Rick R. Reed

Rick R. Reed

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
March 19, 2007

Q.    Who is Rick R. Reed?

A.    For years, I've been asking myself that question and have yet to come up with the definitive answer. For purposes of this interview, let's just say I'm the author of several published novels (OBSESSED, PENANCE, A FACE WITHOUT A HEART, IM), a short story collection (TWISTED: TALES OF OBSESSION AND TERROR), and a few soon-to-be released novels (IN THE BLOOD [Sept 2007] and DEADLY VISION [Jan 2008]. My short fiction has been in about twenty anthologies so far.

Q.    How did you come about the idea to write a novel about Gary Adrion and the hologram?

A.    Well, as you know, the story is a modern-day version of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY. I have always loved Wilde and wanted to write a modern-day version of his story because it seems more timely today than it did in Wilde's time (our obsession with youth and beauty just continues to grow) and I also wanted to be able to be a bit more graphic about sexuality than Wilde could be in his day. The idea at the start came from my literary agent at the time, Lori Perkins, who wondered why there were so many horror variations on classics like Dracula and Frankenstein, but no one had ever tackled Dorian Gray. Of course, after FACE came out, Will Self also did a modern-day, London-set version called DORIAN.

Q.    How did you come about the title A FACE WITHOUT A HEART?

A.    In the original book, Dorian is talking about how he regrets sitting for his soul-stealing portrait. He's sad and he's winsome, and you can tell he's wishing he'd never struck such a bargain (exchanging his soul for eternal youth and beauty). I think the original lines go something like this: "I am sorry I sat for it. The memory of the thing is hateful to me. Why do you talk of it? It used to remind me of those curious lines in some play--Hamlet, I think--how do they run? Like the painting of a sorrow, a face without a heart." It so perfectly sums up the book's theme of loss of innocence.

Q.    How did you come about Liam's character?

A.    Liam was based on Basil, the painter in the original novel who did Dorian's portrait. I made him a cutting-edge holographic artist and I was able to make his love and sexual attraction for Gary much more out in the open in my version.

Q.    How did you come about Henrietta's character?

A.    In the original, Henrietta was Lord Henry, bon vivant, wit, and at the heart of it, jaded and sad. I thought making him into a drag queen would allow his resilience and sassiness to come through. Some drag queens really do talk like Henrietta.

Q.    How did you come about the situation surrounding Gary, Zoe and Davio?

A.    Again, all of this was in the original book. Having Gary fall in love with Zoe and then cruelly reject her was the first step on his path toward damnation. Her brother, David, was a sort of super-ego shadow that was always there in the background for the rest of Dorian's fated life.

Q.    What did Gary whisper in Andy's ear to blackmail him?

A.    Ah, that's a secret!

Q.    How long have you been writing?

A.    All my life. I remember writing stories at age 6. I have been "professional" since I published my first novel with Dell back in 1991. That was OBSESSED.

Q.    Are you currently working on another novel?

A.    I am always currently working on another novel. I'm almost through with a new one and am working on promoting IM, which comes out in May, 2007.

Q.    What message would you like readers to receiver from reading A FACE WITHOUT A HEART?

A.    Don't take what you have for granted and don't forget to appreciate the wisdom and joy that comes with growing older.