Rami Ungar’s book, Rose, was the subject of a recent Dark Forest review. The horror story was deceivingly simple with an engaging storyline that held the reader’s interest from the first line of the book all the way to the last. It even subtly probed that age-old philosophical question: are we who we think we are or are we merely pawns in someone’s or something’s larger plan? Having enjoyed Rose so much, THE DARK SIRE felt the need to ask Mr. Ungar a few questions and he was gracious enough to answer them. Here is the interview:
TDS: I just want you to know how much I enjoyed Rose. You were able to capture my interest from the first line and you held it throughout the book. What gave you the idea to write Rose?
Rami Ungar: I’m not entirely sure. I was sitting in my science-fiction and fantasy class at Ohio State (yes, OSU had a class like that), and all of a sudden, this idea popped into my head. A story like Stephen King’s Misery, but with a supernatural bent. I wrote down the idea so I would remember it later, and it developed over time.
TDS: Why did you choose to tell your story through the eyes of a woman?
Rami Ungar: It was never really a choice for me. I was always surrounded by girls and women growing up, and a lot of my heroes growing up were women. So, while I would never say I’m an expert or that I have nothing more to learn, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of how to write from a woman’s POV. So, when creating the characters, Rose Taggert just came to me naturally as a woman, and I didn’t think further on it.
TDS: Who are your favorite heroines in horror literature and did you draw on any of them in the creation of Rose?
Rami Ungar: Buffy the Vampire Slayer! She’s not perfect, but she kicks ass and cares deeply for those around her. However, she didn’t have that much influence on Rose. Otherwise, this would have been a very different novel.
TDS: There is something incredibly sinister about your villain, Paris. Yet, you can almost feel sorry for him because of the things he suffered. How did you research his character to achieve that balance?
Rami Ungar: I think that was just a culmination of a lot of reading and movies. In college, I was devouring books filled with serial killers, as well as watching movies about them, and I guess I just learned from those who came before how to create a villain that, while sinister, had a sympathetic back story. That being said, I would warn any reader not to get to be too sympathetic to Paris. It’s not easy for me to get into his mind, but I feel like anyone who shows him genuine sympathy is setting themselves up for pain. And not just the emotional kind!
TDS: This is kind of a which came first, the chicken or the egg question. Did the character types come to you first, or did the storyline come first and did the characters develop from that?
Rami Ungar: While the initial idea started me on this path, the characters came to be before I started on the storyline. That’s generally how it works, especially with longer stories. I’ll have a few key characters, and then I’ll write the plot around them.
TDS: To be honest, you caught me by complete surprise with your ending. I wasn’t expecting it. Are you planning a sequel or sequels?
Rami Ungar: You know, you’re not the first to ask. I have at times thought about creating a sequel, but at this time, I’m not planning any. I think it’s powerful enough as a standalone and I plan to keep it that way. That being said, if a good idea for a sequel came to me, I wouldn’t be opposed to writing it.
TDS: How much research did you do to develop the demonic characters who haunt the background? And why did you choose Japanese over another culture’s demons?
Rami Ungar: I’m a nut for Japanese culture. I grew up on Pokemon, Digimon and Sailor Moon, and I’ve been reading manga and watching anime since I was a kid. Adding all those beliefs and gods and whatnot to the story seemed like a fun thing to do, so I went with it. And while I did do some light research into the subject, most of the knowledge I needed was already there.
TDS: As a young author, who are some of the other writers who inspired you to be a writer?
Rami Ungar: JK Rowling was the one who initially inspired me to write, and I’ll forever be grateful to her for that (though I am rather upset by some of the views she’s espoused recently). Stephen King and Anne Rice were a big reason why I gravitated to horror. And HP Lovecraft and his ideas about an indifferent universe have been an influence in recent years.
TDS: Are you a member of any writing organization or community? If so, which ones? What benefits do you see from belonging to a community that encourages writers?
Rami Ungar: I’m a supporting member of the Horror Writers Association. For me, I like being able to post frequently and network with other writers. I also get to organize meetings and projects for the state-level chapter, which is an important responsibility.
TDS: What message do you hope readers take away from this story?
Rami Ungar: I hope they enjoyed the story, and I hope it gave them the chills. That’s all.
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THE DARK SIRE sincerely hopes that you have enjoyed our interview with Mr. Ungar. Anyone wishing to read Rose or any of his other writings is encouraged to follow the link to his page on Amazon.com.