Recently I read a collection called Twisted Tales
by Brandon Massey. It was my first exposure to the author, but his tales really entertained and thrilled me. So much so, that I sought him out and asked if I could interview him for my blog. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to be a cheerleader for writers I admire. Massey was gracious enough to grant me an interview.
What was the first book you remember reading for pleasure?
BRM: One of the books I most remember from my childhood is Where the Wild Things Are
, by Maurice Sendak. Later on, I devoured a children’s book series called, “Choose Your Own Adventure.” I had all of those books and loved them.
At what age did you write your first story?
BRM: The first story I wrote that I actually remember in detail, I wrote when I was fifteen. It was about an angry giant that uses his explosive flatulence to destroy a city. I know, mature stuff, but it was funny enough to get published in my high school’s literary magazine.
When did you realize that you wanted to pursue writing as a career?
BRM: I’d been a lifelong reader of fiction and it was always in the back of my mind that I would someday write my own stories. It crystallized for me as a career path when I was fifteen; the age when people oftentimes ask you what you want to do for a living. Once I declared my ambition, my family immediately advised me to pursue something more conventional—a career in medicine, law, perhaps engineering. Naturally, being a stubborn sort of kid, I ignored their advice.
Can you tell us about your first sale?
BRM: I was twenty-three-years old and wrote a story called “Dead to the World.” I sold it to a spec fiction magazine called Tomorrow Speculative Fiction
. I drew from my experience at the time working at an insurance company. I was paid $200. I wish I could say that I framed the check but I cashed it the next day.
You write a lot in the suspense and horror genres. What draws you to that type of fiction?
BRM: I write the kind of stories that I enjoy reading. I love tales that keep me on the edge of my seat, stories that place believable characters in high-pressure, strange situations.
I see you originally self-published your first novel, but it was subsequently picked up by a New York publisher. Can you tell us a little about that journey?
BRM: Self-publishing was one of the channels that writers were using (and are still using today) to get the attention of a large publisher. I had written a novel, Thunderland
, and knew it was a good read, but just hadn’t been able to land a deal. After I self-published it and peddled it to readers, mostly online, I managed to sell a few thousand copies and gain the attention of an editor at Kensington, who promptly offered me a deal. It took two days for me to get that offer from the editor, but it required a decade of serious writing for me to reach that point. Nothing worth having comes quickly.
What is your writing regimen like? Do you write a certain hours a day in a specific place, that sort of thing?
BRM: I like to write a couple of hours a day, at least. I write early in the mornings, before anyone else is awake to interrupt me. I write at home in my office.
You have several novels out, but as a short story lover I was particularly taken with your collection Twisted Tales
. Do you work much in the short form?
BRM: Usually I will write a short story only when I’m asked to contribute to a collection, and when I can fit it into my schedule. That’s not very often but I do love reading and writing short fiction.
What would you consider to be your career highlight to date?
BRM: It’s always the same: finishing the most recent book. Getting to the end of a long writing project takes so much focus and fortitude that it’s always going to be a highlight worth mentioning.
I see you were born in Illinois but currently live in Georgia. What brought you to the south?
BRM: After twenty-five years of harsh Chicago winters, I was ready for a climate change. Atlanta has mild winters—though the summer heat and humidity can keep you indoors three months out of the year—and while I miss certain things about Illinois, Georgia is home now.
Do you feel living in the south flavors your writing in any particular way?
BRM: Metro Atlanta is home to a tremendous number of transplants—it’s sometimes difficult to meet anyone who was actually born and raised in Georgia. At the same time, once you travel outside of the metro area, you’re smack dab in the middle of the more traditional South, where areas haven’t been touched as much by “outsiders,” for lack of a better term. It’s a curious juxtaposition of cultures and I’ve used a bit of that in some of my stories.
Do you do many book-signings or other promotional events?
BRM: Not as many as I used to do, but when I’m asked to participate in something that sounds interesting, and I have the time to go, I try to attend.
Can you tell us anything about what you are currently working on?
BRM: It’s another horror novel. That’s about all I can say right now without jinxing myself.
When can the public expect your next book to be released?
BRM: Spring 2017.
I certainly want to think Massey for taking the time to entertain these questions. I encourage folks to check out his stuff. You can find his books here: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=Brandon+Massey&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Brandon+Massey&sort=relevancerank
and learn more about him here: http://www.brandonmassey.com/