JW: I am here with published author Alexander Brown. Thank you so much for joining me. So, please tell us about your new book Traumatized.
Alexander Brown: This is something that I started in high school for creative writing class and some of the responses that I was receiving from other students were really awesome and very inspiring for me to do my own work and push it a little further. Getting into this I tried writing other authors to see if they had any advice and the best received I received was from [author] Clive Barker. When I wrote him and it was so awesome because I received a hand written letter back and he expressed that I really needed to push my limits and push the envelope and that’s when I decided to start this collection with a PG rating and go all the way to a NC-17 rating and with the last story it is probably the most grotesque and explicit in the whole collection.
Pretty much decided I wanted to give something that will shock people but at the same time I want to comment on society because that’s what an author or artist does, they comment on society, so with the 15 short stories in that book, if you read past the story itself you can actually gain a metaphor with what is going on in our contemporary time.
JW: As far as the stories, are they entirely fictional or renditions of stories that you love?
AB: They are entirely fictional; however, I have to say that some of the stories were inspired by actually places. The story “It’s All True” is loosely inspired by the McRaven house here in Vicksburg, MS. It’s a house that I’ve always been interested in and when I learned enough about it to actually gain some historical insight that’s when I decided just to make it my own and go with it the way I did. There are a few murder mystery stories in there where I did some research to get the accuracy of what was going on from a psychological perspective and some of those were of course loosely inspired by real events.
JW: How long did it take you to write or put together this book of short stories?
AB: 5 years is the total because when I finally decided to do a collection I would say that I already had about 4 to 5 stories written. And I kind of had a theme already and I said, “Well, I want to stick with this theme and just continue it out get maybe about 15 stories and have at that,” because the book is decided between murder mystery, creatures, the super natural, the occult, and damnation, so if you already have those 5 categories in mind you, see where the 15 stories fall into one of the categories.
JW: A few of the stories you have can be seen as being quite controversial. Around the time it was published in 2008, a few of your book signings were cancelled and your book banned in some towns, do you still find yourself running into issues such as this today?
AB: ALL THE TIME!
JW: Why do you think they feel your book should be banned?
AB: I feel it’s because of the subjects I decide to go with in Traumatized: The God Complex, that’s the story that actually got me banned, and a lot of people felt that it was a story about being anti-religious which, in all honesty, it isn’t. I actually had a preacher jump down my throat telling me I was going to go to hell because I was anti-religious and that’s not the case at all, I’m actually Episcopalian (laughs). The story is more so that religion can be a very beautiful thing but when something that beautiful is put into the wrong hands it can be used for evil. I also had someone send me an email asking me if the story was against homosexuality, this again was not the case.
JW: I know that so far my favorite story in tie between Midnight to One and The God Complex. Do you have a story that is particularly your favorite?
AB: The one story out of the entire book that I would say is closest to my heart is Bliss Hill. I am scared of the dark and the woods and I live around nothing but dark and woods. When I wrote it I already had a boogeyman image in mind of something living in the woods and writing that story was more kind of a release for me to sort of get the boogeyman out. That’s also the land I grew up on and it is known as Bliss Hill. My great-grandmother’s name was Bliss and that’s where all the family lived, so it was just always known as Bliss Hill.
JW: So let’s take it back to the beginning. What got you started in writing?
AB: I’ve always admired the written word. I’ve always wanted to contribute to the genre. My first love was actually making movies but when I found that I did not have the resources at hand I discovered that it would be much easier to create stories or novels and I could go as far as I wanted with it without using specials effects and you could use your imagination. I would say that I first started writing in junior high, but those stories were honestly nothing more than a page long. They were really more of a synopsis.
JW: What influences the topics that you write about?
AB: I think the topic that I enjoy writing about the most would be religion. And the reason why I say that is because this is somewhat of a Bible Belt area and they are so many people that think that there is only black and white and that there are no grey areas and with me being the kind of person who likes to stand in the middle and consider both sides of everything I like to hope that there are rational people out there who are like “You know it’s not just one thing or the other it can be both. Things that can co-exist.” And so that’s one thing that I really want to focus on. There is one novel I am working on that is based more on the close-mindedness side of religion. It’s more so inspired the Westboro Baptist Church than anything.
JW: Who are some of your favorite authors?
AB: Stephen King, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, and Anne Rice. At the moment I would definitely say there are a few new names added to the list: John Ajvide Lindqvist, David Moody and Scott Sigler. Oh and I recently found the love for Chuck Palahniuk.
JW: Would you ever consider turning your short stories into a collection of short films?
AB: I’d love that. I would absolutely love that. I grew up being a big fan of “Tales from the Dark Side” and “Tales from the Crypt”. “Creep Show” was one of my top favorite movies as a kid and I would love to see something that had like a hodgepodge of about 4 or 5 short stories in it.
JW: Will there be another novel that fans can look forward to having on their bookshelves?
AB: A lot more, actually, a lot more. I was talking to a publisher he wants to sign me for a trilogy, a fantasy horror trilogy. I don’t want to give too much away on it except the best thing I can say is what would happen if Hellraiser met Alice in Wonderland?” That and I also have a werewolf novel coming out called Syrenthia Falls.
JW: Thank you so much Alex for all of your time. I cannot wait until you publish another novel for me to buy, I enjoy your work. For those who are interested in purchasing Alex Brown’s Traumatized can do so by going to the website www.traumatizedsouls.com.