David Fulmer is the author of five critically-acclaimed and award-winning novels with Harcourt Books. His plaudits include nominations for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Barry Award, and a Falcon Award. He claimed a spot on Borders Books “Best of 2003 List” and the “Best of 2005” lists by Library Journal, Deadly Pleasures Magazine, and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and one of his books was included as one of New York Magazine’s “Best Novels You’ve Never Read”
He won a 2002 Shamus Award, the 2005 Georgia Author of the Year Award, and the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Award for Audiobook Fiction He has been translated into Japanese, Italian and French. All his books have received superlative reviews from, among others publications, The Times Picayune, The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, BookList, Kirkus Reviews, The Detroit News, The Boston Globe, and The Tennessean.
Carrie: Please tell us about The Blue Door.
David: It’s a mystery set in South Philadelphia in 1962. The main character is a boxer named Eddie Cero who comes to work for a private detective named Sal Giambroni—mostly, as a way to make a little money until he can get his fight career going again. He ends up getting involved in what seems to be a cold missing person case.
Carrie: Is The Blue Door plot or character driven?
David: Definitely character-driven. I begin all my books with an evocative setting. For the first three, it was Storyville, New Orleans, at the turn of the century. Then I turned to Atlanta in the 1920s. In his current book, it’s South Philly in the early 1960s. I treat the setting as a character. Then I place the human characters whom I’ve spent considerable time developing and understand on these stages. I know there’s a body somewhere. These pieces are my raw materials.
Carrie: Why is music such an important factor in all your novels?
David: I fell in love with American music when I was a kid. I’ve always felt that it’s represented the best of our culture. It came up from the ground, is ethnic without maintaining barriers, it’s totally inclusive, and has come to define America. There’s really no other art form that can make that claim The musicians and the music provide these really interesting dramas and I find lots of rich material to mine.
Carrie: How did your a small town background contribute to your future as a writer?
David: It required me entertaining myself, as well as my friends and me entertaining each other. That meant lots of stories. My grandfather was an immigrant and so the Old World oral storytelling tradition was very strong in our family. The other thing is that small towns can be stifling and growing up in one made me want to get out and do something.
Carrie: Who are your favorite authors and who influenced your writing?
David: I love great storytelling and I’m a fan of realism. That’s what I look for in my reading choices. As to current authors, I like Nick Tosches for both fiction and non-fiction, because of the way he approaches the mythology of our culture. I like Walter Mosely’s atmosphere and James Lee Burke for his descriptive powers. I also love Bernard Malamud, Anne Tyler, Kenzaburo Oe, James Joyce, Toni Morrison, William Burroughs, and a dozen more—because all are terrific storytellers.
Carrie: Can you offer a glimpse into your “real life”?
David: I’m a single parent, so my daughter, Italia, is the real center of my life. I’m definitely a music guy. I play some, and love delving into new stuff. Roots music, world music, not to much current stuff, though I do keep my mind ears open.
Carrie: Tell us something surprising about you or something very few people know about you.
David: I’ve been known to do a fair Droopy the Dog impression.
Carrie: Would you be willing to share your biggest failure and how it changed your life?
David: That would be spending so much time and energy avoiding the eventuality that I would become an author, published or not. I tried everything to get out of it, knowing in my gut how difficult and discouraging it was likely to be. But my fate got tired of waiting, grabbed me by the collar and said, “All right, you, let’s go.”
Carrie: How about your biggest success, personal and/or professional and how it affected your perspective?
David: My biggest success was becoming a father. It completely upended my priorities and made me realize what was truly important. Professionally, it would be getting the first book published, against all odds. Right away, I realized that my expectations of the life of an author were completely wrong and that I was going to have to accept the demands of writing as a craft. Not as many parties as I had hoped for, in other words. But I’m grateful to be in this place.
Carrie: What’s next for you?
David: Harcourt will publish Lost River later this year. It’s the last book on my current contract, so I’m waiting to see what my next will be. As I mentioned, I work on outside projects, and I’m working on a stage production which will see the light of day in 2009. And there’s always more…