Brandon Ford--A Helluva Good Writer
I was lucky enough to get fellow small-press author Brandon Ford to take the time to grant me an interview. I recently read his novel Pay Phone and was very impressed. He is a talented young man with a distinctive fictional voice. I expect big things from him.
MAG: What was the first piece of fiction you ever sold and to whom did you sell it?
BF: The first piece of fiction I sold was a short story entitled "Elmer's Grue." It was for ABACULUS 2007, an anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. It concerned a grade school kid who is viciously tormented by a local bully. So, he requests that his closest friend--a short, fat monster by the name of Elmer--to help him exact bloody vengeance. To this day, it's the only one of my works to ever be printed in hardcover.
MAG: Did you write many short stories before attempting your first novel?
BF: I did. I've been writing short stories since I was very young. Around 8 years old. I didn't sit down to start my first novel until I was in my early 20s.
MAG: Do you find short stories and novels different creatures? Or do you employ pretty much the same process for both?
BF:To me, they're different creatures. I know this because I'm in a certain mindset when I being either/or. I've never begun a short story and suddenly decided it would work better as a novel, or vice versa. With a short story, I know I have a limited number of pages/words to say everything I need to say and so I approach the project with almost a sense of urgency. With a novel, I know there's plenty of time and space to say everything and then some.
MAG: You have three published novels--Splattered Beauty, Crystal Bay, and Pay Phone. I know it's a bit like asking a parent which child is his or her favorite, but what do you consider your strongest work?
BF: I think PAY PHONE is my strongest novel thus far. It's definitely the one I'm most proud of. I'm glad that it had the desired effect on readers. From what I understand, it shocked and unnerved a lot of people. As a horror author, what more could you possibly ask for?
MAG:Do you ever step outside the horror genre?
BF: I don't step too far outside the horror genre. I'll write the occasional suspense piece or something rooted in a dark element, but you'll never catch me writing a romance novel. At least not any time soon.
MAG: I hear your next book is a short story collection. Do you think this will show your readers your range?
BF:I certainly hope so! I think all of the stories are pretty diverse.
MAG: Have you chosen a title for the collection? And how did you go about selecting the stories that would be included?
BF: The collection is titled DECAYED ETCHINGS. It's a title I fell in love with a long time ago. I go into detail about its origins in the book's introduction. As for selecting the stories, I chose what I thought were the best of my unpublished works. The collection will consist of 18 short stories, none of which have been printed previously. This will be the first time some of them will be read by anyone other than myself.
MAG: Do you ever abaonded projects or do you finish everything you start?
BF: I definitely try my hardest to finish everything I start. But there are times when an idea becomes stale or I simply lose interest and abandon the project altogether. I do, however, save everything so that I have it to go back to, should I change my mind down the road.
MAG: Do you let anyone read your work while it is in progress?
BF: Absolutely not! No one ever reads anything until I've at least got a first draft completed.
MAG: How important do you think a good editor is to a writer?
BF: I think a good editor is worth a lot to a writer who is only just starting out. When you're at the beginning stages of your writing career, it's difficult to discern which way is up, so having someone who is more experienced to help guide you and your work could be a tremendous help. But when you have writers who have been at it for decades, they've pretty much learned how to be their own editors by then. I'm not saying an editor is useless at this point, because a new set of eyes can vastly improve any unfinished work. I just think that an editor is more beneficial when assigned to a writer penning his or her very first works.
MAG: Are you working on a project now? If so, what can you tell us about it?
BF: There is a novel I've been working on for about four years now. I've picked it up and put it down so many times, it's ridiculous. Hoping to have it finished by the end of the year (fingers crossed). I also have a few short stories in the works, as well as a novella. I don't want to give anything away about them just yet.
I want to thank Mr. Ford for taking the time to chat with me. I recommend you all check out his work. You won't be disappointed.