David Daniel: New Books, Flash Fiction

Picking up the thread for our series of updates on writers linked to Lowell and the region. 

David Daniel: New Books, Flash Fiction

I can’t say I discovered David Daniel in the Samuel de Champlain sense, but I found out about him through his novels, particularly The Heaven Stone (1994) and follow-up books in his crime fiction series with the private detective Alex Rasmussen working out of a scruffy office in downtown Lowell, Mass. It was exciting to have these new novels set in the city popping up at a regular rate. The books were from St. Martin’s Press, and he won an award for one of them.

A Boston native, Dave has been in the Lowell region for a long time. He has taught at UMass Lowell, Middlesex Academy Charter School, and elsewhere. His extended resume is a good read: carpenter, tennis pro, clam digger, lab assistant at Harvard Medical School.

Recent books include a volume of flash stories, Inflections & Innuendos (Storyside Press, 2017) and Three A.M. Wake-up Call, co-written with Nick Cato and Robb Watts (Book & Boos Press, 2018), part of the Terror Project series in which “death comes calling in unexpected ways.” Other short fiction is in Six Off 66 and Coffin Dust.

These days, he’s going through more than 300 flash fictions he’s written in the past couple years and selecting some for a collection to be titled Dinner Music for Cannibals, a follow-up to Inflections & Innuendos. What are these flash stories or flash fiction? This is a hot sector in publishing where the form calls for stories of a few hundred words and no more than a couple of thousand.

The Storyside , mentioned earlier, is an innovative collaboration with Dave, Vlad Vaslyn (a.k.a. Vlad V.), Stacey Longo, and Rob Smales. Here’s the online pitch:

Some of New England’s finest storytellers have joined forces to bring you the best in independent fiction. We could tell you that we have over 50 years of experience in the publishing industry. We could say that we’ve won awards and been nominated for other various literary accolades. We could point you to over twenty published titles ranging from mystery to horror to women’s fiction . . . but we’d rather let our stories do the talking.

Dave’s got a project going with former Lowell Sun sports reporter and local baseball guru Chaz Scoggins. “Chaz and I have resurrected a novel we co-wrote several years ago, updating it to see if there’s a publisher out there for a large and ambitious baseball story. Our immediate task is cutting the 200,000-word, 700-page book down to something feasible.”

I asked him what he’s reading. “I’m revisiting Saul Bellow. Just read Seize the Day and re-reading Herzog. Also reading, as I always do, and think every prose writer should, poetry. Currently, Marge Piercy’s The Moon is Always Female.”

Dave wrapped up our conversation with a current events comment: “Now more than ever, I am finding reasons to write letters to newspaper editors, post comments on stories in the Washington Post, which I read every day, and fight the good fight.” In some quarters, this is what is called “an engaged writer.”