L. Vera: McDroll, I’m happy to find you busy and awaiting the release of Burning Bridges. It is a pleasure to have you on my blog and don’t worry I’m already a pro at this.
McDroll: I’ve read your previous interviews and I’m surprised you’ve not already got your own Saturday night chat show.
L. Vera: Oh, you. Let’s talk about you. If you had to chose one word that I (being an American) would need to know, if I was going to visit Scotland? Keep in mind I already know many foul words.
McDroll: There’s so many colourful words that I could teach an impressionable young lad like you Luis from shoogle to foochle but if you were ever to visit Scotland then you’d definitely need to have a grasp of bahoochie as you Americans are always talking about your ass.
L. Vera: “Bahoochie” I’ll try to fit that in a conversation today. So, “No Turning Back”, is in Burning Bridges. Why did you chose Burning Bridges for your story?
McDroll: I jumped at the chance to be included in an anthology with so many brilliant writers. I love Julia Madeleine and her novel No One To Hear you Scream was one of my top 10 reads of the year so I’m just thrilled to be in her company!
L. Vera: So what’s inside the story, “No Turning Back”?
McDroll: One of my friends happened to mention that the police have a new tactic in the local drug dealing business and as soon as I heard about it, I just knew that I had to use it in a story! I can’t say anymore because of spoilers!
L. Vera: I notice in your stories a lot of kids can’t speak properly. Do you think kids nowadays are just lazy? Or just don’t care?
McDroll: Even in Argyll, land of hills and glens, the youth of today are influenced in their speech by all the American TV that swamps the airwaves;-) I love eavesdropping so that I can pick up little gems in conversations. I love how people talk to each other, it’s so colourful and something I overhear will spark off a story.
L. Vera: Which came first, the title or the story? Because I must know.
McDroll: The story always comes first with me. I find titles quite hard so always wait until the story’s finished hoping that some kind of inspiration will hit!
L. Vera: So what’s next for McDroll?
McDroll: (I’ve now published 3 parts of my serialised novel, The Wrong Delivery. I need to get busy on part 4 which will probably be the last part, I think. It’s a crime drama set in Argyll, not a place particularly known for crime in Scotland, and shows how people’s lives can spiral out of control from making just a few poor choices. When I’m finally finished with that project, I’d like to try to write something longer about my two favourite characters, Beeny and Jango.
**Author’s notes: This is the ninth piece, the first is found here
You can find the complete, professionally edited and extended book here along with two short stories for $2.99.**
June 20, 1979
To anyone who reads this,
I am lost in the woods. Todd attacked me and if I don’t make it out of here alive then he has also killed me.
He’s crazy. We woke up in the middle of the night and I heard a wolf howl. It scared me. I told Todd that I was scared and we need to go home; but he wouldn’t listen. The howling got louder and I started to cry. He looked into my eyes and I told him, ‘I want to go home. I want to be with my family.’ He snapped, I saw it in his eyes.
He hit me over the head with a rock. I’m bleeding and I am getting a bit dizzy. I just want to you to know that I love you mom. I love you too, dad and I am sorry.
I spent the whole day writing. I tried to get those notes out of my head. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Then… someone knocked on the door. I assumed it was Vanessa. I just sat there typing away. I closed the blinds and stayed in my robe. I keep thinking about how I knew it was me who wrote those notes. It didn’t even look like my handwriting and I don’t remember writing any of it. Maybe Sarah is dead. Maybe I did kill her, but why don’t I remember?
No. I received a letter from her when I was in college. I need to find it. I’m going tomorrow to my parent’s house. I need to find it.
By the way, my novel is coming along, but so is the hunger.
I had a horrible dream last night. I was standing on the street in front of my house. I was in my childhood pajamas but I wasn’t a boy. I was a grown man. The only light in the sky came from the moon and its many stars. I slowly walked over the dew covered grass and towards the garage. I remember the garage door disappearing in thin air as I approached it.
Inside the empty garage floor was a lone cardboard box. On the side written in a black marker was the name “Sarah”. I opened it and inside was her head. It appeared to have been bludgeoned. Her face was barely recognizable.
There was also a book in there as well. It was her Diary. As I reached for it, the garage seemed to turn into a dark forest. I was back in the woods. Her Diary was in my hands. I opened it and bellowing cloud of air and fear flew into my face. I woke up screaming and terrified. At that point I didn’t want to go back home; but I have to. I wrote this entry while the dream was still fresh in my mind. I will write more tonight when I get back home.
L. Vera: Wow, B. R. Stateham. I’m happy to have the chance to ask you a couple of questions. I hope you feel comfortable here at my blog.
B. R. Stateham: No problem, Luis. Always willing to have a conversation about writing, writers, my characters, and about creating story lines. A writer talking with writers, and fans of writers, is always a pleasant experience.
L. Vera: Thank you. Okay now with the pleasantries out of the way, let’s get to the guts and blood. When was the last time you killed someone?
B. R. Stateham: Let’s see . . . it was day before yesterday, I believe. Wrote a Smitty story about Smitty having another ‘talent’ in his hit-man trade; that of being a professional ‘cleaner.’ Cleaning up the mess others leave behind. Come to think of it, in another piece I am writing (not a Smitty piece) a couple of characters are about to get whacked. Hmmm . . . bloody old fart, aren’t I?!
L. Vera: After reading “A Gift”, in Burning Bridges, I’m convinced Smitty, the cold blooded killer, is actually you. How close I’m I from the truth? And don’t tell me if you tell me you’re going to have to kill me.
B. R. Stateham: Mmmmmm . . . maybe deep down in the subconscious you might be right. I think both the writer and the fans find characters they identify with and secretly wish they could clone into. Certainly a few fans have come to enjoy the Smitty stories that way. The consummate killer who knows how to kill and disappear into the night? There’s something vicariously intriguing about that concept. We find that character thru several genres from Horror thru Westerns. The mystery/detective genre is full of ’em.
L. Vera: So what will we find inside the story, “A Gift”?
B. R. Stateham: An acquaintance of Smitty’s asks the killer to protect his only child from harm. He does, and in the process (and in an allegorical sense) gives the acquaintance an opportunity to cross a bridge and embrace a different life. A simple explanation, to be sure; but the story is a little more grimly painted.
L. Vera: Awesome. How many Smitty stories are out there? And where could we find them all?
B. R. Stateham: Oh goodness, who knows!! Smitty hopefully will last a long time. Currently I’m writing his first full length novel. And then I collect the Smitty stories when enough of them have been written and put them in an on-going anthology. Two of them are out now. Call Me Smitty: Dirty Little Secrets and Call Me Smitty: See You in Hell are available thru Amazon. As to where yo can find the individual stories I send them out to many of the on line ezines. And I share a few of them on my blog site In The Dark Mind of B.R. Stateham.
L. Vera: When you came up with the story, which came first, the title or the story?
B. R. Stateham: The story comes first. Always the story. The title usually comes from a line out of the story itself. For me it seems so easy to find a line or two that can be used for the title. But the story first (and I might add it’s usually first an image, or an idea, first set down and then the building of the story around that image or idea). I like writing this way. It’s fresh and exciting . . . and many times quite surprising . . . what comes along doing it this way.
L. Vera: How many more deaths should we expect in your writing career? (Please talk about future stories and books with your writing that’s coming out)
B. R. Stateham: Haven’t a clue! Currently I’m piddling with four novels I’m writing plus numerous short stories. There’s the Smitty novel (tentatively called The Ripper). And then the third book in the Turner Hahn/Frank Morales series (a couple of homicide detectives); and there’s the second book in the art thief/detective character named Jake Reynolds. And the third book in the Roland of the High Crags Fantasy series. So there’s enough there to keep me going for a long, long time.
L. Vera: That’s B.R. Stateham folks and I was glad to have him here. Don’t forget to read Burning Bridges hitting the #1 free spot on Amazon on Today. Also, check out B. R. Stateham at his blog, but tread lightly I swear he’s a cold blooded killer.
L. Vera: George Gesinger, an amazing writer, I am happy to have you on my blog.
George Gesinger: I’m more than happy to be here with you, Luis. I’d like the public to know more about me, as a writer and as a person. I believe I have something important to say to society.
L. Vera: Okay. I’m glad to be that platform. So let’s start off with publicity. One thing I like about you is that you are not afraid to publicize your work. Any secrets you want to share with us not so brave authors?
George Gesinger: The thing about publication is that it’s not like being on stage, in person, performing in the spotlight, like I was doing when I was a child prodigy in school. It’s only a matter of trying to think of things to say about my stories. I think I’m called upon to give more than just a link to motivate people to want to read me. People want to know why they should give their attention to any story. If you tell most people you’ve got a psychiatric diagnosis, they really don’t want to read your work. If I don’t get the word out, being a freelancer, how is anyone even supposed to know the stories even exist? I’d like to encourage all writers to take an active part in promoting their own work. There’s everything to gain from publication. I took some courses in business and marketing. I have some idea about how to make the plug about each succeeding story.
L. Vera: Your story “Asylum” is locked away in Burning Bridges. Is there any reason you decided to put such a story in this anthology?
George Gesinger: Yes. I spent my youth in state hospitals and psych wards, or asylums, after I’d graduated from high school and got sick while I was in university. I tried to go to music school, to become a high school band director, but the rigors of university life were too much for me. I had a major nervous breakdown when I was only twenty years old. Since then, I’ve suffered from a chronic chemical imbalance in my brain, which is an incurable disease. The doctors can control it to a certain extent, so some of us can live fairly normal lives with it, but once you come down with a problem with your brain chemistry, you have it for a lifetime. I want to be a part of the process of educating the public about this issue, so that there might be a little more open mindedness in the community at large for guys like me. The media have given a lot of bad press to mental illness, but many of us are just lonely, confused people who have to take pills and see doctors all our lives.
L. Vera: The title alone brings grimy images of a man locked away. Is that what we should expect?
George Gesinger: I think the general public is just plain frightened by the concept of someone being locked away in an asylum, because they don’t really know what it means. In all my work, I’m trying to dispel the stigma. I believe I’m “called upon” to do that, in a spiritual sense, since I have been given such a creative thrust, especially over the past year, to be writing down my experiences and publishing them. I’m not just doing it to shock the public. I think there’s already way too much of that in the media. What you’ll find in all my work is some perspectives on what it’s like to be behind locked doors. An asylum is not a prison, and as long as you treat others with respect, they are likely to do the same to you. I like to have a little fun with the concept, too. I always try to take my medications, because I don’t want the men in the white coats to be coming after me with a butterfly net.
I saw a story about soldiers being in combat on the TV one time, and the commentator made the remark that a soldier’s life is largely one of extreme boredom, punctuated with short periods of deep horror. I guess I’d say the same thing about being in asylums. Most of the time, we’re just bored, and want to go home. Sometimes, I think I’d like to have a normal life, with a normal history, but that’s not where I’ve come from.
L. Vera: What compelled you to write such a piece?
George Gesinger: I’ve had a lot of experience in state hospitals and psych wards over a lifetime of better than sixty years. That’s forty years in and out of institutions. One of the things I find compelling about that is that I’ve survived the experience. Someone once said, “Write what you know,” and I know institutions and the people in them. I always say that I don’t eat my vegetables, because some of my best friends are vegetables.
L. Vera: Most importantly which came first, the title or the story?
George Gesinger: I lived the experiences long before I could ever write about them. In 2010, I had a couple of calamities in my life. For one thing, I got confused about the formula for taking my medications the way they were prescribed. I’m not certain, but I think I overdosed myself for about two weeks or longer. I nearly lost my life. The other thing was that I lost my ability to communicate for several months, while I went thru the detox from my psych meds to save my life. Please understand. To take a chronic mental patient off his medications completely for any prolonged period is a very dangerous thing to do to a patient. I might have gone off the deep end, and never come back to myself again in my lifetime. I had to have strict medical supervision. My speech and ability to write the way I’m doing now, have come to me thru that confusing, tormenting time. I feel compelled to tell my stories.
L. Vera: What should we expect from you in the future?
George Gesinger: I hope to learn a lot more about writing fiction. I have a friend here at assisted living who’s trying to coach me a little bit about how to do that. So far, what I’ve been doing is writing about my personal experiences, in a nonfiction setting. Since I’ve been diagnosed with a memory disorder, I pursue my memories, and do my best to write them all down. What I’d really like to be able to do is draw upon my personal experience to write more about the overall experience of having a chemical imbalance, but make it more like fiction. I ask each of you to visit my blog. I’ve been very active there, too. I have a blog post about One Flew Over the Coo Coo’s Nest, dispelling some of the fallacies about the movie. There are things in that movie, like Girl, Interrupted, that are on target, and other things that are just plain Hollywood.
L. Vera: Awesome interview, I got an early copy of “Asylum” which will be in Burning Bridges on Amazon on May 1st and it’s great. Please visit George Geisinger on his blog , or on Goodreads and buy his books on Amazon , or you may get locked away with us crazy writers and none of us would want that. Right?
L. Vera: It means a lot to me to have you on my blog.
Paul D. Brazil: It’s nice to be asked, mate.
L. Vera: I know you write a lot of gritty noir in crime infested worlds. Since I’ve always felt you were such a “tough guy”, I want to know, who was the last person you punched?
Paul D. Brazil: I’m a writer not a fighter. I’m more float like a bee, sting like a butterfly. Drink like a fish.
L. Vera: Drink Like A Fish, that should be the title of a book. Anyways, I’ve always seen your stuff in collections, ever think about pushing a novel out?
Paul D. Brazil: There’ll be a novella coming out at some point this year from Pulp Press called Guns Of Brixton. And at least one more that should be out by the end of the year.
L. Vera: So what kind of violence will we see in, “The Beginning Of The End”? And will anyone get punched in the face in your story?
Paul D. Brazil: “The Beginning Of The End” has lots of violence that’s much worse than a punch in the face but, as is my taste, the violence all happens ‘off screen’.
L. Vera: What compelled you to write such a piece?
Paul D. Brazil: I wanted to write something about someone having a fresh start and burning bridges. And then see what happens after that. It’s like the last frame of The Graduate‘, which I’ve always found quite ominous.
L. Vera: And once again (it’s like my catch phrase for interviews) which came first, the title or the story?
Paul D. Brazil: The story was originally called ‘A New Dawn Fades‘ after the Joy Division song, but I thought that was a bit too glum, chum.
L. Vera: What should we expect from you in the future?
I’ll have story -The Liberator- in Matt Hilton‘s Action magazine and one called Catch As Catch Can in an anthology that’s being put out by the people behind Solarcide magazine. The Italian publisher Lorenzo Mazzoni will be putting out a novelette as part of a series of stories set in various cities of the world. Mine is set in Warsaw.
And there are a couple more things in the works that I don’t want to talk about right now.
L. Vera: You’ve heard here first. Paul’s a writer not a fighter. I can’t wait to read “The Beginning Of The End” in Burning Bridges on Amazon, May 1st. Also, check out Paul D. Brazil at his blog and read his stories or I’ll punch ya in the face.
L. Vera: I would like to start off by saying how much of an honor it is to have you on my blog and bare with me as I’m still getting the hang of doing interviews.
Julia Madeleine: Thanks a bunch for the invite.
L. Vera: I was doing some research on you and gave up, because ever since I’ve friended you on Facebook, I’ve always been interested in the fact that you are also a tattoo artist. If I wanted a tattoo, why should I go to your shop?
Julia Madeleine: You will have to take a look at the website and check out our work to know the answer. You know what they say about a picture and a thousand words.
L. Vera: You also have a story in “Burning Bridges” that’s coming out on May 1st, and you have a short story called “Unforgettable” screaming between those pages. Why did you choose Burning Bridges for you story?
Julia Madeleine: Oh, it’s probably all Heath Lowrance’s fault. You know he’s always up to no good. Him and that crazy British guy Paul D. Brazill. The two of them are the usual suspects when it comes to something like this. Paul probably thought the whole thing up after a few drinks. Yeah, now that I think about it, it was the two of them. I’d swear to it.
L. Vera: Those two trouble-makers are always up to no good. So tell me what is “Unforgettable” all about, and will it really be unforgettable?
Julia Madeleine: I hope it’s unforgettable. It’s about a woman who’s been stood up by a man a time too many and now she decides to teach him a lesson he will never forget.
L. Vera: Is there any intriguing tale about its creation?
Julia Madeleine: Once I’d started writing it, I remembered a story a friend had told me many years ago about her first ever date experience when she was just sixteen and the heartache she felt when she was stood up. So I worked that into the story.
L. Vera: And because I have to ask: Which came first, the title or the story?
Julia Madeleine: The story came first. Titles always come later for me.
L. Vera: What should we expect from you in the future?
Julia Madeleine: I’ve got stories in four, possibly five, more anthologies this year. I’m also releasing another full-length thriller called The Refrigerator Girls.
L. Vera: Another fun interview, I really enjoyed having Julia Madeleine on my blog and again in my kindle with Burning Bridges on May 1st. Also, check out Julia Madeleine at her blog and also stop by for a tattoo, tell them L. Vera sent ya.