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Five for: Dustin LaValley

By Alan Kelly.

dustinlavalley

1) You wrote Lowlife Underdogs, or at least parts of it, while confined to a hospital bed. I don’t want to ask you anything too personal, but do you think a good writer has to endure a certain amount of suffering?
Good writers can fool you, easily. But those who have undergone true, individual suffering have the ability to place upon you an emotional attachment to the character and their situation. The writer who has known true suffering can inject certain knowledge and perspective into their work that those who have not dealt with such troubles could imagine to create. It is sincerely honest, putting your emotions on display for readers to absorb; bringing them to confront the pain, rage, tears and the sorrow you have lived through.

2) Like the antagonist Bella in Helen Zahavi’s Dirty Weekend, you’ve created a character in Party Girl who takes the proverbial witch-burning torch back from those who want to do her harm. The story serves as a warning to perverts, deviants and bastards everywhere. Would you agree that a lot of so-called hardboiled fiction consistently uses women, children, gay people, the elderly and other outsiders like lame murder ballads to sell books or shock?
Yes, I would agree. Too many have created worlds where blood and bare breast is more important to the endeavor than creativity and originality; plot, theme, and motive, character and symbolism have been erased and replaced by the man’s man view of the world. The creator has given up producing intelligent work and the viewer has given in. Casting out and disposing of those seen by the masses as weak or different; it’s tasteless and insulting. I hope the future brings with it a new generation of artists who are not afraid to challenge the current culture and muster enough strength and persistence to change film and written fiction.

lowlifeunderdogs

3) What takes you to dark places?
Life, whether virtuous or somber, is a passageway for darkness. The challenge of being human can take you to places worse than any piece of fiction.

4) What was the first story which marked you for life?
There is no doubt that Clive Barker was the first writer who genuinely frightened me, shook me up. His Books of Blood series stands out in my memory as a defining read. I do not remember what story first caught me, but without hesitation I can state honestly that somewhere inside the Books of Blood I became inspired.

5) And finally, do you wear your heart or your cock on your sleeve?
Well, my heart… but there sometimes comes along that special someone who switches things up…

First posted: Monday, November 30th, 2009.

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