Welcome to the first entry in a new, ongoing series. I will be posting about authors I personally admire. Authors with wit, skill, a dazzling way with words, and who are just wonderful people in Real Life®. Some will be from the Golden Ages of Science Fiction, some will be from my formative years of dwelling in the school library, and some will be from folks I’ve met through conventions, social media, and their recent books.
I’ve mentioned Gene O’Neill before in blog posts, discussing how the dark/horror genre is a cooperative family. Gene is a funny chap, with a quick wit that will keep you on your toes and laughing at the same time. He’s also selfless, constantly trying to help and promote other authors and the genre in general.
Del Howison, the owner of both Dark Delicacies and the best head of hair on any male in the known universe, interviewed Gene over at Fearnet. Gene arrived along with a slew of authors you know off the top of your head. He was on his way to the big leagues when he had to make a decision that would impact his life for the years to follow. Gene had to decide on quitting his job and writing full-time, or to keep his “day job” so he could help his family get through some expensive opportunities for his daughters, including sending one to medical school. Gene did the right thing … actually, the only thing a parent could do. He chose to be there for his family. Kudos to Gene!
You can read the first part of Del’s insightful interview here: http://www.fearnet.com/news/interview/gene-oneill-talks-killing-marketplace-part-1.
Gene’s bibliography includes many short stories, novellas and novels. I have never read one of his works that I didn’t like. The jewel of his authorship so far is his novel, The Burden of Indigo. I picked up a signed copy of the limited edition hardcover when I attended KillerCon 4 in Las Vegas last year. Gene sold the short story version to Twilight Zone Magazine back in 1981, then fleshed it out to a full novel. Gene does something that is incredibly difficult to do — take a protagonist that every reader should hate and make them at least sympathetic enough for the reader to empathize. The concept and execution is exceptional, especially considering this was his first pro sale in short format when he was just starting as a genre author.
In case you’re not convinced, let me point out something from the 2012 Bram Stoker Awards®. Gene O’Neill’s work appeared in three categories:
- Not Fade Away was a finalist for Novels
- Rusting Chickens was a finalist for Long Fiction
- Graffiti Sonata was a finalist for Short Fiction.
If you’re interested in picking up one of the signed first-edition hardcovers, Dark Delicacies has two in stock. Visit http://www.darkdel.com, go to search books, and search for either Gene Oneill (it doesn’t like the apostrophe) or Burden Of Indigo. I’m sure you’ll not only enjoy the novel, but it will provide an example of how to make an unusual protagonist connect to your audience.