Getting person with David Tamarin
David L Tamarin writes extreme and brutal hardcore horror with a jet black sense of humor. He also writes in the crime genre, and is fascinated with the concept of snuff films. He is also a non-fiction writer whose work has appeared in publications such as Rue Morgue, Girls and Corpses, Serial Killer magazine. He is a student of true crime and incorporates his knowledge of crime and killers into his fiction. At least three people have suffered fatal heart attacks reading his fiction so beware and read with extreme caution. He uses words to assault the reader. He is married with a young son, five cats, one gecko, and a poltergeist. Aliens watch his every move.
Please welcome David Tamarin to Roadie Notes………….
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
I started writing pornography when I was a fetus in the second trimester in my mother’s stomach.
Actually, I was probably six or seven, and I wrote obscene parodies of The Brady Bunch, involving incest, abuse, rape, murder. When I was 13 or 14 I wrote my first book. This was mid 1980s so I wrote it on a Brother word processor not a computer. I no longer have it on disc but do have a print out of it. It involved a schizophrenic man who believed he was god and wanted to recreate the universe- the same plot I used in my first book, Hurting My Toys. The first time I submitted a story to a horror magazine I was in my teens. I wrote a lot back then. In high school I wrote for both school newspapers and in my free time wrote for various punk rock fanzines, so I am always writing something. Before I started getting my fiction published I published a legal article (my day job is as an attorney) on the use of torture in US prisons. The article went up on several sites and was quoted on several more. I wrote an article on refinancing homes, one on legalizing drugs, I started doing book reviews, and finally started submitting fiction on a regular basis. About ten to twelve years ago I started writing seriously for publication. I first started submitting a lot of stuff and getting published in 2006. I also write non-fiction, and write for Girls and Corpses magazine, and have written for dozens more. Some of my favorite publications have been in Rue Morgue, Diabolique, Serial Killer magazine, Cannabis Culture magazine and many more. After writing for a short time I self-published some short story books and had a small press release a short collection of short stories by me called Let Them Eat Snuff.
2. How many books have you written?
My most famous book is called the Bible and I am working on a Third Testament.
I self-published a few books when I started writing full-time in 2006, but won’t count those books. My first publication was Let Them Eat Snuff, which was released by Meat Hook Press, it is a short collection of my short fiction, it is only about 30 pages. In the last few years, I have had three books published. Hurting My Toys: Spiritual Suicide is a novella. BOLO: Sociopaths on a Rampage is a novel and This Book Hates You is a short story collection. I have also had a lot of short fiction published in a lot of anthologies, magazines, websites, etc. I am more of a short story writer than a novel writer. I have been published in at least 100 fiction publications, I am in about a dozen anthologies. I will name just a few I can remember- Rue Morgue, Red Scream, Verbicide, The Independent, New England Horror Writers, Serial Killer magazine, The Dream People, bloodcookies, deathbus, corpsefuck, wretched and violent, Chimeraworld 2, Chimeraworld 3, Insidious Reflections, Purpleverse, The Unholy Biscuit, Sinfully Twisted, GOREmet cuiSINe, the Death Mook, Trails of Indiscretion, Escaping Elsewhere, VividHues, Diabolique, Girls and Corpses, Bizarro Central, Butcher Knives and Body Counts, Sex Drugs & Horror, withersin, Whispers of Wickedness, Dark Karnival, Scars, horrornews.net, alt.sex.stories, Justus Roux, Bust Down the Doors and Eat All the Chickens, Other Things Other Places, Splattered, Stabbed Tortured Dismembered, Splatterpunx, prisonwall.org, Cannabis Culture, Night to Dawn, two of the Six Word Memoirs books, Blood Reign, Cyber-Pulp’s Halloween Anthology 3.0, Theatre of Decay, Sinfully Twisted, Project Contagion, Night to Dawn and many more that I cannot remember.
In addition, I have helped write several screenplays, and I have several screenplays I wrote that I have been trying to get made for years.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
I will write about anything. I used to have a rule about not writing about animal violence, as I write what I would like to read and I do not like reading about animal violence. However, in my latest book BOLO there is a lot of extreme cruelty to animals which I included because it was essential to the story line, which involves an abusive father who makes his son torture animals to death. So that was my one taboo and I not only broke it but through it out the window as the descriptions of torturing of dogs is absolutely revolting. It was hard to write it, and then hard to re-write it through a dozen or so drafts.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
If you change the letters in my last name they spell Martian. That is my true identity. I came to your planet many of your centuries ago. As for David L Tamarin, he is 43 years old and his day job is an attorney, focusing on both entertainment law and disability law. I have been married 14 years and we have a 21-month old baby. I also volunteer at an animal shelter, working with the cats. I have five cats and a gecko. A lot of my recent fiction involves child abuse, because I deal with my fears through writing. I am terrified something bad will happen to my son, that he will be kidnapped and tortured. So for the past few years I have written a lot of short fiction involving those fears. The results are often brutal. My day job is as an attorney representing disabled individuals, although I practice all types of law including entertainment law and have worked on several films in that capacity. For my job, about half of it is representing the disabled and the other half are all types of cases- criminal cases, contract disputes, tenant rights.
I write and I am a lawyer but I am not like John Grisham and don’t really write about the law, although if I get a good idea I might, like a lawyer hired to investigate a snuff movie ring or something.
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
Hurting My Toys: Spiritual Suicide. The book evolved over the course of ten years. It began as a short story of about 4,000 words which was first published around 2007. Then I re-wrote it as a longer story of about 10,000 words, which appears in my short story collection This Book Hates You. I sent the story to Comet Press, and they said if I could turn it into a 40,000-word novella they would publish it, so I did that in 2014 or 2015. It was hard getting it down to 40,000 words because I had originally envisioned it to be about 100,000 words. So I am not completely happy with the ending, and would like to write the sequel at some point to give the story closure. It is the story that has gotten me the most infamy, including death threats and accusations of me being a serial killer, etc. The book deals with schizophrenia which I find to be a fascinating condition. Also, as I mentioned it is somewhat based on a book I wrote when I was fourteen or so and I have never forgotten that book and the ideas in it and the specific scenes and after 30 years percolating in my head I finally got it down for Hurting My Toys. I have to write a sequel to it, because my awesome publisher, Comet Press, wanted a novella of 40,000 or so words and I had about 100,000 words worth of writing, so I need to write the sequel to tie things up. The book has a scene where a man rips a fetus out of a woman and uses it as a crack pipe, – and then things get sick! It is one of my favorite scenes I wrote and a favorite of my readers, I can’t tell you how many people have commented on the fetal crack pipe scene. The story I am working on now, about Pornocchio, actually has a scene that out does the fetus crack pipe scene in Hurting My Toys. I won’t give it away, but something much much worse happens to a fetus in my Pornocchio story, so if you liked the fetal crack pipe scene in Hurting My Toys you will love the even sicker fetal destruction scene in Pornocchio.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
A few years ago my parents were kidnapped and I got a note saying they would be killed unless I started writing the most unimaginably grim, gruesome, negative, nihilist, brutal violent fiction, so everything I do is just to keep them alive. I hate what I write, but they’ll kill my parents if I stop- and then they’ll come after me. It’s really a touchy subject for me. Would you like a serious answer? There is something in my head, not unlike a tumor, that is always creating stories and coming up with ideas, and if I don’t write them down my head may explode. Writing is a compulsion. I have tried to stop at times when depressed and found I could not. So part of the reason is this inner need or desire I have to write, which probably results from my lifelong love of reading
There are a couple of answers to that but answer number one is Stephen King. When I was in fourth grade I read Christine, which was my first ‘adult’ book, and I fucking loved it! It had me hooked, and I have been reading King since then. I used to be able to say I had read all of his books but I fell behind with the last volume of the Dark Tower series, and have not read his last ten or so books. I recently started Mr. Mercedes which was creepy as the villain drives his car into a crowd of people, killing many, and I read this the day when that really happened, when that maniac mowed down all those innocent people with his vehicle. This is the second time something like this has happened to me while reading a Stephen King book. In one of his novels, I forget but think it was Insomnia, someone goes on a shooting spree in an abortion clinic, and as I read it, a guy in the Boston area, where I live, John Salvi, went into a Planned Parenthood and murdered and injured a bunch of innocent people. He later died in jail but this is Boston I heard he was murdered in jail. People who commit suicide don’t shove urine soaked socks down their throat, then tie their hands behind their back and then hang themselves without the use of their arms.
The relates to my second inspiration, my fascination with true crime, violence, serial killers, abnormal psychology and abnormal behavior, and behavior and drug-induced bizarre and threatening behavior, and mental illness and personality disorders, snuff, and torture. Around the time I read Christine I read a book about terrorism and torture tactics used by terrorists. I read about terrorists who put insects into women’s vaginas and I was freaked out and disgusted but couldn’t put the book down. I have been reading true crime books for over thirty years. I have written about serial killers for many publications including Serial Killer magazine. I am fascinated by serial killers, mass murders, killing sprees, abnormal psychology, sexual sadism, sociopaths, schizophrenics, the effects of hard drugs like crack and meth, and also drugs like LSD that mimic schizophrenia.
Another thing is events that have happened in my own life. I have seen and experienced a lot of pretty insane things in my life. I started writing my autobiography but certain parts got too intense for me and I stopped writing. I have seen death up close, and that informs my writing. When I was younger I found my best friend’s dead body. I’ve met a lot of crazy people and witnessed a lot of crazy things, many of them illegal. And I’ve had my own problems and still do have problems, and I feel the need to write about these things, in the form of either horror stories or stories of very dark humor.
Then there is the fact that I have a pretty strange imagination and a lot of ideas, and I am always coming up with story ideas. I tend to have pretty odd thoughts and I think that is clear in my writing. I look at things in a different way than other people. Some people see Octo-Mom and think of the beauty of childbirth. I look at her and want to hang her from a tree and use her as a piñata, smashing her stomach open with a bat while little candy babies fall out of her. I even have a story, Octo-Mom and the Projectile Birth Contest. I always thought projectile birth should be an Olympic event.
I am a huge movie fan, in particular horror and transgressive films, and have been as long as I can remember. The first movies I remember seeing that shocked me included Videodrome, A Clockwork Orange, Last House on the Left, which I saw when I was very young. Horror films have definitely influenced my writing. However, I enjoy zombie movies but don’t write zombie fiction. There’s too much of it and too much of it is the same. I do have an idea for a zombie story, but it is slightly different from the typical zombie story, it is about a guy with a sexual fetish for zombie chicks and dead girls.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
Unauthorized surgery. Basically I carjack ambulances, abduct the patient, take him or her home and then perform procedures on them with no anesthesia. I torture them and perform experiments like how loud a man screams when you cut his penis in half. I like to pick random people and follow them for months, stalking them, recording their every move, before killing them then posing as them.
As for reality, the first answer is writing, but besides writing, my favorite thing is playing with my son and my cats and spending time with my wife. Which I know is pathetically normal. I know a lot of people think I am a monster and I think they would be disappointed if they observed my life. But that’s what I like. I like horror movies, my family and pets, true crime, bizarre and weird information, reading and writing, punk rock and grunge and stoner metal and death rap.
There’s nothing like spending a few hours curled up around the latest Amnesty International report of torture worldwide, or the FOIA declassified FBI files on snuff films, drinking coffee, vaping, watching movies with head explosions in the background while blasting Slayer and taking notes on my next torture scene.
I love film, and I love music, and I love art in all its forms. I didn’t mention reading because to me that is implied. I read, therefore I am. I have spent more time in this life reading than doing just about anything else. I remember reading my first Richard Laymon book, Endless Night, and how much I enjoyed that.
I like sex but that’s a given.
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
No. I do have one interesting tradition though. For people I particularly hate, like Jerry Falwell, I buy a bottle of champagne and write their name on it, then drink the bottle when they died. I recently had some champagne to celebrate the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia. I write a lot of things at once so when I finish a book I just turn to the next project.
I’m thinking of starting a new tradition that when I finish a book I chose a slave from my dungeon- just one- and let him or her escape- but just as they get out the front door I shoot their kneecaps out and drag them back to the dungeon.
Actually it is hard to tell when I’ve finished, as I always feel like if I give it another read I will find ways to change the story and improve it. Even when it is done I think of ways to change it to make it better.
If I do think I am done I try to use the three-week rule, where I do not look at what I wrote for three weeks, and in that time try not to think about it and work on other projects. Then, when three weeks has passed and I do read it again, I get a fresh perspective and pick up on mistakes that I would miss if I had just written it, because at that point you are seeing what you want to see, often blind to blatant errors. So I try to go a good time and forget about the story or book and then when I read it later it is like reading it for the first time and I pick up on a lot of ways to improve the story. I don’t always do this, for example if it is a flash fiction story.
9. Where do you write?
I have a great writing space. I live in a 100-year-old house, and the basement looks like a dungeon from a torture movie or snuff film. The walls are rock, making it feel like a cave. Behind my computer are my speakers, writing instruments, a plastic skull, a skull candle, an old-fashioned bottle of embalming fluid, pictures on the wall of JFK’s corpse and Lee Harvey getting shot, a South African spear, Godzilla and Leatherface figures, my autographed poster for Bloodsucking Freaks, and a lot of drug paraphernalia.
Unfortunately, my work room is also where we keep the five boxes of kitty litter for our cats, so sometimes it stinks down here. If you read my work a lot of the stories have people with captives in their dungeon like basements, which are modeled after this room I write in. It is also storage space for all my books.
But I write whenever I get a good idea. Before the smart phone, I always carried several notebooks and pens with me and was always writing wherever I was. Now I use an app on my phone and I write when I am stuck in traffic, when I am in line, and any other spare time I have. A lot of my stories began on napkins or things like that when I would be out at a restaurant or something and didn’t have my notebooks and an idea would hit me. So I literally write anywhere and everywhere I go. One of my more recent short stories was written entirely on an iPhone mostly while stuck in traffic.
But if I have my choice I write in my dungeon where I have my computer set up and my slaves tied up and my speakers.
10. Quite or music?
Music. At the end of This Book Hates You I list all the music I listened to when writing the book, which ranged from Ministry to GG Allin to Triple Six Mafia to The Beatles to Black Sabbath to Primus, Melvinsand Slayer.
Sometimes I put on a YouTube documentary on crime or torture and listen to that.
Right now I am listening the Misfits, the album 12 Hits From Hell.
I get so into writing that I sometimes go into a trance, and when the album I am listening to ends I don’t even notice and just write in silence.
11. Anything you would change about your writing?
No, nothing. I have written some garbage but have learned from the experience so I can’t say I would change anything. I would like to change how many people buy my books, and how publishers felt about me, but won’t change my writing to sell more books- and besides, I don’t think if I made my writing tame my few followers would still appreciate what I do. What I write makes me an outcast, gets me criticized, banned, harassed, etc, and none of that bullshit will change how I write. If anything it encourages me to think of new ways to make my critics and enemies sick, to go with words as far as one can go. I use my words as weapons, and they are lethal. I would never want to change that.
12. What is your dream? Famous writer?
Being a famous writer is not my dream. I attended a writers’ boot camp about a decade ago and the teachers were best-selling writers like David Morrell, who created Rambo, Douglas Winter, F. Paul Wilson, and all three had serious day jobs. One was a doctor. Douglas Winter, like me, is an attorney. So what I took from that is that writing does not pay the bills except in extreme cases like Stephen King. I fully acknowledge my writing is too brutal and extreme to ever become mainstream. I have been told I write for a ‘niche audience’ that is very small. The writers in my genre for the most part are not famous like Clive Barker or Peter Straub, but writers like Wrath James White and Monica J O’Rourke. They are the fucking best, and their books have very limited commercial potential. People who write extreme writing like I do know that we will never be rich or famous. I have been involved in the film industry for some time, and have co-written a few screenplays. My dream is to write screenplays and get paid for it. My dream is to sell enough books that people in the horror community know who I am so that maybe I can’t get rich but maybe I can make even a small amount of money writing.
I love anthologies. My goal is to be in an anthology (or a magazine) with Stephen King, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Ray Garton, John Skipp, Gregory Lamberson, Bentley Little, Thomas Ligotti, John Shirley and a few other authors I admire. I have an essay in the book Butcher Knives and Body Counts, and there is also an essay in the book by Gregory Lamberson, so I can check that one-off the list.
13. Where do you live?
North Andover, Massachusetts. It is right near Salem, except that my town actually executed more witches than Salem during that era. I am about an hour from Fall River where Lizzy Borden is from, and about a half hour from Boston, home of the Boston Strangler. For various films and television shows I have traveled to Montreal, Buffalo, NY, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut and most frequently Rhode Island.
I grew up in the Massachusetts area. I am a movie extra, and Adam Sandler is from my area and frequently shoots his films here. I have been an extra in four of Adam Sandler’s films. Mark Wahlberg also makes a lot of local movies but I have not been able to get an extra role in any of them. The closest I came to success was a recent Boston-based film THE FIGHTER, in which Christian Bale, who plays I think the brother of the main character, plays a crackhead. Anyway I auditioned for the role of Bale’s crackhead friend, and I actually got a callback. I impressed the casting lady by telling her I grew up in a crackhouse. When she believed I admitted I was lying and she was very impressed and told me to come back for a second audition in a week. She told me, come back here in a week. Do not shave, shower, sleep or eat. Watch YouTube videos of people smoking crack all week. You are playing a crackhead, you need to look like one and know how one acts. A little later I got a call that someone else had been cast in the role.
I lived in Colorado for a few years when I was in college and like it there much better. Better skiing.
Absolutely! Five amazing cats! One eleven-year-old gecko. The cats own the house, not my wife and I. Three of my cats are seven years old and two are about 18 months old. I also volunteer at an animal shelter where I work with the cats. I don’t have a dog because my backyard is pretty tiny and dogs need a place to run around in. Eventually I would like to move to another house with a bigger backyard so I can get a dog or two. I have a young son and I think it is important he have a dog. He is really great with the cats, very gentle, but all but my little black cat isscared of him. One of my geckos got sick and the vet showed me how to force feed him for two weeks. This was right before my wedding. When force-feeding the little guy, he closed his mouth with my finger in it, accidentally biting me. My finger blew up grotesquely, like nothing I had ever seen. The day before my wedding I had to go to the doctor. The day after my wedding, it got even bigger so I had to go to the doctor, who literally went and got a bunch of other doctors and a camera to show off my swollen finger and take pictures of it. They had apparently never seen anything that fucking swollen! I looked away as they slit it open and drained it and drained it and drained it. During my marriage ceremony I had a band-aid over the big swollen lump, and the next day when I removed the band aid to change it I was shocked to see how much it had grown. That type of shit freaks me out and grosses me out. It is the BODY HORROR of David Cronenberg and Clive Barker, but it was my real life. I wrote about the incident in detail in some document I can’t find. That, and the multiple tumors that have been discovered in my body, has made me fear and feel disgust towards my body, my flesh- as I said I feel like a character in a Cronenberg movie. I think that is why I love him as a director. His films like The Fly remake detail the human body breaking down. I think he is a genius, I already mentioned Videodrome as a huge influence on me.
I do not currently own any snakes, but since college I have owned several snakes, all ball pythons. Unfortunately, they seem to have a short life span of maybe five years or so. I have probably had seven snakes, and when my son is older would love to get another one. My favorite was Pretzel. I took him with me everywhere. I kept him in my shirt pocket. He was called Pretzel because he would wrap himself tightly around my hand. He never ever bit anyone but died tragically. I used to sleep with him and in my sleep I crushed him. Even when he was dying he did not bite me. That was one of the most upsetting moments in my life. People have no idea how sweet a snake can be. I cried like a baby for months when I killed Pretzel. I haven’t been able to get a snake since him. But I would like to again. I feed my snakes frozen mice because to feed them live mice is fucking barbaric. When I first got the snake we fed him a live mouse. He bit it and wrapped himself around the mouse, squeezing him so tight that his eyes burst out of his head, and the death was prolonged and awful and the little guy was twitching. Before the snake struck the mouse was just shaking in fear. It was awful. After that we only fed him frozen mice.
My first snake was named Drexel, after Gary Oldman’s character in the Quentin Tarantino-written film True Romance.
I have six pet midgets who are lethal assassins.
15. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Exorcising these crazy thoughts in my head.
Being God, literally creating universes the way I want them to be.
Having total creative control, creating crazy new worlds, really exorcising my imagination and having fun. I love grossing people out, making them sick, making them pass out, or cry, or just say they were seriously disturbed by my writing. A review by a reader on Amazon saying my book is the dirtiest thing she ever read or by a guy that thinks it is more brutal than Peter Sotos or Ed Lee means more to me them some highbrow review trashing me for my allegedly misogynistic violence and excessive torture.
Also, I love to make people laugh. I have been writing for Girls and Corpses magazine for over a decade and many of the articles are humor or parody. A lot of my short stories are funny or comedic horror. The great writer Elizabeth Massie called me “the rising star of horrific humor” at Borderland Boot Camp where I had her as a teacher. On the other hand, David Morrel, creator of Rambo, and someone I deeply admire, told me of my story, “I hate that splatterpunk shit” but he gave me some helpful criticism. I recommend all horror readers to read his short horror stories and his horror novel The Totem.
If I can make people laugh (or puke or cum or all three) I am doing something right. But what I really love is to make people laugh and cringe or maybe even vomit at the same time, or make people laugh but at the same time scare them a little, that isn’t easy to do but it is great if you do it right. Or make people laugh but make them feel guilty about laughing.
16. What is coming next for you?
I don’t want to give away too much, but the story is about Pornocchio. When he lies, his nose doesn’t grow but something else does, which can be lethal if he is having sex. It is a true gross out story. I wrote it to submit to the Rejected for Content series but did not finish it in time and it looks like it will be too long for them anyway, as they were looking for stories under 10,000 words.
Besides that short story, I am working on several non-fiction articles and interviews, and have written the first few chapters of a book dealing with extreme high school bullying and school shootings. I am working on a ton of short stories that I have started over the past few years but never finished.
I am seeking a publisher to release two of my books in paperback.
I have a script I wrote, that I put aside about two years ago. I want to shop it around and see if I can find a director and a studio to make it. It is a violent crime noir with psychedelic aspects called No Man Standing.I also want to finish and shop around other scripts I have written or almost finished writing.
I would like to write at least one sequel to Hurting My Toys.
I have been working for five years on the extreme international anthology film THE PROFANE EXHIBIT and hope that it will be released soon. I think it will be the last film I work on, as it has been five years of hell, and I have had tried to get several films made including a sequel to Bloodsucking Freaks written by Joel Reed and I was unable to raise money to get the film made. I also ran an Indiegogo campaign for Russian horror director Andrey Iskanov and we failed to raise enough money. He illustrated the cover of the book Hurting My Toys.
You can connect with David Tamarin here:
a few free online short short stories:
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR INTERVIEWING ME!!!
Some of David Tamarin’s books: