Getting into writing – an interview with Brian Bogart (@DreamsDarkly)

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I’m originally from Florida, recently married and moved to Northern Ireland. I’m a writer of horror, dark fantasy and other genre fiction. Currently awaiting the right to work in the UK, I spend most of my current days writing, reading, spending time with my wife and stepdaughters and promoting other authors in the genre fields, small and large alike. I’m a strong believer in the small press and indie publishing and always looking for like-minded people to engage with.

Oh, yeah. And I am a bit sarcastic, but well-meaning.

(Now that the world’s most uninteresting bio ever is complete, we can thank the Gods that this isn’t an online dating bio. Part of me sadly feels the above reads that way.)

What got you interested in writing?

I’ve always been interested in reading, so writing was a natural progression. My first love was drawing. I loved comic books and I still do draw from time to time. The first more adult stories that really caught my eye were Sherlock Holmes and Edgar Allan Poe fiction. From there, it was onwards to Stephen King and Clive Barker. My mother had a friend who read mostly horror novels. Needless to say, she was my favorite person to visit the house growing up.

In fifth grade, I decided to write my very own sci-fi story for class. Then a horror one. Those were published in the County’s yearly art and writing publication. From there, I began an epic (in my young eyes) homage to King’s The Gunslinger series, set in space. After 200 written pages, it was misplaced one day at school, never to be seen again. I plan on one day writing it, now that I’m older and wiser. I still have my drawings and notes from 7th grade in safekeeping.

Those things above are not only what got me interested, but still keep me so. I love to imagine characters and scenarios. I’ve always loved a good story. The fact that I learned at a young age that I wasn’t too shabby at it and even better, enjoyed it just as much as reading a good tale written by someone else- let’s just say I have an obsessive love affair with the written word. She’s a wordy little mistress, and she has kept me happy for decades.

Tell us a little about your chosen genre.

My chosen genre is horror, mostly. Me and horror are like blood brothers. My first King story was ‘Pet Sematary’. My teachers thought I was too young to be reading that kind of stuff, but when they saw how interested I was in writing them, not just reading them- they quickly changed their minds. I used to watch all the old Vincent Price and black and white horror movies on the weekends with my Dad. It started with comics, then movies and graduated to books and writing.

What I love about horror is that there are so many variations in the field. Psychological, supernatural, extreme, body horror, science fiction, crime thrillers, suspense- you can use any or all of these things and still write a good horror story. It’s how the story is told that makes it horror. The other labels are just different flavors of icy on a bloody delicious cake.

What are your happiest memories in your writing career?

My happiest moments are usually whenever I am published, whether physical, ebook or even online magazines. This year, my short story entitled ‘TOCSIN’ was released in the OMP (OneMillionProject) Thriller Anthology. All profits for the book are going to cancer research and homeless charities. A great group of people to work with and a wonderful effort to raise money for a good cause.

Seeing your words in print is electrifying and sometimes, a bit harrowing. I hope to have many more of those moments. Runner-ups would include interacting with other authors and sharing their stuff. The horror communities as a whole, are some of the most helpful and hopeful ladies and gents in fiction. Yes, of course we all want “our” books or stories read- but not at the cost of denying a fellow reader a good story or an author the chance to shine.

How do you handle success and failure?

I’ll admit. Rejection can sting. But, you do get used to it- and not always by any fault of your own are they rejected. Sometimes, it’s just not the right time. Hardest part for some, is acknowledging when a story isn’t working or needs to be ditched. The best thing to do is to keep at it. The more one writes, the easier it becomes to write a better story, to understand what to avoid. Take what you can from what you’ve done before, and trudge ahead. It’s a part of the writer’s creed: Use those rejection slips or “lesser” attempts as fuel to that fire. If you want to write, you write. Win or fail. Tell the best story YOU can tell. Use that fuel as a boost your productivity. If not, the writing world will still move on- with or without you.

What makes you write when you’re exhausted and your fingers ache?

What is your advice to young and new writers?

I take a break. Sometimes, you have to. Find a good spot to stop, a place that when you pick it back up- is a good jumping point. Hours of typing or staring at a page can wear on you, not just physically or in your fingers. Mentally, as well.

I like to people watch. I jot down little notes for later. The way a person moves. Speaks. A situation. You can also read a book or short story. Many a story from many an author has benefited from those exact things I just listed. In fact, I would say most of the best ones succeeded because of it. It helps to bring your writing to life.

The best part? If you’re one of those who berate themselves for not writing- you are still working on the story. Just don’t forget to get back to telling that story. No amount of “research” is going to do you any good if you don’t apply it to your work. Easier said than done with so many distractions in the world. Lots of writers suffer from that. The more successful have learned to work through that. Others, never do. Don’t be a statistic.

Other key pieces of advice? Those flash fiction pieces you have laying around- keep them. They could develop into so much more given time. Never give away the full and exclusive rights to a story for free. Read your contracts, if you’re actually being published. Self-publishing is a big market and one I’m contemplating myself in the future. But if you do, be careful of the pitfalls there, as well. But it’s just as much work in getting the word out. Key word no matter which route you take: Promote.

Get to know others in the field. If you can, get an agent at some point. If you have any success in publishing, this can be beneficial. The right agent, anyway. Keep track of your submissions, rejections and listen to editors, but use your head. Some editors jump at the chance to show you what’s wrong or right with your work- that can be good or bad. Get second opinions or third ones. Others, aren’t going to help much at all. It can be hard to decipher which one is “good” or “bad”- being knowledgeable of the industry and keeping your eyes on it, can go a long way to helping you discern what path to take.

Oh. Lastly- keep writing. All the above is just blabber if you don’t do that.

Are you a traditionalist or a digital? (paper or eBook)

I prefer the smell of a book. The way the pages feel when they turn. The motion of opening and closing them. Over the years, though- my digital collection has grown tenfold. Money and physical space have forced my hand to expand my ebook library.

But, given a choice? Support your local libraries and book stores, first and foremost. There’s nothing like the weight of a paperback (or even better- a limited edition hardcover) in your bibliophilic hands.

Do you blog?

I am mainly on Twitter. The only blogging I’ve done as of late is for Kendall Reviews (www.kendallreviews.com) Every other week, you can find a review or article there. I was recently lucky enough to snag some ARCs from Flame Tree Press (www.flametreepress.com) and am currently compiling reviews for all of them. Established authors and newcomers alike with this imprint. Their September line-up is one hell of a launch. Genre fans should keep an eye of them, readers and writers alike.

I do plan on blogging on a site of my own later this year. Follow me and stay tuned.

Do you self publish?

I’ve co-written a story with fellow author Steve Stred, kind of a glorified fan fiction short in honor of Stephen King and Richard Chizmar. It was created as a joke for losing an online King giveaway from Chizmar. Pending any input from certain parties, it’s still unpublished. The few beta readers enjoyed it and was a blast to write. It may be self-published in the future. I may be working with Steve again in the future. I have three short stories in submission circles at the moment and one novella doing the rounds. I may self publish in the future, depending on how these projects pan out.

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If you have a publication or promotion – tell us.

Ah. Welcome ladies and gentlemen to shameless promotion time. I promise I will make this as painless as possible, but will not being issuing refunds as your mileage may vary.

My Alice in Wonderland short story ‘TOCSIN’ can be found here:

Link:

myBook.to/OMPThriller

Thrillers not your thing? Well, we also have Fantasy and Fiction anthologies available as well. (Proceeds to charities)

Links:

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

Sometimes, I put my first drafts of works up on Wattpad, in varying degrees of completion. If you’re curious to read some of my works, I’m listed under username DreamsDarkly. You can read the original draft of my novella, ‘LILY’ and the first chapters of my current WIP, ‘THE FERAL EFFECT’.

I review and do guest articles at www.kendallreviews.com and would love for you to join our brand of promoting horror. We also give people a chance to submit their own works and reviews to be used on the site. Weekly updated content covering not just the big names, but the new and up and comers as well.

The easiest way to keep track of me. Join me on Twitter. @DreamsDarkly

I usually post about similar stuff, but also help promote others even more. Always looking forward to branching out and moving forward. Hell, we might as well do it together. I’ll even buy the first round of drinks. Not a drinker? Pick your poison… I’ll do my best to accommodate. Might even loan you a good book or two.

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