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A Conversation with Brandon Ford

Brandon Ford

Brandon Ford is the author of three novels of horror and suspense fiction: Crystal Bay, Splattered Beauty, and Pay Phone.  He has also contributed to several anthologies, including The Death Panel, Sinister Landscapes, Raw: Brutality as Art, and Creeping Shadows, a collection of three short novels.  He currently resides in Philadelphia. 

How long did you hone your craft before your work found a home?

Oh, many years.  I was about eight years old when I first picked up a pen.  I wrote all through my teen years and I was about 18 when I first started steadily submitting my work for publication.

How many hours a day do you write?

It varies from day to day.  Sometimes an hour or two.  Sometimes not at all.  There are always instances where I find myself with nothing at all to say.  And then there are times when the words flow seamlessly.  You just never know where the day will find you.

Do you listen to music when you write, or do you prefer the sound of silence?

Definitely silence, although I’ve been known to listen to a little music every now and again.  I find classical most inspiring.  I can’t let other voices interfere with my concentration, so I avoid music with lyrics.

Do you use an outline when you’re working on a novel, or do you let your characters dictate the action?

With a novel, I usually have a very rough idea of where I’d like the story to go when I first sit down to write.  During that process, I become immersed in the narrative and spend each day trying to decide which direction I’d like the book to go in.  I’ll create an outline if I find myself with many different plot points I’d like to explore.

Your novel, Pay Phone, is quite an intriguing story.  Which character do you identify with the most?

Thanks!  I appreciate that.  I suppose the character I identify with the most is Jake—in the non-homicidal way, of course.  He was an easy character to write because, like me, he is and always has been a loner and spends a lot of time in his own head.  There are pieces of me in all of the characters, however.  In Chelsea’s naiveté.  In Haley’s sheer need to succeed.  Even in Gladys’s total desperation.  

Who influenced you to write horror? Any favorite authors in the genre?

Jack Ketchum is definitely my biggest influence.  I’ve been inspired by him more than any other writer.  Over the years, he’s become my hero.  I’m also quite fond of Richard Laymon, who could take the simplest premise and spin one hell of a page-turner out of it.  

Do you own an e-reader? How do you think e-readers are changing the publishing industry?

I don’t.  That’s not to say I won’t get one eventually.  I just don’t feel the urgency to pick one up just yet.  I think they’re incredible tools.  Not so long ago, with the advent of the iPod and various other mp3 players, it was possible to walk around with your entire CD collection in your pocket.  With e-book readers, you can walk around with your entire library in your pocket.  The technology is incredible.  I think it’s definitely changing the publishing industry, what with the downfall of Leisure Books (a genre favorite) and the uprising of e-book exclusive publishers.  There are readers who won’t pick up my books unless they’re available for the Amazon Kindle or the Barnes & Noble Nook.  It’s sad to think that someday, there will be no need for brick and mortar bookstores.

What scares you?

Real life violence definitely scares and disturbs me.  The newspaper or evening news are far more unsettling than anything Stephen King could ever write.  
Where can readers find you online?


Crystal BaySplattered BeautyPay Phone
Tags: brandon ford, crystal bay, jack ketchum, pay phone, splattered beauty

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