An Interview with Author Damon Norko

The Levee by [Norko, Damon]

An Interview with Author Damon Norko

1.  What inspires you to write?

I like to challenge myself with all sorts of writing (I actually plan to write at least one of each type of genre by the time I am done) but I especially like speculative fiction, because I really believe that speculative fiction can save the world.   When we visualize and share our vision we come face to face with possibilities; some good, some not so good.  We must keep the discussion going, otherwise the decisions will be made for us. I guess I am indeed a message writer, but I like to think that I provide the reader more than just that.

2.  What would you like to us know about your book?

In The Levee, I tried to evoke a possible future world but with a very realistic approach. I let the characters live and breathe and then ultimately find the story.  This process had some unexpected results; it has been said that perhaps the lead character is not particularly heroic. Yet I kind of like that.  Darren is who he is . . . a regular guy. But he definitely learns some things along the way.  I think I wanted to portray the experience of learning about life, which is why this book is pitched for YA. It's what we all go through at that point in our lives.  In other words, Darren (and the reader) learn that nothing is perfect, not people, not worlds.

3.  Please tell us about your writing process.

I generally have an idea for a story and take notes on it for quite a while -- I keep file of perhaps two dozen stories that I update periodically.  Then, somehow or another -- perhaps I think of the main character, or the ending, or perhaps I relate another story in a way that is intriguing, or sometimes I just feel the time is right to put it together-- one of these story ideas leaps out of the pack.  I take the story as far as it goes -- sometimes into novels, sometimes novellas, sometimes short stories. (I don't write much flash fiction though!) Lately, I have also been turning things into plays, a process of which I have found immensely challenging and rewarding at the same time. (The rewarding part is that I am actually going to see one of my short plays, Foodies!, performed off-Broadway in NYC, Oct 19-22, at Boo!, The Player's Theater Short Play and Musical Festival.  The challenging part is that I am directing it.)

4.  What advice do you have for young writers?

As I mention above, keep files.  Not everything is going to be good, but there's always that line or that image or that character that you can use later on.

Also, don't be afraid to research.  if you want to write about a museum, go to a museum.  Take notes, mental or otherwise.  Find that one image of the place that makes it interesting.  (In my book, The Ghost Writer, one of the ghosts haunts a real Frederick MD place called the Civil War Medical Museum.  So I went down to get some details  . .. But I didn't realize quite how expensive it was and as I was hesitating at the entrance, just kind of peeking around, the attendant came over to harass me for learning for free, and I sheepishly backed out.  But as it turned out, I had what I needed. I put the attendant in the story.)

Finally, it is important to challenge yourself. Set goals.  Try different things -- you never know how they will turn out. (It's how I got into plays.)

5.  What are you working on now?

I am on a self-imposed hiatus because I am in the middle of directing TWO plays, the one that I mentioned in NYC and back home here in Maryland, where I am staging The Giver at my high school.

6.  Who are your favorite writers?

I have very many favorites, but Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut are probably at the top.  Also Aldous Huxley and Voltaire.  But I respect and admire a great many others, both old and new.  And I love Mad Magazine.  Just saying'.

The Ghost Writer by [Norko, Damon]

7.  Where can we learn more about you and your book, including where we can purchase a copy?

I have updates on my website, damonnorko.com.  All of my books can be purchased though all major online booksellers, but the best place is from Black Rose Writing directly.  Besides cutting out the middleman, one can support the small press!

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