Bryan Hall is a fiction writer and member of the Horror Writer’s Association living happily in a one hundred year old farmhouse deep in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife and three children.
He spent the first nineteen years of his life writing and reading voraciously, until pausing for some befuddling reason to spend a decade drinking whiskey and beer, playing in various garage bands, and rock climbing, eventually conquering practically every worthwhile cliff in western North Carolina.
Although a bad back has greatly hindered his rock climbing, he still considers himself an aficionado of good beer and great whiskey, which seem to add fuel to his demented imagination.
Growing up in the Appalachias, he’s soaked up decades of fact and fiction from the area, bits and pieces of which usually weave their way into his writing whether he realizes it at the time or not.
You can find him online at www.bryanhallfiction.com, and you should do so because you know how to read and like books!
And now, 11 Questions of Badassary!
1. Bryan Hall is a fiction writer living in a one hundred year old farmhouse deep in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife and three children.
What’s the deal with writers and haunted houses? Do you find that ghosts are attracted to writers?
Heh. I wish my place was haunted. Sadly, old doesn’t equal haunted. It just means falling the hell apart and in need of constant repair. I’d love to live in a haunted house, though. At least it would prove there’s an afterlife.
Is it all the typing? The staying up all night, haunted by the characters in your head rattling chains?
Those characters are fickle. Around ten or eleven in the evening, they all shut up. It’s great for sleeping, hell for writer’s block.
2. Sci-fi and horror are two genres that one would think go together like chocolate and peanut butter, yet – it also seems like it’s harder to blend the two together than one might think. Do you find this to be true?
It’s harder to blend them than most realize, I think. And especially difficult to please all the readers. Most tend to say there’s either too much or not enough of one or the other genres. I actually don’t do a lot of sci-fi stuff – a few shorts here and there and the novel are about it. It’s a lot of work.
What elements from each genre do you feel play well together? Which ones, not so much?
The isolation element is the obvious one. The remote settings that are possible in a sci-fi story make it a perfect fit for horror since it adds the element of hopelessness. The technology angle is tricky. Too advanced, and it can actually negate most of that hopelessness and risk.
3. What’s the worst meal you’ve ever eaten?
When I was a teenager my family bought a pack of those frozen corn dogs. I opened them up and threw a couple in the oven. The sweet scent of MSG coated, artificially preserved batter wrapped weenies filled the house and got my stomach nice and excited for the deliciousness soon to come. When they were done, I took them out, applied a liberal dose of mustard, and proceeded to take two or three hefty, hungry teenager sized bites. When the funky, rancid, rubbery taste filled my mouth I knew something was wrong. The batter on the outside was fine, but the hot dogs inside were shriveled up gray things that looked like bloated, mummified worms. I vomited for at least fifteen minutes and it took me years to return to a corn dog. Even now I peel off a bit of batter and make sure there’s no surprise waiting inside.
4. What is the geekiest celebrity sighting you’ve ever had/or could potentially have (mine was comics/novelist Warren Ellis, I was afraid he was going to smack me in the face with his cane)?
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had one. I don’t get out much, and all my emails to Garth Ennis inviting him over for some Jameson’s go unanswered. I think I met Nikita Koloff once. But that may have been a nightmare I’m just remembering as reality.
5. You stand in front of two doors. One leads to your past and will allow you to change the outcome of one personal event. The other leads to your future (ten years from now) and while you’ll be able to see how your life has turned out you can’t change the outcome. Which door do you go through?
That’s an easy one. The past. Racing headlong towards a future that you can’t change wouldn’t just be scary as hell, it would be kind of boring. The past? There’s plenty of stuff to pick from to change back there. Not quite in my life, but in the lives of some people who were very close to me. As long as my Mom didn’t meet me and think I was hot or anything, I’d choose the past door every time.
6. Your best friend calls. You are tasked to make a trip to the Home Depot to pick up tarp. Exact specifications are provided, including the color. Do you immediately think the worst and contact the authorities, or do you play along?
Play along, man. If for no other reason than to find out why the hell the color of it matters.
7. You are given the opportunity to make one universal law for yourself – a creed which you will follow until the end of time – and you can also make a universal law for the rest of humanity which they will also follow until the end of time. What are these new laws? They cannot be the same law, and they must be polar opposites of one another?
My initial instinct leads me to say: Humanity-wise it would just be to stop proliferating nonsense and to actually learn about a subject before they begin to scream to the heavens about it being fact. I love knowledge, and the amount of misinformation on everything from herbal supplements to Bigfoot is amazing and frustrating to me. But that means that the polar opposite of that would require me to constantly accept everything I read or hear as fact and then proudly proclaim it to be such every chance I get. With that in mind…I’ll just say my creed will be to sleep in on Sunday. Everyone else has to get up early and get stuff done. Yeah. I like that idea.
8. Do you listen to music when you write/edit? What are some must have’s on your current playlist?
Can’t do it unless it’s instrumental stuff or something I’ve heard so much that it’s ingrained in my subconscious. I listen to the NIN album “Ghosts” a lot since it’s instrumental, or anything from the Drive by Truckers or the Gaslight Anthem since I’ve heard them so much they’re not distracting. But usually it’s just the sweet, supple sounds of silence.
9. Most embarrassing moment?
I don’t shame easily. But I remember one time in elementary school showing up to school with toothpaste crusted on my lips. It was right about the time that boys start learning about sexy time hijinks, so you can imagine the jokes made at my expense thanks to that nice, white crust in the corners of my mouth. Even that was funny, though. I guess I don’t get that embarrassed.
10. With the market being so flooded with entertainment choices – especially in the ebook game – what do you feel audiences are truly looking for in a good story? What are some of the things you feel set your stories apart from other stories in the sci-fi and horror genres?
I wish I knew what they were looking for, man. I think it really just comes down to a good entertaining read in the end. If you write a story that entertains and makes them forget the stress of their lives for a while, I think they like it. As for what sets mine apart, I try to write multilayered stuff that will stay with you after you read it. I hope my stories are entertaining, but at the same time I strive to write things that have subtle nuances beneath the surface. I don’t know if I always succeed, but some people seem to think so.
11. What you got coming up? What upcoming project are you most looking forward to tackling?
Coming up will be the next books in the Southern Hauntings Saga from Angelic Knight Press. “The Vagrant” is already out and has gotten great reviews, and the next book (and the official start of the Saga) is titled “The Girl” and will be out soon. It’s a southern gothic ghost series about a man who has the ability to see ghosts. He travels the south, essentially being hired by various clients looking to use his talents. But he’s also running from a past that he can barely even remember. I’m looking forward to driving further down the winding road that the series is taking, and I’m also working on an unrelated novel dealing with schizophrenia, ghosts, demons, and the breakdown of families. I’m really excited about finishing it up, although it’s been the toughest thing I’ve ever written.
We’d like to thank Bryan Hall for stopping by and Stacey Turner of Angelic Knight Press for putting us in touch and letting us know about Bryan’s fantastic books!
Now, an attention-whoring break:
Billy Purgatory is Jesse James Freeman’s first novel. He’s also studied psychology and film and scripted comics. When he’s not writing books, Jesse James trains falcons to kill Leprechaun Robots, and will continue to do so until the world is relatively safe.
Jesse James recently contributed 4 essays to the book Write for the Fight: A Collection of Seasonal Essays, co-authored by Tess Hardwick (Riversong) and Tracey Hansen. All author proceeds will be donated to charities engaged in the fight against breast cancer.
Jesse James is currently working on Billy Purgatory and the Curse of the Satanic Five, MythCop, Vehemently Jones, Blood-Love, R. Cane, and Witches vs Robots.