I am SOOOOO excited for today’s special guest! One of THE BEST writers out there today and, a super talented musician, Ronald Malfi has created an ever growing fanbase with his consistently brutal and heart-wrenching stories.
I know there’s a few of you out there who’ve been asking if Ronald would do a 3Q’s and here it is!
Please welcome Ronald!
Steve: What does your process look like once you finish your first draft? Do you immediately dive back into it, or do you take some time away?
Ronald: I tend to edit as I go, so by the time I’ve finished a manuscript, it’s already been hacked at a fair bit. But once I get to that point, yes, I do prefer to set it aside for a bit before combing through it again. It never fails that giving myself that brief time away allows my mind to recalibrate and I truly do look at the manuscript with fresh eyes. On a few occasions, I’ve written a manuscript all the way to the end, and I kind of already know it’s a bit of a mess. My novel Black Mouth is a good example of this—I think that first draft was like 800 pages or so, and went in a completely different direction than the final version of the novel did. I knew when I finished it that it wasn’t going to work, so I stepped back from it for maybe about a week or two before tackling it again.
Steve: Do you believe cryptozoological creatures exist? If so, which one do you think has the best chance of being proven to exist?
Ronald: I don’t, but I love the idea that they might. This country is rich with these legends; it feels like every state has to have their own cryptid mascot—in fact, I think they all do. I don’t have a favorite, but living in Maryland right along the Chesapeake Bay, I’d have to say Chessie—which is the bay’s version of the Loch Ness Monster. And for the record, if they do exist, they’d be smart to keep away from us.
Steve: Of the books or stories you’ve released, which is your personal favorite and why?
Ronald: Tough question. My kneejerk reaction is to say December Park, because it’s my most autobiographical, and much of it is based on growing up with a group of friends in suburban Maryland. Come with Me is a close second because I think I just nailed the tone. Stories are doomed for inferiority the moment you set pen to paper—meaning you can never truly, perfectly capture the tone and feeling of it on the page as it exists in your head—and my books are no exception. The ones that I’m most proud of are the ones where the final product is as close to my initial concept as possible — books like Little Girls and Floating Staircase.
Steve: Bonus Fun Question – What was the best practical joke you’ve ever been involved in?
Ronald: When we were kids, I used to punk my younger sister every Halloween. One year, I put up a bunch of missing cat and dog posters around our neighborhood, then told her I had gotten involved with a gang called the Black Devils, and I was worried they were after me, and that they may have tracked me down to our neighborhood. I told her that whenever she went out, to keep an eye out for missing pet posters, because that’s how they communicated, which meant they were close to finding me. I even got my mom in on the prank, who happened to point out one of these posters to my sister (who was maybe 12 at the time). My sister freaked out when she saw the poster but forgot to tell me about it. Cut to a week or so later, I’m in a terrible car accident, flown to shock trauma in the middle of the night, and my parents are notified. They show up in the ER where I’m laid out, arm in a cast, looking like shit. They’ve got my sister in tow. After they spend a few minutes with me and before the nurses shoo them all away, I call my sister to my bedside, tell her to come closer, and mutter into her ear: “The Black Devils did this.” Well, she started bawling, and said she saw the posters and forgot to tell me about them, and that this was all her fault. I mean, it was a terrible thing to do. Terribly hilarious.
Steve – oh man hahaha! That is hilariously horrible!
Thank you so much for doing this, Ronald!
To find more of his work, check the links!