February 2023 4th Circle: Interview with S. MICHAEL SIEGAL
DESI D: Name one horror author you admire and explain how they helped you become a better writer.
S. MICHAEL SIEGAL: I am going to have to go with Edgar Allan Poe. As I was growing up, various movies were made from his writing. Some of the movies, like PIT AND THE PENDULUM, were very scary but had an outstanding plot. I like how his writing keeps you on the edge throughout the book and I try to emulate him in doing this.
DESI D: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot and why?
S. MICHAEL SIEGAL: My mascot is the Grim Reaper, and I have a lamp with the Grim Reaper hanging over my desk. The Grim Reaper has been referred to as “the angel of death” or “the lord of death.” The Grim Reaper is depicted as a cloaked skeleton carrying a large scythe which is used to sever the ties between the soul and the body and guide the deceased to the afterlife. My interpretation of the Grim Reaper is a reminder that death is imminent, and since life is short and fragile, it is important that you make every effort to accomplish your goals before being led to the afterlife. Being the author of a published work allows you to leave a part of you, for others to enjoy, when that unexpected time comes.
DESI D: What author has been your biggest inspiration to write? And why?
S. MICHAEL SIEGAL: Before I wrote my current novel, DUMONT, I wrote two other novels based on police stories. The author who inspired me the most was Joseph Wambaugh, a former LAPD police officer. Wambaugh inspired me to see a story by different points of view. In writing horror novels, you may pick a fixed object, such as a house that was considered haunted, and build a story around it with various characters affected by what transpires within this supposedly haunted structure.
DESI D: What is it about the art of storytelling that excites you? And of course, what is the next story we can look forward to from you?
The art of storytelling brings the reader into the story and surrounds them with what is happening around them. They take on the role of the main character and virtually act on their behalf. In writing novels where horror is the theme, it is imperative that you instill subtle acts of terror into the story. My next horror novel is in the infant stage. It will be composed of four short stories with thought-provoking horror, suspense, and thrills.