A Quickie with Daniel O'Connor
Nikki Noir (NN): What’s your darkest fantasy? And why will you never act it out in real life?
Daniel O'Connor (DO): First, I'd like to thank you for the interview! It's an honor and a pleasure. I could never reveal my darkest fantasy or ever act it out because I do have a moral code and I am absolutely loaded with empathy. Probably too much so.
NN: What real-world environment is most terrifying to you?
DO: The hundreds of miles of dark, dank drainage tunnels beneath Las Vegas are incredibly eerie, and a whole lot of folks live down there. Some loners, some in various communities. I had set out to write a novel about what would terrify me most, and when I came upon the premise, I set much of it in those very tunnels.
NN: If you could collaborate with any small press author on a project, who would it be and why?
DO: Well, there are so many great indie authors--several who have had novels or shorts published by Blood Bound Books. I wouldn't want to leave anyone out so I won't choose a particular author. As for the super-famous, I'd like a chance to work with Stephen King, if only to see what he thought of my writing and ideas. Never hurts to dream big.
NN: Tell us about your latest project or work in progress
DO: My horror novel, CANNI, which I touched on regarding the Vegas tunnels, was published on July 4th, 2019. A thought came once that chilled me to the bone: What if your loved ones--or anyone, actually--suddenly had an unrelenting desire to kill you and consume your flesh. They became crazed and tremendously powerful. Well, we'd have to defend ourselves and probably kill them, most might say. But, what if this affliction they had only lasted for maybe fifteen minutes at a time, and then they'd be back to normal? Do we blow off dear old infected Aunt Betty's head when we know she will return to being our beloved Aunt Betty momentarily? What about your lover, or child? We've learned many, many, many, many times that we kill a zombie's brain and we kill the zombie. Save ourselves and put the undead out of their misery--even if we loved them as living beings. Well, sure as shit, cannis are NOT zombies. They are you, me, and everyone we know. They can be killed, but then they are dead. Our loved ones are dead. Gone forever. So, that's my little pitch on CANNI, but I will add that as the story moves along it gets way crazier than even that. Waaaay crazier! Not to toot my own horn, but my prior novel, SONS OF THE POPE, was praised by writers and directors behind DEXTER, TRUE BLOOD, THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE, V.C. ANDREWS, CONSTANTINE, and THE LAST VICTIM. I'm hoping that CANNI gets a similar response, but all I want, really, is to give readers a little time away from the real world. I believe that love, laughter, and terror are things over which we have little control, and I wanted to pay homage to them in CANNI.
NN: Of all the characters you’ve created, do you have a favorite and why?
DO: I have a fondness for every character that I create (even the evil ones), and many of them have grown out of real people who I know and love. One character who was particularly fun to write is a gentleman by the name of Joe Isley. He appears in CANNI. Let's call him a White House janitor. He is quite unique and I wish he was real because I like him a whole lot, and (here it is again) I have so much empathy for the guy. Complicated fellow though.
NN: What’s your favorite philosophical quote or phrase to live by?
DO: There are loads of wonderful quotes, be they by JFK, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Hemingway, Keats, whomever, but I find myself most drawn to things I've heard in song. So, many lyrics are actually among my favorite quotes. One that always comes to mind is basically the last words that the Beatles ever gave us as a group: "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."