I recently reviewed Artie Cabrera’s “I’m Not Dead: the Journals of Charles Dudley” and the short fiction “Side Effects”.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with him online and this is the result of that interview.

Ten Questions: An Interview with Artie Cabrera

1.  What prompted you to pursue writing?

There was no conscious effort or plan to write a book in the beginning. The process started out as a way for me to stay busy and have a creative outlet when my personal life was in complete turmoil. It wasn’t until I had something that resembled a book that I started thinking about what I can do with it.  I only wanted to do a blog that consisted  of ten entries and leave it at that, but the more I wrote, the more the story evolved and unfurled just as I thought I was reaching that end point.

2.  Who has been your greatest inspiration?

I’m inspired by things that are different from the “norm”. I can appreciate something when it feels like it is genuine, and not a cardboard cutout of things you’ve seen done a million times before. Why would anyone care to see the same thing rehashed a dozen times? Some people are privvy to BS and when you’re feeding them nonsense. I’m inspired by art that feels progressive and by people who aren’t afraid to speak their mind.

3.  Where did Charles Dudley and his journal come from? (The story idea itself..)

Not to ruin it for the reader but the story itself is a metaphor of how I sometimes see the world and the people around me. You have your predators, victims, and people who stand aside and let things happen. They don’t get involved and live in this narcoleptic state.  I’m a horror fan, but I didn’t want to write the run-of-the-mill Zombie story. I figured if I was going to invest all my time in developing this story, I wanted my own monster.
Or monsters.
I wanted my own Pandora’s Box.
I wanted to dump out my toy chest and play with all of my ideas in this one sandbox.

4.  Who did you base the character Jerry on?

No one particular.  Jerry is pretty much a vessel of all my friends…male friends I mean.

5.  What comes after Dudley?

There are at least two more books after Side Effects, and a bunch of little ideas floating around.
I’m not sure if I want to continue doing little off-shoots in the Dudley-verse.
There’s a lot of ground I can cover. I can bounce around timelines.

5A.  No, after after Dudley.  What do you want to do when you’re bored with Dudley?

That’s a difficult question to answer because all I can see is Dudley right now.  The objective is to remain focused in the Dudley world because I can easily become side tracked and nothing will get done.
I have a million ideas running through my head for these books, it’s just a matter of herding them and having a strong build up leading to the end.

5B.  Do you keep any kind of idea-book (cheat sheet)?

Yes. I have a composition book filled with buzzwords, sentences, little quips, crazy little sketches, and rough paragraphs. I always keep the book by me, especially at night when my brain wanders.

6.  Do you prefer handwriting or typing?

Typing. I broke my right hand about four years ago which makes it difficult to hold a pen for long periods of time.

Learn to write left-handed.

6A. Did you ever prefer pen and ink?

When I was younger and writing music, I was jotting in notebooks all the time. This was before you found a computer in everyone’s home. And even then, writing in a notebook felt more natural to me.

7.  What are the optimal conditions for you to work?

It has to be completely quiet or I have to have loud music playing, nothing in between. I have a very short attention span so any little thing can kill the mood. I have to tune out completely. Writing Dudley takes a special kind of mood to pull off.  I have to go places that are not comfortable for me so I can’t just sit down and do it at any given time.

8.  What’s the hardest part of writing?

Worrying about what other people will think if you express yourself a certain that way that may be considered taboo.  But then if I didn’t do what felt like was crossing the line or pushing the buttons, I wouldn’t be happy. I’d feel like I was apologizing for being myself, and I don’t ever do that.

…certain way..not certain that way*….

9. Where do you see your writing in 10 years?

Don’t know, hopefully still around..hopefully someone’s still reading my stuff and appreciating it.

10. What’s your favorite kind of pie?

Pumpkin pie..anything in the custard family really.