Today on the Reader’s Retreat, it is my great pleasure to share an interview with author and editor, Alexander S. Brown. Many of you know his name and have read the anthology he co-edits entitled Southern Haunts. We will talk about Southern Haunts, The Star Chamber Show, and his new release, Syrenthia Falls. I had the enjoyable opportunity of meeting Brown earlier this year at MidSouth Con 32. His excitement for the craft of writing, as well as the writing community drew me and many others into really interesting conversations. Let’s not waste more time with my ramblings, it is time to get to know our guest, Alexander S. Brown.
TripThroughMyMind: Alexander, it is great having you here at on the Reader’s Retreat feature of Trip Through My Mind. We first met at MidSouth Con 32 in March. After talking with you, I had to purchase a new bag to carry all the books I purchased. You introduced me to the Southern Haunts anthology in which you are a co-editor. Could you tell us a little about Southern Haunts?
Alexander Brown: Southern Haunts is an anthology based in the south and southwest. All stories are loosely inspired by actual places, persons, and events. The goal of Southern Haunts is to consider a nonfictional subject and fictionalize it by your characters interacting with the subject.
TTMM: How many Southern Haunts books are out currently?
AB: Currently, we have vol. 1: Spirits that Walk Among Us and vol. 2: Devils in the Darkness. Vol. 1 is mostly ghost story inspired and vol. 2 is demon inspired.
TTMM: As I go through the process of editing and putting anthologies together, I have been discovering many different areas in the process. Some I like some I do not. What is your favorite part about editing for Southern Haunts?
AB: That moment when I have read all the stories and know which ones are going to make the cut. It is a feeling of accomplishment and excitement when I realize who I will be working with.
TTMM: Now let’s talk about your big news. You recently had a new book released Syrenthia Falls. Tell us a little about this book.
AB: Syrenthia Falls is a coming of age novel intended for adults. This book is a mixture of action, adventure, drama, romance, suspense, and most of all – horror. In Syrenthia Falls, I take a different approach to the werewolf fandom. I’m not going to release any spoilers; you have to read for yourself.
TTMM: I looked you up on Amazon to see some of the other books you are involved in. You write in many different genres from steampunk to horror and both YA to adult. What audience are you hoping to capture with Syrenthia Falls?
AB: Syrenthia Falls is intended for the adult horror lover. One who enjoys strong characters, complex plots, and splatterpunk.
TTMM: The main character, Syrenthia, seems like the outcast and has trouble finding acceptance. What would you say about the different relationships and the part they play in Syrenthia Falls?
AB: The picture I tried to paint with Syrenthia Falls is how an outcast can be made into a monster by those who bully her. The characters interact the way they do so the reader can see how cliques band together while in high school, regardless of if they are good or bad. I chose high school as the setting because it is a complex time for most young adults, one that I feel needs greater observance for their safety.
TTMM: As a writer, I tend to pull character traits from the people around me as well as internal personality traits. Where do you pull your inspiration?
AB: I am inspired by friends, family, enemies, and strangers. I am a people watcher, not a stalker, but a watcher, who can gain inspiration by observation.
TTMM: I thought I was busy, but from following your social media, it looks like you are all over the place these days. I see your updates on writing, book signings, editing as well as being one of the hosts on the Star Chamber Show. I have been wondering, how did you get involved in the show?
AB: Stephen Zimmer, who is a publisher with Seventh Star Press, invited me to be a co-host on the show. He felt I could offer contributions to the podcast. I hope I haven’t let him down LOL.
TTMM: I am proud to say I was a guest recently on Star Chamber Show and found the experience very enjoyable. We had to be reeled in; otherwise we would have chatted all night. What do you enjoy most about hosting Star Chamber Show?
AB: I enjoy asking complex questions. I try to ask questions that I feel could empower and improve the life of those who are listening.
TTMM: I noticed in 2014 you undertook a project of releasing one short story in eBook format per month. That seems like a tall undertaking. What prompted that project and where can we find these stories?
AB: This project is known as Single Shots and it was presented to me by Pro Se Press, a pulp publisher. When I was asked to participate, I was concerned how much I could actually contribute. Then, Pro Se inquired about my Halloween stories I had yet to publish. I mulled over the idea and thought, Wow, a year’s worth of Halloween stories. How awesome would that be? My Halloween stories can now be found via Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and Smashwords.com. Just type in Alexander S. Brown and I should come up. The reader will receive a new story monthly.
TTMM: I will have to admit, my first introduction to the steampunk culture was at MidSouth Con. Before then, I saw movies in this vein but did not know it was a whole subculture. Now, I am exploring the genre as often as possible. You have quite a few young adult steampunk stories out there in several anthologies. What is it that draws you to that genre?
AB: The ability to imagine inventions in the Victorian era is my main love for writing steampunk. Although I’m not a sci-fi person and most people write steampunk as Victorian sci-fi, I mostly write steampunk murder mystery, horror, and superheroes.
TTMM: The setting for your stories are in the South and with Southern Haunts focusing on southern states, could you tell us why the South seems to be a good place for scary stories?
AB: I believe it’s the culture and history of the south that provides us with a good scare. Also, southerners have always been known to spin tall tales.
TTMM: Ok, I am always curious on why authors pick and choose certain stories to write. When you are looking for anthologies to write and submit a story for, what do you look for in the anthology? What draws you to a particular anthology collection?
AB: I am driven to an anthology if it provides enough versatility for me to be creative and honor the genres of suspense and horror.
TTMM: As we wrap up, I would like to come back to your book Syrenthia Falls. Characters become real to the author as they write their stories. If Syrenthia was one of your friends what would you like best about her and what do you like least about her?
AB: I can’t say that I dislike anything about her. A few of her actions sadden me. I guess what I like about her the most is her potential.
TTMM: Finally, any parting words for the readers and where can they get your books?
AB: Never stop reading and always support your local bookstore whenever possible. Ebook when there is no other option. Bookstores need our support, we do not need to make them a dying breed. My books can be ordered through any bookstore, or you can contact me personally for a signed copy. For those who may not be able to access local bookstores, you may purchase my work on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and Booksamillion.com. My Halloween ebooks are available wherever ebook downloads are sold. For signed copies, contact me at email@example.com Subject head your email, Signed Edition.
Find me on Facebook at: Alexander S. Brown Facebook Page
Meet Alexander S. Brown
Alexander S. Brown is a Mississippi author who was published in 2008 with his first book Traumatized. Reviews for this short story collection were so favorable that it is being released as a special edition by Pro Se Publishing. Brown is currently one of the co-editors/coordinators with the Southern Haunts Anthologies published by Seventh Star Press. His horror novel Syrenthia Falls is represented by Dark Oak Press.
He is also the author of multiple young adult steampunk stories found in the Dreams of Steam Anthologies and the anthology Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells. His more extreme works can be found in the upcoming anthology Luna’s Children published by Dark Oak Press.
Visit Smashwords.com, Amazon.com, and Barnesandnoble.com to download his monthly short stories known as Single Shots. These are represented by Pro Se Press and the first available story is The Night the Jack O’ Lantern Went Out.
Alexander Brown is one of many guests who will appear at the first annual, Imaginarium Con in Louisville, Kentucky. Imaginarium Con is centered upon creative writing. Imaginarium is the place to be to discuss and learn about all forms of creative writing all forms of creative writing including books, publishing, screenwriting, writing for games, stage and song, and even poetry all wrapped up in one great event. It will include 125 panels in twelve categories, featuring 130 professional panelist guests. Come meet Alexander Brown, and yours truly, on September 19-21. Visit http://entertheimaginarium.com for more details.
Until next time…