I love Halloween. No, even more than that. I bloody love Halloween.
Not only does it mean that we’re properly into Autumn (or “Fall” for all of you lovely colonial types), but to a horror writer and fan of horror in general, it’s the perfect time of the year. For one thing, the evenings drawing in and it getting dark sooner makes for greater productivity. It’s difficult to write anything particular sinister and atmospheric when you’re in your shorts and sweating like Donald Trump at a W.I. meeting because you’re baking at abnormally high temperatures and having to drink the best part of four gallons of water every hour.
So, in the great spooky spirit of the season, I’m bigging up one of my excellent fellow Authors who has a pre-release of her latest book this coming Halloween.
Briana Robertson is a fellow indie author and a writer for Stitched Smile Publications (who I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with in their recent “Unleashing the voices within” anthology). Her latest book is “Reaper”, a horror anthology.
A tattoo come to life with ominous intentions. Life-threatening panic attacks. A harmless bedroom accident. Predator turned prey.
The Reaper has arrived.
In this new anthology, Briana Robertson presents a selection of chilling tales where Death doesn’t discriminate, leaving readers in fear for their own mortality. Fatality lurks between every turn of the page, threatening all—from a daughter who’s made a deal she can’t afford, to an innocent child left unobserved.
Told exclusively from a female’s perspective, “Reaper” highlights the underlying, everyday terror of facing life’s end and bestows a grim reminder: Death comes for us all.
I took the opportunity to ask Briana a couple of questions for an insight into her writing.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I guess you could say both my family and my mental disorders. Though I’ve played at writing since I was a child, it wasn’t until after a car accident in 2011 left me with fibromyalgia, and resulting clinical depression and anxiety that I decided to tackle writing as a career. Writing, more than my medication, is how I exorcise all the demons that seem to be constant companions. In writing darker works, I can pour all my negative emotions out on the page and leave them behind, which allows me to be a better wife and mother to my family.
How did I come up with the idea for Reaper?
Well, I was offered the chance to participate in an event called “31 Days of Hell,” which is meant to help promote horror authors and their work during the month of October. I wanted to have something that was strictly my own to promote, but knew I wouldn’t have time to do justice to a novel. I had several darker short stories that hadn’t found a home yet; some needed some expanding, others simply a good editor. But with the amount of work I already had available, I knew I could write a few more and have enough material to support an anthology. When I looked at what I had, and the ideas I’d come up with for new stories, I realized that the overarching theme among them was death; and so Death became the main character in the anthology, and he can be found in every story, even if he’s not specifically mentioned by name.
When you develop your characters, do you already know who they are or do they develop as you write?
I don’t know that I “let” them develop, but that’s what usually ends up happening. I tend to think I know my characters when I start writing, but they usually surprise me in one way or another, because they always end up doing something I hadn’t originally planned. I do try to be true to my characters, always, so if they end up developing in a way I hadn’t intended, I will change my original story if that’s what needs to happen for the characters to remain true to themselves.
Out of all of the protagonists you’ve written and created so far, to which do you relate the most?
Reyna, the protagonist from “Phobia.” And I say that because I based Reyna so closely on myself. Her fears are my fears. Her panic attacks are my panic attacks. Her insecurities are those I’ve battled all my life. So even though the story is fiction, not an autobiography, and there are aspects of Reyna that are distinctly her own—she is a character after all—I relate to her because I know her and understand her the best.
Tell me about your writing process and how you brainstorm ideas.
My ideas usually stem from real life events and personal emotions/reactions. As I mentioned above, writing is how I exorcise the negativity that accompanies my depression and anxiety. So I write about the things that depress me, the things that make me anxious, the things that scare me. I put my own worst nightmares on the page, but allow them to happen to someone else. (My characters probably find that terribly unfair.) I find inspiration in images as well, prompts and the like, but the core story ideas, even when they’re adapted to fit a specific inspirational image, are those that are real and relevant to me.
As to my writing process, I tend to write from beginning to end. I don’t like to jump around; I find it hard to remain consistent that way. If I know where I want the story to go, or if I have a sentence jump into my head that I find especially brilliant, I’ll pause and jot it down, but I don’t jump scenes or write the end before the beginning (though I often know the end of the story before I know the beginning). And I’m more of a “pantster” than an outliner. And that is strictly because my characters never follow the outline anyway.
Thanks very much, Briana! As part of the Halloween festivities, come join the Halloween pre-release party fun on the Stitched Smile Groupies facebook page here and be sure to join the Facebook Groupies page here. And watch this space for the details closer to the release of Reaper!
Briana Robertson is an emerging speculative fiction author, working primarily within the genres of fantasy and horror. Her love of authors such as Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Patrick Rothfuss, and J.K. Rowling has developed her own need to put pen to paper. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies, and broadcast on online podcasts. Her debut novel is in the works, set to release in 2017. She currently lives in the Midwest, with her husband, three daughters, and their Maine Coon, Bagheera.
David Court was born and resides in Coventry, UK with his patient wife and his three less patient cats. A few years back David achieved minor internet notoriety under the pseudonym FoldsFive for his animated GIFs telling the entirety of the Star Wars Trilogy, a fact that he’s still jolly well proud of and insists on telling anyone at any opportunity. When not reading, blogging angrily on www.foldsfive.co.uk or www.davidjcourt.co.uk, drinking real ale, being immune to explosions, writing software for a living or practicing his poorly developed telekinetic skills, he can be found writing fiction.