90 Minutes to Live is an anthology dedicated to Rocky Wood. Rocky, the current president of the HWA, was diagnosed with ALS and the proceeds from this book will be donated to help him purchase much needed medical equipment. If you are interested in purchasing the book please follow this link to Amazon and know you will be supporting a great cause.
Brad Carpenter wrote, “Godforsaken,” one of the short stories included in 90 Minutes to Live and Brett J. Talley, author of That Which Should Not Be was kind enough to conduct the interview.
So sit back, relax and get to know what makes Brad Carpenter tick and how he came about writing horror.
Brett: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do for a living when you aren’t writing?
Brad: I was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. However, I recently moved to Los Angeles. I live with my wife, Melissa, and my daughter, Paisley, and our crazy Weimaraner named Penny. Unfortunately, I am still serving tables and slinging drinks at the Cheesecake Factory. It is a good job, but damn … I wish I could write all day long.
Brett: What made you decide to submit your story, “Godforsaken,” to the 90 Minutes to Live Anthology?
Brad: Well, I met Chris Payne (President of JournalStone) at the Horror Writer’s Association Conference last June. We became friends and he encouraged me to submit a short story. I did and got second place. Bo-ya!
Brett: “Godforsaken” is probably the most disturbing story in the entire anthology. In fact, it was so disturbing, the editors decided to use a scene from the story for the cover art. How did you feel about that?
Brad: Delighted! I was on a mission to disturb and I believe I succeeded!
Brett: “Godforsaken” makes me think of a movie version of the most disturbing aspects of Dante’s Inferno. What was your inspiration?
Brad: The Divine Comedy is an obsession of mine. Everything I write ends up having some aspect of Dante in it. “Godforsaken,” stole massive amounts of Dante because half of it is set in hell, or in a hell-esque environment. The theme was 90 minutes to live … so I thought, what is something that’s 90 minutes long? And then it hit me … most films are that long. What if I could put people into a film, where they had the entire length of the movie to escape. If not … well you know. And then, it turned into what if the devil came to earth and made a movie, what would it look like? I’d be a Grindhouse film. Wow, can you imagine the mind-blowing special effects?
Brett: One of the problems with writing horror is people look at you funny when they read some of the stuff you write. Has your story “Godforsaken” had that result with anyone?
Brad: Constantly. No one in my family will read anything I write. My wife does, but that’s about it. Especially not my parents. They raised me up to be a hardcore Baptist, so this kind of thing makes them terribly uncomfortable.
Sometimes it comes up at work that I write. Their eyes light up and they ask, “Oh really, what do you write?” When I say horror I see their interest suddenly wan. However, I have a suspicious feeling that it wouldn’t matter what genre I said, unless I wrote about teen vampires. Then, they’d be interested.
Brett: You obviously have quite a talent for short stories. What is your favorite short story? Do you have a favorite from 90 Minutes to Live?
Brad: Wow thanks for saying so, very nice of you. You’re making me blush. My favorite short story I’ve ever read is “Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar” by Neil Gaiman. As for the anthology, I’d have to say my favorite is “Acapulco Blue,” but each one is great.
Brett: What author has inspired your writing the most?
Brad: Well we’ve already covered how much I love Dante. But I’m also inspired by: Michael Chabbon, Dan Simmons, George RR Martin, Jesse Bullington, Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub, Douglas Clegg, and of course the big three of horror: Poe, Matheson, and King.
Brett: What does your writing process involve?
Brad: Very extensive notes. I have writer friends who hardly ever use notes, they just wing it. Hell no. Not me. Plan, plan, plan. Even after so much planning, I write myself into walls all the time. So, once I get stuck … I plan again and get unstuck. Then, eventually I’m at the end of the novel.
Brett: What is it about horror that attracts you?
Brad: Genre fiction attracts me. Be it fantasy, sci-fi, or horror. I love going to worlds unseen. I love putting normal, everyday characters into “X-Files-type” situations, love to see how they react, how they cope.
Brett: Obviously the electronic book is on the rise. What do you think about that? Greatest thing ever? Or creeping Communist subversion?
Brad: Hahaha, somewhere in-between great and communistic. This makes me think of Stalin holding a Kindle or a Nook and reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Brett: Now that self-publishing has become easier and less expensive, a lot of writers who might never have had their work see the light of day can be published. How do you think authors can separate themselves from the pack, and what advice do you have for readers who are trying to sift the good from the bad now that some of the gatekeepers are gone?
Brad: It is all about networking. If someone has a self-published book, one can almost judge the quality of content by how much time the author has spent trying to pedal their work, and by all the buzz it generates.
Brett: What book is next on your list to read?
Brad: Well I’m reading The Magician King by Lev Grossman right now. After that … uh … dunno. Perhaps The Prague Cemetery by Umbeto Ecco, or Bernard Cornwalls got a new book coming out, maybe that. Or maybe I’ll finally get around to reading that Jo Nesbo series people have been talking about. Only time will tell.
Brett: If you could give one piece of advice to new writers, what would it be?
Brad: Read. Socialize. The latter is sometimes hard, but it is a must.
Brett: What is your next big project?
Brad: Writing a novel called Hangman’s Highway.
Brett: Where can we follow you and your career on the web?