November 9th, 2018
I asked Bryant where he would like to have our interview:
Outside, the rain falls in sheets creating a roaring chorus on the roof, the siding, and the windows of the abandoned house. Shadows dance along the walls with each flash of lightning. Perhaps it is just the trees swaying violently in the wind creating the illusion of clawed hands, frantic and scrambling to break in and find peace from the storm.
Inside there is darkness. Though not completely. Just past the rotten and decrepit floorboards of the foyer, in the ruins of what was once a bustling family room, a single candle sits flickering on an ancient coffee table. A mountain of wax collects at its base, as its wick burns slowly. The yellow light of the single taper candle is not enough to illuminate the entire space. Behind the burning light, perched at the edge of illumination, a hooded figure can be seen amongst a thick tangle of cobwebs.
“Had I known it was going to be such a beautiful night,” the man begins, “I would have suggested we hold this interview at the cemetery down the road.”
Laura Mae: Hello Bryant, how are you doing this fine day?
Bryant Wiley: I’m great! Still riding high after successfully closing out the third year of my blog series.
L: Oh that’s so awesome! Congrats! What do you blog about mostly?
B: I started posting short stories under the hashtag
#OctoberHorror in 2016. Basically I write horror stories and post them to my blog for people to read. This year I took a chance and switched things up from the previous years, and it worked out very well.
L: That’s great! I’m so happy for you! So what do you think started your love for horror writing? Any authors or books?
B: I think that I’ve always been drawn to that feeling of dread and unease. My mother was a huge fan of the genre, and I guess I inherited it from her lol. If I had to credit just one author responsible for deepening my love of darkness and creepy things it would be Alvin Schwartz and his Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark series.
L: Nice! Love it! How long have you been writing for? And do you remember one of the first things you ever wrote?
B: I was writing stories way back in the fifth grade, but had no aspirations of being a writer back then. The first story that I ever wrote was called The Three Little Nitwits, a different take on the three little pigs. This continued throughout middle school where I would write and draw my own comics. In high school, around 1994, I discovered that I was really good at writing and performing rap songs, so the fiction writing took a back seat. It actually stayed back there for a long time. It wasn’t until around 2006 when I began writing stories again. At that point I started taking it much more seriously.
L: The three little nitwits! That made me giggle. Haha! That’s cool how long you have had it deep down. I was the same way, too. What would you say is your favorite thing to write? As far as characters, or world building, things like that?
B: It’s definitely dialogue. Being an extremely shy person my whole life, I’ve had plenty of time to observe how people communicate with one another, beyond just words. I love exploring that through my writing.
L: Fun! I agree! So on that subject, what would you say is your least favorite thing to write, or the most challenging?
B: You mentioned it in your last question, world building. Even though the setting plays a major role in any scene, I get so impatient writing about rocking chair that sits in front of the house on a warm spring evening, as the gentle breeze ruffles the leaves of the trees that stand in the freshly cut grass… but we all must do it lol.
L: Hey, that was good! I think you’re just saying that! Haha! I agree though, world building can be very tedious at times. Would you mind tell me a little bit about what your currently working on, Bryant?
B: Sure. There’s a couple novels that I am writing at the moment. The Believer is a post apocalyptic thriller that takes place 200 years after a nuclear holocaust. The remnants of mankind are under the rule of fearsome dictator, with frightening powers. Adam, son of the man credited with bringing technology back into the world, finds himself at odds with this dictators rule and is thrust into a world of unimaginable terror in order to save the lives of his ex wife and unborn child. The second novel is called Tears of the Devil. It’s still in the infant stages, but it’s about a man who wakes up on a train platform battered, bloodied, and with no memory of who he is. After an accident on the way to the hospital, he meets a woman who claims to know who he is. The problem is that she does not want him to figure it out. Other than those, I’m always writing short stories, so that’s kind of a given.
L: Wow! Those both sounds really awesome! I really like the concept of The Believer, personally. Can’t wait to see how it turns out! Did anything in particular inspire that one? Or The Tears of the Devil?
B: The Believer was a short story I wrote years ago. I felt that there was a lot more story that needed to be told, and so I began expanding it. Now the short story serves as an outline, which is crazy, because I don’t consider myself organized enough to outline anything lol. As far as Tears of the Devil, I wanted to write a book that scared me, and when I came up with the concept and fleshed it out in my mind, it definitely did.
L: Awesome! I’m not organized either. Haha! As far as writing tropes go, do you have any favorites or least favorites at all?
B: The biggest one that I’m not a fan of is happy endings. I’ve read so many books that go to great length to provide closure and a sense of peace and normality where it shouldn’t exist. Some of my favorite authors are guilty of this, and if it fits the story, sure go for it. But when the hero just happens to stumble upon some deus ex machina at a time when it’s most convenient, that ruins a lot of otherwise good stories for me. I always say about my writing that I don’t do happy endings, I do necessary endings.
L: I love that. It’s realistic! Not everyone has a happy ending, and I like that you showcase that. Who is your favorite author?
B: Can I add an “s” to author? I’ll try to keep the list short. 🙂
L: Go for it!
B: It’s kinda cliche, but Stephen King of course, but also his son Joe Hill. Mike Carey definitely, along with Preston & Child, and Anne Rice. I not only enjoy reading these authors, but they inspire me tremendously as well.
L: Stephen King is such a legend, it’s silly not to be inspired by him! Especially if you write horror. Do you have any music that inspires you as well? Some authors I find have soundtracks for their WIP’s. Do you do that?
B: Yes! Music runs in my veins. When I’m cut you can hear a beat playing from the wound, true story. I use music to define my characters and take a look into their thoughts. There’s a story in my first book that I was stuck on for the longest time. Then one day a song randomly played, Don’t Fear The Reaper by B.O.C., and the character from the story popped up into my mind screaming that the song was about her. I listened to the song on repeat for about an hour, while I wrote the rest if her story. So yes, music us a huge influence on my writing.
L: Very cool! I love when characters do that! So Bryant, when you’re not writing what do you like to do in your spare time?
B: I spend time with my kids playing video games, watching movies and things like that. I’m also really into live music, and go to concerts whenever I can. I’m a bit of a beer snob too, so I spend a lot of time trying different beers and touring breweries.
L: Yay video games! And I love wine myself, but my sister loves trying different beers which means I try a lot of different beers! And you have kids?! How awesome! How old?
B: Yep, I have 4. Daughter 19, son 17, son 16, and daughter 13.
L: All teenagers! How fun! Do any of them write like their dad?
B: They dabble lol. None of them are sweating in their language arts classes, that’s for sure!
L: Good! I’m sure you help with that quite a bit! Haha!
B: I do what I can. They ask me plenty of questions on the subject and I simply use what I know to point them in the right direction.
L: Nice! Alright Bryant, well last question :(… What would you like to say to aspiring writers out there who might be struggling?
B: Struggle is unavoidable, when it comes to writing. We’ve all felt like giving up at some point. The key is to keep at it. Writing is unlike anything else in this world, in that you can make it into whatever you want. But only if you get those words out of your head and onto the page. So don’t give up, stay the course. I guarantee you that you’ll love the outcome.
L: Excellent! Well thank you so much for chatting with me Bryant! It’s been so much fun!
B: It’s definitely been great. Thanks for having me.
Bryant Wiley was born at the very young age of 0, in The Bronx, N.Y. Shortly thereafter he developed his love of all things dark and macabre. Growing up in the borough of Queens, N.Y., Bryant was not much of a reader. Quiet and shy (or observant, if you ask him) he lived the life of a middle child, with an older brother and younger sister. It wasn’t until adulthood that Bryant would fall in love with reading, which helped to develop his writing talent.
Bryant has traveled the world (on the military’s dime), and now calls Atlanta, GA home, where he and his four children dwell. His love of horror shines in his first two books, Forsaken: A Collection Of Short Stories and #OctoberHorror Years One & Two, and has garnered him much praise among his following. Introverted, but not entirely reclusive, he is constantly observing the world around him in search of inspiration for his next dark tale.
Journey into the darkness… A child learns that he possesses the power to heal, and the terrible consequences that come with it. Sinister forces rise in opposition, when a man tries to atone for the wrong he’s done. Welcome to Forsaken. Where people can’t simply move away after discovering the house is haunted. Where an innocent gift becomes one woman’s heaviest burden. From a friendly game of Russian roulette, to a bachelor party that goes completely off the rails, happy endings are overrated.
The leaves begin to change, and fall away from their branches. The air carries an icy chill, on a calm, serene night. The world is in transition. What a perfect time to pierce the veil, and get a glimpse of that which our eyes should never behold… #OctoberHorror began in 2016, as a way to celebrate the “scariest month of the year.” Contained within are seven stories from the first two years of the blog series. Find your most comfortable reading spot, grab a nice warm beverage to sip, and whatever you do, don’t turn out the lights!