I don’t know if William will approve of me saying this – chances are, he’ll send an army of flying, mutated beavers my way – but this book is much like the author himself. At first glance, it’s loud, insane and ranting, but if you look closer, you’ll find an unparalleled depth of understanding.
When I heard that William was writing a romance involving a psychopathic killer, I volunteered as a beta reader. I mean, hey, who wouldn’t have been more than a little curious as to how he was planning to pull that off?
I went through the first few pages thinking, well, that’s not exactly what I like to read. Too much insanity. Let’s face it, it’s much easier and more comfortable to read about sane people. Or at least about predictable people.
Or maybe it isn’t.
Maybe, all we need is to understand the reasons behind the insanity, the past of the person we so quickly judge, the events that made that person what, or who, they are. You see, after a few pages, I began to feel hooked. And by the end of the book, I was awed, because William had achieved what I never would have thought possible – he made me care about a ruthless psychopath. He made me sympathize with the devil. He made me see the tortured soul beneath the layer of madness.
Showing glimpses of the main character’s past, of neglect, systematic abuse, crushed hopes and shattered dreams, William lets the reader understand the anger, the need to crush in return, to avenge all the pain by inflicting more of the same. Don’t get me wrong – this is not a character you will relate to, and he’s definitely beyond saving. Nevertheless, in reading this story, you might realize that way too often, we discard people because we do not understand them, and by trying to listen to their tale, by trying to let our thoughts and emotions travel along their paths, we might gain something special.
As to the romance aspect of this story, William does not write about love. Without resorting to corny clichés, he writes about the rare recognition of a kindred spirit, but more than that, he writes about mutual dependency, about the need to cling to someone, someone we can either control and appear powerful next to, or someone to use as a shield against the rest of the world.
I asked William my usual bunch of questions. Here’s what he had to say.
Who are you?
My name is W.D. Frank and I am your new man-crush.
Hehe, you wish. Where are you?
I am currently sitting in my apartment and eating goldfish as I try to ignore the demon who is fondling my junk. I really wish he would cut that out. Can’t he tell that I am busy?
Is the fish called Wanda? Sorry, couldn’t resist. How are you?
I am alright. I could be worse. I mean, I am being sexually harassed by a beetle demon, but at least I have goldfish.
Always a good thing, goldfish. Which book do you want to talk about?
I want to talk about my erotic crime novella, Love, Guns And Rosemary. It is about a chemically imbalanced mob enforcer who decides to make a tape about the time he spent with the love of his life as he prepares to die. After all, who doesn’t adore a romance between two vicious sociopaths?
Why did you write it?
Someone told me that I couldn’t be romantic. I wanted to prove them wrong. I also had these characters imprisoned in my mind for quite some time and I figured that I really needed to set them free. However, this story swiftly became more important to me than it initially was. Writing the protagonist of this book was like therapy in a lot of ways. It felt comforting to convey his emotional instability because I was an unstable mess for a long time… and I think I had to get some of those less flattering moments of psychosis off my chest. Although, I would like to add that I am not a sociopathic murderer like my protagonist. I mean, I once tried to assassinate Adam Sandler, but that doesn’t count… does it?
Now you’re just showing off. You never did that. Now, about your main character. Tell us a bit about him?
My main character is a ruthless yet gorgeous gangster named Klaus Elric. He has silky blond hair your mother would be jealous of and angelic blue eyes that bring a much needed contrast to the cruel smirk that often adorns his face. He holds a great appreciation for his white tank-top and pitch black jeans. Oh, and he wears combat boots to reinforce the idea that he is a soldier and not just another victim. Klaus is an unhinged nihilist. His bank of morality is pretty much empty and he constantly finds comfort in the death of others. That being said, he is capable of a form of love. It just takes a very special person to bring it out. That is where Rosemary comes in. However, it is up to you to decide how much he truly feels for her. This story can either be a very empowering and romantic tale for Rosemary or a very dark tale of manipulation and mutual dependency. The choice is yours.
Is there a message in your book? Do you want your readers to take something home?
I know this probably sounds stupid, but I want people to learn something from this novella instead of simply getting off on all of the love and gunfights. I want them to understand these characters despite their dark natures and I want them to be better off because of it. I believe that comprehending the bad guys is even more important than knowing the good guys. You already know how you think. Try thinking like a psychopath. If you can learn how to do that, then you are worth more to this world than you could possibly know. I think our greatest problem is that we are afraid to understand the people we absolutely must understand. How can we conquer our enemies if we are too afraid to see them as they are? You should not chalk someone up to “pure evil” or “just crazy.” There is always an underlying cause and there is always more to them than the attributes that you detest. It is only once you see the full picture that you truly know what you are dealing with.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a book called Adel’s Crossing. It is a darkly comedic drama about a teenage drug addict who finds himself trapped in an increasingly violent game of death and sorcery that threatens to turn him into the very monster he was ensnared by. It is more than a little twisted and insane.
Why are you a writer? Were you born to be one, did it just happen, was there some moment of epiphany…?
Boredom turned me into a writer. One day I realized that I wanted to see a story that the world wasn’t offering me. I wrote it and it was utterly terrible, but I kept writing anyway. One day, I realized that I had become fairly good at writing… and what started as a hobby became my hope for a better life.
Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?
A lot of different things inspire me. My greatest sources of inspiration are typically anime and Japanese role playing games, but I have no idea of what inspired Love, Guns And Rosemary. It was honestly just there the whole time.
How does a typical day for you look like? What do you do when you’re not writing?
Well, there are Pokemon battles! Lots of Pokemon battles!
I knew you’d say that. Who is your favorite author?
Robert E. Howard! The man was an absolute genius! Needless to say, the Conan movies did not do his stories justice. I was horribly disappointed by all of them. Hopefully someone will make a great one eventually, though.
Are you saying that this scene isn’t one of the biggest achievements in movie history? Or should I be just a tad pissed off now because you somehow insulted a countryman? On the other hand…he said he fled Europe to escape socialism, which is just about the single most stupid statement evah…whatever. Who is your biggest supporter?
My editor, Catherine Lenderi. I love you so much, Catherine!
What’s your favorite book of all time and why?
Crap, that’s a hard question… If we are going with novels, I suppose my answer would have to be Parasite Eve by Hideaki Sena or Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. If we are going with short stories, then this will be a nightmare because I have absolutely no idea of what Conan story I should pick!
If you could have a superpower, which one would you choose?
Mind control! Almost every negative event in my life could have been prevented if I had control over the people around me.
What are you addicted to or can’t live without?
Video-games, of course!
What’s the most stupid question you’ve ever been asked?
Well, once I was asked if I had fucked Lucifer. Geez! That is such a ridiculous question! The answer is obviously yes!