Peculiar Spotlight: Dan Wells

Dan Wells is known for writing horror, fantasy, and science fiction.  He is best known as the author of I Am Not A Serial Killer.  He has written many series and also contributes to the podcast Writing Excuses.  A graduate of Brigham Young University, he has been nominated for many industry awards such as the Hugo Award for Best Novella.

WHAT ARE THE BOOKS NEXT TO YOUR BED RIGHT NOW?

The Inklings by Humphrey Carpenter, The Midnight Front by David Mack, The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley, and vN by Madeline Ashby

WHAT'S THE LAST BOOK THAT REALLY MOVED YOU?

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

WHAT MAKES A GOOD HORROR/SCI-FI NOVEL? WHICH WRITERS OF HORROR AND SCI-FI DO YOU REALLY APPRECIATE?

I love books that are really about ideas--good characters are a must, obviously, but I love a book in SF, fantasy, or horror that digs into its weird side and shows me something that absolutely could not exist in any other genre. Ramez Naam is great for this--his books are thrillers, but they're thrillers that depend fully on their science fictional premise, and follow the implications of their technology as far as he can go.

WHO IS A WRITER THAT HAS A KNACK YOU ADMIRE? WHAT IS THAT TRAIT?

If I ever figure out how to do dialogue and dialogue attributions as well as Hilary Mantel, I'll be overjoyed.

DO YOU PREFER READING ON PAPER OR DIGITALLY? CAN YOU READ MORE THAN ONE BOOK AT A TIME?

 I prefer paper, but don't mind digital if it's on a good screen (i.e. I read on a kindle, not an iPad). I'm usually reading at least three books at a time, and often more.

WHICH PERSON THAT YOU KNOW HAD THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON YOUR READING HABITS AND LOVE OF READING?

 My parents. All my memories of my childhood involve books in some way.

WHAT IS A BOOK PEOPLE MIGHT NOT THINK YOU LOVE, BUT YOU DO LOVE? WHAT IS A BOOK PEOPLE THINK YOU WOULD LOVE THAT YOU DON'T LOVE?

It's popular these days to make fun of The Catcher in the Rye, or to pass it off as a book teens love but is to shallow for adults. I first read it about eight years ago, and I frigging adore it.

As for books I don't like: I don't talk about books I don't like unless the authors are dead, and the only books I truly hate are stuff like A Separate Peace, Ethan Frome, or My Antonia, and I can't imagine anyone would think that I love those because they are empirically terrible.

WHAT BOOKS HAVE BEEN ON YOUR "TO-READ" LIST FOR A LONG TIME AND WHY HAVEN'T YOU GOTTEN TO THEM YET?

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I have Storm Front right here on my desk, so it's turn will finally come, but it's been waiting for a very long time.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE LINES FROM A BOOK?

"The Vogon ships hung in the sky exactly the way that bricks don't." (From Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.)

WHAT'S A BOOK YOU'RE AN AN EVANGELIST FOR?

 I tell everyone I meet to read the Saxon Tales by Bernard Cornwell. The first book is called The Last Kingdom, and the tenth book just come out a few months ago, and I hope the series never ends. They are my favorites.

ARE YOU A REPEAT READER? WHY OR WHY NOT?

Usually not, because I can only read a limited number of books before I die and rereading feels like wasting a slot. The only exception is Dune, by Frank Herbert, which I reread every five years or so. We're actually due for another read pretty soon here.

WHO ARE THREE WRITERS, DEAD OR ALIVE, YOU WOULD LOVE TO HAVE OVER FOR DINNER?

 Victor Hugo, Emily Bronte, and Philip K. Dick.

WHAT'S A BOOK YOU WOULD LOVE TO RECOMMEND TO OUR READERS?

If you haven't read Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott, find it and read it. It's a science fantasy written by a theologian in 1884, and it will blow your mind. If you've already read that, read The Alienist by Caleb Carr, and if you've already read both of those we could probably be friends.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU?

 I'm currently working on a cold war spy thriller, an epic fantasy about a reality show, and a supernatural YA, all in various stages of development. None are sold yet, so we just have to see where they end up.

You can learn more about Dan Wells at his website, www.thedanwells.com