Horror Thriller Writer
There have been many books, and one author who is my greatest writing inspiration, however Brandon Massey was my first and greatest inspiration to self-publish. My following of Brandon began innocently, surfing the web looking to reach out to interesting people to incorporate in a newsletter I published. This was during the very early 2000’s when surfing the web was a new phenomena for me. And there he was…Brandon Massey, a young author speaking on his debut book, Thunderland, he wrote and self-published. He shared, what I now consider, humble details on how he was promoting and distributing the book, except his effort sure caught my attention. The brotha’ was doing something I had an interest in pursuing.
I signed up to receive his newsletter. Looked into the self-publishers he mentioned. And actually even reached out to Brandon to let him know how inspired I was, and was surprised to receive a warm reply in return.
So, now imagine me one day in a bookstore, Barnes & Noble to be exact, browsing, to look down and end up having to narrow my eyes to be sure I was seeing what I was seeing. My email address had since changed, many times over, so I hadn’t been receiving updates from Brandon. But sure enough, right there on the shelf was Dark Corners, by Brandon Massey! And please don’t make fun of me here, among many things I am corny too, but I cheered right there on the spot, “No way! Far out!” Purchased a copy and it lit up the rest of my day.
Brandon has gone from self-publishing to mainstream publishing. His books have been distributed in many formats; mass market paperback, ebook, audio, tradepaper. They have appeared in Essence book club. He’s won the Gold Pen Award for Best thriller, Black Writers Alliance for Thunderland, 2000. He’s been featured in periodicals; Black Enterprise, New York Times, and Publishers Weekly. His journey is a journey any writer/author, new or seasoned, would appreciate reading. His story is truly one to cheer, and I am tremendously pleased that he has granted OEBooks an interview.
Interviewed by RYCJ/OEBooks Jan 2011
So, Covenant is now out, and I want to know what the writing process for this novel was like. (A breeze, a little tougher than the others, etc.)
Overall, writing COVENANT took seven months. It wasn’t harder than any of the others; all of them are challenging, actually. Before I started writing, though, I spent at least three months doing research, mostly reading various books about religious topics (since religion comprises a large part of the story). After I completed the research, I wrote an outline of the entire story, and then I worked through the various drafts. For this one, I did three drafts, which is normal for me.
One thing that makes COVENANT different from my other work is that it deals with a pretty hot topic these days, that of the megachurch pastor engaged in some less-than-Christian behavior. J I did so much research because I wanted to cover this piece of the story in a credible fashion.
In as far as Covenant, when did you find out, or realize your ending;-)?
I knew the ending before I wrote the first word. ;-) I always outline my novels in advance, and while I may not know every detail about how the story ends, I usually have a good idea of what I want to resolve, and how I want the final scenes to play out.
Which elements of working with a story do you find yourself having to devote more thought and attention... the story/plot, character development, scenery/locale, ...or?
I spend most of my time making sure that the character actions are believable based on what we learn about their thoughts and background. There's nothing I hate more than books or movies where the plot seems forced, and the writer has the character doing things that make no sense, just to drive the story in a certain direction. I want everything to make sense and I want to keep the characters “in character” for the entire story.
I know it's the job of every writer to put themselves in the center of the story (mentally), but have you ever been frightened or haunted while in one of your stories, or after you've come out of it? The answer to this can't be no, so just tell us which book it was that haunted you the most.
With every book I've done, I've written scenes that have left me chilled. For this reason, no book in particular sticks out. I try to tap into my own personal fears with every story. COVENANT deals with my fear of religious extremism. Some people are willing to do anything--no matter how repugnant and harmful--in the name of God, and I find that pretty disturbing.
And bouncing off that question, and no need to expound if the answer is yes; but do you have some things 'cooking' that you are a little hesitant to explore for fear of really putting the fright in your work?
There are probably a couple of things that are off-limits for me right now. Since I'm a new father, I would have a difficult time writing a story in which a young child is harmed. I guess it's just too close to home and I don't want to go there yet.
What's the most amount of words you've written in one, let's say, 10-hour period?
I once wrote 35 pages in a single writing session. I was a lot younger then. :-)
What are your All Time Favorite Thriller movies? Top three.
That's a tough question since I like so many. For now, I'll say, Aliens, The Usual Suspects, and The Game.
In grade school were you more of the 'off to yourself kid', a prankster, class clown, the flirt... or...?
I think I was considered a nerd since I had pretty good grades. The only thing that saved me from merciless teasing was that I was good at sports.
Okay, so that was then. Today what is Brandon Massey like?
Just an ordinary family guy. I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter, hanging out with our dogs, and having quiet evenings at home with friends and family. It's pretty low-key. I get my excitement from the stories that I write. :-)
And yeah, that's what you say. What do your family and friends say?
Probably the same thing. People who know me still find it surprising that I write the kind of stuff that I do, since in their opinion, I seem so laid back and easy going, yet I'm writing these hair-raising stories about supernatural creatures and psycho killers.
Last but not least, what do you do after you complete a book?
I will usually have a bottle of good champagne ready. As soon as that's over, I'll start worrying about what the reception to the book will be . . . and eventually I realize that the best way to deal with anxiety about a book is to start writing the next one. :-)
Thank you, Brandon!
Visit Brandon Massey.com