Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Interview with Bracken MacLeod

As the first official post at the new blog site, I'd like to say "Welcome!" to Bracken MacLeod. Just the other day, I got a chance to read Mountain Home, and what can I say? It was a very thrilling ride. I loved the myth and evolving characters running throughout. The book kept me reading, and I finished it in two nights. Thanks for writing the book. 

WK: Now, if you don't mind I'm going to jump right in here. I always wondered how other authors think about writing and approach a novel. Does your inspiration ever come from people you know? 

BM: In a couple of cases it has. Sometimes, sideline characters are amalgams drawn from people I know or have known. In MOUNTAIN HOME, Leonard was kind of a way I had of spending a little more time with a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in a very long time who was murdered a few years ago. The character is younger and more personally conflicted, but in his heart, he’s my friend. Neil is an awful lot like my grandfather was: kind and generous; ready to put himself in harm’s way to help others; devoted to his family. Bryce, Lyn, and Joanie, on the other hand, are all completely unique creations. 

WK: I can certainly understand that. Drawing from those vivid people you feel passionately about can be quite cathartic at times. What about character names? Do you think they are at all significant?

BM: Character names are very important to me. I tend to be more symbolic about them in short stories, but I think that names have a power that comes from meaning and association. I try to pick names that, even if they have no special significance to the reader, mean something to me. That way, I feel a little closer to them. It helps me fill in the blanks.

WK: If you don’t mind my asking, which character resembles you closest from your books?

BM: I try to keep myself out of my work; I’m not a believable character.

WK: LOL, right. Somehow from the looks of that author picture, I don’t believe you. You look pretty intimidating in it. From the contrast of this interview and that picture, I can tell you’ve got a lot of sides to your personality. Mountain Home was pretty thrilling, but do you have a preferred genre you enjoy writing about most?

BM: I call it “secular horror.” It’s the subgenre that Jack Ketchum has perfected. You can send monsters from Hell, outer space, the bottom of the ocean, and the grave as much as you want, and it’ll never make me tremble as much as the things real people do to each other on a daily basis. It’s like crime writing, plus.

WK: So true. It astounds me what real people will do at times. Speaking of people. Who were your favorite authors?

BM: Albert Camus, Andrew Vachss, Cormac McCarthy, Joyce Carol Oates, Jack Ketchum, Christa Faust. I could go on and on, but I think those are the ones that I keep going back to more than anyone else.

WK: Great selection. What was the first thing you remember reading?

BM: The first book I remember being really moved by was Roald Dahl’s “Danny, Champion of the World.” Growing up with a single mother, it was the single father/son relationship in that book that really moved me.

WK: I’ve had my share of those moments. The books become like old friends. Do you think that is where you got the motivation to write, from a book?

BM: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Hell, I’ve been writing horror for as long as I can remember. I got in trouble in grade school (I was maybe ten years old) because we were asked to write a Christmas story, and I turned in a splatterpunk tale involving Santa Claus battling Ridley Scott’s Alien. It was even illustrated. If a kid had written it today instead of in the 70s he’d be expelled and probably sent to counseling. I just got held back at recess and a note sent home to my mother asking her to not let me watch any more scary movies. Fortunately for me, she doesn’t bend to authority any better than I do.

WK: It’s great when adults are just as corrupted as the youngsters, isn’t it? Speaking of corruption, do you have a celebration activity or something you like to do when you finish a novel?

BM: I enjoy a shot of expensive tequila. Hacienda del Cristero blanco is my celebration bottle.

WK: I haven’t had that tequila before, but maybe I should. We’re running out of time here, so I’ve got one last question. While not writing, what do you enjoy doing?

BM: Like almost all writers, I enjoy reading to an almost unmanageable degree. I also love the outdoors and camping. Part of the reason MOUNTAIN HOME is set in Northern Idaho is because I used to go camping up there. It’s so amazingly beautiful in the northern part of that state, I could easily imagine people fighting over a view of it.

WK: You can say that again. Thanks again for coming out, Bracken. It was wonderful talking to you.

So, readers, if you want a thrilling tale about a psychotic break all for a beautiful mountain view, not to mention a few other horrifying stories and characters you can’t live without, pick up Bracken MacLeod’s Mountain Home on e-book, available through Smashwords and Amazon.com. It’s a thrilling ride you won’t regret.

Weston Kincade ~ Author of the Altered Realities series, A Life of Death collection of novels, and Strange Circumstances