131 Preview Review
Below is a transcript of my interview with Shannon I. Hayes. You can read more of her author interviews and reviews at the 131 Preview Review.
Shannon: I’ve just finished reading BLISS and to call it simply a horror novel would be an injustice to the title. What prompted you to write such a daring piece of literature?
Brandon: I wrote one previous book, Assorted Poems & Purple Prose, that was a collection of short stories and poetry. I next wanted to try my hand at writing a novel. I’ve always been a fan of horror literature and films and wanted to try working on something belonging to that genre.
Shannon: But you could have simply written a slasher novel, instead you went big, with the story arc of Government Scientist VS Holy Cultist preying on small town America, with no Hero in sight. That was I think rather brave. And it’s being received well
Brandon: Thank you. The feedback has been very good, so far. I’ve been lucky. I set out to write a straight genre piece, but during the writing process I discovered what type of writer I am and what type of writer I’m not – what my strengths and weaknesses are. I’m a fan of slasher novels but found that I wasn’t really interested in writing something like that. BLISS is primarily a horror novel, but incorporates elements from several other genres as well. I enjoyed writing a novel that can’t be so easily defined.
Shannon: Each character had a very clearly defined back story, some gritty some heartbreaking, are you a research hound or just write what comes to you?
Brandon: I love to research. One of great perks of writing is discovering subjects and information that was previously unknown to me. The first inspiration for BLISS came from my love of history. During WW2 both the Allied and Axis gave their soldiers amphetamine tablets. These drugs would keep the soldiers alert and willing to take more risks on the battlefield. This lead to my further researching of the atrocities of human experimentation. I like to write about subjects that I am interested in, but not an expert in. This gives me a further excuse to study the subjects I find most fascinating.
Shannon: The WW2 Ref explains the experimentation on children as well. Makes it make sense, I got a creepy Mengele vibe off that scientist… Lol
Brandon: Unit 731 was based on an actual laboratory in Japan during WW2. The doctors and scientists at Unit 731 were known for human experimentation, torturing POWs and their own citizens in the name of science.
Shannon: Some shady shit went down/goes down in the name of science… Progress has its disadvantages.
Brandon: I agree, and I’m sure BLISS could be even more graphic in that regard. Fictional horrors can’t compete with reality.
Shannon: No, no not usually. But that’s why we prefer them. The fictional worlds let us escape the realities of the day to day even if only for a little while.
Brandon: That’s a good way to put it.
Shannon: Regardless of the genre we need the irrational escape for a moment or two just to breathe… I understand you have written a few short companion stories to BLISS in something called MAILER DEMON, would you like to talk about what that is?
Brandon: The majority of BLISS is set in a fictional town of Zontoe. I submitted a few short stories to MAILER DEMON that will be included in a forthcoming collection of linked short stories. The stories will all be set in Zontoe and further explore the history of this fictional town.
Shannon: When is that set to go live?
Brandon: It won’t be out until the summer of next year. I have about 1/3 of the book finished.
Shannon: Cool, what else are you working on currently you may like to share with us? Doing any signings?
Brandon: I will be at Scare-A-Con in Verona, NY in September and Bizarre AC in Atlantic City in October.
Brandon: I’m also planning another novel but I’ll most likely finish my next collection of short stories first. I am going to release a updated and expanded version of Assorted Poems & Purple Prose with extra content and new cover art. That should be released within a month.
Shannon: That sounds like a great opportunity for you!!
Brandon: Thank you.