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Fireside is a multigenre magazine of fiction and comics. We have two goals: to publish good storytelling and to pay creators well.
Fireside is a multigenre magazine of fiction and comics. We have two goals: to publish good storytelling and to pay creators well.
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5 questions with Damien Walters Grintalis

Hello everyone! We pushed through to $4,101 overnight, which means we have just $1,899 to go to publish Issue Two with 5 1/2 days to go! Thanks for helping this go so well!

Today we have our interview with Damien Walters Grintalis:

Why do you think telling stories is important?

A line from a Depeche Mode song that says "let me show you the world in my eyes" perfectly sums up why stories are important. Whether a story is read for entertainment purposes only or for the deeper subtext, the truth is, as a reader, we are taking a glimpse through someone else's eyes, sharing the way they experience things, and, perhaps, gaining a deeper understanding of their world because of it.

What are your favorite kinds of stories to read?

I prefer dark, character-driven fiction, and by dark, I don't mean horror necessarily, but in theme. I like intricate plots as well, but not if the author has sacrificed character development for the sake of said plot. If I'm going to spend several hours with a novel, I want the characters to feel real, even if they're unlikeable.

You write a lot of dark fiction and horror, too. What is it that draws you to that?

I've loved dark fiction since I was a child. I'm not 100% certain as to why that is, but I suspect people are drawn to their literary choices because of who they are inside. Some people are naturally funny; others, macabre. I fall into the latter category.

You also write poetry. How do prose and poetry writing feed into each other?

I think writing poetry gives a certain…flavor to my prose. I like to use a creative turn of phrase to describe something mundane, and I've found that I use poetic language most when writing some of my most gruesome passages.

Your first novel, Ink, is coming out in December. Tell us about the book.

Okay, first I should offer up Samhain's blurb about the book:

A tattoo can be a work of art...or a curse.
The fearsome griffin inked on Jason's arm looks real enough to climb off and take flight. Jason thinks his new tattoo is perfect. Until he wakes up one night to find his arm temporarily ink free. Until he finds a brick wall where the tattoo shop should be.
As Jason's world spins out of control, he comes to realize a truth as sharp as the griffin's talons. The tattoo is alive, it's hungry, and if Jason tries to kill it, he'll die. The artist will remove it for a price, but he's not interested in money or Jason's soul. He wants something far worse...

I will go a step further and say that to me, Ink is about an average Joe who puts himself into an extraordinary situation. In order to break free, he has to dig deep and find a strength he never knew he had. A common human experience, I hope, that will resonate with readers in spite of the supernatural framework of the story.

(And does he break free? I'm afraid I'll have to give a standard answer: "You'll have to read it to find out.")