Know a Nominee Part One: Leslie Klinger
Hello, and welcome to ‘Know a Nominee’, the interview series that gives you daily peeks inside the skulls of some of the most talented horror writers and editors working today: this year’s Bram Stoker Award Nominees.
Each day, through to the day of the Bram Stoker Awards ceremony, we aim to bring you at least one Q&A featuring (you guessed it!) one of this year’s nominees.
First off, I’d like to send a huge thank you to all of our participants. Through the generous gifts of your time and candor, we have a great line-up of interviews—and I know our readers will appreciate the insights you’ve shared. Special thanks also to Emma Audsley, who has provided vital support for this effort.
The stars are right, so sit back, relax and enjoy our first interviewee, Leslie Klinger, nominated in the category of Superior Achievement in Nonfiction, for The New Annotated HP Lovecraft.
It’s been a pleasure serving as editor for this series.
–Doug Murano, HWA communications coordinator
DM: Please describe the genesis for the idea that eventually became the work(s) for which you’ve been nominated. What attracted you most to the project? If nominated in multiple categories, please touch briefly on each.
LK: I love doing annotated books, and the challenge was to find material that was deep enough, rich enough to merit annotation yet had a popular appeal. Lovecraft’s writing, which I’d heard of but not read carefully, seemed to be a perfect subject!
DM: What was the most challenging part of bringing the concept(s) to fruition? The most rewarding aspect of the process?
LK: The biggest challenge was getting my arms around the vast quantity of scholarship that Lovecraft’s writing has attracted, much of it by fans. The greatest reward was the warm welcome from the Lovecraft community for my efforts and the results.
DM: What do you think good horror/dark literature should achieve? How do you feel the work(s) for which you’ve been nominated work fits into (or help give shape to) that ideal?
LK: Like any well-written literature, horror fiction can reveal truths about the human condition. I’d like to think that my work helps to make Lovecraft’s important fiction more accessible to the general reader.
DM: I’m curious about your writing and/or editing process. Is there a certain setting or set of circumstances that help to move things along? If you find yourself getting stuck, where and why?
LK: I’m never stuck, because the structure of my nonfiction projects is always organic to the material that I’m studying. The real danger to me is to get overwhelmed by the quantity of material to be read and absorbed, so “seat in the chair”—meaning just do it!—is the crucial element of my writing.
DM: As you probably know, many of our readers are writers and/or editors. What is the most valuable piece of advice you can share?
LK: Find something that you’re passionate about and the writing is easy. If you’re finding the writing difficult, you need to re-think whether you’ve chosen your subject wisely.
DM: If you’re attending WHC this year, what are you most looking forward to at this year’s event? If not attending, what do you think is the significance of recognitions like the Bram Stoker Awards?
LK: I love feeling like part of a community of writers, with shared pain and shared (mini-) rewards. WHC is a great venue to experience that.
DM: What scares you most? Why? How (if at all) does that figure into your work or the projects you’re attracted to?
LK: I think what scares me most is the unknown when I begin a project. There’d better be none left when I finish—and that drives me!
DM: What are you reading for pleasure lately? Can you point us to new authors or works we ought to know about?
LK: I love reading in many genre. I’m just finishing up the latest Alan Bradley “Flavia de Luce” mystery, and before that, I read “The Bone Clocks”—a terrific speculative-fiction novel. My current project is The New Annotated Frankenstein¸ so there’s also a lot of reading about the Shelleys and the Georgian age!
Leslie S Klinger is the New York Times-best-selling editor of the Edgar®-winning New Annotated Sherlock Holmes and the critically-acclaimed New Annotated Dracula, as well as numerous other books and articles on Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, vampires, mysteries, horror, and the Victorian age. His previous books include the collections of classics titled In the Shadow of Dracula and In the Shadow of Sherlock Holmes, as well as the anthology of new fiction A Study in Sherlock, co-edited with Laurie R. King. His newest books are the four-volume The Annotated Sandman with Neil Gaiman for Vertigo (the first volume of which was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award®), In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of stories by major writers inspired by the Holmes Canon, with Laurie R. King for Pegasus, and The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft for Liveright/W. W. Norton, all published in late 2014. He is Treasurer of the Horror Writers Association and former Chapter President of the SoCal Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. Klinger is a tax and business lawyer who lives in Malibu with his wife Sharon, a large dog, and three cats.