Eight Questions: Interview With Richard Brown

author Richard BrownRichard Brown is a full-time author and part-time podcast host. He enjoys candlelight dinners, long walks on the beach, and the occasional Nicolas Cage movie.

What is your daily creative routine like?

I would say there is nothing routine about it. Managing my time has never been something I’ve excelled at. Ideally (which means when I sit down and dream of my perfect schedule), I would write six hours a day in two hour blocks, with one hour breaks between each session. On rare occasions, I’ve been able to achieve that goal, but on most days I sort of coast through the hours without a clear objective, steering my thoughts from one meaningless task to the next. Damn YouTube. I’m easily distracted and have no problem making excuses or putting off for tomorrow what should be done today.

Naturally, this makes me far less productive than I want to be, and so building a consistent routine or a habit of writing has always been a work in progress. It doesn’t help that my sleep schedule seems to change by the week. On the days I do write, I can usually get anywhere between 1000 and 3000 words, depending on the book or scene.

What does your creative space look like? What are some of the must-have devices and apps that make up your creative toolbox?

writing spaceI used to sit exclusively at a desk with my face six inches away from a 24-inch monitor, until I started developing back problems. Apparently being hunched over all day like Uncle Fester isn’t good for your posture. About a month ago I bought a laptop and now I write all over the house. Sometimes I sit on the bed, or lay back in a recliner.

Like many authors, I use Scrivener for creative writing, though I still occasionally open MS Word if I need to format something a specific way. I like to have music on when I write; even songs with vocals are okay. So an mp3 player and some speakers or headphones are a must-have accessory. Finally, as noted previously, I just purchased a new laptop, a Macbook Air, and I have to say it’s the perfect writing computer. Lightweight. Fantastic battery life. Great keyboard & touchpad. It’s nice to finally have a computer that doesn’t get in the way, and as a nice bonus it’ll help grow hair on your bald spot.

What are some of your biggest creative challenges and how do you overcome them?

See question #1. Really that’s my biggest challenge, putting my big butt in the chair. Writing whenever the muse strikes makes it a hundred times harder to make a living. This is an awesome job, creating stories, playing with fictional characters, but it’s still a job. You have to think of it like a business, and that’s been the greatest challenge I’ve had so far on my journey. But I swear everything is gonna change for me in 2015. No seriously, it will. I promise.

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In addition to writing, you also do The Horror Writer’s Podcast with J. Thorn. How did that come about?

Thorn pays me per episode, and he pays well. You see, he’s a top 100 horror author, which means he brings in loads of cash money. Thus, every month I get a large sum deposited into my bank account from Thorn Enterprises, a Fortune 500 company. But why would J. ask me to be a host on the show?

Sadly, J. Thorn, while being a fantastic author and entrepreneur, totally sucks at podcasting. He began The Horror Writers Podcast by himself, and after only seven episodes jerkily hit an iceberg and began to sink. I rushed in with a lifeboat and saved him before he could hurt anyone else with his podcast. Since then we’ve done more than a dozen episodes together, and it’s been nothing but smooth sailing. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t send me an email thanking me for risking my reputation to podcast alongside him. We also watch Better Off Undead every week and take detailed notes on what not to do, and then do all of those things anyway.

What separates a good horror book or movie from a terrible one?

An author or director willing to take the material seriously, and focus more on the psychological elements than just hack and slash gore. Also, too often horror books or movies are filled with cheesy dialogue, clichéd characters and scenes, and villains with no real motivation for being evil other than they just are. I think the best horror stories dive deep into a characters emotions and challenge the reader or audience to peer into those dark places we all have and see what’s lurking there. A good horror story should make the reader uncomfortable, not by showering them with buckets of blood, but by forcing them to acknowledge their darkest fears.

What are your Top 5 Horror Books?

It’s always tough coming up with a top 5 anything, but here are a few of my favorite horror books.

Pet Sematary by Stephen King

The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

The Books of Blood by Clive Barker

Blackburn by Bradley Denton

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

What are your Top 5 Horror Movies?

Again, tough call. A few months back J. Thorn and I did a show for The Horror Writers Podcast listing our top 5 favorite classic horror movies. We defined classic as being any film made before 1990. In a few weeks we’re supposed to do a top 5 modern horror movies show, so as to not spoil it, I’ll list my top five classics.

The Thing

Night of the Living Dead

The Exorcist

The Shining

Psycho

What’s next for you?

Dead Highways coverI’m probably going to eat dinner soon and then watch television. If you mean what’s next for me creatively, then I’d say a bunch of stuff. I’m finishing up the third book in my Dead Highways series, hoping to have it out in a few months. Then I’ll most likely revamp an old thriller novel I released a few years back. I hope to keep the podcast growing and reaching new listeners (as long as J. Thorn keeps paying me). And I’d also like to try my hand at co-writing something in the next year.

What do you want your legacy to be? 

I’d like to write a book that makes a real impact on people’s lives. Not just simple mindless entertainment, but totally shakes their way of thinking. A story that makes them question who they are and what they believe—the very philosophical principles at their core. A book like that would certainly be a challenge to write, and most likely wouldn’t have the greatest chance at being a bestseller, but even if the work only had a fundamental lasting effect on a single person’s life, it would be worth it. That’s what I’d like my legacy to be. And I’d call that book Space Shuttle.

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About David Wright

Dave is the co-founder of Collective Inkwell, in which he and Sean Platt re-invented serial fiction. Hailing from the quaint town of [REDACTED], Dave's renown for putting children in jeopardy (in his fiction, anyway) has made him world famous.

Comments

  1. Ronnie Pelletier says:

    Awesome sense of humor!

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