the type who says, “Sorry,” if you accidentally ran into his ankle with a grocery cart.

What is the most interesting thing about the world you’ve created?

Time and destined events are solid as an object, yet malleable. It makes me wonder, in the logic of this story, just how much can be manipulated if the right strings are pulled.

What genre or mix of genres does your story fit into?

“Thread Count” is horror story, but with some elements that would pull from the weird or speculative fiction genres.

How have your personal experiences influenced this story?

Like anyone else, whether you’re happy or not with where you are, you can’t help but wonder what changes in your past would affect your present. That’s what most of this story is about.

What would you like readers to take away from your story?

I think any reader can take away whatever they want from any story, and no writer or reader or anyone else should tell them what they should or shouldn’t take from it. Having said that, I hope the final pages of the story make the reader sit and think about what happened, and take the time to figure out what they would do in that situation.

What was your favorite part of the story to write and why?

I’m always a fan of stories that keep you in the dark for the majority of the ride, and this story is no exception. I suppose, for me, the slow reveal of characters and motives was the most enjoyable to write, but the ending was the most gratifying part.


When did you write your first story, how old were you, and what was it about?

I’ve always like telling stories, and have written some down in the past, but this particular story is the first thing I’ve really written, edited, polished, and re-polished with the intent to put out for others to enjoy. I’m honored to have my first real work placed in this anthology.

What is your writing survival checklist? (Aka, what helps your write the best: music, snacks, coffee, complete silence, a stress ball, a cat, or an outline, etc.)

I can’t say I really have one, because I like to write wherever and whenever the mood and opportunity strikes me. Ideally, it’s in my living room with music playing quietly in the background, but I’m not above having a thought at work and spending a few minutes writing on my cell phone.

What has influenced you most as a writer?

Horror movies and horror fiction, but only those that suite my taste. A good horror story needs to feel like it could happen to anyone, yet the stakes should be deep and psychologically unsettling. A mindless slasher film or cheap pop-up scares are just as bad as an unrealistic fantastical horror story. 

What font do you prefer to write in?

There are no fonts other than Times New Roman…or an ironically-used Comic Sans MS.

What is your favorite and least favorite word, and why?

I can’t say I have a favorite word, but I can’t help but cringe when people use “like,” as a sentence buffer.


Dermott is fascinated by the darker side of life, and his writing often follows suite. His stories often revolve around dark matters painted in a pessimistic light, paired with powerful storytelling and open characters. His debut short story, Thread Count, was originally published in Halloween Horror: Volume 1. His second published story, a novelette titled Memoirs of a Mute, was published in the anthology Lost Love. He has had other flash pieces and drabbles published in various forms. Follow him on Twitter @DermottOMalley 

ON TIME is coming in late September 2020. Be sure to follow us on Amazon.


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