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Today author Ken Brosky is taking the stand!
Sassy Brit: What book do you think everyone should read?
Ken Brosky : Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell and the “Wolf Hall” trilogy by Hilary Mantel. Neither are horror, but they’re both so incredible.
SB: How long have you been writing?
KB: Since I was 15? So 25 years.
SB: Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
KB: I have to build them from scratch. Usually, the basic plot arrives first, and then the setting. Then I get real excited before remembering I need to put people in the story. So then I have to sit down and figure them out.
SB: What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
KB: This is one of my favorite parts. I wrote a mystery novel that takes place in a big cat sanctuary. I did so much big cat research I felt like I’d earned a zoology degree. And I loved every second of it. If a tiger ever escapes from a nearby zoo, I feel 99 percent confident I could track it down and safely capture it.
SB: Do you see writing as a career?
KB: Nope! I gotta keep the bills paid with a day job.
SB: What do you think about the current publishing market?
KB: It’s tough for a writer, but amazing for a reader. The novels coming out now are so much more diverse than I remember as a kid … that’s a good thing. There are creative minds like Arkady Martine and Kali Wallace who are breathing fresh life into genres and taking them places they haven’t really explored yet. But for a writer, there’s fewer books being professionally published, so that’s tough. Doesn’t help that everyone and their grandma are self-publishing half-baked stories.
SB: Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
KB: I think it’s a tie between mystery and horror, with sci-fi taking up the rear. I’m a huge fan of Jane Harper … I think her mystery novels are fantastic. I love Arkady Martine’s sci-fi series she wrote. For horror, I’ll always pick up Rachel Harrison. Right now, I’m back to an oldie that I never got around to finishing: The Stand, by Stephen King. Got it on audiobook. What a hoot!
SB: Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
KB: I throw on Nine Inch Nails and once I’ve had enough of that, I move into even darker atmospheric stuff. Lots of movie soundtracks. They keep my creative side chugging along.
SB: Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
KB: I usually stick with one at a time. But if an idea strikes me, I’ll happily start collecting notes on a second project.
SB: Pen or type writer or computer?
KB: Computer! I need the spell-checker, for the love of God.
SB: Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
KB: I’m a huge fan of the gunslinger from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. He was so iconic, and you know he’s not gonna die. But he was built with such care that it’s so easy to lose yourself in his story.
SB: A day in the life of the author?
KB: Get up, make coffee, go to work. Teach students how to write, attend meetings, grade homework. Come home, do the farm chores, shower. Play a couple games of chess. Maybe start a TV series with the wife, maybe just watch a movie or cozy up with a book. Where does the writing take place? Anywhere I have time. Whether it’s half an hour or ten minutes, I’ll make the time to write.
SB: Advice you would give new authors?
KB: READ. I know how cliché it is, but Lord God I’ve never met so many people who think they can do something without even bothering to understand what they’re doing. It’s not just about supporting other authors. It’s about osmosis. Absorbing the language, the way stories flow, the development of characters. It’s about growing to understand all the subtext that lies beneath the surface.
SB : Describe your writing style.
KB: I can’t pull off a dead-serious tone of voice. My writing style always has a layer of sardonic humor hidden in the text.
SB : What makes a good story?
KB: Characters who feel like people. I think you can get away with a lot when it comes to the plot as long as the story is filled with people. Not characters. Not tropes (usually).
SB: What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
KB: I write an outline first, which of course turns out to be nothing more than a rough blueprint. The moment my characters get going, I’m more than happy to abandon the outline! Let ‘em roam, I say. But here’s the weird thing: I still always do a full outline nowadays. Because sometimes, I let my characters roam a little TOO far. And when that happens, I can go back to the outline and take a look at the big picture. What’s the ultimate destination? Knowing that, I can usually bring my characters back into the plot. Usually.
SB: What are common traps for aspiring writers?
KB: Really, not having enough awareness of good writing. A lot of this happens by osmosis. There are somethings writers can do to improve their writing, though. One easy approach is to read a lot of a single author, then try to mimic that author’s “style.” A good starting point is Hemingway. Because his style is so unique and easy to pick up on, it’s good practice. Once a writer starts to get the hang of this, they can develop their own style.
SB: What is your writing Kryptonite?
KB: Green or red? I think I get a little too distracted by Twitter. But I like to take breaks when I write. It just helps me re-focus.
SB: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
KB: I try to write what I want. I know that’s part of my problem, for sure. But I just can’t bring myself to jump aboard the latest trends. Like right now, “domestic suspense” is a huge seller. I don’t even know what that is, and I don’t want to know. It doesn’t interest me even slightly.
SB: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
KB: There’s gonna be some hard times, man. Lower those expectations.
SB: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Oh, a couple months. Then the hard part: revisions. That’ll take a few more months.
SB : Do you believe in writer’s block?
I don’t get it, but I believe other writers when they talk about it. It sounds horrifying.
by Ken Brosky
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Suspense
Moon’s only hope of finding answers rests in the hands of a local professor who knows the mine’s horrible secrets. But the professor has problems of his own, and unless he can confront the creature that’s hunting him, Moon’s chances of making it out of town alive are darker than a seam of coal.
Dive into Ken Brosky’s horror-fueled nightmare and find out what’s in The Beyond!
Get it discounted from Timber Ghost Press !
Ken Brosky lives and teaches in the great state of Wisconsin. In addition to having short stories published in magazines like Grotesque and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, he also writes regularly for Suspense Magazine. His favorite horror movie is John Carpenter’s The Thing, his favorite band is Nine Inch Nails, and his favorite book is Cloud Atlas.
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