Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Interview with Arthur K. Flam, co-author of '41 Strange'

Arthur K. Flam was born in New York City and graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in writing, and from New York University with an M.F.A. in film. He served as Editor-in-Chief of Johns Hopkins's oldest literary magazine, ZENAIDA, and worked as a journalist for the BALTIMORE CHRONICLE. He started in the film industry as an assistant on Abel Ferrara's vampire film, THE ADDICTION. He has co-written screenplays for the films PENNY DREADFUL and HIT AND RUN.  41 STRANGE is his first book. He lives in Los Angeles.

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About the Book:

41 STRANGE, a first-of-its-kind e-book anthology devoted exclusively to “short-short stories of the strange and horrifying,” awaits just a couple of clicks away for Kindle readers who enjoy a good shiver up their spines.

41 STRANGE is the bizarre debut collection of authors/screenwriters Diane Doniol-Valcroze and Arthur K. Flam, who deliver a reading experience in the spirit of such masters of the macabre as Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock, and Rod Serling. As Doniol-Valcroze and Flam put it, the tales were written “in the lonely hour of the wolf … in the pre-dawn darkness when you get those ‘waking nightmares.’”

Doniol-Valcroze and Flam are screenwriters working in Los Angeles. They met at New York University's film school and started collaborating, first on short films and then on screenplays. That working relationship forged a natural path to writing stories.

“We're both very passionate about short fiction,” says Flam. “It's our favorite form to read and write. After working together for many years on film projects, we realized we had a lot of ideas … that could only be done as short stories, so we decided to finally pull the trigger.”

The short-short story format makes a perfect fit for the authors' strange visions. They immediately set up surreal and terrifying situations, which lead to even stranger conclusions. The stories can be read in their entirety in the time it takes to pour a cup of coffee and settle in with the book.

“Neal Edelstein (producer, MULHOLLAND DRIVE) has endorsed the book, and we’re excited because his new horror app HAUNTING MELISSA was the main inspiration for us to release the stories direct-to-audience,” says Doniol-Valcroze.

One of the authors' favorite stories in 41 STRANGE is “Frank’s Wash,” in which a man finds himself stuck on the conveyor belt of a car wash. All attempts to get the car wash operator's attention fail. Where Frank finally ends up becomes a chilling dissection of the parent-child relationship.

“We think (the stories) all embody that unnerving atmosphere,” Doniol-Valcroze and Flam say. “You're not quite sure if the events unfolding around the character are happening for real, or are they just a figment of the character's overactive imagination. We love that ambiguity.”

Doniol-Valcroze and Flam believe that 41 STRANGE will appeal to a general audience of film lovers and short story readers, as well as fans of science-fiction, horror and crime, and readers looking “for a quick dose of strange stories for commuting, or just curling up for a chilling night read before bed.”

For More Information

  • 41 Strange is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads. 

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

I love watching film noir.

When did you start writing?

Nine years old. A tiny story called Mr. Untouchable.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

Reading Camus’s The Myth of Sisyphus as a teen. Second, and biggest pivotal point, was finding my writing collaborator.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

I’d write a book floating in a spacecraft orbiting the earth. For the perspective.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

Invent a new secret language.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

On Jupiter’s moon Ganymede.

Back to your present book, 41 Strange, how did you publish it?

We decided to self-publish. We truly wanted as much control over the content and artwork as possible. We were also inspired by a friend, Neal Edelstein (producer, Mulholland Drive), who released the new horror app Haunting Melissa direct-to-audience, and we thought it could be neat to control the distribution with the short-short stories direct-to-readers.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?


Why was writing 41 Strange so important to you?

There was something urgent that I can’t explain which seized my will and made me do it.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

I don’t know what my best ideas are, but I get most of my ideas from a cup of coffee.

Any final words?

If you’re curious and would like to take a trip, you’re welcome to stay at The Hotel 41 Strange. It has 41 rooms… dark as they come…

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