Seven Questions for Alex Kimmell
Some people are just a glutton for punishment! Alex Kimmell bravely agreed to stop by my blog for the second time and answer #SevenQuestions. If you're a fan of horror, be sure to check out his website link below. Over to Alex...
1 - Which actor/actress would you love to see play your characters in a movie adaptation?
Initially when I’m writing, I try not to get too specific in what the characters look like. I prefer if their appearance develops in my head over time along with other details in the story, unless there is a very specific feature or trait that’s important to their behavior. However, in the early stages of writing “the Idea of North” I took the opposite route. I went online and looked for faces that gave me an immediate reaction for how I wanted each person to look. I use writing software called Scrivener which has space to create characters and add photos along with their descriptions and I set up a folder with everyone laid out.
Here is a quick list of the cast that was in my head while I worked on the book:
Aderato – Gary Oldman
Al Haytham – Aaron Paul
Anders Wegener – Warren Christie
Christian Walt – Rhys Ifans
Dalton Beaufort – Paul Dano
Eliza Beaufort – Rebecca Hall
Even Aello – Olivia Thirlby
John Casco – Rupert Grint
Julie – Mia Wasikowska
Marty English – Ryan Cartwright
Mary Beaufort – Vera Farmiga
Raina Beaufort – Sissy Spacek
Rubidelia/Max – Lorraine Bracco
Stuart Aello – Hugh Laurie
Will Hadley – Reed Timmer
2 – What is your biggest phobia?
I am terrified of heights. Back when my kids were younger we went on the Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier in California. My younger son who must have been around five or six at the time was sitting next to me. We rolled up to the top of the circle and the ride stopped to let the people at the bottom change places. I freaked out. I gripped the side of the carriage so hard that I cracked a fingernail. I was staring at my hands wanting to let go, but I couldn’t. I kept saying, “I can’t let go. I can’t let go.” My son put one hand on top of mine calmly rubbing in small circles, “It’s okay Daddy. Everything will be fine. I promise Daddy. I’m here. I’ll take good care of you.”
So, not a humbling experience at all.
In addition, I don’t treasure the thought of being crushed. Not very pleasant.
3 - Which writer has influenced you most?
Picking one author and saying they have more impact on me than anyone else is nearly impossible. I’ve always been a voracious reader and I like reading multiple books at a time, switching stories depending on my moods. It takes an incredible story to make me laser focus on only one. There are a handful of authors who have been able to do that to me multiple times. My favorites are Michael Marshall Smith, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson, Mark Z. Danielewski and Joe Hill. I don’t know if it’s possible to write in the horror genre in America without feeling the tremendous influence of Stephen King. Not only is he immensely prolific, he work has such high quality. Even his books that the diehard fans don’t rank are better than most of us will do in our lifetime. I read Pet Sematary in Junior High. I’ll never forget being alone at home one night, sitting in the den reading the creased up paperback with the cat on the cover. Our cat Taffy looked almost exactly the same. As I finished the last page of the book, she jumped on my lap. I threw the book across the room screaming at the top of my lungs. From that moment on I was hooked. The adrenaline rush of that shock changed my entire life. I’ve been reading horror books and watching scary movies ever since.
4 - Paper or plastic (books I mean...physical book or e-reader?)
I prefer paper, but the convenience of having an entire library worth of books at any given time is priceless. I look at the “battle” between physical and digital books in the same way I look at music. Sure I would much rather listen to the record on vinyl. But I can’t play an lp in the car or if I went for a jog. I don’t see any reason why it has to be one way or the other. I like having access to every book I want wherever I am. I would rather sit on my couch flipping through my signed copy of The Martian Chronicles or House of Leaves, but that isn’t always possible. In the waiting room at my doctor’s office, I love being able to turn on the iPad or Kindle and pick from a thousand books. It certainly makes travel packing much lighter too.
5 - Can you just sit down and write or do certain things (location, music, ambience, time of day) need to be right?
All things being equal, alone in a quiet room is where I feel most able to think and write. Living in a small place with two teenagers makes that a fairly uncommon occurrence. Sometimes I’ll put my headphones on and listen to music to quiet the distractions away. It’s mostly when they are at school; I try to get as much accomplished as I can. In the evenings and on the weekends I squeeze time in when I can, but I want to spend time with my family. Summer break is a challenge for writing, but everyone is very supportive. You can’t stop life from happening and sometimes you just have to go wherever it takes you and make it work for yourself.
6 - Sun or Moon?
How about an eclipse? I don’t do very well when it’s hot outside. I prefer cooler weather, I’m a winter guy. With the topics I write about, the Moon is definitely more my speed. I love the night sky. Space, stars, the Milky Way and the great vast universe out there, it inspires me quite a bit. I know what we see of the moon is really reflected light from the sun so we can’t have one without the other. But, as they say, night time is the right time!
7 - Favorite curse word?
I'm choosing this one because it makes me feel like I'm on Inside The Actor's Studio!
I swear all the time. I see no problem with "bad" words. There are far more horrible things said in the world that degrade, abuse and cause real harm to other people that don't contain any forbidden four letter words. Of course, I know to respect other people and not walk into a house of faith screaming FUCK or GOBNOBBLER! I don't mind if my kids curse but I teach them to know when and where it's not appropriate and might get them into trouble.
The obvious choice for greatest curse word for most people I know is FUCK. It's short, loud, sharp and strikes like a bullet to emphasize whatever point you're trying to make. Perfect.
My personal favorite to use is DICKCHEESE. In high school my football coach screamed at us during a work out and called us "Cheese Dicks". While it made me laugh and is a good insult, it's not quite as disgusting as Dickcheese. A dick made of cheese is funny. Cheese that comes from a dick paints a far more gross image in my mind. So there it is. Try it on for size: DICKCHEESE!