Sunday, October 28, 2012

Meet Our Authors-- Bryan Hall


Today's featured author is Bryan Hall. Bryan Hall is the talented author of the Southern Hauntings Saga. The first installment, The Vagrant, launched in June of this year. The sequel, The Girl, came out in August. And a third book in the series, The Lurker, will be published in January. If you haven't tried any of the books yet, you should. They feature a man named Creighton (or Crate) Northgate. Crate can see ghosts and he travels the south helping folks who have problems with things most people don't even believe in. But Crate is not you typical touchy-feely ghost whisperer. He's a man haunted by his own troubles. Both books have gotten stellar reviews, as did Bryan's first novel, Containment Room 7, which was put out by Permuted Press last year. He also has a collection of short stories, Whispers from the Dark, that he self-published. On to the interview:

1. When did you start taking your writing seriously?

Around 2006, I think. I'd always dabbled in it, but at that point I decided that I needed to start getting a bit more serious about it and take it further than just the 'hobby' stage.

2. What’s the first thing you had published?

I can't remember, but it's probably a toss up between a story called 'The Dark' that I sold to a magazine called Night Chills (which put out a grand total of one issue) or a tale called 'There's a Prize in the Box', which I actually wrote for an anthology and got a rejection for. Then I managed to sell it to Necrotic Tissue a few issues before they finally stopped publishing. I was pretty proud of that NT sale. Both stories are in my collection Whispers from the Dark now.

3. You write the Southern Hauntings Saga. How did that come about?

I wanted to get into the creepy side of horror instead of the blood and guts side of it. Nothing wrong with gore, mind you – I just think it's more challenging to raise the hairs on the back of some one's neck instead of making them queasy. And since I've grown up in the south and heard lots of rural legends (and met plenty of interesting people) it seemed like a good match. Once I started plotting out one story I realized I had too much for a single book, so making it into a series seemed like a better idea.

4. Have you always been interested in the paranormal?

I've always been interested in horror in general. In terms of the paranormal, it's one of those things that I really wish I could see evidence of so I could confirm that there's a life after death. I've always read ghost stories and stuff like that, but never managed to see anything for myself.

5. Your main character in the Southern Hauntings Saga, Crate Northgate, is a bit of an anti-hero. What made you decide to write him that way?

People are just more interesting when they're flawed. Nobody wants to read a story about Mr. Perfect, out doing perfect things and always making the right calls. But when you've got a guy who's an alcoholic, unable to form bonds, and basically on the run from a past he can barely remember, you've got a much more interesting character. I liked the idea of being able to slowly reveal more about him as each story in the series progressed, forming an overarching mystery that unspooled over the course of each individual mystery.

6. What other authors do you admire?

Cormac McCarthy for his sheer poetry, Clive Barker for his combination of amazing prose and incredible imagery, and Jack Ketchum for his fearlessness (he also has a writing style that reminds me just a bit of McCarthy, though not quite up to that level). I also really love comic book authors like Garth Ennis and Alan Moore who create huge masterpieces that work on multiple levels.

7. What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?

To plan on a slow, gradually developing career that may never reach the high point I hope for. Too many people get into this expecting a quick overnight success and then turn more than a bit crazy when it doesn't work out that way. Keeping your expectations grounded but working towards a lofty goal is a good idea.

8. Do you have any special routines that help you get in your writing ‘zen’ spot?

None, really. Sometimes the words come charging out and sometimes I've got to beat the shit out of them, tie them up, and drag them out onto the screen. I do try to set goals and rewards – a glass of scotch when I finish a novel, a beer when I reach my word count for the day, but as for routines that get me in the 'zone'…nothing I've found yet.

9. What appealed to you about working with Angelic Knight Press?

The way AKP works, really. I don't care too much for self-publishing. I know some people love it, but it's just too much work trying to handle formatting, covers, release, and marketing all on my own. I like to write, not deal with all that. I still try to market myself, obviously, but it's nice to work with someone who can provide the help with the other aspects of the job. AKP actually stays in really close contact with me, asks for input, and works with me. Plus they're really committed to releasing quality stuff, and in an age when anyone who has an Internet connection can claim to be a publisher that means a lot.

10. What advice would you give to new writers?

Get over yourselves. You're going to get bad reviews. You're going to get rejection letters. You're not going to sell five thousand copies of your debut novel the first month of its release. You're not the greatest thing to happen to the printed word since Hemingway. I know that sounds condescending, but I keep seeing more and more new writers attacking people who wrote bad reviews, try to guilt trip or yell at people for not buying their book, and more. Like I said in question #7: this isn't some get-rich-quick scheme that's going to be a rocket to the stars (maybe for.0000001 percent of us it will be), so you need to expect all the bad that comes with the good.

Bio:


Bryan Hall is a fiction writer living in a one hundred year old farmhouse deep in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife and three children. Growing up in the Appalachia's, he's soaked up decades of fact and fiction from the area, bits and pieces of which usually weave their way into his writing whether he realizes it at the time or not. He's the author of the sci-fi horror novel Containment Room 7, collection Whispers from the Dark, and the upcoming Southern Hauntings Saga. You can find him online at www.bryanhallfiction.com

To find out more about the Southern Hauntings Saga's main character, Crate, visit www.whoiscratenorthgate.weebly.com

We are still participating in the Coffin Hop. Remember, to be entered to win the frame quality print of the No Place Like Home: Tales From a Fractured Future cover, you must comment every day. To be eligible to win a frame quality copy of our Satan's Toybox: Demonic Dolls cover, leave at least three comments throughout the Coffin Hop. And to win a print copy of our recently released Satan's Toybox: Terrifying Teddies, one comment = one entry. All winners will be announced the Friday after Halloween.

Come back tomorrow to meet another AKP author and enter to win! And don't miss our Halloween post where we put up an open subs call for our next anthology project. Don't forget the other great Coffin Hoppers; you can visit them here.

Happy Hopping,
Stacey
 

9 comments:

  1. Good interview with a young writer that I'm just getting to know through his Southern Hauntings Saga. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great advice for new writers, Bryan. Level your work!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fellow NC writer in the mountains! A lot of us come from there!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the air. Breeds creativity, I guess.

      Delete
  4. Bryan, I believe we 'met' over at Paul Dail's blog, when he interviewed you. Every time I read one of your interviews, it helps calm the crazies that come with the act of publication. I like this advice: "Keeping your expectations grounded but working towards a lofty goal is a good idea." It's easy to get frustrated or feel overwhelmed, but the point has to be about telling a story, and not about all of the things that get mixed up in our (delicate? narcissistic?) writer's egos. Way to call it like it is.

    -aniko

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Aniko. Glad I can help calm the crazies. You're right - it's about the story, not the ego. It's easy to forget that.

      Delete
  5. Thank you to everyone for stopping by and commenting!

    Stacey

    ReplyDelete

We love to hear from you! Please leave us a comment!