So I’m an absolute ditz who somehow managed to miss that this post hadn’t auto-posted on Friday like I’d scheduled it to. This is unfortunate, but sadly, technology sometimes has a mind of its own. That said, here’s the interview that should have posted on Friday but didn’t.
Today’s interview is with Permuted Press author Bryan Hall, whose novel Containment Room 7 just came out at the beginning of December. I have had the unfortunate displeasure of not having had the time to read the book yet, but considering I once read it being compared (favorably) to Dead Space, it’s definitely high up on my TBR list!
My readers might not be very familiar with you. Can you take a few minutes to tell them a little about yourself? What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m pretty much always writing, as it turns out. My day job is freelance nonfiction writing, so when that’s over the fiction starts up. Other than that, I keep honeybees, play way too many video games, and hang out with my family.
How did you decide that the horror genre was the ideal genre for you? Have you written other genres? Which ones? If not, is it something you would consider?
They say write what you know, and I like to think I know horror. Thanks to my lenient upbringing, I started watching horror flicks as early as I can remember and was reading Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Clive Barker in around the fifth or sixth grade. I have a few short stories that fall more into the thriller category, and more on the way.
I discovered you through the Permuted Press novel Containment Room 7, but my readers might not be familiar yet with the novel. Can you tell them what it’s about?
Containment Room 7 is a sci-fi horror novel focused on a spacecraft that loads up an organic object they find near a black hole. That sets off a chain of events that ends up with a portion of the crew being driven insane by whispering voices telling them to worship the thing they found, and even killing in its name. The object itself starts to evolve into something terrifying as the dead crew members and various failed genetic experiments return to life.
What do you think sets Containment Room 7 apart from other novels in its genre?
A few things. The obvious one is that it’s got zombies, but not in the usual post-apocalyptic landscape. There’s no virus, either – the dead are rising because of the thing in containment room 7. Add in some pseudo-religious undertones, a murderous cult, and genetic experiments that are as grotesque as any zombie could hope to be, and I think it’s really something unique.
Is there a particular author or book that you find influential or inspirational? Who are your favorite authors or, barring that, what are your favorite books?
My biggest influences are honestly comic writers like Garth Ennis and Alan Moore. Their stories – especially Preacher, Hellblazer, and Swamp Thing, are astounding. For traditional fiction, I love Jack Ketchum, Brian Keene, Joe Mckinney, and older Clive Barker.
I have a lot of writers who follow my blog. What do you feel are the most difficult aspects of writing? And what advice would you give those who want to publish in the genre?
The most difficult aspect of writing is finishing what you start, for me at least. Those doubts about the quality of what you’re working on, that allure of the story that’s slowly hatching in your mind, and all those non-writing related activities can really pull me away from what I’m doing so I have to keep myself focused on the end. As for getting published in the genre, the best advice I could give is to seek out criticism. Don’t stick with just sending your manuscript to friends (online or off) or family that are just going to pat you on the back and tell you how great you are. You need to get honest criticism and learn to use it instead of taking it personally.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found that work best for not only marketing in general but for the horror genre in particular?
Writing’s the easy part – marketing is tough. I’ve tried lots of stuff – social media, free giveaways, regular posts to the blog – anything I can. I can’t say what works the absolute best, because it seems like it’s something different for everyone. I can say that in my opinion just constantly posting a daily – or even worse, hourly – “BUY MY BOOK!” post on your Facebook or Twitter account doesn’t seem to do much other than drive away followers who feel they’re getting spammed.
Besides Containment Room 7, what other works do you have available right now? Can you tell us a little about them?
The only other thing out right this second is a collection of fourteen of my short stories titled “Whispers From the Dark”. I sold a lot of short stories before the novel, and once I got the rights back to some of my favorites I wrapped them all up and put them out in it. No zombies in that one, or vampires. Lots of other creepy stuff, though, and really cheap, too!
What are you currently working on right now?
I’m working on a novel about schizophrenia, ghosts, and the breakdown of families. I have a family member with severe schizophrenia, and every conversation I’ve ever had with him has influenced where this one’s going. It’s something really different. Along with that, there’s a much larger project I’m getting going.
What can we expect to see next from you?
There are two things in the hands of publishers right now, hopefully starting to move towards release. The first is a novel about an outbreak of demonic possession in a small town. The other is a southern gothic ghost story, and it’s that larger project I just mentioned. This first story is a novella and is the first in a series using a particular character I really like. I’m going to put the poor guy through hell over the course of the series, though.
And lastly, where can readers find you online?
Thanks for taking the time to talk with my readers, Bryan!
You can check out Bryan’s author page over at Amazon, where it lists all of his currently available works, right here.