Today I am interviewing William Dresden, award-wining screenwriter, and author of the new horror novel, Dead Reckoning.
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DJ: Hey William! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
William Dresden: Hi DJ! Thanks for the interview. I’ve been writing for a while now. Most of my writing has been screenwriting. I got into film when I was a teenager and ended up winning a few awards. That led me into becoming a script doctor where directors would hire me to fix problematic projects that they were working on.
DJ: What is Dead Reckoning about?
WD: It’s a Western with heavy Horror and Fantasy influences. In it, we follow Jesse, an ex-gunslinger cursed with a supernatural ability called – the Reckoning. He has a mysterious past and is being hunted by a group of Native Americans that have an uneasy alliance with a dark force not of this world.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Dead Reckoning?
WD: I had this idea of writing a series like the x-files but set in the 1800’s. I was hugely influenced by Sergio Leone Western’s and Giallos’ like Suspiria. Stylized genre films from the late 70’s. So came the idea to spin a Western and set it where I grew up, in the North-East. A North-Eastern if you will. As a kid I used to hear these stories about an infamous gang of horse thieves that used to steal horses from the south and bring them back up north and sell them. So I went and checked out their old cabin. That set up the first scene in the book. Oh and there was this one time when I found two bucks pulled like forty feet up into a pine tree. They had begun to decay up there, so a ring of hair had formed around the base of the tree. Still don’t know how they got up there, but I tried to explain it in my book.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
WD: Jesse likes his whiskey and cigarettes but I guess most men did back then. He is older than he seems. And his past is haunting him, literally. He loves woman, and by that, I don’t mean immorally. He can’t stand seeing a woman being abused. He had a family once and it was taken away from him. That event drives him. Amelie is a pretty French-Indian girl that was taken captive by the Temple Gang. There is more to her then there seems. There’s Detective William Few. An ex union Calvary officer who now runs the Office of Indian Affairs, a cover for a government agency that investigate unusual happenings. And there’s Sixkiller, a Mohawk Indian who has a history with Jesse, only this time around he’s on the wrong side of good and evil.
DJ: Without spoiling anything, could you explain what the supernatural ability called, “the Reckoning” is?
WD: It was inspired by the navigational term – Dead Reckoning – the process of calculating one’s position, by estimating the direction and distance traveled rather than by using landmarks or other navigational methods. When in danger, something awakens in Jesse, allowing him the ability to calculate the distance between himself and objects around him and in turn, react unnaturally fast, making him an extremely deadly gunslinger. It builds in him like a fire that becomes uncontrollable and eventually erupts from his body in a very literal way, leaving him in a weakened state, but also destroying everything around him.
DJ: What is the world or setting of Dead Reckoning like?
WD: It’s set in the fall in upstate New York in a place called the Demson Hollow. Part of the story also takes place in a small industrial town called Orange where the Union army had cast steel for its naval fleet. Other than that, It’s a rather normal turn of the century place with a little magic and mystery thrown in.
DJ: There are many different definitions of horror in genre, so I’m curious, when you write “horror”, how is it that you try to scare your readers? Do you go for gore? Shock? Maybe build up tense moments? Or perhaps it is the unknown?
WD: Doom. I want to set a scene that gives you the feeling you get when watching a David Lynch film. Impending doom. There may be a little gore here and there but I never like to force that. It’s more about setting a scene and making the reader uncomfortable in it.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Dead Reckoning?
WD: The genre was way out of my element. I had written period piece films before but never a Western. So that was a fun experience. I also love to do research. It gave me plenty of new things to read about and ponder over.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
WD: Who the hell is Jesse. And this scene with a horse and a tree 😉
DJ: What was your goal when you began writing Dead Reckoning? Is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
WD: The goal was to create a character that readers would follow from adventure to adventure. But I also wanted to explore the theme of duality: attraction and guilt.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Dead Reckoning that you can share with us?
WD: There’s a simple exchange between one of the characters and Jesse. She has been getting in his head a little. Playing on the whole attraction/guilt theme I mentioned earlier. A glimpse of Jesse past is revealed. They are discussing events from early in the book. She tells him: “I know that you didn’t have to bury all those
bodies. You could have just as easily burned the damn
place down. But you didn’t. Why?”
Jesse’s reply is simple but it’s full of meaning. He looks back and tells her: “Because everyone deserves a burial.” That exchange has stuck with me. I don’t really know why. It’s funny how the little things sometimes mean the most.
DJ: Now that Dead Reckoning is released, what is next for you?
WD: I’m working on part two of Dead Reckoning as we speak as well as the second novel in my YA fantasy series Light In My Dark. I’m going to try and release a few short stories as well.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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*** Dead Reckoning is published by Rogue House Publishing and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
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Jesse is a bad man. A killer yes. A monster, sometimes. Most often, though, he is a Judge, an ex-gunslinger cursed with a supernatural ability called – the Reckoning.
Now he finds himself hunting the forests of upstate New York for Horse Thieves, Wendigos and other nightmares that lurk in the darkness. Only this time, what he finds will change him in ways he never thought possible, bringing him one step closer to finding the man who murdered his family.
William Dresden is an author and award-winning screenwriting. He spent several years as a script doctor and pursued the dream of writing hollywood blockbusters. Now he mostly writes fiction and enjoys spending time with his family and friends. William currently lives in Virginia with his wife and two children..