JOHNSTOWN - City resident Russell W. Dickson has self-published his first work of fiction, a tale called "The Man Next Door," in the form of an e-book available through Amazon.com.
Dickson, who has a "day job" as a pest-control technician, has maintained writing as a serious side occupation since he earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University at Albany in 1999.
"I have been writing anything I could for local newspapers and internet news sites for years now, scratching my way along, just hoping for the chance to write," says Dickson, who has been a guest columnist in the pages of The Leader-Herald.
Russell W. Dickson
"The Man Next Door" tells the story of writer William Mulligan, who strikes up a relationship with his mysterious neighbor. The neighbor character, Dickson says, was inspired by a man he knew during his childhood in Mahopac, Putnam County.
"[His] home was a dank old place with lots of rusted wrought iron and old stonework," he says. "I took these memories from my childhood, and I sort of ran wild with them."
In addition to literary giants such as Herman Melville and Henry James, Dickson says his influences include modern horror writers such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz.
"I tried to keep this story scary but not push it over the line," he said, explaining the tale relies on subtle suspense for its mood.
The e-book is available for $2.99 on the Kindle and on other devices such as iPhones and iPads that can download the Kindle app. Dickson has a 90-day deal with Amazon, after which the book may be released in other formats. He says since its release a few weeks ago, it already has been seen by readers around the world.
He's presently working on a sequel to "The Man Next Door" that will continue William Mulligan's tale. After all, he says, "Anybody who plays golf knows a 'Mulligan' is a 'do-over.'"
Follow Dickson on Twitter at .