Gagliani, William D. 1962(?)-
GAGLIANI, William D. 1962(?)-
PERSONAL: Born c. 1962, in Kenosha, WI; son of Gilberto Gagliani. Education: University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, M.A., 1986. Hobbies and other interests: Progressive rock music, exotic weapons, history.
CAREER: Writer. University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, creative writing and composition teacher, 1985-88; Marquette University, Raynor Memorial Libraries, Milwaukee, stacks supervisor, 1988—.
MEMBER: Horror Writers Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: Darrell Award, Memphis Science-Fiction Association, 1999, for short story "Until Hell Calls Our Names"; Bram Stoker award finalist for outstanding achievement in a first novel, 2004, for Wolf's Trap.
Wolf's Trap, Yard Dog Press (Alma, AZ), 2003.
Author of numerous book reviews, articles, interviews, and short stories that have appeared in publications, including Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cemetery Dance, Chiaroscuro, Hellnotes, Flesh & Blood, Crime-spree, BookPage, Booklovers, Scream Factory, Bare Bones, and Horror. Work included in anthologies, such as Robert Bloch's Psychos, Pocket Books; More Monsters from Memphis, Hot Biscuit; Extremes 3: Terror on the High Seas, and Extremes 4: Darkest Africa, both Lone Wolf Publications; The Asylum, Volume 2:
The Violent Ward, Dark Tales Publications; The Black Spiral: Twisted Tales of Terror, Cyberpulp; Bubbas of the Apocalypse, Yard Dog Press; More Stories That Won't Make Your Parents Hurl, Yard Dog Press; The Midnighters Club, Alphabeta Soup Media; Tooth and Claw 2, Lone Wolf Publications; The Red Red Robin Project, Lone Wolf; and Midnight Journeys, Ozark Triangle Press. Also author of Shadowplays (e-book story collection). Author of "Writing Life" column for Iguana Informer.
Some of Gaglianai's works have been translated into Italian and Japanese.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Three novels.
SIDELIGHTS: Horror and dark fantasy/noir writer William D. Gagliani told CA: that he "prefers writing short stories exploring the dark side of human nature." On his Home Page, Gagliani noted that he has "always appreciated the mores visceral approach to storytelling." He went on to explain his attraction this way: "Partly, the realization that true horror can be the fact that your neighbor is Jeffrey Dahmer. We horror writers don't have to make up that much stuff anymore—it's all out there. We need to reflect it. The randomness of horror. The disgruntled guy with the gun. The child-killer. The molesting priest. The government's games. All this stuff is out there, and we don't need the supernatural to provide us with horror. I like having a supernatural streak . . . but it doesn't have to provide the horror aspect. People do that well enough on their own!"
While Gagliani's short stories have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies over the years, his first novel was published in 2003. Wolf's Trap deals with a blend of traditional and Native American lycanthrope mythology and focuses on the story of a werewolf who roams the streets of Milwaukee and the city's northern countryside. The two main characters are Nick Lupo, a tough Milwaukee cop who is also a werewolf, and Martin Stewart, a serial killer who has come to Milwaukee seeking revenge on Lupo, who Stewart thinks killed his sister. Because Stewart is psychotic, simply destroying Lupo is not enough. Instead, Stewart intends to play cat-and-mouse with the detective, murdering a good friend and others before kidnapping a woman Lupo loves in order to lure the detective into the woods for a final showdown.
As for Lupo, he attempts to cope with his lycanthropy partially by barricading himself inside his sound-proofed city apartment or fleeing to a rented cabin in the north woods. Nevertheless, he is not in complete control because stress can bring about his change into the beast, and as a cop he faces stress daily. An adult-oriented novel, Wolf's Trap explores themes of duality using characters whose dual natures cripple their lives in various ways.
In an article on CNN.com, James Argendeli recommended that readers "tear into . . . Gagliani's first novel," calling it "a hirsute werewolf story that will grab you by the reading jugular and keep you clawing the pages until the story's exciting conclusion." Argendeli, however, warned that the book is not for the young "due to some 'R'-rated adult themes." A Dark-Echo online reviewer commented that the book is "written like a screenplay: quick cuts between different points of view, rapid scenes, short chapters, and a tendency toward snappy dialogue." The reviewer felt the book has "some strengths" but thought that it does not achieve either the "depth of character" or the "tight plotting" needed to make it "a strong book." On the other hand, Don D'Ammassa, writing in the Science Fiction Chronicle, noted that Gagliani does a "good job of making us care about his protagonist" and recommended the book as a "small press title worth chasing down."
Gagliani told CA: "As a child growing up in Italy, my father's sea-faring life opened my eyes to knowledge of the world that I wouldn't have had otherwise. He brought back tales and toys, souvenirs and photographs that piqued my interest in exploration and adventure. Also, I began reading early, before the age of four, and by the time I turned seven I was a life-long fan of Jules Verne and his brand of adventure story. Eventually, more modern science fiction captured my interest, but even now I have a soft spot for the kind of grand adventure Verne wrote.
"Later, the Universal monster movies would make an impact—chief among them Dracula, The Wolf-Man, and (believe it or not) Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. By 1976 I had certainly read my share of adventurous fiction. Favorites were the works of Ian Fleming, Alistair MacLean, Duncan Kyle, Harry Patterson (Jack Higgins), and Desmond Bagley, among others. On television, I steeped myself in Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Night Gallery, The Twilight Zone, Ghost Story, and every horror-tinged Movie of the Week I could manage to watch. Then a stranger by the name of Stephen King came along. I read Salem's Lot during a dark and dreary winter and it scared me thoroughly—yet I couldn't get enough. I had always written short stories in school, some of them so well-received that they were read aloud, but now I knew that I wanted to explore some of the same themes as King.
"In the Eighties, I would read works by more visceral writers of horror such as Richard Laymon, Ray Garton, Jack Ketchum, John Skipp and Craig Spector, Joe Lansdale, David Schow, and Edward Lee, as well as quieter purveyors of the fantastic such as Charles L. Grant, Peter Straub, Matthew J. Costello, and Robert Bloch (author of Psycho). I also read a great number of mysteries and crime tales, including those of Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and many other authors in the noir universe. I found that I preferred my mysteries as dark as possible.
"I feel that my style has been to blend the quieter elements of horror along with the more visceral, and then add a dash of high adventure. Indeed, many of my short stories tend to cross genre lines. From the visceral group, however, I learned that horror doesn't have to be supernatural. That we are most afraid of pain and bodily harm, and that evil seems to manifest itself not so much through so-called monsters, but through the monstrous characteristics of other humans: serial killers, mass murderers, abusive relatives, murderous neighbors, and even playground bullies. The 'crossroads' for all these elements is what interests me most, and what I try to write about most.
"The most surprising thing I have learned from being a writer is that creativity is simply not valued in our society. We say it is, but most creative people I know have to struggle to make ends meet. And most cannot make a living being creative. I feel a great sadness when I think about it.
"Like most horror writers, I hope my work will terrify. I hope readers will be taken aback by some of what I write, because I don't believe art should be safe. I feel creative works should elicit a response, even if it's disagreement or even disgust. But I want readers to find themselves thinking about deeper themes, about motivation, and about the dark side within them. I want people to realize that we all have a capacity for evil and hatred, for causing others pain, and I want to explore the reasons human cruelty exists. I want my work to entertain, too, but often I want it to come with a price. I hope people will see layers in my work, but I also hope I'm posing questions worth asking, about what it means to be human—and inhuman."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Science Fiction Chronicle, December, 2003, Don D'Ammassa, review of Wolf's Trap, p. 44.
Allscifi.com,http://allscifi.com/ (November 5, 2004), review of Wolf's Trap.
AuthorsDen.com,http://www.authorsden.com/ (November 5, 2004), "William D. Gagliani."
CNN.com,http://www.cnn.com/ (December 15, 2003), James Argendeli, review of Wolf's Trap.
DarkEcho.com,http://www.darkecho.com/ (November 5, 2004), review of Wolf's Trap.
William D. Gagliani Home Page,http://www.williamdgagliani.com (November 5, 2004).