Author Spotlight: David Oppegaard
Sunday, April 23rd, 2012

David Oppegaard answers some questions about his life as a published author, teacher, and podcaster.

What was the motivation behind teaching a class like "Grounding The Fantastic"? (The class you teach at The Loft)
David: It was the first class of any kind I have taught-I got my MFA in Writing to simply become a better writer, with no eye toward teaching. My old professor and the director of the Hamline writing program Mary Rockcastle finally convinced me to try my hand at teaching. The Loft is great because they allow you to design your own class.

Could you tell us a little bit about the class?
David: "Grounding the Fantastic" is a multi-genre fiction class (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, etc.) divided in two basic parts. The first half of the course we try our hands at several different genre-aimed writing exercises, with a special focus on a specific craft topic each class (such as character development).
The second half of the course is a more traditional workshop environment, with an eye on toward helping a writer develop whatever piece they submit to class (novel chapter or short story). I stress the idea that we're all "mad scientists" tinkering in the fiction lab.

What is one of the main points you try to focus on in the class?
David: The stranger or more out there your story is, the greater an effort you must make to not only ground it in visceral detail, but to give your piece a meaningful, emotionally resonant backbone.

I've heard you mention the term "Slipstream fiction," and I was just wondering if you could expand on what that term means?
David: I take it to simply mean slipping between fiction genres, or streams. Imagine two streams running alongside each other-the slipstream author is the fish jumping from one stream to the other, enjoying both. I'm currently polishing a horror-Western that fits the bill nicely.

What was the inspiration behind Rotations of the Earth?
David: The old idea that we'd have flying cars someday and the fact that we still don't.

Tell me about your full-length novels,
Could you give us a brief synopsis of each one?
David: Hell no, I've written twelve! My two published novels are The Suicide Collectors, which is set in a near-future America that has been devastated by a suicide plague, and Wormwood, Nevada, about an isolated town in central Nevada where a meteorite lands and slowly causes the town to unravel.

Do you write a lot of short stories?
David: Three or four a year, if that. I'm always in the middle of a novel or busy drinking.

Any more short stories coming out?
David: I have a short story called "A Fairy Tale for the Incarcerated" coming out this spring in the Write of Spring anthology.

Have you had fun getting to watch terrible movies and talk about them, in your podcast When Harry Met Fatty?
David: Hell yes. We drink ourselves silly. At least I do-Noah takes it a little more seriously. He's the true backbone of the show-I just crack wise and interrupt him a lot.

Have you had a good response from listeners?
David: We've gotten a decent amount of hits on our website, but most of the feedback has been from friends and family, who like it. Sometimes it feels like we're talking into a void.

Do you listen to music when writing or editing, and if so what do you listen to?
David: I've gotten into bluegrass lately, thanks to Trampled By Turtles. I love music and writing-I have over 400 albums I rotate. I love the rock and roll.

Does it change depending on whether you're writing or editing?
David: Not really, but I can't listen to new albums either way. I pay too much attention to the song writing and lyrics.

Is it based on mood?
David: Sometimes. Bluegrass sure perks you up, Dukes of Hazard style.

Be sure to check out David Oppegaard's novels Wormwood, Nevada and Suicide Collections in paperback and ebook on Amazon.

Thank you for visiting for another Author Spotlight.
Cifiscape Volume II: The Twin Cities is out now in paperback, Kindle, and Nook. iPad/iPhone coming soon.