Today we welcome Alexander S. Brown, a Mississippi author who was published in 2008 with his first book Traumatized. Reviews for this short story collection were so favorable that it has been released as a special edition by Pro Se Press. 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. His most current work is his short story collection The Night the Jack O’ Lantern Went Out, published by Pro Se Press.
He is also the author of multiple young adult steampunk stories found in the Dreams of Steam Anthologies, Capes and Clockwork Anthologies, and the anthology Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells. His more extreme works can be found in the anthology Luna’s Children published by Dark Oak Press, Reel Dark published by Seventh Star Press and State of Horror: Louisiana Vol 1 published by Charon Coin Press.
Brown is also the producer of, and actor, in the short film The Acquired Taste inspired by a story in his book Traumatized and directed by Chuck Jett.T
1. What was your first introduction to horror?
When I was five, my grandfather introduced me to the original “Night of the Living Dead”. I remember being frightened, but I couldn’t look away. I couldn’t believe the creativity I was seeing and how unsettling it was with its imagery, characters, and soundtrack.
2. Has it stood the test of time, and yes or no, why?
It’s safe to say that “Night of the Living Dead” has stood the test of time. I think the reason why, is because it’s groundbreaking with its presentation. As an adult, the movie is much more than just a story about zombies surrounding an old farm house. It focuses on many natural fears that one might have, such as the fear of society. One could watch this movie and consider that the characters trapped inside are people who want to progress in life, the zombies represent the masses who do not want to see them progress. One could also see this movie as a statement on racism, and truthfully, the statement is very blatant, however, George Romero said that the comment on racism was accidental.
3. Who/what is your favorite monster and why?
The werewolf has always been my favorite creature, which is probably why I made “Syrenthia Falls” my first novel. I think the werewolf is a symbol that most people can identify with, as it represents our inner rage and sexual repression. It is animalistic in nature, forever changing, and is untamed. I believe, at some point, these are all elements that everyone has struggled with from childhood to adulthood.
4. Do you ever write something and freak yourself out?
There were a few stories in “Traumatized” that freaked me out. The tales “From Midnight to One” and “It’s All True” gave me the willies when I wrote them. Since then, I have tried to grow a thicker skin.
5. How do you handle what some might consider the darker aspects of your psyche when writing dark, disturbing, or emotionally wrenching scenes/stories?
When I write, I’m writing from a character’s perspective, meaning they will do things that I wouldn’t consider healthy. When creating an antagonist, I have no problem separating myself from what they would do and what I would do.
In our world, there is a great deal of evil. To find inspiration to write about evil persons, I don’t have to look within myself to write about horror, all I have to do is turn on the television or access social media news feeds. When writing of a subject that I feel is vital, I have to desensitize myself from that subject so I can hit the audience hard.
Also, there has to be balance. When writing of something depraved or brutal, I have to step away and find something positive to equal out myself. I’ve been asked before, “What would you not write about?” My answer is, I will write about anything, as long as it is necessary and isn’t utilized for simply shock value.
6. Is there a genre outside of horror that you haven’t written in, but really want to?
I would like to write a drama. I have toyed around with a concept, but I haven’t completed anything. The subject that I want to write about is a personal one and each time I try to fictionalize it and hit hard, the story catches me in its emotions.
7. What’s the most helpful piece of writing advice you were ever given?
I one time wrote Clive Barker, and he was gracious enough to write me back. I still have the letter and I will probably frame it and hang it in my new library. He explained to me that I should learn my limits and break them. With each short story or novel that I write, I try to honor his advice.
If you enjoyed this interview and would like to find out more about Alexander S. Brown, you can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon, or check out his blog.
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