We were both already fans of Steve’s work, as luck would have it, when a submission from him blew in through our front door and landed on our desk. His manuscript was practically dusted in gold, beckoning to be read. Our only disappointment is there wasn’t MORE ready for us to immediately devour. Steve is an author of immense skill and an abundance of modesty. We, on the other hand, are not so modest in regards to Steve’s brilliance. Not only will his use of language charm you and his story and characters haunt you, but his story will linger in your mind. This is what Immortal Ink Publishing is all about . . . the stories we believe will live forever.
Now we’d like to introduce you to the man behind the curtain. Don’t hesitate to drop a comment or tweet/facebook/blog about this post for a chance to win a free copy of Steven’s first novella, The Portrait of Alatiel Salazar, an enchanting gothic horror read.
Onto the Interview….
What kind of books do you like?
SK: There’s very few books or genres I don’t care for – I believe a writer can learn from every written work, be it good, bad or average. I mostly read works which touch upon history, as I find my own age to be rather unromantic in comparison to other times. More to the point, a list of some favourite fiction and nonfiction books might present a flavour of my reading:
Thus Spoke Zarathustra - Friedrich Nietzsche
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
The Idiot - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence - Camille Paglia
The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson
Ghost Story - Peter Straub
Rosebud - David Thomson
The Occult - Colin Wilson
Why are manhole covers round?
SK: It’s a question which has always perplexed historians, isn’t it? Some believe the manhole-makers tried to placate the wrath of the sun god by laying down circular offerings and idols which resembled the fiery star. Alternatively, wacky conspiracy theorists claim that early Manhole Men just wanted people to stop falling through holes in the road. But…who made the holes, and also the roads? Those are the fundamental questions.
How would you describe your writing style?
SK: Antique, poetic, elegant; at least, I hope my prose displays these characteristics. I’m still learning the craft though, and am always aware of that I need to improve my writing.
What is the strangest thing we would find in your refrigerator right now?
SK: I’m not sure that there’s anything particularly strange in my refrigerator. There may even be some food in the gaps between wall-to-wall Cola.
What inspired you to write The Portrait of Alatiel Salazar?
SK: I very much wanted to write about an anti-heroine, and Alatiel somehow fits that description despite the fact that she is evil incarnate. Her revenge is payback for the way people of her gender and class were treated by their male patrons.
Of course, the book is influenced by Dracula, by The Picture of Dorian Gray and other classic novels but nevertheless it has something all of its own in that Alatiel and the Salazar clan are not exactly vampires, not exactly ghosts; and they can only be fought with their own weapons of choice – witchcraft and illusion.
Tell us about your soon-to-be-released novella!
SK: The story begins with the discovery of a journal in a windswept empty house. This tells the tragic tale of Helena Graham and her introduction to an artists’ model, Alatiel. Alatiel soon bewitches her admirers but her influence is malign and deadly; she takes Helena’s mind and body for herself and leaves a trail of bodies in her wake, leading to the home of her benefactor, the artist Cristian Salazar. Gabriel Holland and his allies must seek out Salazar and the sinister Cousin Beatriz in order to solve the mystery of his beloved Helena’s terrible fate. But within shadows, in the guise of night, walks Alatiel, the creature Helena has become…
Would you say your stories are more plot-based or character-based?
SK: In my mind, I have an entire history for each character from The Portrait of Alatiel Salazar, and the mutual connections between them made it easy for me to conceive of a whole series of books. In truth, the characters drive the plots and vice versa.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?
SK: Steve Martin, in character as “Nathan R. Johnson” from The Jerk.
What is your super power?
SK: The Power of Laziness – at the first sign of trouble, I leap into…bed.
What do you think of Immortal Ink Publishing so far?
SK: Absolutely fantastic. I’m very happy, and very impressed, with IIP – I honestly haven’t a single complaint or concern. Based on my experiences so far, I’d say that Immortal Ink is a wonderful, new option for writers.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
SK: Wilde advised people to be themselves at all costs, and to always bear in mind what is truly important in life; these seem like good guidelines to live by.
Name a trend you just don’t “get”.
SK: All of them. As I get older, I feel like one of Anne Rice’s vampires – confused by my own time, and innappropriately dressed.
Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 how weird you are.
SK: 9 going on 107.
Rate this interview on a scale of 1-10 how weird it is.
What are your dreams for the future?
SK: Oh, the usual – wealth, fame, unlimited cigarettes etc etc. And then there’s that world peace thing.
Chess, Checkers, or Parcheesi?
SK: Chess. I’m absolutely terrible at the game but at least I get to feel like an intellectual in the thirty seconds before my three-year-old opponents defeat me.
The Portrait of Alatiel Salazar, by Steven Katriel
When Gabriel Holland’s beloved Helena vanishes from his life, he journeys to the home of disgraced artist Cristian Salazar, the man he holds responsible for her disappearance and the death of several friends. Once in the town of Carliton, Gabriel finds only malice and mystery in the tales told by the few brave enough to speak ill of Salazar and the sinister Cousin Beatriz. And within shadows, in the guise of night, walks Alatiel, the creature Helena has become. . . .