Halloween Extravaganza: INTERVIEW: Rami Ungar

Meghan: Hey, Rami. Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books. It’s great to have you here today. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Rami Ungar: My name is Rami Ungar, and I’m a horror author from Columbus, Ohio. I first started writing with the goal of being published around age ten, and started gravitating towards horror after reading the works of Stephen King. I’ve previously self-published four books, with Rose being my first with a publisher. Along with King, my major influences include Anne Rice and HP Lovecraft.

Meghan: What are five things most people don’t know about you?

Rami Ungar: Tough question, as I’m an open book. But if I had to pick five, I would go with that I hate wearing socks; I am fascinated with Victorian England; I sometimes make homemade sushi, though it’s never restaurant-quality; the last movie I watched was The Best of Enemies with Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell; and I’ve been to the FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Meghan: What is the first book you remember reading?

Rami Ungar: Probably Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I’m sure there are others, but that one’s prominent in my memory, and was first responsible for making me want to write in the first place.

Meghan: What are you reading now?

Rami Ungar: At this moment, I’m reading The Institute by Stephen King, which is proving hard to put down. I’m also listening to The Complete Collection of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on audio book.

Meghan: What’s a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn’t expect you to have liked?

Rami Ungar: When Marnie Was There by Joan G. Robinson. I first saw the movie, but the book has its own special magic to it.

Meghan: What made you decide you want to write? When did you begin writing?

Rami Ungar: I can’t remember what impetus made me decide to write. At some point around age ten, I realized I liked coming up with and writing down stories, so I decided to pursue that career. Sixteen years later, that dream’s coming to fruition, though there’s still a long road ahead of me.

Meghan: Do you have a special place you like to write?

Rami Ungar: Not exactly, I just sit at my desk at home and write on my laptop. That being said, I do try to make it as comfortable and conducive to creativity as possible.

Meghan: Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Rami Ungar: Not especially. I do tend to outline most of my stories I write them. And I like to have incense burning while I write and some music playing in the background, but that’s about it.

Meghan: Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Rami Ungar: Staying focused on task, which is the bane of everyone who has ADHD like myself.

Meghan: What’s the most satisfying thing you’ve written so far?

Rami Ungar: I suppose my horror-thriller novel Snake. Throughout the writing process of that, it was just a lot of fun to work on, and I still think of that story when I think of stories that I had the most fun with.

Meghan: What books have most inspired you? Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Rami Ungar: Obviously, King has been a great influence. IT made me realize what power horror has, and I’ve been trying to bring out the feeling that book left in young me in my readers ever since. I also think HP Lovecraft’s stories have been a powerful influence on me. I am fascinated by the idea of powerful entities that have no care for us but whose very presence can have profound effects on our lives.

Meghan: What do you think makes a good story?

Rami Ungar: That is so subjective, I’m not sure how to answer it. I guess with the stories I write, if it at least stays with you, maybe leaves you with a sense of disquiet, then that’s a good story.

Meghan: What does it take for you to love a character? How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

Rami Ungar: You know, I don’t know. I guess I fall in love with characters whom I want to hug and tell them it’s going to be alright, even when I’m the source for most of their problems. Which creates a conflict in me, so I don’t always use those sorts of characters.

Meghan: Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Rami Ungar: Probably the protagonist of Snake, if only we have such a love of horror and slasher films, especially Jason Voorhees.

Meghan: Are you turned off by a bad cover? To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Rami Ungar: Not always. Sometimes the covers hide the best stories. And except for Rose, I had a big hand in the creation of the covers for my stories. For Rose, my publisher took a bigger part in that, and I have to say, I like the results.

Meghan: What have you learned creating your books?

Rami Ungar: That good storytelling is always an ongoing process, and there’s always something new to learn.

Meghan: What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Rami Ungar: There was a scene that left me so shaken that I had to take a walk to the convenience store, in the pouring rain, just to get my head on straight. However, since that story is unpublished and I still would like to put it out someday, I will keep that a secret.

Meghan: What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Rami Ungar: If I had to guess, I’d say my embracing of the weird. My stories involve girls turning into plant creatures, car races involving ghosts, and more stuff that just seems so ludicrous and strange that you wonder where they come from. It enhances the joy to put that stuff in the story, and I don’t know of any other writer who includes that sort of thing in their work.

Meghan: How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

Rami Ungar: Not really. More often than not, the title makes itself known to me early on. If it doesn’t, it comes to me while writing the story, and I am like, “That works. Let’s use it.”

Meghan: What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?

Rami Ungar: Writing a novel. Novels require a lot more research, planning, and work, so seeing them through to the end, as well as watching each subsequent draft become better and better, is extremely satisfying. Not to mention seeing the book possibly published.

Meghan: Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.

Rami Ungar: One book is called The Quiet Game, and it’s a short collection of stories I wrote in college. I also have a sci-fi trilogy called the Reborn City series, about street gangs in a dystopian future. So far, two books in the series, Reborn City and Video Rage, have been published. Snake is a horror-thriller about a serial killer hunting down members of a powerful mafia family in New York. And Rose follows a young woman who starts turning into a plant creature (and that’s just the start of her problems).

Meghan: Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

Rami Ungar: The only ones worthy of mentioning are from Rose. In that book, there were a lot of flashback scenes in earlier drafts, which really made the protagonist a complex character. However, those scenes didn’t contribute much to the plot, so I ended up cutting them out around draft four or five. Was worth it, in the end.

Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?

Rami Ungar: I have another novel I plan to edit as soon as the beta reader is done with it. I also have a project I plan to start in November for National Novel Writing Month. And I’m putting together a collection of short stories, though I’m not sure at this time when it will be done.

Meghan: Where can we find you?

Rami Ungar: Blog ** Email ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Instagram ** YouTube

Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview?

Rami Ungar: If you’re a horror fan, never let anyone shame you for it. Just enjoy the stories you enjoy, and let others know that you do. There’s a lovely group of fans around the world, full of some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and they love a good story as much as you do.

Rami Ungar knew he wanted to be a writer from the age of five, when he first became exposed to the world of Harry Potter and wanted to create imaginative worlds like Harry’s. As a tween, he fell in love with the works of Anne Rice and Stephen King and, as he was getting too old to sneak up on people and shout “Boo!’ (not that that ever stopped him), he decided to merge his two loves and become a horror writer.

Today, Rami lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio. He’s self-published three novels and one collection of short stories, and his stories have appeared in other publications here and there. Rose, his first novel with Castrum Press, was released June 21st, 2019.

When he’s not writing your nightmares or coming up with those, he’s enjoying anything from the latest horror novel or movie to anime and manga to ballet, collecting anything that catches his fancy, and giving you the impression he may not be entirely human.

Snake

How far will you go for love and revenge? When a young man’s girlfriend is kidnapped by the powerful Camerlengo Family, he becomes the Snake, a serial killer who takes his methods from the worst of the Russian mafia. Tracking down members of the Camerlengo Family one by one for clues, the Snake will go to any lengths to see the love of his life again…even if it means becoming a worse monster than any of the monsters he is hunting.

Rose

Rose Taggert awakens in a greenhouse with no clear memory of the past two years and, to her horror, finds her body transformed into an unrecognizable form.

Paris Kuyper has convinced Rose that they are lovers and as Paris could not bear for her to die, he has used an ancient and dark magic to save her from certain death.

But the dark magic Paris has used comes at a price. A price which a terrible demon is determined to extract from Rose.

As Rose struggles to understand what is happening to her, she must navigate Paris’s lies and secrets; secrets that Paris will do anything to protect.

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