Born in The Bronx, NY and residing in Atlanta, GA, Bryant is a world-travelling author. His unique life experiences have given him a fresh perspective on the horror genre. He is a loving father of four, avid reader, and a huge music lover. When not writing, you can usually find him out at a music festival or concert. Bryant cites authors Joe Hill, M.R. Carey and Stephen King as a few of his main inspirations.
I had the pleasure of interviewing fellow author Bryant Wiley recently. I admire Bryant's writing style, and his polished author voice pulls you into his world just as much as many of my favorite authors. I'm honored to be in a couple of anthologies along side him. Be sure to follow his Facebook page for snippets of his work he posts there.
When did you start writing?
The short answer is that I've been writing on a serious level since 2006. Yes, I was writing before then, but that's the year that I decided to start transforming my wild ideas into fictional tales.
What books/authors have been major influences in your life?
My mother gets the win in this category. She is the one who introduced me to the horror genre. As a kid, I was into everything macabre. By the 5th grade I'd read almost every story by Edgar Allan Poe, Pet Sematary, by Stephen King, and the timeless classic Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark books, by Alvin Schwartz, and I really wasn't into reading back then at all. As an adult, there's a long list of authors who have inspired me. Among the largest influences are Joe Hill, M.R. Carey, and Jason Pargin aka David Wong.
Let's talk about Forsaken, your collection of short horror stories. Where did the inspiration for it come from?
Forsaken is a collection of stories that I wrote over a span of 10 years. Inspiration came from everywhere! For example, the story A Toast came to me as I drove by a mcmansion one night, and saw a ton of cars parked outside. The idea struck me 'what if all of those guests aren't meant to leave?' Forsaken, the title story, was based on a song I wrote, nearly a decade before. A few of the stories in that book were inspired by some creepy, dark things that I'm not sure I want to mention here... The idea to publish the book actually came from a friend of mine. He asked to read some of my stories, and I let him. Not long after, he gave me some positive feedback and asked "what are you doing with these?" I didn't have an answer. That's what put the initial thought of publication in my mind though.
One of my favorite stories you have written is Sangria.
It reminded me of watching the shows introduced by The Crypt Keeper back in the 80's and 90's. Have you considered making it a longer piece?
Here's how Sangria came to be. At a bar one night, I was drinking the titular drink, and my girlfriend asked me to tell her a story. I assured her that my oral storytelling skills were nonexistent, but I went ahead and did it anyway. It came out halfway decent and she said that I should write it down. I took notes on what I could remember and shaped it into a story. I haven't given any thought to expanding it and creating a longer story, though. But, I'm not opposed to that idea.
Do you have any short stories you have considered expanding?
I sure do! Next question... Kidding. There are two short stories that I've kept under wraps, because I'm working on drawing them out to novel length. The first is The Believer, about a man trying to save the lives of his ex wife and unborn child, while being pursued by a maniac, and fighting against a tyrant in a post-apocalyptic world. The other is entitled Tears Of The Devil. This one is about a man with no recollection of who he is. He spends his day frantically trying to piece together clues about his past, and learns that he is connected to some incredibly dark truths.
What is your favorite out of all you have written?
Yikes, I don't know if I can answer that one. I will say that a couple favorites amongst those I've spoken to are The Work Of My Hands, and Ink Blot. One can be found in the book mentioned a few questions ago, the other is a small story from my blog. Actually, building on your previous question, I may be taking Ink Blot down soon, to flesh it out and grow it from a flash fiction piece into a short story. My blog is something of a proving ground, or test lab. There's a lot of experimentation there.
Do you prefer to write at night or during the day?
I'm definitely a daytime writer. Although, once the feeling hits, it doesn't matter what time of day it is.
What are you working on now?
I'm hard at work on my first novel, Parris In The Fall. I can't really divulge more than the title at this time, but rest assured, you'll be hearing plenty about it in the coming months. I'm also working on more anthology submissions.
Do you have any other collections to release?
Currently, my blog serves as something of a story collection. However, these are unedited (beyond my own editing abilities) stories that may, or may not make it into a book some day. That said, yes, I do have another collection of stories on the horizon.
I advise writers often that writing groups are a good idea to belong to for feedback and help. Being an admin for Writing Bad yourself, would you say you have gained anything from being in a group?
I'm so grateful for Writing Bad. Not only have I met some great people, present company included, but being a part of the group has helped me to build better writing habits. I'm a huge fan of writing groups now, in person (not so much these days though), and online. They build accountability, help with brainstorming, there's really no aspect of writing that doesn't benefit from being in a group with other writers, in my opinion.
How did you come across Writing Bad and are there any other groups you recommend?
The group showed up in my suggestions one day. I remember thinking it was a clever name for a writing group, so I joined. Outside of that, I think the Never Ending Nano group is great for anyone who is looking for the motivation to write. Colors In Darkness is another group that I'd recommend. Although, it is a genre specific group.
What part of writing is your least favorite to do?
Does marketing count? Ok, I realize that writing requires a certain amount of organization, and tons of writers outline their stories before writing anything. Being a pantser though, I'm constantly having to find ways to keep from being stuck in my writing. With no outline to fall back on, this can prove difficult at times and I find myself stepping away from what I'm working on, hoping to stumble across a different perspective or missing puzzle piece.
Do you think you will continue to be a panster or could it be you just haven't found an organized way of outlining that fits your needs?
I enjoy the pantser life. I think that way of writing is ingrained in me. I have done outlines in the past, and it's worked out well, but charging in with no idea of where the story will end up is my default setting. I'm a pantser in almost every aspect of my life.
As a reader, what is one thing authors do that make you cringe?
I cringe every time I read a book where the main character finds out some key plot point through an interview. When I say that, I don't mean a formal interrogation. I mean that the main character is firing questions at another character, and that's how the plot information is revealed. I consider it just a step above the dreaded info dump.
Are there other genres you dabble in or stay away from entirely?
I think every horror writer is also a suspense writer, to some degree. One day I may try writing some high concept sci-fi. I've also dipped my toes in the comedy pool a couple of times.
Thank you for speaking with me today!
My pleasure. This has been a lot of fun.
Find Bryant at the following links.
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