I had the pleasure of meeting “West Virginia’s Stephen King”, Dustin Coffman, earlier this year at our state’s premiere horror fan gathering, Shockacon
A prolific author with a vast imagination, you’d expect Dustin to be aloof, moody, or maybe brimming with cynicism. The Dustin Coffman that I met was not like that. In fact, more recently, as my wife and I were headed into IHOP, a car stopped and the window rolled down and there he was inside just to say “Hi”. I hope I’m not ruining his rep as an evil genius because that is a reputation he well deserves. His newest collection “Blow Your Mind” shows off his mastery with everything from dragons to cyborgs, twisted urban legends, and – yes -poetry. Get it here! and rev up your DVR because you’ll forget you even have a TV until you’re done.
Dustin agreed for an interview and here’s the way it went: ENJOY
Tell us how you got started writing.
I hear this one a lot, everyone always asks why you write or what got you started? For me, I think I was born a story teller. Now I know that sounds corny, but I can remember writing in kindergarten. Of course it wasn’t the next New York Times best seller, but it was a start. I have always loved coming up with stories, I have so many ideas running around in my head that I would probably be locked up in a nuthouse if I didn’t write. Now if you told young Dustin that he would one day actually be a published author, he would have laughed in your face. See one thing I really never talk about anymore is that I’m dyslexic, which basically means growing up I always thought I was stupid. Reading out loud and messing up words in front of class isn’t a fun thing I will tell you that. Lucky for me I had a teacher in High School that really pushed me to be a writer. She loved my papers and told me I could be a published writer so easily, but it took years for me to break out of the fog that I wasn’t good enough. Looking back on that now, I can’t even say how that makes me feel. I have done so much, published stories all over the world, been in Revolver Magazine, and have three books out. I’m very thankful to be where I am, and I will never forget where I came from. And I can promise that I will never stop writing. It’s a part of me, and that will never change. Lol That’s the second question I hear the most…Do you still write? Yes, a million times Yes!
What do you think the Appalachian or WV experience brings to your stories?
I love writing about West Virginia, I don’t do it a lot, but I try to at least write one story with home roots per year. We aren’t called Wild and Wonderful for nothing. There are so many legends and folklore to work with; I find that the stories almost write themselves. In Vol 1 of my short story collection (Twisted Tales from a Twisted Mind) I did a ghost story about an old house in WV. I grew up with this ghost story and I have even seen it with my own eyes, and I loved taking that story and making it my own. Of course I changed a lot in my take, but it was based on some facts. In Vol 2 (Blow Your Mind) I wrote about WV werewolves, this story was a last minute thing and I feel it is one of the strongest stories in the book. So yeah, I guess every writer should be proud of where they come from, after all, the whole world is a strange but beautiful place.
Who influences your writing / who are your favorites?
Love this one, to start I grew up on Anne Rice and Stephen King, two of the all-time best teachers to have growing up. They helped mold me in ways some of my real teachers couldn’t. A young mind is blank slate after all. But nowadays I feel I draw a lot from Jim Butcher, the man has a way with words that clicks for me. I love his smartass style and I do try to add some here and there in my stories. You can’t just have everything being dark all the time, got to add some humor into the mix.
What’s your current or next project?
This answer should make a lot of my readers happy. My first published piece ever was a 500 page novel called Damien the Newborn Devil, a vampire story set in New York City, and readers loved it. I have been promising more books in the series for a long time, but got sidetracked along the way. So with that I can say that I am 110% focused on finishing the next novel in the ‘Eternal Life’ series. How far along am I? Well a good ways, I even have a cover for it and it is breathe taking, so set back and relax. All the hate mail (for real, I got a lot of hate mail to get off my ass), got me working, thanks for showing you cared some much about something I wrote. Fingers crossed 2017 is the year for vampires!
Thanks for taking the time out of your non-stop storytelling to do the interview!