Today, I would like to welcome up-and-coming horror author, Jason D. Brawn.
1. Tell me more about how you got started as a writer and why you decided to focus on the horror genre?
I started out as an aspiring screenwriting. I wanted to write a horror film but never got close enough to doing so. Horror’s my first love, but I have many mistresses; science fiction, fantasy, suspense thriller and comedy.
I wrote my first screenplay aged 23 and then went to university to study screenwriting and film theory at 27. When I graduated, I was beginning to learn that maybe screenwriting wasn’t for me. There were too many rules regarding genre, formatting, structure, dialogue and plot that I had to consider whilst writing a story.
Then, I started to try out various mediums like play-writing, comics and prose. Prose worked brilliantly for me. There were not as many rules and if your story fell under 10,000 words then it’s a novelette. I also feel that I don’t have to worry about the size of the budget or how many pages I should write before getting to the second act.
2. What do you fear? Tell me about your own phobias.
Unemployment, conforming, being controlled and getting stranded. For phobias, rats, pigeons and enclosed spaces.
3. You are a prolific writer of short stories – I’d be interested to know which ones are the closest to your heart and which you are the proudest of?
Vain has got to be one of my favourites, which attacks vanity and consumption, as well as my first published piece, I’m Coming to Get You, being something I’m very proud of. The latter is still available to read on The Horror Zine. Other stories closest to my heart are The Feeding, in Dean M. Drinkel’s soon-to-be-released A-Z Cities of Death and my semi-autobiographical corporate horror tale The Madness of a Filing Clerk, in Poe It from Static Movement.
4. Are you working any longer works such as novels or novellas? Can you tell me more about them, if so?
Oh yes, I just finished a novelette and I am working on another before writing a few novellas. Next year, I plan to work on my debut novel, which will fall into the science fiction genre. Writing short stories have proved to be a great apprenticeship for my craft, giving me the confidence and ability to complete longer works.
5. Which horror authors -past and present- would you say have given you the most inspiration?
Stephen King, M.R. James, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Ray Bradbury, Robert E. Howard, Road Dahl and, of course, G.R. Yeates for raising the bar for telling a great story.
6. You have a very visual style to your prose – has horror cinema been much of an influence on you? Can you cite some of the films that have been particularly inspiring to you?
Another reason for my wanting to be a screenwriter was my love of cinema, when I write I have to see what I’m writing. The films and TV shows that have inspired me are From Beyond the Grave, The House that Dripped Blood, Halloween, Halloween 3- Season of the Witch, The Fog, They Live, Escape from New York, The Thing (1982), The Omen Trilogy, Ealing’s Dead of Night, The Hammer Horror flicks, Universal horrors, Suspiria, Black Sabbath, Lisa and the Devil, Quatermass 2, Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue, Dead and Buried, Satan’s Slave, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), The Fly (1986), Hammer House of Horror, Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense, The Twilight Zone, The Night Gallery, West Country Tales, Tales of the Unexpected, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Children of the Stones, Salem’s Lot, Threads, Worlds Beyond and BBC One’s Ghost Stories for Christmas.
Gosh, that’s more than some of the films!
7. What are your thoughts on the current wave of indie publishing that has been created by the emergence of digital books and e-readers? What do you think this means for writers, like ourselves, who are just starting out?
Like music and now films, I think it’s great. It gives writers a chance to showcase their talents and believe me there are some good indie writers out there. Also established writers are going on same route but it has its downside. It’s open to anyone, and I mean anyone, who wants to write a book, causing many to self-release badly written and terribly edited ebooks. However, it gives my work hope if it can’t find a home with a traditional publisher.
8. What are your thoughts on the British Horror scene as it is today? What do you think marks it out as distinctive from the American Horror scene?
To be honest, I know very little of today’s British Horror scene or the US. But I have been hearing many horror authors, mainly from the small press; expressing themselves as victims of snobbery from writers who wish to divorce themselves from the horror genre when they achieve great success. That’s a shame because horror’s an art that should be embraced not ostracized. I do feel that there are lots of places to send material that falls into the horror or dark fiction genres but the readership is small. What we need is a major publisher to invest a little faith in the genre, which I believe will resurface as it did in the seventies and eighties.
There are lots of good British and American horror writers, and the small press is becoming more of a cottage industry that I love. We need to help each other rise so that, as the saying goes, the cream rises to the top.
To conclude this question, I pay no attention to statistics nor do I follow any industry trends. What I believe in, is that I must follow my heart and not my head. Passion rules.
9. What is a typical writing day for Jason D. Brawn?
Getting up before 7am to work in the City where I spend my lunchbreak writing. I also invest a few hours, each day, on a story before going to bed. I usually write a 1000 words a day. Sometimes I write more. That’s about it.
10. So what does 2012 hold for Jason D. Brawn? Any last words?
My debut novelette, Refuge, a tale that Hammer Films would love to make, has been submitted to a publisher who likes it and I am waiting for the magic ‘yes’. That will be followed by another novelette, Stranded. It is an M.R. James-inspired tale with a touch of Nigel Kneale to it. Hopefully, they will both be out as standalone books before Christmas. Then, I will work on a couple of novellas based on my old screenplays. If you love writing, then be a writer and don’t give up!
Thank you, Jason!
If you want to find out more about Jason, please visit the following links: