Today we have a special author spotlight on this stop of the Rose Book Tour presented by Blackthorn Book Tours. Author Rami Ungar stops by and gives us a little insight into the beginnings of his fantasy-infused horror novel Rose, chats about his writing process, recommends some of his favorite horror films, and lets us in on what he’s been collecting lately.
A huge thank you to Blackthorn Book Tours for inviting me to participate in this book tour.
About the Author
Rami Ungar knew he wanted to be a writer from the age of five, when he first became exposed to the world of Harry Potter and wanted to create imaginative worlds like Harry’s. As a tween, he fell in love with the works of Anne Rice and Stephen King and, as he was getting too old to sneak up on people and shout “Boo!’ (not that that ever stopped him), he decided to merge his two loves and become a horror writer.
Today, Rami lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio. He’s self-published three novels and one collection of short stories, and his stories have appeared in other publications here and there. Rose, his first novel with Castrum Press, will be released June 21st, 2019.
When he’s not writing your nightmares or coming up with those, he’s enjoying anything from the latest horror novel or movie to anime and manga to ballet, collecting anything that catches his fancy, and giving you the impression he may not be entirely human.
Thanks so much for joining us, Rami. Since we already have your official bio, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
Let’s see, ten words or less. Hmm…I’m an eccentric who enjoys good scares and the power of storytelling. How’s that?
What’s a day of writing like in the shoes of Rami? Do you have any quirks, routines, or rituals?
I don’t know if these count as quirks, but when writing, I like to have incense burning in the background when I write, edit or blog. It smells good and relaxes me. I also listen to different kinds of music depending on my mood. Most days I like 80’s music or musicals, but sometimes I like classical music or even ASMR videos on YouTube.
And whenever I work on my stories, I try to get at least 500 words down on paper or edit at least three pages, depending on what I’m doing.
Can you share with us something about Rose that isn’t in the blurb?
I think it’s worth mentioning that Rose’s amnesia is the medical type of amnesia, not the kind normally seen in fiction. With fictional amnesia, totally memory loss happens and is the main symptom. However, Rose’s memory loss is only of the past two years and is accompanied with symptoms typical of brain damage, including headaches and forgetting the names of places and objects.
That, and getting Rose’s memory back isn’t a major aspect of the story. Normally in this sort of story it would be, but because of the story I’m telling, I had to change a few things. And I think that turned out for the best.
Give us an idea of how Rose came to fruition.
I first had the idea for Rose in a science-fiction and fantasy literature course taught at Ohio State for a Misery-esque kind of story with a supernatural bent. I developed it a bit more in my head and ended up writing it as my senior thesis. About five years later, after numerous revisions and rewrites, the book was published, and I’m so happy with the response I got.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
Usually plot, or some idea of what the story is going to be about. Then the characters are created, and I start refining and hammering down what’s going to happen. Once that’s taken care of, I start writing and hopefully produce something worth reading after a few edits.
What about the horror genre appeals to you most?
I think I like horror because it’s fun. It’s fun to be scared, it’s fun to scare others, and I can’t be more honest than that. Though I should probably add that horror is a great mirror for us to examine ourselves and the world around us through one of our most primal emotions. That is important to mention.
Have you ever come up with an idea so wild that you scare yourself?
I’m not even sure what such an idea would look like! Wild, strange and scary ideas just get me excited. That being said, if an idea ever scares me, I’ll let you know.
Give us some top notch horror movie recs.
Perfect Blue is an anime film about a pop idol-turned actress whose first major role starts sending her spiraling down into madness. It’s the kind of anime that leaves you reeling, and gets better with every viewing. Sleepaway Camp is another favorite, a delightful slow-burn with characters who feel real and a twist that’s still being talked about thirty-six years later. Us is probably the best horror film I’ve seen this year so far. IT: Chapter One is another favorite (and by the way, I didn’t like Chapter Two), and 2014’s Clown is scary enough to send you into hysterics.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them makes them extra special?
I think I tend to like characters who I put through a lot of shit. As a horror author, that’s kind of par for the course, but I have a soft spot for the younger ones who really get put through the ringer. Maybe that’s some form of guilt talking, I don’t know.
What do you think makes a good story?
For me, a good story sticks in my head for days or weeks to come. Sometimes even months or years. And for horror stories, it has the ability to shake your inner Zen, to leave you feeling disturbed and disquieted.
I hope I’m able to write those kinds of stories, but I’ll need readers to tell me if I did, since I’m probably not the best judge.
Your bio mentions “collecting anything that catches his fancy” – what are you collecting these days?
Dolls. I have a growing doll collection made of anime figurines, Asian display dolls, and creepy porcelain fairy figures, among others. I enjoy collecting them and putting them in my cabinet, though at the moment I’m kind of running out of room! Hopefully in the near future, I can afford to really expand the collection.
I also have a lot of art and some creepy masks hanging from my walls.
Is there one particular book you hold dearest to your heart?
IT by Stephen King, I suppose. It’s the book that made me realize I wanted to write horror, so it’s pretty special to me.
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
You’ll stress yourself out if you try to write for market or make impossible word count goals. Just write a story you think you would enjoy, and set a reasonable goal for yourself. And if you’re feeling drained, take a night off. Read a book, watch a movie, hang out with friends. You’ll thank yourself later.
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
Tea, especially green tea.
Winter or Summer?
Neither, I’m an Autumn kind of guy. Especially around October.
Physical books or Ebooks?
Physical books, though I’ll buy e-books for certain titles.
Mountains or Oceans?
Oceans. I don’t like heights or hiking.
Beer or Wine?
Beer primarily, though I like sweet wines as well.
Books or Movies?
Cowboys or Aliens?
Can I go with ghosts instead?
Pie or Cake?
Rural or Urban?
Since most of my vacation ideas involve cities, I’ll pick urban.
Work hard or Play hard?
Play hard. Which, in a way, is what writing is for me.
Thank you again for taking the time to chat with us, Rami. Do you have anything coming up in the future that you’d like the world to know about?
I have a short story coming out in an anthology, the Binge-Watching Cure II, very soon. It’ll be released on November 1st, if I remember right, and will feature my short story “Car Chasers.” I hope you’ll check it out, there are a lot of great authors with imaginative stories in that anthology.
About the Book
Rose Taggert awakens in a greenhouse with no clear memory of the past two years and, to her horror, finds her body transformed into an unrecognizable form.
Paris Kuyper has convinced Rose that they are lovers and as Paris could not bear for her to die, he has used an ancient and dark magic to save her from certain death.
But the dark magic Paris has used comes at a price. A price which a terrible demon is determined to extract from Rose.
As Rose struggles to understand what is happening to her, she must navigate Paris’s lies and secrets; secrets that Paris will do anything to protect.