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[Author Interview] Errick Nunnally

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Errick Nunnally was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, he served one tour in the Marine Corps before deciding art school would be a safer—and more natural—pursuit. He is permanently distracted by art, comics, science fiction, history, and horror. Trained as a graphic designer, he has earned a black belt in Krav Maga/Muay Thai kickboxing after dark.

Errick’s work includes: the novels, BLOOD FOR THE SUN and LIGHTNING WEARS A RED CAPE; LOST IN TRANSITION, a comic strip collection; and first prize in one hamburger contest.

The following are some short stories and their respective magazines or anthologies: PENNY INCOMPATIBLE (Lamplight, v.6, #3 and the Podcast NIGHTLIGHT); JACK JOHNSON AND THE HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE OF THE GALAXY (The Final Summons); WELCOME TO THE D.I.V. (Wicked Witches); A FEW EXTRA POUNDS (Transcendent); and A HUNDRED PEARLS (PROTECTORS 2: stories to benefit PROTECT.ORG). Eventually, Errick came to his senses and moved to Rhode Island with his two lovely children and one beautiful wife.

He is currently working on a novella and a novel. The novella is currently under wraps, but the novel is The Headless Woman, sequel to All The Dead Men and that’ll be it for the Alexander Smith novels. For now.

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I’ve always been interested in stories. My earliest memories are my mother reading comic books like Fantastic Four and Hulk to me, the Lee/Kirby stuff. My curiosity was primarily focused in illustrative storytelling such as comics and cartoons. I ended up with a lot of action figures like Micronaughts and Marvel heroes. I needed multiple characters to play out the stories that kept popping into my head. My mother and grandmother were very crafty, so none of the toys I had remained in their “universe.” I’d recreate all sorts of costumes and tools, and create new characters. Some of that stuff stuck with me for so long, those ideas made it into Lightning Wears A Red Cape. I think, like most genre writers, the first inkling that I might write a novel came from reading Fantasy and Science-Fiction. Horror came later, mostly through those genres.

Describe your desk / writing space.

Essentially any flat surface where I can be left alone for an hour or two! To be honest, I have a desk in the basement, half surrounded by bookcases and my other stuff that I use. It helps to have the things I can’t let go of around me. Just items of interest from writing utensils, notebooks, novels, dice, lava lamp, little things my kids have made, the list goes on. I do try to keep space on the desk, however, I hate complete disarray.

Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired?

I wish I had a writing routine! I write when inspired, yes, but also when I have time. My responsibilities to family, home, and work chew up quite a bit of time. I write whenever I can, basically. And it has been that way for years now. The upside is developing the discipline to write when needed.

How do you come up with the title to your books?

No idea! I do enjoy a punchy title or phrase. I think I’ve been mimicking the movie-style of titles, generally keeping it between two and four, relatively short words. Trends change and rules get broken, however. The working title for my novella is rather long!

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

In general, I think scenes of deep despair or loss are the most difficult. Especially when it comes to kids. For instance, two of the most recent were in the anthologies The Bad Book and Fright Train. The former involves the main character’s mother having her teeth taken and why. The latter is witnessing the final breaths of a mother and daughter. In the Alexander Smith series, the hardest scenes to write are Alexander’s inner-dialogue when he’s suffering mental collapse, particularly when they’re triggered by loss—losing his mind, his daughter, his lover.

What inspired your book/series?

Alzheimer’s and dementia. Memory loss, overall, along with Black and Indigenous trauma. Both of my grandmothers and one of my aunts suffered through memory loss in their twilight years. I used to get these elongated postcards with missing children on one side. There’s also the inequity of attention when BIPOC kids go missing. Mix all of that with my love of thrillers and werewolves and my loathing for cultured vampires… This all came together in a comic I painted, around 1996. I collaborated with a friend at school to develop the idea as a comic but we never got beyond plots and sketches. The idea stuck with me for over a decade after that, until I wrote the novel as a challenge for myself when I was laid and unable to find work for a couple of years.

What are you working on next?

Two things: 1) A coming-of-age novella set in 1970s Boston during the aftermath of Civil Rights and COINTELPRO, the heyday of music, at least one explosion, an illicit bookstore, and the possibility of having an alien mother. 2) The third book in the Alexander Smith series which explains much about where he was going (New Orleans) when he ended up in Boston at the start of the series, the origins of weres and vamps, demigods, a zombie henchman, two undead alligators, sorcery, voudon, etcetera, etcetera. The usual stuff.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

David Gerrold (most of his books), Kim Harrison (the Hollows series), Richard Kadrey (Sandman Slim), Walter Mosley (Easy Rawlins and others), Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson), Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet), a stupid amount of comic books, and whatever else caught my eye along the way.

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

Kauai, probably.

What is your favorite meal?

That’s a moving target, but I’d reckon an all-beef hot dog is a constant!

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Assam tea, usually. Red wine, beer, and cocktails. I can’t bear the flavor of coffee. It tastes like perverted chocolate, and I love chocolate.

Describe yourself in three words.

Skeptical obstreperous human.

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