48 Hour Magazine, a 48 hour experiment where 6 editors built, from the ground up, a new born magazine.
- Interview -
David Oppegaard is a St. Paul, MN based novelist whose written and published two novels, "Wormwood, Nevada" and the Bram Stoker-nominated "The Suicide Collectors." I met Oppegaard while completing my M.F.A. in Writing at Hamline University, St. Paul. What set Oppegaard apart from other students (myself included) was he'd already written several practice novels. His motivation to write stories that entertain and make a buck doing it really impressed me.
I've have had the great opportunity to review both of his novels and interview him before our collaborative attempt to get into the pages of 48 Hour Magazine:
- "Citizen Review: Wormwood, Nevada." Magers and Quinn Booksellers. Web. 3 January 2010.
- "The Suicide Collectors." Soulless Machine. Web. 14 December 2008.
- "Interview with David Oppegaard, author of 'The Suicide Collectors.'" Soulless Machine. Web. 13 October 2008.
48 Hour Magazine: Is it hard out there for a young horror novelist?
David Oppegaard: I think it's hard out there for a young novelist, period. It would probably make it easier for me if I could settle on one genre, like horror, instead of straddling science fiction, horror, fantasy, etc. Editors and booksellers seem to want their writing prepackaged for them into little labeled boxes, which I understand because it makes it easier for them to sell your work, but so far, I don't seem to fit that type. I guess at thirty I'm still young enough that I care about at least trying to be original and at least trying to stretch fiction in new directions. Eventually I'm sure I'll be broken of such idealism, like if I ever get married or spawn a child or want to buy a new pair of shoes.
48HM: What financial hardships do you face?
DO: The same as anyone else who can't stand wearing a suit and tie everyday. I haven't had health insurance since college, back in 2002. I work a lot of temp jobs, then write for several months, then return to temp working. I'm not that interested in teaching composition courses and unfortunately they're not just handing out creative writing-only gigs around MN colleges at the moment.
48HM: What financial successes have you had?
DO: Ahhh…none? Though you could argue getting paid to write fiction, even if the payment is small, is a financial success in of itself. Or more like a moral victory, I suppose.
48HM: Have you had to prostitute yourself in anyway?
DO: I might have had a chance to write for Marvel Comics after The Suicide Collectors came out, but they were infuriatingly vague about what exactly they wanted me to write for them and acted like they were doing me some huge favor. I'm a pretty casual comics fan and wasn't all that excited about playing with the forty-year-old toys of other writers. I had some cool ideas for the Hulk, but was told he was "off-limits", whatever the hell that meant. And thus I passed up my chance at prostituting myself, much to the dismay of my friends and family. Oppegaard SMASH green money.
48HM: Do you have a day job?
DO: Right now I'm scoring standardized tests. You know, those crazy written essays high school students have to do to graduate. Yesterday I scored 205 four-to-five page essays. The topic is "Experiences With Money" and apparently there's an epidemic right now in America of kids losing their money in tragic ways. Who would have thought that storing a hundred dollar bill in your flip phone would lead to trouble?
48HM: How does your day job keep you from working on your novels?
DO: Working exhausts me. I was not made for toiling in the digital fields, under a florescent sun, and I care not for khakis. I barely write at all when I'm working full-time, but luckily the economy is so bad right now I'm usually unemployed. It's not that I'm lazy, Bob, it's that I just don't care (if I may paraphrase Office Space).
48HM: Do you consider yourself a successful writer?
DO: Hell yes. I've published two novels in a country that thinks putting books into yet more glowing rectangles is actually a good idea. I'm just waiting for the Tea Party to take over and start burning books, as was prophesied long ago by the great Ray Bradbury.