Author showcase: David S. Grant

Disaffected tourists idle through the streets and bars of Paris and Dublin. Office workers suspect each other of stealing cocaine at the Christmas party. Human Resource officers interview the stripper they frequent for a position in the firm (or at least they think it’s that stripper). Pickpockets get pick-pocketed. Nobodies stage emergencies to save the day. Mediocre porn stars murder their co-stars to increase DVD rentals. Executives drop Ecstasy during the board meeting and realize their affection for the touch of their supervisor’s shirt. Comics drop ‘shrooms in the restaurant’s sauce to get laughs from even the toughest of Monday night crowds. “Jerk offs, ex-cons, new cons, pranksters, one hit wonders, and homeless entrepreneurs are the ‘Emotionless Souls” that populate the 20 stories in this collection by David S. Grant (author of 'Corporate Porn' and 'The Last Breakfast').”

Done well, short fiction has a depth and breath that can leave a reader wanting more. Of course, there isn’t any more; the story – a beginning, middle, end – is short. Words are at a premium. The story moves on emotion and it moves on reaction.
New York-based author David S. Grant writes like that. Short fiction – some would call transgression fiction – that takes and unflinching look at the human condition.

His new book of short stories, “Emotionless Souls,” has recently been published by Brown Paper Publishing.

And he was good enough to stop by The Tension recently on his virtual book tour to answer a few questions. More on that later.

“Emotionless Souls” is a collection that will likely catch a breath in your chest. The tightly-written stories are often surreal and dark. But the plot twists and endings help to keep bringing back the reader for more.

Grant’s works could be classified as transgression fiction; a genre that usually focuses on characters who feel disinfected by normal expectations of society. Taboos are shattered; the writing is tight, simplistic. It can be frightening. It also can be beautiful.

“Emotionless Souls” hits on all cylinders. All 20 stories with either leave you scratching your head, shaking it or raising it to the ceiling in a laugh.

This is Grant’s first collection of stories, after publishing three novels.

Surface Tension: What sets “Emotionless Souls” apart from your novels?

David S. Grant: Given the length of the tales, there is a more definitive edge to the writing as I get right to the point. “White Christmas” is a story of a man who believes a co-worker has stolen his cocaine and the piece details his walk across the room to confront the accused. Because this was a short the story needs to keep the focus of what is happening despite the distractions that are incurred as he makes it across the room. Similar to “White Christmas,” the story “Boardroom Romance” answers the age old question of what happens when you mistake Ecstasy for Aspirin and it hits you while in a boardroom meeting.

Surface Tension: Explain your style, your devotion, to transgression fiction.

Grant: I enjoy telling my stories as I see them. You can categorize them as transgression fiction, shock value with a dash of humor, or satirical. I really don’t set out to write in one genre, it’s what I enjoy. Getting inside the “other side” of human nature inspires me, knowing, as we all do deep inside, the grey area of our minds and actions.

Surface Tension: Do you find it difficult to come up with ideas? Are the stories in "Emotionless Souls" careful observations or simply the license of literary fiction?

Grant: The ideas are always around us. The question is whether it’s a worthy story for the reader. In “Emotionless Souls,” you have twenty different stories with 20 different scenarios we can all relate to in some degree. Trying to do a good job at the office, realize our dreams. Exact revenge on someone who stole our cocaine. In “Money Shot,” you have someone trying to realize their dreams. Granted, it may be unconventional in that he is a porn star, but still in the end he realizes what he wants, even if it is pulling a gun out of the most unpredictable of places. “Open Mic Night” details a struggling comedian looking for laughs, “White Christmas” is a classic story of who done it, with the office party (someone stole my drugs twist), and “Slam Dunk” tells the tale of doing whatever it takes to be the one to make that dreadful presentation we all dread.

Surface Tension: Who do you read? Who inspires you?

Grant: Bret Easton Ellis for his numbness of characters; F. Scott Fitzgerald for his romance with an edge; Hunter S. Thompson for his dialogue; Chuck Palahniuk for his chock with social commentary.

Grant said his next published work will be the double novel “Bleach/Blackout; two novels about drugs, sex, revenge, the corporate crunch, and the inevitable unpleasantness of life and death. But mainly about life.

Certainly, “Emotionless Souls” is a good entry point for Grant’s style and dedication to craft. Not everyone will find Grant’s work uplifting, but they will find he has a voice that sticks with you.

Order a copy of “Emotionless Souls” at Brown Paper Publishing or at Amazon.


Cheryl said...

Nice interview. Thanks for spotlighting David's work.

Good luck with the last week of the tour, David.