An Interview with Dean Bryant
I am thrilled to have author, Dean Bryant visit me today to talk about his writing journey. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat today Dean.
1 Please tell my readers a little about yourself?
I’m 34 years old, living in London with my partner of ten years and our six-month old kitten Soya. Apart from reading and writing, I also enjoy gaming, cooking and eating out. I’ve had type one diabetes for two years, which has certainly helped with my mental maths as I have to work out the carbohydrates in anything I eat!
2 What inspired you to become a writer/author?
It was actually one of my primary school teachers who inspired me to write. He was my English teacher and very passionate about writing and always encouraged creativity. So much so, that I often wrote short stories for him to read that he hadn’t even set as homework! One day he handed me back a story that he had simply marked with “another cracker from the pen of Dean Bryant”. I was thrilled. Since then I’ve written on and off, but always for myself, as a way to de-stress and flex my creative muscles. The Stairwell is my first full length novel.
3 What is the best thing about being a writer/author?
I think it’s a great escape. No matter what kind of day you’ve had, you can leave it all behind when you’re writing. It’s great for the commute too – plenty of time to think about what to write next, coming up with characters and planning chapters whilst on the train makes the time fly by. Receiving positive feedback is always a plus too. Knowing that the words you’ve arranged on a page brought joy to others is a wonderful feeling.
4 What is your writing routine like?
For most of The Stairwell, I wrote with my dad who was working on a book of his own. We had such a great time doing this. I’d travel to see him for a couple of days at a time as he lives on the other side of the country. We’d get up in the morning, my father cooked us an amazing English breakfast, then get to writing. Before we knew it we’d stop for lunch, then dinner, then by the evening we’d look back and see that we’d each typed thousands of words. Working together really helped us stay motivated, like having a spotter at the gym.
5 How much time is spent on research?
To be honest, with The Stairwell, I’ve probably spent less time researching than a lot of authors do. I think perhaps that’s part of the horror genre, and also partly why I enjoy this genre so much. There’s no scientific reality that you need to research and follow – instead, it allows for complete creativity. Anything is possible, and that’s very exciting to me.
6 How much of the book is planned out before you start writing it?
I planned almost all of the book ahead of writing – except for the prologue, I wrote that very early on. I planned on how many chapters there would be, the beginning, middle and end of each and fleshed out the characters before writing any more. I don’t think I’d have been able to complete the book otherwise.
7 What do you think is most important when writing a book? Characters, plot, setting? I think there are two things – the characters and the immersion. A great story without interesting characters isn’t really a great story in my opinion. I love to read books where you can resonate with the character, feel what they’re feeling and empathise with their struggles. Likewise with the immersion – if the descriptive writing in a book can transport me to the world it’s describing I’m most likely going to read it in one sitting.
8 What is your latest book about?
The Stairwell is a horror/paranormal thriller that follows two separate characters, Brandon & Alice, as they both begin to be subjected to horrific, nightmarish visions that slowly begin to bleed into their daily lives. Brandon meets a strange man who knows personal information about his life that even Brandon does not. He holds a powerful manipulative force over Brandon as he struggles to separate reality from nightmare. Alice, in an attempt to save her boyfriend’s life, makes a deal with a voice that speaks to her from within her own head, and has to manage the inexplicable consequences.
9 What inspired it?
I greatly enjoy Dean Koontz’s books. He writes with such detailed and intricate description that the tension you feel whilst reading is palpable. I also greatly enjoy horror television series such as The Haunting of Hill House and Supernatural. I think a combination of these helped inspire this book.
10 Why did you pick the genre or genres that you write in?
I read a lot of horror books, but also psychological thrillers. I wanted to combine these two genres and leave the reader guessing as to the true nature of what is happening to the characters in The Stairwell. I also think that these genres allow such creativity that you can read hundreds of books by different authors and find something new and original every time.
11 How did you go about getting a publishing deal? Or how did you become self-published?
I was browsing Twitter and came across a post by Michelle Cook, promoting her book Tipping Point. The cover was very intriguing and, as a writer who had recently finished writing a novel, I spoke with her about the publisher she was working with – Darkstroke. She spoke very highly of them, and as they were open for submissions, I decided to go for it. I was over the moon when they contacted me to tell me they loved the book and wanted to sign me.
12 Any new books or plans for the future?
Yep! I’m working on the first book of a new series. It’s yet untitled, but follows a London police detective, fed up with the job, and life in general. Whilst investigating an impossible crime, he discovers, and begins to hunt, a supernatural creature. The plan is for each book in the series to focus on a different creature and his fight to protect the public.
13 What authors have been an influence on your writing?
I would say the three biggest influencers to my writing have been Dean Koontz, Stephen King and Mark Edwards. Though they each have a very different writing voice, they are similar in that their work is so brilliant and completely captures the reader. I’ve read every book that all three have written and enjoyed every one.
14 What writing advice would you have given yourself when you started?
I think I would have tried to give myself a confidence boost. It’s hard writing and not knowing what others will think, and I also found it hard to accept the positive praise I was given by those who had read it. I often stopped writing for fairly long periods of time, doubting that I’d ever be able to write a whole book, and certainly a whole good book.
15 What writing advice would you give to an aspiring writer or a new author to the block?
To write what you enjoy, and enjoy writing it. Writing is a hard, long and lonely process, so you need to enjoy it, else it becomes a slog. If you’re a fan of reading horror, or romance, or whatever genre, that’s what you should write. It’ll make for a much more compelling and exciting story, in my opinion.
16 What has been your favourite book so far this year?
The House Guest by Mark Edwards. Like with most of his book, tension builds throughout this entire story, at quite a slow pace to begin with, but each chapter leaves you wanting another. Though it’s not my favourite book of his, it’s still excellent and a great starting point if you’ve not read any of his work.
17 What is your all-time favourite book and why?
Midnight by Dean Koontz. I hope I’m not repeating myself too much with these names – but this book has it all. Fantastic characters that develop well, a very unique premise and scenes that literally left me slack-jawed. It’s a must read.
18 What genre do you read most often?
Horror, for sure. I find that other genres just don’t scratch the same itch and don’t excite me the way horror does. It’s such a broad genre with so many possibilities. It’s impossible to get fatigued with this genre – as soon as I finish one I’m ready for the next.
19 What are you currently reading?
Hunter’s Chase by Val Penny – it’s the first book in the Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series and had me hooked immediately. She’s a fellow Darkstroke author and an excellent writer. If you’re into crime thrillers then it’s a must read.
20 Anything else you would like to add?
I’d just like to thank you for taking the time to read about me and Val for hosting me on her blog. I’d also like to let you know that The Stairwell is available now for pre-order and will be released on the 30th of October, just in time for Halloween…
Brandon Chapman arrives home to a horrific scene. His wife, Stephanie, is exhibiting behaviour that he can only describe as that of someone possessed – yet he doesn’t even believe in the supernatural. He soon realises that it was nothing other than a frightful, haunting vision.
After discovering a dark secret about Stephanie, Brandon meets a strange figure with knowledge about his own life that no one could possibly know. As his visions become more frequent and terrifying, he begins to question his sanity.
Brandon must either side with this figure or his wife before his daughter comes to harm.
Alice Hamilton, a shy and quiet university student, meets handsome Niel Curtis whilst on a night out with friends. They very quickly fall for one another, but their happiness is short-lived when Niel ends up in a coma after a traffic accident.
Alice fears he may never wake up again and, unaware of the consequences, strikes a deal with a strange voice. When Niel awakes, his behaviour changes drastically, and Alice – like Brandon – becomes subject to nightmarish, violent visions.
Are Brandon and Alice caught in a never-ending nightmare?