After surviving several years spent obsessing over his first novel, a fantasy epic that nearly finished him, Bard Constantine applied himself to learning the craft of writing. In time his work turned into novels, short stories, poetry, and screenplays. His work often dwells in fantasy, science fiction, and the surreal aspects of the human mind. He defies convention, spinning archetypes and creating new perspectives on storytelling and world building.
Currently residing in Birmingham, Alabama, he adds his ever-growing compilations of literary manuscripts while trying keep a somewhat suspect hold on something called ‘reality.’
We cornered him for a short interview.
Since it’s your newest work, tell me about The Aberration.
Bard: The Aberration is my first stab at horror, pun intended. I’m not a big horror fan, so I sort of stumbled into the story. My 9-5 (no, I haven’t quit my day job, lol) involves working at a flour mill. It’s this huge ten story building that’s fully automated, so it takes a much smaller work force to operate than you’d think at first glance. I can literally go an hour or two without seeing a co-worker on my shift. As I walk the plant I often amuse my dark side by imagining all the horrible things that can happen to me while on duty. Those thoughts eventually formed into a plot, then a short story, and eventually into novel form.
The description of the story should tap into the very souls of all those monster-loving readers out there. But that’s not the only dimension to this story. There’s also an important psychological element. Tell me about that if you would.
Bard: Creature horror is fine when done correctly. (The original Alien film comes to mind. Makes me have high hopes for the upcoming Prometheus movie) But fear is a psychological phenomenon. It’s the darkness in our minds that we fear the most, and I wanted to explore that in the novel beyond the invading creatures. When Michael and Fran are confronted by macabre nightmares come to life, the fear becomes much more personal because what they encounter relates directly to them. We all have things lurking in our past, in our subconscious that we try to ignore or gloss over. If those things confronted us in physical form … we’d probably not survive the experience.
You got started late as a writer, didn’t you?
Bard: Yes. I spend my early years thinking I’d be a comic book artist before I allowed circumstances to slay those dreams. Fortunately that love of storytelling continued to nag me until I was forced to respond. When I approached my thirtieth birthday I realized I wanted to do something with my creative talents. I immersed myself into writing and haven’t looked back since.
Why do you write horror?
Bard: I am by no means a horror writer. In fact I thought I might not be able to follow up on The Aberration until just recently when I discovered an older plot idea that would be perfect for a follow up story. Most of what I write is fantasy and sci-fi. The horror writing is just a happy accident.
And your parents named you Bard? Tell us about that. It seems like such a perfect fit for your chosen career.
Bard: Lol. Bard Constantine is a pseudonym I created back when my writing mainly consisted of writing poetry. I wanted to write from the perspective of a wandering immortal – a mournful vampire if you will. Much of the poetry collected in the volume Immortal Musings comes from that mindset. After a while I liked the name so much that I continued to write as Bard. One day I Googled my name and then Bard Constantine. I found that Bard had a much more prevalent presence online, and that clinched it.
Do you have any favorite writers?
Bard: Too many to list. It was Lloyd Alexander that pulled me into fantasy worlds. Later I’d immerse in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and have recently gotten hooked on Greg RR Martin’s Game of Thrones. Patrick Rothfuss is a fantastic writer as well, along with Gene Wolfe, whose work is impeccable. Robert Cormier’s novels still have impact, even as an adult. Perhaps more so. Mary Shelley wrote the perfect novel in Frankenstein. Susan Kay’s Phantom actually is better than the original novel. I read Lord of the Flies and A Catcher in the Rye annually at least. I can go on and on…
What are you working on now?
Bard: The Troubleshooter is my next finished novel coming out in June, unless something changes. It’s a hard-boiled private eye tale that takes place in a dystopian future. Right now I’m working on Silent Empire, a collaboration with Stefan, a retro-futuristic artist that I had the pleasure of meeting at Deviantart. (The graphic novel details the fate of a man trapped in a world where individuality has been stripped from the populace.
In addition I’m around halfway finished with Youngblood, a paranormal YA novel about a high school freshman whose life changes when he’s pulled into a shadow battle between two powerful ancient races. Additional info on all my current and upcoming projects can be found at my website and my Facebook page.