We are happy to have D.J. Pizzarello with us today! D.J. has written several highly rated works on Book Country including ANGEL OF MERCY and SATAN’S LURE. He is the winner of the Editor’s Choice Prize from AuthorStand. D.J. is currently working on a collection of horror short stories. Connect with D.J. on Book Country.
Janet Umenta: Your books have garnered a lot of positive feedback on Book Country! I especially enjoyed reading SATAN’S LURE. How do you use the feedback you receive to better your writing?
D.J. Pizzarello: I often find feedback provocative, giving me the chance to see my work through the eyes of readers. I try to understand what prompts the suggestions and often find they lead to changes that strengthen my story. I don’t always incorporate the suggestions as given, but they initiate a chain of thought that improves what I’m writing. Criticism is, for me, valuable and welcome
JU: What made you decide to write short stories?
DP: All I can say is that I feel an impulse. An image, an idea, a snippet of dialog will occur to me that seems possessed by a motive force, an impulse that demands to be explored. I may not act on it right away, but eventually I’ll settle down to let the impulse drive me and see where it going. Sometimes it turns out to be a story. Sometimes it fizzles.
DP: My background in medicine and science didn’t have much to do with my choice of story subjects. However, some of the things learned in medicine and science have greatly influenced my stories’ construction. For example, the disciplines of medicine and science require close attention to detail and honest reporting. The judicious use of telling detail helps my fiction have the feel of reality and allows readers to identify with the situation in the plot. It places the reader in what seems real.
JU: What is your method of developing such strong dialogue in your stories?
DP: As I work, I hear the people in my story speaking and write what I hear. The dialogue arises from the character not from a formula. It’s what’s natural, to my ear, for such a character to say in the situation in which he or she finds him/herself. I make no effort to style their words or speech pattern. It’s what comes from their nature.
JU: You are the co-author of 4 textbooks on radiation biology and cancer care. How did writing non-fiction influence your fiction writing?
DP: The subjects of my non-fiction writing were not inherently simple. My challenge was to present such subjects in a simple, easy to understand way, without over-simplifying them. To do that, I imagined that I was speaking to people and conveying ideas not just writing about or describing them. The subject matter became a kind of story for me, using selected, illustrative details with which people could identify, narrative thread, suspense, and, as far as possible, resolution. I transferred this method to my fiction. There is an idea, which may not be simple, that I try to convey in an interesting way using details, narrative thread, suspense, and sometimes, but not always, resolution. As in science, there can be ambiguity in fiction; in fact, I like it.
JU: Psychological horror is prominent in your work. The last scene in THE GIFT OF LIFE was especially haunting. How did you get started writing in this genre?
DP: I have no idea what prompts me to write about psychological horror or how I got started writing about it. All I can say is that it’s a genre that comes naturally to me, that interests and attracts me, that makes me want to explore it.
Connect with D.J. on Book Country.