An interview with Horror Author, Dean Bryant
Halloween is fast approaching, and what better way to get in the mood than to chat with a writer of all things horror! His book, The Stairwell, ranks up there in the horror genre. To quote my own review of the novel, "I will start out by first saying I haven't read a Stephen King or Dean Koontz novel for ages. For a good reason, too, as I tend to scare these days easily. But I read an ARC of The Stairwell and found that I immensely enjoyed it! Disturbing, creepy, and uncomfortable, this entertaining story is woven in the likes of Stephen King and Dean Koontz and Edgar Allen Poe."
Hi Sarah, thank you for having me on your blog. I’m a horror/paranormal fiction author. I live in London with my partner of ten years and our kitten, Soya. I’m a big fan of horror, with Dean Koontz being my favourite author, and his book, Midnight, being my favourite of all time.
Watchers was one of my favorites from years past. I should revisit the story. I mean, I love stories with dogs.
So tell me, if you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Hmm, I think it would be to believe in myself more. I struggled a lot with self-doubt during the writing process, and despite early praise, didn’t expect to get published. Believing in myself would have made the whole process a bit more enjoyable, I think!
Self-doubt is one nagging, ah, witch! More powerful than a 5-horse motor...nag nag nag nag nag! Sorry, I did a faux pas and passed along a dad joke.
What book do you feel is under-appreciated? How about overrated?
I love Alma Katsu’s books. She’s a brilliant horror author and I think she should be more well-known. As for overrated, definitely the Twilight books. I tried reading them when I was younger and didn’t enjoy them at all.
I devoured the Twilight books when I was younger (but probably still older than you). I am not sure why...vitamin deficiency, mid-life crisis, or the need to read vampire books that didn't scare the crap out of me. *shoulder shrug* I won't apologize for buying and keeping every. Single. One.
Favorite childhood memory involving books?
Definitely reading the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. They were what first got me into reading, and were an early taste of horror books. I owned every book in the collection and would read (or re-read) each one many times.
I read R.L. Stine but in the Fear Street series, not Goosebumps. Walter Farley hooked me into the big books. Peter S. Beagle. C. S. Lewis. J.R.R.Tolkien.
I would love to sit down and have a drink with Gandolf. Loosen him up a bit. Get him to tell me some stories of the other Istari or wizards. Stories of their juvenile years.
If you could dine with any literary character, who would it be and why?
Probably Cormoran Strike from Robert Galbraith’s Strike series. He seems like a genuine bloke and has wonderful taste in ale.
Umm, beer. Sorry, my Simpson's years peeked out there,
What fantastical fictional world would you want to live in (if any) given a chance?
I mainly read and watch horror, and it certainly wouldn’t be one of those! I think perhaps Jurassic Park – I would love for dinosaurs to be brought back to life (but without the escaping and man-eating parts!).
Ah, man! Yes! I would totally want to raise raptors. Big enough to ride, but small enough, you could easily dart them with a tranquilizer. Fun times. I could be a paleo-veterinarian!
Did you want to be an author when you grew up?
Yes, I did, more than anything. I had a fantastic teacher when I was in primary school. His name was Mr. Casson. He was clearly into creative writing himself, and would regularly set us homework to write a short story. Even when he didn’t set us this homework, I would write stories for him anyway. Despite primary school being longer ago than I like to admit, I still remember one of his comments he wrote on a story of mine. “Another cracker from the pen of Dean Bryant.” That was when I first decided that I wanted to be a writer and the memory will always stay with me.
Very cool, receiving encouragement from a teacher. So you kept up writing. Did you develop any quirks?
I don’t like to write alone! I find it difficult to stay focused. Most of The Stairwell was written with my father, who was writing his own book at the time. We’d travel across the country to spend a weekend together (I live in England, so that doesn’t take too long!), and we’d spend hours just writing our own books. We’d often do more than ten thousand words each during one of these weekends.
That sounds like a lot of fun! And so very productive. Me, I work better alone. No distractions except for loud music that fits my writing mood. Listened to the Black Keys today while writing about werewolves...Howlin' For You...arooooo!
Movies! Everyone has a fave movie. What’s one movie you like recommending to others?
Kingsman. It’s one of my favourite films of all time. Not a horror, but very funny, full of brilliant action and a great soundtrack. The sequel isn’t as good, as is often the case, but the first is a must-watch, in my opinion.
Oh, that is a great movie with an extraordinary cast. Great pick!
If you could own any animal as a pet, what would it be?
A mini-pig. They’re so cute! I know they don’t stay kitten-size, but they are adorable when fully-grown too, and always look like they’re smiling. I would name it Truffle.
In college, I had a friend who had a house pig named Zepplin. He was some pig!
Have you ever met anyone famous?
Yes! I met Colin Farrell whilst they were shooting The Gentlemen. I was working in an office on the other side of the road from the shooting location and almost walked right into him! My girlfriend was very jealous.
Now, if I would have met Mathew McConaughey, my hubby would be jealous. One of his favorite actors.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Some are similar names to people I know in real life, changed slightly. Some are just made up, but I find I spend a lot of time on this part of the writing process!
I understand...it's like naming a child, but of your mind. We are similar to Greek gods who can pull fully grown beings from our brains and plant them into wild situations. Or something.
If you were the last person on Earth, what would you do?
Probably make a cup of tea and read a book!
Nice. Thank you so much for chatting with me today! Best of luck on your release, Dean!!
Frightful visions. An unknown manipulator. A force from beyond reason.
Brandon Chapman arrives home to a horrific scene. His wife, Stephanie, is exhibiting behaviour that he can only describe as that of someone possessed – yet he doesn’t even believe in the supernatural. He soon realises that it was nothing other than a frightful, haunting vision.
After discovering a dark secret about Stephanie, Brandon meets a strange figure with knowledge about his own life that no one could possibly know. As his visions become more frequent and terrifying, he begins to question his sanity.
Brandon must either side with this figure or his wife before his daughter comes to harm.
Alice Hamilton, a shy and quiet university student, meets handsome Niel Curtis whilst on a night out with friends. They very quickly fall for one another, but their happiness is short-lived when Niel ends up in a coma after a traffic accident.
Alice fears he may never wake up again and, unaware of the consequences, strikes a deal with a strange voice. When Niel awakes, his behaviour changes drastically, and Alice – like Brandon – becomes subject to nightmarish, violent visions.
Are Brandon and Alice caught in a never-ending nightmare?
Dean has always loved writing, ever since his primary school teacher wrote “another cracker from the pen of Dean Bryant” on his English homework. He loves writing horror and dark thrillers as they allow him to be as imaginative as possible. He won a nation-wide poetry competition when he was 11 and went on to never write another poem.
He’s a huge fan of the classic horror authors Stephen King and Dean Koontz, with Midnight being his favourite book of all time. He studied Psychology at university, which made him the friend everyone goes to for advice.
Dean lives in London with his partner of ten years, who also doubles as a beta-reader and critic. He is a type 1 diabetic, which hasn’t stopped him eating cake, he just has to do a lot of mental math first.