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Welcome. I’m David M. Burnham and I’ve got a “Haunted Pen.”

It’s often said – and written – that writers hear voices in their heads, a muse who nags, chides and cajoles while they work. I have one; I call him “Marlowe.” He’s sitting watching me as I’m typing this, doing a second-rate Humphrey Bogart impression, a permanent sneer on his face, his Fedora set at a jaunty angle atop his head and a glass of my bourbon in his hand. Right now, Marlowe thinks it’s a good idea to give me the third degree so you good folks know a little more about the person behind the pen.

Marlowe – Okay, stop writing and pay attention. Tell us about yourself. How, and why, did you become a writer? Be interesting, or I drop a dime and your wife’s Barbie collectibles will be taking a swim in Long Island Sound with a concrete block.
I’m David M Burnham – a.k.a. The Haunted Pen.

We know that already, rube. Get on with it. I’m bored.
I was born at an early age in Rugby, Warwickshire, England. I now live in New England with my wonderful wife, Kathy. After more than 25 years as a freelance journalist and editor, I had a yearning to try writing the kind of stories I enjoy reading – dark fiction, suspense, thrillers, mysteries, and horror. I have a huge pile of unread books and many notebooks full of story ideas.

I’ll keep this one short and simple: Why do you write?
Why do I write?

Is there an echo in here? Quit stalling.
Because the right words are better than 1,000 pictures…there isn’t one definitive answer. I write for many reasons.

Oh, swell. I’ll get comfortable. This is going to take a while.
I love stories about places or people that trigger my imagination and start a thought process that can lead to a story idea. I love creating characters, characters traits, and plots. I get a buzz out of seeing people’s reactions when they read my work. Most of all I write because, as James M. Cain once said: “If your writing doesn’t keep you up at night, it won`t keep anyone else up either.”

How do you come up with the ideas for your stories? What’s your inspiration?
Ideas are everywhere. You just have to be aware of your surroundings and keep your eyes and ears open. It doesn’t matter if you’re at work, in a coffee shop, taking a trip to the mall, chilling out at the shoreline, there’s always something that could spark a “what if” moment. I also get ideas from things I read such as online news sources or watching TV. I enjoy binge-watching shows like “Chicago PD,” “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Midsomer Murders,” “Criminal Minds,” “Ghost Adventures,” “The Dead Files,” and shows on the Investigation Discovery TV channel for inspiration.

Which writers do you enjoy reading?
There’s so many. This will be a long list.

Oh, geez. Here we go again. Get on with it.
Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ross Macdonald, Erle Stanley Gardner, Mickey Spillane, James Ellroy, Walter Mosley, Lee Child, Lawrence Block, Stephen King, Jonathan Maberry, Joe Hill, C.J. Tudor, Gregg Hurwitz, David Swinson, Michael Connolly, Paul Tremblay, and Hank Phillipi Ryan. I also enjoy the work of what you might call ‘independent’ authors such as J.H. Moncrieff, Tarn Richardson, Tom Leins, Steve Liskow, Hunter Shea, Isaac Thorne, and Tammy Kaehler. There’s a whole host of other authors I enjoy who are not listed. My to-be-read pile is ever-increasing.

You’re stranded on a desert island and can only have one book with you. What is it?
Wow. The impossible-to-answer question. I can’t decide if I’d choose a book I’ve read over-and-over again – maybe Raymond Chandler’s “The Big Sleep” – or use the unlimited time to read something I’ve always wanted to try like one of the early Stephen King classics like “Carrie” or “Salem’s Lot.” Ask me tomorrow and you’ll probably get a different answer!

What about movies?
I’m a sucker for a good movie. One of my favorites is “The Big Sleep“ with Humphrey Bogart in the lead role of Phillip Marlowe. Other favorites include “The Crow,” “Sin City,” “The Maltese Falcon,” “Casablanca,” “Bad Boys,” and “Blazing Saddles.” I’m a big fan of Rob Zombie’s movies and music and if I see a James Bond movie on TV, I always watch it.

Do you listen to music when you write?
I don’t always listen to music when I write, but when I do, it’s usually Motörhead.

How do you get away with the perfect murder? (Asking for a friend…)
You write about it, that way no one gets hurt.

I’d like to say that was fun but I hate to tell lies. Now write something. Where did you hide your bottle of Bulleit Bourbon?


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