David is the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob for the month of October. I had a chance to ask him some questions about his Young Adult novel, The Firebug of Balrog County. I want you to know that I'm in love with the firebug. Read on to find out more from David about his inspiration, what he's reading right now and what he recommends to read post election. Enjoy.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live in St. Paul with my cat, Frenchie. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was about seven years old, when I started writing little stories about aliens and ninjas. I’ve published four novels but I’ve actually written sixteen, going on seventeen. I write in multiple genres including horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and literary. Most things I do are motivated by an urge to A) feel like I earned the whiskey, beer, and cheese I consume and B) not be bored.
2. What is the inspiration behind The Firebug of Balrog County?
My mother passed away from complications related to cancer in October of 2000. Firebug is my attempt to address that loss and come to terms with it while using a proper balance of humor and swear words. It didn’t take long to actually sit down and write because the mental process behind it took thirteen years.
3. Usually an author puts some of his own life experiences in the book. Did you do that in
Firebug? Do you have anything in common with your characters?
Autobiography is all over FIREBUG. The setting, the story of the mother. The cranky war vet mayor. The main character, Mack, is a lot like an eighteen-year-old version of myself, except I was never that into starting fires and was generally law abiding.
4. Can you tell us about your previous books?
I‘ll stick to the published titles: The Suicide Collectors is post-apocalyptic speculative fiction about a suicide plague and a group of survivors searching for a cure. It was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and blurbed by Stan Lee. Wormwood, Nevada is about a meteorite upending a small Nevada town and the lives of its citizens. And the Hills Opened Up is an old-school horror-western about a copper mining town that’s set upon by a murderous creature called The Charred Man.
5. Do you like to read? What are some of your favorite books and authors?
I’m always churning over a stack of books on my night stand. I’m a big fan of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s complete works and Don Quixote. Right now I’m reading Mindy Kaling’s amusing autobiography Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?.
6. Name one book that you think is a must read for everyone and tell us why?
Post-election, I suppose I’d choose 1984 by George Orwell or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury for their frightening portrayal of oppressive regimes opposed to knowledge, though I guess the fat orange cat’s out of the bag now, isn’t it?
I work full time at the University of Minnesota as a staff member. I take a nap when I get home, make dinner, go for a run, then I usually write from 9-11 PM.
8. Did you choose the title and cover for the book? How did you come up with Balrog County? Is it the name of a real place?
The title is mine and I was given two covers to choose from as well as feedback on the color scheme. Lisa Novak was the cover designer and she did a smashing job. Best cover ever.
Balrog County is a vague allusion to Blue Earth County in MN, though the book could be set in any Midwestern state.
9. Have you begun working on a new book? Can you tell us about it?
Since FIREBUG came out I’ve been working on three books. The newest one still in progress is called SUNDOWNING. It’s about a retired rancher in Montana and his family as they deal with the rancher succumbing to Alzheimer’s.
10. In one sentence tell readers why they should read, The Firebug of Balrog County?
It’s funny as hell and there’s a dog in it named Chompy.
If you want to win one of three copies of his book The Firebug of Balrog County, click here;
The Firebug of Balrog County Giveaway
You can find David on his website at: https://davidoppegaard.com/