SPECULATIVE FICTION AUTHOR
Author name: Bryan R. Dennis
About your family/background, your location:
I was born and raised in the cornfields of central Illinois, a rural farming community. I enlisted in the Army upon graduation from High School and served term overseas. Afterwards, I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and enrolled in UNLV’s college of business. It took a degree in accounting, years of daydreaming in cubicles, and a collection of stories piling up in my hard drive to learn that I’m a writer and not an accountant. My writing style is influenced by authors such as Raymond Chandler and Carver, Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, Charles Bukowski, and Haruki Murakami. But for the last 13 years I’ve lived in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada with my family. Feeling like a fish out of water has always given me plenty to write about.
How and why did you decide to get published?
I read a blog by Joe Konrath (A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing) which basically championed the indie e-publishing “revolution” and I thought he made a lot of sense. I looked into it more on my own and decided I liked the control over my work, among other benefits of self-publishing.
What genre do you write? And why?
While I write in different genres, I consider myself primarily a writer of speculative fiction because it’s what I enjoy reading and writing the most. I like escaping from the boredom of reality whenever I can. Speculative fiction is the perfect vehicle to accomplish this.
What other genre interest you?
I enjoy a good mystery or thriller-suspense story. Aside from thrills, these genres also often feature some of the best dialogue and quirky characters in fiction.
What is the story behind your book?
I’d achieved all the goals I’d set for myself in life and realized one day that they weren’t the right goals. I lassoed the materialistic version of the “American Dream” and found that it was like cotton candy -- once you bit into it, there wasn’t much there. The catalyst for this change in perception was an encounter I had with a coyote in the middle of an inner Vegas suburb shortly before its wild home was razed and buried beneath a clone army of cheaply-constructed McMansions. I included the scene with the coyote in the book almost exactly as I remembered it.
How do you decide your book cover?
I think of the theme and then I create visual metaphors that touch upon it.
Do you think readers decide based on book cover or book title?
I think book cover weighs more heavily in the decision process. Authors have done quite well even using pre-existing titles by other authors.
If you write fiction; What’s the source of your inspiration? How much of YOU show up in your writing?
I’m inspired by the world around me, my past, people I’ve known, books I’ve read, movies I’ve watched, music I’ve listened to. You’ll find some of me in every character I write, but I like to hide by adding traits and observations that aren’t me. For instance, in Epitaph, Henry makes a bad remark about the accounting profession. Personally, I believe every man and woman should be proud of whatever it is they do no matter how unglamorous. But it’s important to the story that Henry comes to his opinion. In other words, I don’t want to espouse all of my views onto the world, so I often have characters believing things I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, much of what they believe is my opinion on things too, but only my close companions and people who know me well would be able to discern them.
Use one word/phrase to describe your book:
The American Dream just before its pants fell down.
How have you found the writing process?
A happy release of creativity. An exercise in isolation and loneliness. A fun journey. A tedious slog. A waste of time. A fulfilment of my life ambition. An excuse to commit suicide. A reason to live. Writing is all of these things, but overall, I love it and refuse to do anything else.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? How did you tackle it?
Yes. In a house with small children, I get writer’s block often. Distractions, chores, clean-up, sibling squabbles, stress, and time constraints combine to sap my imagination nearly every day. Sometimes it lasts longer than a month. I resuscitate the muse by reading, daydreaming, watching a movie, or listening to music.
Do you have a blog? What do you write about?
Two blogs: my author blog http://www.bryanrdennis.com and my book blog http://www.indiesnippets.blogspot.com. The author blog is for updates on my writing projects (though lately I’ve been using Twitter for this purpose). Indie Snippets is my book blog. Authors submit bite-sized passages of their stories to give readers a flavour of what to expect.
What books are on your shelf at home?
Nearly every book by Haruki Murakami, lots of Ray Bradbury collections, Raymond Carver, Philip K. Dick, and several classics. You can view my partial bookshelf at the bottom of my blog (bryanrdennis.com) or at Goodreads.
Any awards/achievement you want to share?
was a 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semi-finalist.
Who’s your favourite author?
What are you good at as an individual?
I like to think I’m a good husband, father, and friend.
What form of entertainment do you enjoy most and why?
I like drinking beer with friends and family in front of a crackling fire, with classical jazz or rock ‘n’ roll drifting from speakers, and the smell of a barbeque thick in the air. Reading and watching movies are my next best. Why? Well, I’m not really into sports, model cars or whittling, so I grew attached to these forms of entertainment by default, I guess.
What are your other interests?
Drinking hot coffee, dining on savoury and sweet home-cooked foods, listening to the timeless opus of nature, inhaling aromas of wet wood and green things. I also love travelling to distant lands.
Your favourite pet?
A happy, Yellow, Labrador Retriever named Daisy
What’s your choice meal/favourite restaurant?
Sushi at a sushi bar attended by an old, Japanese, master chef
What’s your music choice?
Name your favourite city in the world.
A tie between Kyoto, Japan and Salzburg, Austria
If you had one wish, what would it be?
I would have plenty of time and the freedom to do what I want with it.
If you can change one thing, what would it be?
I would’ve gotten started writing (seriously) earlier.
What would you say you’re bad at?
Multi-tasking and concentrating on small details outside of writing and reading. I’m a daydreamer, what can I say?
You’re squeamish to what?
Unpleasant bodily fluids from other people
What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done?
It involves a former female acquaintance, a moment of passion, and her mother’s unexpected and unwelcome arrival.
Anything else your readers don’t know about you?
I’m the oldest of five children and can trace my lineage to a certain King of England whom literature and history hasn’t portrayed too kindly (think Robin Hood).
What’s your favourite quote?
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” -- Plato
Why should a reader buy your book?
It has the potential to make you laugh, cry, and learn, and it’s only the price of a beer.
What is your last word?
I conclude with a word of advice. Set an honest, ambitious goal and ask yourself, at the end of each and every day, this question: What did I do today to bring myself closer to my goal? Do this, and you’ll have a life of purpose. Whether you ever reach your goal, or not, is secondary. And you don’t have to stop at one goal -- have many.
Where can your book be found/bought/website:
Thank you so much Bryan for taking time out to answer these questions.
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