Call Me Mainstream

An interview with Ronald Damien Malfi
By Laura Martin

He’s had a near-death experience, rescued a girl from a car wreck, and is the author of “The Fall of Never,” (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2004). SevierCountynews.Com caught up with RDM this week to talk about his work and all things literary.

SCN: I guess you realize you are listed in the Wikipedia free online encyclopedia. Is that not cool?

RDM: I just noticed that a couple days ago. Yeah, I thought it was cool.

SCN: You were quoted in a previous interview as saying “Typically my male characters suffer at the whim of their female counterparts. While this is an exaggeration, it is also an allusion to real life, where I feel women are simply smarter than men, no way around it.” Do you think your opinion on that will ever change?

RDM: If anything it’s even more true for me now that I’ve been married for two months.

SCN: You were also quoted in that same interview as saying “For the most part, I subscribe to Hemingway's iceberg theory of fiction: show only a hint of your conflict, while the bulk of it hides beneath the surface of the water.” Do you still feel that way, or are you finding that you want to push the envelope more in your writing?

RDM: I still believe that. You can never fully compete with someone’s imagination, so I just allude to the strong points and let the reader fill in the spaces in between. I am also surprised at how that varies, and how different readers will have a completely different reaction to the same passage. One will say “I didn’t get that at all” and the other might say “No, I completely understood that.”

SCN: You told me you were not a horror writer…and I have to say that ‘The Fall of Neve’ was not really scary in my opinion.

RDM: No, I am not a horror writer. I consider myself a mainstream writer. I wrote more horror fiction when I was younger, but I have moved away from it. Looking back, I can see that the events surrounding 9/11 had an impact on me in that I did not want to write about make-believe monsters anymore. I didn’t know I was doing that at the time, it just turned out that way. I also went through a stylistic change from that point on, more imagery, moving from first person to third person narrative, more long passages of description, etc.

SCN: In “The Fall of Never,” I thought Josh was the most compelling of your characters and really wished there had been more background story about him, especially after reading your description of what it was like when he got shot. That passage was very well done and memorable.

RDM: Thank-you. I don’t have any plans to do that, but you never know. I have always been the kind of person who said writing was about art first and money later, but more and more I am finding that the money aspect does play an important part in all this. For example, I recently wrote a 17,000 novella for an anthology of erotica (‘Short and Sweet’) being edited by Mike Hemmingson. I wasn’t going to submit anything, but then Mike offered me such a nice amount of money that I ‘pumped it out,’ pun intended. It’s called “The Elusive Transplant,” and I wrote it under the name Thomas Hudson. It should be out in June of 2006.”

SCN: Another memorable part of ‘The Fall of Never’ is the description of how Simon evolved over time, beginning with just a voice inside Kelly’s head, to becoming an audible voice, to taking form, then wanting to dominate and control.

RDM: I wanted Simon to take form like a child’s drawing, with details left out in the beginning, and then later being added. Like the thing about the tonsils not being there at first, because a child would not have drawn them.

SCN: Was that your first novel?

RDM: No “The Space Between” was my first novel, written when I was 21.

SCN: Your blog said you recently rescued a girl from a car wreck.

RDM: I did! A girl flipped her car off an exit ramp and I stopped to help her climb out the window. The car was on it’s side. She was not seriously hurt. I was afraid someone was going to hit my car, though.

SCN: And a few years ago, you had your own near-death experience?

RDM: I was on the way home one night and it was raining and I hit a deer and wrecked my car. The car flipped it over two times and I had to be taken by helicopter to the hospital. I broke my arm and had to have a metal plate put in it. And no, I don’t set off alarms in airports.

SCN: What’s coming up next for you in terms of work?

RDM: VIA DOLOROSA (hardcover forthcoming from Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2007) – A wounded American solider returns from Iraq to spend his honeymoon on Hilton Head Island, where the limits of his fidelity are tested when he meets a mysterious Spanish photographer.