An interview with Steve Diamond
Steven Diamond founded and runs the review site, Elitist Book Reviews, which was nominated for the Hugo Award in 2013, 2014 & 2015. He writes for Baen, Privateer Press, and numerous small publications. Residue, a YA Horror novel, is his first full-length published work. His is also the editor of the Horror anthology, Shared Nightmares. This forms part of our 'How Stories Connect Us' series of interviews.
Is there a book you own which can put a smile on your face and make you feel happy simply by holding it in your hand?
Pretty much any book from Subterranean Press. I pick up those books and before even opening them I've got a huge grin on my face. I love the folks over there. They give me books by my favorite authors, and the quality of the actual book is astounding. From the paper, to the cover art, to the binding, to the smell. I sometime go and just look at them to pick up my spirits.
Which book or series makes you feel most nostalgic, remembering the period in your life you first read it?
Terry Brooks' Shannara Series. Especially The Elfstones of Shannara. I was just a kid when I read that book – the first time in 1992, I believe. That was the novel that made me fall in love with Fantasy. Looking back, I can point to that novel as the first one that really scared me too, which is important since I'm primarily a Horror author. Man, I can remember sitting in a recliner in my Sacramento home reading Elfstones. It was well-read, battered, trade paperback edition of the novel that I'd plucked off my mom's bookshelf after reading The Sword of Shannara. Heh, I even did a book report on in in the 6th grade. I can't help but remember that time with a smile on face. I'm forever grateful to Terry Brooks for that novel, and to my mom for letting me read it.
Which book or series makes your blood pump and your palms sweaty?
If we are talking about blood pumping and sweaty palms in the fun, actiony, way… Chris Wooding's Tales of the Ketty Jay, Retribution Falls being the first in that series. When I finish those books, all I want to do is fist pump the air and laugh and grin. If we are talking about Horror, I go with Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons. That man is a genius. I was wide-eyed and glued to my chair for that whole novel. Never have I felt so terrified for the characters of a novel.
Are there any authors in particular that have been inspirational to you and influential upon your work?
You know, ever author influences me to some degree. But when I look back on the road I've traveled, and where that road has led me, I see some huge influences. Richard Matheson's I Am Legend was the first story I read that I knew was Horror when I picked it up. That was when I realized that Horror wasn't all blood-and-guts, slasher fiction. Because of I Am Legend (still my favorite piece of short fiction ever), I picked up Necroscope by Brian Lumley. That novel made me re-evaluate what a monster was, and really kindled my desire to read more Horror. Side note: Necroscope is also what caused my fanboy love of Bob Eggleton's art. After Necroscope, I began reading Robert McCammon. McCammon, with his charm and skill, made me want to write Horror so badly. He also showed me the importance of having hope in Horror, and how to comport myself as an author. I love that man to death. Then I read Joe Lansdale, and I learned that Horror isn't limited to any one genre, but is an element of all genres. I am indebted to those gentlemen.
And finally, Fantasy Book Review is all about recommending the best reads the genre has to offer. Could you please offer our readers a fantasy recommendation of your own?
Hmm. This is tough. I love so many! Well, apart from all the Horror recommendations above, I feel like everyone should read David Gemmell's Legend. I love Steven Erikson, Joe Abercrombie, Glen Cook and Mark Lawrence… but I feel like I need to recommend a few authors I feel need more love: Tom Lloyd, James Barclay, and Adrian Tchaikovsky.
Fantasy Book Review would like to thanks Steve Diamond for his time and for the many great fantasy and horror recommendations he gave. Steve's new book Residue is release April 20, 2015.
Residue follows 17-year-old Jack Bishop after his father is abducted and a monster is let loose in his small town. As he looks for his father, he begins to notice that he can see the psychic residue left behind by monsters and murder victims. Along with the mind-reading Alexandra (Alex) Courtney, Jack uses his growing ESP abilities to stop the deaths in the town, and find out why his father was taken.
“Residue is a fast-paced, fun read with great characters and the best prom scene since Carrie. Steve Diamond writes kick-butt mutants, psychics, and guns. I loved it! ” Larry Correia, Monster Hunters series
For more information, visit Ragnarok Publications.