For today’s blog post, I will be interviewing author Daniel J. Volpe. He is an author of extreme horror and splatterpunk. His love for horror started at a young age when his grandfather unwittingly rented him A Nightmare on Elm Street. Daniel has published some of his stories with Raven’s Inn Press, Sirens Call Publications, Twisted Tales, Exiles Literary Magazine, Literati Publications, and has self-published. He can be found on Facebook @ Daniel J. Volpe and Instagram @ dj_volpe_author.
EB: Welcome, Daniel. You recently released a new novel. Can you tell us more about Billy Silver and what inspired you to write it?
Daniel: Billy Silver actually started out as a short story. It was supposed to be about a guy whose vengeful girlfriend is a tattoo artist and agrees to tattoo him. Little does he know, she cursed him, and he now has to kill himself or hurt others. I let this one fester for a while, thinking about the crazy shit I’ve seen in my life and career. I was talking with a coworker, Rich, who’s also a fan of extreme horror. I told him about this idea I had, and he was interested to say the least. I began the story as almost a joke, until I realized I really liked writing extreme horror as opposed to the traditional stuff. It felt great to cut loose and just write whatever the hell I wanted. The world isn’t full of pixies and fairies and neither is my fiction. So, the scumbag Billy Silver was born. If you want to learn more about the savage person that is Billy Silver, click here: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Silver-Daniel-J-Volpe/dp/B0https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Silver-Daniel-J-Volpe/dp/B08NS9HZVC/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=billy+silver&qid=1607135687&sr=8-28NS9HZVC/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=billy+silver&qid=1607135687&sr=8-2
EB: What’s your next project, and where can readers find out more about you?
Daniel: I have a few finished projects. One is more traditional horror that has to do with Nazis and demons. That story is about 73k words and not very splattery, although the violence is quite gory. The other work I just finished is a full-on extreme horror story, coming in at 43k words. That one is my slasher/haunted house story, reminiscent of the 1980s horror where nudity and violence were rampant. My stories (shocking, I know) are much more explicit than the 80s stuff. If you don’t like sexual fluids, don’t even bother reading. If you do like sex juice, blood, and dismemberment, please follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DJVolpe85 and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/dj_volpe_author/.
EB: Why horror?
Daniel: When I was around 4 or 5, my grandfather inadvertently rented me A Nightmare on Elm Street. I was scared shitless but hooked on all things scary. When I was older, I devoured all the Goosebumps books I could, until I discovered Stephen King. My father would read his books, and I would see them on the kitchen table. I was curious and a good reader, so I began reading them just out of elementary school. I think I like horror because I like to be scared. I love fast cars, roller coasters, or anything that can give me an adrenaline rush. I also love a good story, where sometimes the good guy doesn’t win. In most genre fiction, good triumphs over evil, but not in horror. Stephen King shows that with Cujo and Carrie, where the grey evil wins. Plus, I love scaring people and seeing their reactions. I’ve tried my hand at other genres, but I always come back to the blood and guts of horror.
EB: Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Daniel: I didn’t always want to be a writer, but I knew I wanted to write. My first published piece was in the 10th grade (2000?) and was a poem of all things. It was actually a punishment assignment that I clearly nailed. My English teacher thought it was pretty good and recommended I submit it for publication. I was a serious author and thought poetry was beneath me, but my mother thought it was pretty good and submitted it to the local paper. They, to my shock and dismay, published it. It was then submitted to a young author’s competition, in which it was selected for publication. From the first day of seeing my name in print, I knew I wanted more. I would write here and there, mainly for my own enjoyment. After a while, I had a collection of short stories and decided to self-publish them. My first collection, Bits of Bone, came out on Amazon and did pretty well. It featured some previously published stories, which had gotten some attention. I never stopped writing and don’t think I will. It’s something that has to happen, whether it’s on paper or computer, I will always write something… and it will probably be horror.
EB: How did publishing your first book change your writing process? Did you learn anything from it?
Daniel: Billy Silver was my first real crack at traditional publishing. I hired an editor (something I hadn’t done in the past), researched my market, and thought of cover ideas. Finally, my baby was ready for the cruel world. I submitted Billy Silver to a bunch of small, horror presses around the states and got some good rejections. They were very promising, but none of them said ‘yes’, so in November of 2020, I decided to self-publish through Amazon. I’m happy I did and honestly don’t know if I’ll seek traditional publishing again. My writing process hasn’t changed much. When I get an idea, I write it. The thing with self-publishing is there are no contracts or deadlines. I can write at my leisure and pay my editor as I go.
EB: Who is your favorite author, and who would you say are the biggest influences on your writing?
Daniel: A favorite author is difficult. If it’s of all time, it would have to be Stephen King. I literally have shelves dedicated to him, and his horror is some of the best. I will say that Nick Cutter’s The Deep was the scariest book I’ve ever read. I felt physically uncomfortable reading it, and the story was excellent. When it comes to the extreme side of horror, I have to say Edward Lee is my icon. His books are so visceral and gross, they just have to be remembered. I’m also a fan of Brian Keene, Bryan Smith, Clive Barker, Nate Southard, Hunter Shea, Dustin LaValley, and so many other great writers.
EB: Is there anything else you would like readers to know about you?
Daniel: There’s really not much more to say about me. I’m a family man, and I live in New York (not the ‘city’). I enjoy the outdoors, shooting guns, archery, hunting, fishing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, dog training, and writing. I also love to interact with people, so please feel free to comment or DM me on my social media. I also love hearing from other authors or fans. Trust me, I’m not too busy to reply. Big thanks to the talented E.B. Lunsford for putting this all together. I hope everyone enjoyed this brief glimpse into my insanity.
EB: Thank you, Daniel, for joining us today. It was a pleasure working with you, and I can’t wait to see what stories you come up with next.
If you haven’t read Billy Silver yet, you can check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Silver-Daniel-J-Volpe/dp/B08NS9HZVC/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=billy+silver&qid=1607135687&sr=8-2
Thanks for reading, and please come back tomorrow for the next author interview. -E.B.