Brian Rowe is a writing fiend, book devotee, film fanatic, and constant dreamer. He’s written nine novels, dozens of short stories, five feature-length screenplays, and hundreds of film articles and essays. He is one half of the blog Story Carnivores, where he reviews the latest in books and film. He is currently pursuing his MA in English at the University of Nevada, Reno, and is hard at work on his next novel. You can also visit his Website or find him on Twitter @mrbrianrowe.
Haunted Eyeball: Welcome to the Haunted Eyeball, Brian! We’re very happy to have you here today and we really enjoyed reading your horror novel Townhouse.
Brian Rowe: Thank you for having me today!
HE: Let’s get started right at the beginning, Brian. Tell us, which authors did you enjoy while you were growing up?
BR: My favourite author growing up was Stephen King, who I’ve looked up to for probably twenty years now (and I’m only twenty-eight!). I also loved Roald Dahl, Dean Koontz, and, of course, J. K. Rowling. My favourite novel I’ve ever read is Boy’s Life, which I read as a sophomore in high school.
HE: Who are your favourite authors now?
BR: Stephen King remains my favourite author, but lately I’ve been focusing on young adult fiction and have turned to many of these authors for inspiration. I particularly love John Green, David Levithan, Stephen Chbosky, John Corey Whaley, and Emily Danforth.
HE: Which films, TV and music influenced you in your writing and daily life?
BR: I have been a film junkie ever since I was a little kid; any day without a movie, in my mind, is a lousy one. I love all kinds, really. There’s not necessarily any that heavily influence me in terms of my writing. I’m very eclectic in my tastes, and will happily watch a cheesy romantic comedy, followed by a black and white silent film, followed by a creepy 60’s horror film, followed by the newest summer blockbuster. A good story is a good story. My favourite films include American Beauty, Sunset Boulevard, and Mulholland Drive. The TV show that has been the most influential to me is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is the only long-running TV show I’ve watched twice all the way through. When I write I love to listen to film scores, especially The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. These two albums are the perfect scores to write to.
HE: What Scares you?
BR: What scares me the most? Bees. I’m twenty eight years old and still run the other direction whenever they buzz past my ears. But more in general, I’m scared of failing as a writer. Because I know, more than ever before, that this is exactly what I want to be doing.
HE: Is an audience or genre a starting point for your writing?
BR: Of course I want to write books that will reach a large audience, but I really just try to write the books I want to write, and worry about the audience later. My road to writing has been unusual in that I’ve tackled a few different genres. I’ve written an adult romance novel, an adult horror novel (Townhouse), a young adult paranormal trilogy, and a young adult horror trilogy. My newest, Over the Rainbow, is a gay young adult fantasy novel. I like to write the things that interest me, and I just have to have faith a readership will follow.
HE: Do you spend long on research, or is research overrated?
BR: I research to the extent of needing to know about a certain subject that I have next to no knowledge of. Research is absolutely not overrated, but to me, I’m a writer because I like to write. I’m not interested in spending hours and days researching a subject. I tend to write what I know, first of all. And with Townhouse, I actually lived in a complex just like the one described in the novel, so my research for this book was a year in the making, having actually lived in those units!
HE: How do you start a novel?
BR: I usually think about the novel I want to write for at least a month or more, and about a week or so before I start, I sit down and do a general outline and write pages and pages about all the characters, who they are, what they look like, what their motivations are, etc. I usually start writing the first draft of a novel on a Monday, then commit to writing 2,000+ words every single day until that first day is done.
HE: Does writer’s block ever hit? How do you deal with it?
BR: I’ve been lucky in that I’ve had very little writer’s block in the last three years of writing novels. Occasionally I’ll have a day where the scene I’m working on just isn’t working, and I have to go back and start over, or I have to find the point where I went in the wrong direction. One thing I do that helps is I always stop writing mid-scene, so that when I come back the next day, I know I have something to start from.
HE: Whose writing advice do you really listen to (if any)!
BR: I’ve followed a lot of Stephen King’s writing advice over the years. I love his book On Writing, which gives a lot of great tips for how to write your novel, and how to write it well. I also really dug Self Editing for Fiction Writers, which I went through last month with a highlighter and then made a separate list for all the tips I find useful.
HE: Is there anything you wouldn’t consider writing about, e.g. genre, political issues, sexuality?
BR: While I’m diverse in my writing, there are absolutely many genres and themes I wouldn’t touch on. You’ll never find a political thriller from me, for example. I doubt I’ll write a straight science fiction novel, either. I’m not afraid of writing about sexuality, but erotica doesn’t interest me.
HE: What inspired you to write a horror thriller?
BR: Again, I grew up reading Stephen King, and I always wanted to write a thrilling adult horror novel. Townhouse was meant to be, because when I moved into a townhouse similar to the one described in the book, I knew I had to write a creepy horror novel about it. I still love writing horror, but I’ve moved on to young adult and new adult contemporary fantasies / romances that have some mystery in them, but no horror. I think I can go a little extreme in my horror, and if I write another one, I’m going to want to tone down the gore perhaps a little bit.
HE: Is there an autobiographical element to the novel? i.e. writers block frustration, and things in life not turning out how you imagined?
BR: Sara Crimson is trying to write a young adult novel, which is funny in that I wrote a young adult novel Happy Birthday to Me, right before I wrote Townhouse. And, as I said before, I lived in a townhouse similar to the one described in the book. So there were certainly autobiographical aspects to it, but the story itself is totally fiction, just my brain running wild.
HE: Do you feel your characters are likable, or should it even matter?
BR: I always want my main characters to be flawed in certain ways, but never unlikable. Some readers have commented that Cameron from Happy Birthday to Me is too unlikable, or that Brin from The Vampire Underground is too unlikable. I just try to make my characters feel real, in the end. Sara has some issues but I feel in the end makes a good heroine, especially when she befriends the much younger Cory.
HE: Who’s your favourite character in the book?
BR: Cory, for sure. When I think back on the writing of the book, which took place in February and March of 2011, it was Cory I loved writing the most. I liked slowly unfolding his storyline for the first four parts, only to throw him into the excitement at the very end. I also enjoyed the dynamic between Cody and Sara, that was fun.
HE: Any tips for new writers?
BR: Just write every day. Even it’s just 500 words, you can have a first draft in 4 months. And then once you have that first draft, revise, revise, revise. Show it to a trusted friend, get his/her comments, and then revise again. Query, and query often. Write a short story once in a while. Leave your manuscript to rest for a week, or two, or three, and then go back to it. My newest novel Over the Rainbow is coming out in August, and I’ve been revising it for about 15 months now, and each time I look at it, I find something new to add (and probably ten things to delete!).
HE: What are you working on now?
BR: I’m currently in various stages on four novels. The first, Over the Rainbow, is a gay young adult fantasy coming to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and iTunes, on August 6th. I’m also working on a YA contemporary, a literary novel, and my first new adult contemporary romance.
HE: And finally, do you have a message or thoughts for the lovely readers of the Haunted Eyeball?
BR: Hello horror lovers! Thanks for reading, and please support my horror fiction. Townhouse is my adult horror novel, and my young adult horror trilogy is comprised of the following books: The Vampire Underground, The Zombie Playground, and The Monster Apocalypse. Happy reading, everyone!
HE: Fantastic message, Brian. Thank you for agreeing to visit the Haunted Eyeball and the best of luck with your writing in the future!
HOT NEWS: The first part of The Vampire Underground (Grisly High Trilogy, Book 1) is currently free, Eyeballers, so we recommend checking it out. If it’s as bloody good as Townhouse, then you’re in for a real treat.
ALSO OF INTEREST