Interview With Author Philip Fracassi

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

I’m Philip Fracassi, and I write horror fiction and the occasional screenplay. To date, I’ve written two story collections (BEHOLD THE VOID and BENEATH A PALE SKY), the former of which won a couple awards and had a story reprinted in BEST HORROR OF THE YEAR, and the former of which was just released to very strong reviews. I’ve also written a couple novellas, and my debut novel comes out this Halloween. I also sold a novel coming out next summer from Talos Press called A CHILD ALONE WITH STRANGERS.

If interested in reading about me, my screenplays or finding out more about my books, the best source is my website: www.pfracassi.com

# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?

Oh God, there’s nothing real about any of my books. That would be horrible if there was. But life is tragedy, right? So I pull from that tragedy and create art, hopefully entertaining art.

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

I like coming up with fun, crazy situations to put my characters into. And by ‘fun’ I mean ‘horrible’, and by ‘crazy’ I mean ‘deadly’. Also, I love the art of writing prose. I’ve always been a writer, always wanted to be a professional writer, always had a love affair with words. So writing is something I find great joy in, and it’s very fulfilling for me.

# How do you deal with creative block?

I don’t have a creative block problem, per se. I literally have hundreds of ideas on my computer that I want to write about, whether they be short stories, novels, or screenplays. That said, when I’m deciding what to do next, or maybe I’m stuck not sure what I want to write about, I go back to all those ideas and read through them. Usually something sticks me in the gut and goes ME ME ME!

# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

Bad editing. Bad design. Bad prose. I try to avoid all the above. As far as writing a novel? I’d say keep it moving and make sure the structure is sound. Sloppy structure makes for a disjointed reading experience.

# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

I like my titles to set the tone of the book. Ominous, a bit frightening. Words like “Void” and “Pale Sky” give the reader a sense of what they’re in for. Regarding covers, as much as I have any say in that, I want them more than anything to look polished and professional. Good artwork helps, but good design is what really takes it home.

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

They’re disappointing but you try not to dwell on the good or the bad in this business. Focus on the work and on doing the best job you can. Folks are going to not like your work. Folks are going to love your work. You can’t please everybody, so just try and be professional and create the best art you can create and make sure it’s presented in a professional manner. What happens after that is out of your control.

# How has your creation process improved over time?

Since I’ve been published a few times now, I have a better idea of what goes into a story or a book than I did previously. I know what my word count needs to be, I’m better at knowing how much time it will take me, how to plan a story using an outline and research, things like that.

# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

The best was the act of writing the piece, making it perfect.

The worst was finding out how difficult it can be working with publishers. Some are great, some are awful.

The most surprising to me was reader response. I never expect a book to be read, or liked. So when that happens, it’s always a pleasant surprise.

# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

You can’t write for readers, because every reader has different taste, different likes, etc. So, yeah, I write for my own personal satisfaction. If I’m invested in the story, if I’m surprised or engrossed in the characters and the plot, than that’s good enough for me. The only time readers come into it is making sure the book is well-edited, well-proofed, and well-designed. I want readers to have a quality product, if nothing else.

# What role do emotions play in creativity?

Quite a bit, actually. For me, I need to be 100% emotionally-invested in a story. If I can’t feel what that character is feeling, than I can’t write about it very well. I’ve laughed and cried and felt chills up my spine while writing, so I’m definitely fully immersed.

# Do you have any creativity tricks?

There’s no tricks. Sit in the chair and write. That’s the secret. Shocking, I know.

As far as environment, for me personally I like atmospheric music. No vocals – messes me up. And I need space, and time. I’m not one of those people writing a novel on their phone while riding the subway. I need my office and I need space and I need to know I won’t be interrupted.

# What are your plans for future books?

As I said at the top, I have my debut novel, BOYS IN THE VALLEY, coming out Halloween 2021 from Earthling Publications. This will be a deluxe limited edition, but I hope to do a trade edition next year at some point. Then I have a big trade novel coming summer 2022, A CHILD ALONE WITH STRANGERS, from Talos Press. Very excited about that. I also have a novella coming out soon called COMMODORE, a book of poems later this year and a children’s book coming next year. My agent is currently shopping two additional novels and a third story collection, so fingers crossed those find homes.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

Not sure if it’s quirky but I’ve had a lot of jobs outside of fiction writing. I work in the film and tv business currently as a Location Manager, but I’ve also been a music executive, and I owned a bookstore / art gallery in Venice Beach for over a decade. I’ve also written feature films for Disney and Lifetime, and hope to continue screenwriting when time permits.