My guest today is my friend and fellow-author Dean Bryant, whose novel The Stairwell will be published by Darkstroke Books this coming Friday (30th October 2020).
Welcome, Dean! What
prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?
I've always loved to write. I had a very inspiring English teacher when I was in primary school (about ten years old). He always read anything I wrote, whether it was homework or just for fun. I still remember when he wrote "Another cracker from the pen of Dean Bryant" at the end of one of my stories. He also prompted me to enter a nationwide poetry competition. One poem from each school would be published in a compilation book. I never thought it would happen, but I won, and still have a copy of the book. Thanks, Mr Casson, wherever you are!
summarise your latest work in just a few words?
The Stairwell is a horror/paranormal thriller, following two characters as they both begin to experience nightmarish visions that bleed into reality.
What was the inspiration for this book?
Mainly the work of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. They both have such a unique writing voice, and it inspired me to find my own with The Stairwell.
Did you do any research for the book?
Honestly, not much. I did research some procedural things regarding emergency services work, but I feel horror and paranormal fiction allows the writer such freedom. Each writer, when trying to scare their readers, will come up with their own unique way to do so.
What does a typical writing day involve for you?
Most of The Stairwell was written with my father. He lives on the other side of the country, so once every other month we'd get together for a few days. We'd get up in the morning, have a nice English breakfast, then get to writing. By the end of the day we'd realise we'd each written thousands of words. Without him it would have been harder to stay motivated.
How do you decide on the names for your characters?
There are a couple that are named after people I know. The others are completely made up. I tried to stay clear of names I've read in some of my favourite books, to keep them separate in my mind and help me to flesh out their character.
Do you plot your novels in advance, or allow them to develop as you write?
A bit of both. I planned out how many chapters there would be, plus the main event and the ending. I wanted each chapter to end on a cliffhanger. My intent was that the reader would finish reading a chapter about Brandon, then when the chapter about Alice came up they'd be dying to find out what happened to Brandon next - and vice versa. But the rest of the writing wasn't planned, and flowed onto the page as I wrote it.
Which writers have influenced your own writing?
Mainly Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Mark Edwards. I think that anyone who reads one of their books would be able to tell that they had written it without their name being on it. Their writing styles are so brilliant and unique.
What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?
The best parts were spending more time with my dad, and exercising my creative muscles. I'm not creative in any other way - I can't draw, sing or play an instrument, so it's good to have an outlet. I'm not sure that there are any processes that I dislike, but perfecting the ending was probably the most challenging. I always knew how I wanted The Stairwell to end, but putting it together can be tricky.
Now the book is about to be published and ‘out there’, how do you feel?
I'm with you there! My first novel was written in response to the prompt "Write the book you want to read". What can we expect from you in the future?
OOH, that sounds like a great project! Good luck!