Interview: Brian J. Smith

Brian J. SmithI recently interviewed Brian J. Smith, who lives in southeastern Ohio with four dogs that he treat like his children. Brian has been writing since he was thirteen because, he says, “I didn’t have many friends because I was the quiet ‘Stephen King geek.'”

Brian loves horror fiction because he grew up watching slasher movies like Jason and Freddy, but his favorites were always the “bugs-gone-bad” flicks such as Kingdom of the Spiders, Island Claws, and Slugs.

He admits, “I fed myself on a smorgasbord of Tales From the Darkside, Twilight Zone (black-and-white and the mid-90’s), Tales From the Crypt, and Stephen King movies.”

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I want to be original. I’ve always tried to think outside of the box when it comes to my writing. I’ve written a few unfinished novels about zombies and other terrifying things but not vampires and werewolves like writers who came before me.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Keep going no matter what anyone tells you. It’ll take you a long time but you’ve got to keep going. Stay strong and be patient.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
When I published my first Kindle book, Dark Avenues (more about this later), I realized that the process takes a lot of time and patience to perfect. Short-hand first, then pounding it out on my computer, and then the long process of reading it out loud while editing.

What’s your favorite novel that you think is under-appreciated?
A Hell of a Woman by Jim Thompson. Thompson is known for other novels such as The Killer Inside Me, Pop. 1280, The Grifters and Nothing More Than Murder, but I feel like that A Hell of a Woman doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Those novels are good, but if I hadn’t read A Hell of a Woman, I wouldn’t have been inspired to write my own noir crime novel.

What is your favorite childhood book?
The Berenstain Bears. I also read a lot of comic books, too.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Off Season by Jack Ketchum. His novels were such an inspiration to me. They opened my eyes to a version of horror fiction I never knew existed. Off Season was the visceral, gritty horror novel that got to the core of its subject matter and left a lot of blood on the walls.

When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
When my sixth-grade teacher told me I gave him nightmares and my parents were telling me to stop.

What inspires you to write?
Anything really. A lot of my short stories have been inspired by something that occurred in my past, whether during my childhood or my teenage years, or between myself and a family member.

Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
I’ve done outlines in the past but I’ve never stuck to them. I end up going off and adding something else later that I wish I’d included the first time. I like this. I’ve been told when you do outlines you put your characters on a leash. Life is full of challenges, and I like challenges.

Did you ever think you would be unable to finish your first novel?
No. I had doubts about starting with a short story collection but then considered that many other authors had started out like this as well.

Three O'Clock by Brian J. SmithHave you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
A lot of times. I went to summer camp when I was ten, and we did all kinds of activities such as fishing and tubing, but one thing I really enjoyed was when we did “headstone rubbings”—putting paper on a tombstone and rubbing with a charcoal stick to get the text. I hope to pick this back up sometime in the future. When I set about writing my novella Dark Avenues, I used headstone rubbings in it, and it worked out perfectly.

Do you have a day job other than being a writer? And do you like it?
No. I’m a homebody so I don’t even leave the house unless it’s really necessary.

What books and stories have you published, and where?
I’ve published many pieces of short and flash fiction in multiple anthologies and e-zines, two with The Horror Zine, one with Metahuman Press, and I’ve even had a western horror story published as well. My other Kindle books are Three O’ Clock and The Tuckers. My publications are listed on my Amazon author page (see below).

Dark Avenues by Brian J. SmithWhat project are you currently working on?
I’m working on a short story collection that will be released in the fall. Dark Avenues will include the novella of the same name along with eighteen other stories that range from dark horror and other genres. There’s a haunted house story, a zombie story, and a post-apocalyptic story about how love triumphs over death.

You can find Brian’s publications on his Amazon author page at http://amazon.com/author/brianjsmith. Brian is on Facebook under Brian Smith and on Twitter @BrianJSmith13. Visit his website at http://brianjsmith468368465.wordpress.com.

Reading and Signing at AUTUMN OF FEAR

I’ll be reading and signing books at AUTUMN OF FEAR, October 5, 2013, from 6:00–9:00 p.m. This horrific event is hosted by Carla E. Anderton of Jozart Center for the Arts in California, PA.

Along with Anderton, author of THE HEART ABSENT, I’ll be there with writers Stephanie M. Wytovich, author of HYSTERIA, and Sheldon Higdon, author of “Hand-Carved Coffins” and many other dark tales.

If you’re in the southern Pennsylvania area, come see us It will be a howl of a good time!

http://jozart.com/the-autumn-of-fear

For more information:


Coming Soon: DEATH PERCEPTION

Here’s the cover of my forthcoming supernatural crime novel, DEATH PERCEPTION. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

DEATH PERCEPTION by Lee Allen Howard


NIGHT MONSTERS Unleashed!

Supernatural Thrillers Available for Kindle

NIGHT MONSTERS by Lee Allen HowardVampires, beasties, zombies, and ghouls… NIGHT MONSTERS presents four stories to read with the lights on.

Wyatt is looking for a no-strings fling in “Savoir-Faire.” When he meets the beautiful and sexually voracious Natalie, all his fantasies come true… until he discovers that unseen strings are more entangling than he bargained for.

In “The Worst Thing,” Petie’s first sleepover seemed like a good idea in the daylight. But after dark at Nate’s house, he can’t fall asleep. Braving the terrors of the night to make it home, he finds he must face the worst thing that could happen—and sacrifice what he treasures most to save his parents from a horrible fate.

“Keeping Cool”: After a late night at work helping hospitals handle the strange flu sweeping Pittsburgh, Terry finds he’s run out of options to get himself home. Searching for a working phone to call his wife, he encounters a deserted diner—and another way to stem the tide of disease. Chilling!

Justin wants to be cool like Drew, so he tags along to throw corn at cars on Halloween night. When a 1970 GTO Judge stops on the country road and its ghastly occupants pursue them, he wishes he’d gone trick-or-treating instead. Pray the “GTO Judge” passes you by.

If you love things that go bump in the night, download NIGHT MONSTERS—before the sun goes down!

Get NIGHT MONSTERS from Amazon now!


DESPERATE SPIRITS On the Loose!

New Supernatural Thriller Now Available at Amazon.com!

DESPERATE SPIRITS by Lee Allen HowardIn this duo of supernatural thrillers, Calvin Bricker deals with desperate spirits right in his own neighborhood.

In “The Vacant Lot,” a supernatural presence beckons from the empty neighborhood lot. Calvin’s curiosity leads him to an aged portrait painter with a terrible secret about a dead undertaker and his missing wife, who seeks eternal release.

In “How I Was Cured of Naïveté,” a seemingly innocent spirit appears in the foyer of Calvin’s home. When he discovers her fate, he sets her free—only to find that little girls aren’t always made of sugar and spice. Snick, snick!

If you like crime and mystery with a supernatural bent, succumb to the call of DESPERATE SPIRITS!

Get DESPERATE SPIRITS from Amazon now!