Finally! I bagged an interview with one of my favorite writers, my main man, Brian Keene. Between this dude being so busy and thanks to a Myspace issue, this interview is a little late in coming, but well worth the wait. Here's a look into one of horror's most original minds - the Bram Stoker Award winning author, Brian Keene.
1.) Dave: Hi Brian, thanks for spending some time with us. My first question is – What is your writing routine like?
Brian: Monday through Friday, I get up at around 5am. I answer email and respond to posts on my message board until about 7am. I never fully seem to get caught up with these, but I try. Then around 8am, I start writing. I work till 1pm, eat lunch, and then start writing again at 2pm. Then I work until 5pm or 6pm, at which point I'm done for the day. Sometimes I'll work later than that, or work on weekends, too---especially if I'm under deadline.
2.) Dave: At what point did you decide that writing was going to be your career?
Brian: When I started making enough money from it to quit my day job. (laughs). Seriously, I've always been a writer. Even when my writing was barely earning me enough to buy a newspaper, I still thought of myself as a writer. I always made sure I had a day job, but I never thought of those jobs as my vocation. They were what I did to earn money. Writing was my vocation. These days, I'm lucky enough to do it for a living.
3.) Dave: How did you get your first novel published?
Brian: Trial and error and lots of patience. I wrote it, finished it, polished it and then submitted it. Eventually, Delirium Books accepted it for hardcover and then Leisure Books accepted it for paperback. Before that, there were lot's of "No thanks. It's not for us. Zombies will never be popular again."
4.) Dave: You’re a pretty prolific writer. How do you keep track of all of your ideas?
Brian: For each idea I turn into a finished story, there are probably ten that I forget about. That makes me sad, in a way. Do dead story ideas turn into ghosts? Hey, there's another idea! Quick, write that down.
Usually, I remember the good ones. Occasionally, if it's something really, really good, I might jot down some rough notes so I don't forget it.
5.) Dave: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Brian: Despite what you may have heard, I'm pretty boring. I like target shooting (I'm a pretty good shot), reading, watching movies, fishing, and taking walks in the woods with my wife and dog.
6.) Dave: The covers of a few of your books (The Rising, Ghoul and the upcoming Dead Sea) are very similar. Do you have a thing for hands or is it just a coincidence?
Brian: That's all up to the publisher's marketing department. Authors generally don't have much say in what goes on their covers. The hands are supposed to create a brand in the mind of the average consumer, or so I'm told.
7.) Dave: The three boys in Ghoul each have terrible things happening at home. Was this an attempt to make a statement about the family unit or was it simply for character depth?
Brian: Some of it was based on real life events---things that happened to me or friends of mine when we were that age. But yeah, the important thing to me was that when the reader finished the book, they were left wondering just who the real monsters really were---the ghoul, or the parents?
8.) Dave: Dead Sea is your next novel. Can you give us a hint as to what we can expect?
Brian: It's in stores now. It's a book totally written for the fans. They asked for another zombie novel, and I obliged. It was an absolute blast to write. I had fun with it. Zombie pusists will dig it because, unlike The Rising and City of the Dead, these zombies can't talk or think or use weapons or drive cars.
9.) Dave: There are a lot of musical references in Ghoul. What type of music do you listen to and do you listen to it while you write?
Brian: I have background noise all day long. From 6am until 11, it's Howard Stern. If he ever went off the air, I think I'd have to quit writing. Once Howard's show is over, I listen to various music all day long. I'm pretty ecclectic in my musical tastes. Today, for example, it was Bruce Springsteen, Iron Maiden, Prince, Waylon Jennings, Mastadon, Ice-T, Anthrax, Love and Rockets, Queensryche, Pixies, Circle of Fear, Robert Johnson, Nighttime Dealers, Vertigo Sun, Faith No More, and Dr. Dre. Tomorrow, it might be those bands again, or it might be something different.
10.) Dave: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Brian: Better authors than me have said it, but read every day and write every day. Every single day, man. To be successful as a writer, you need three things: the ability to write, patience, and determination.
My sincere thanks to Brian for providing a quick glimpse into his writing life and creative process. For those who haven't experienced his go-for-the-throat style of writing, head out and pick up one of his books, or better yet, pick up his library, it will save you a return trip! Or, just click on one of the book titles listed above to purchase it directly from Amazon. Find out more about this talented wordsmith by visiting his website, www.briankeene.com.