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Monday, October 22, 2012

31 Days of Horror: Days 22-- Guest Post by Brett J. Talley

There is no author hotter these days than Brett J. Talley.  Everyone is talking about him.  Heck, even I chose to lead off my Library Journal article with The Void:

Brett J. Talley’s novel The Void harkens back to the science fiction tinged horror of H.P. Lovecraft. Enter a world were people can easily travel through space while sleeping. There is a catch however. Travelers are held hostage to their nightmares while in flight; nightmares customized to their own fears; nightmares that have been know to drive people mad. Six travelers, each with a secret encounter an abandoned aircraft, and bad things begin to happen. But is it a dream, their paranoia, or a monster?  Talley creates a creeping sense of unease from the start of The Void, an anxiety that never lets up, continuously builds, and leaves the reader looking over his or her shoulder while frantically turning the pages to find out how it all ends. 
A few months ago, I contacted Talley to let him know I had included him in my piece for Library Journal and asked him if he would participate in my 31 Days of Horror with a guest post.  I was very interested in his opinion on his seemingly overnight success.  He was very willing.

Below is Brett J. Talley's guest post.  You can visit Talley at http://brettjtalley.com.

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What is it like to be a new writer you ask? I wouldn’t know. This is no new pursuit for me. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. When I was in second grade, I learned the true joys of reading for the first time, and naturally, I wanted to make some magic of my own. I set about writing my first novel. It was five pages long and was about vampires—Dracula, of course.

People ask me why I chose horror. I didn’t; horror chose me. I think most people who sit down with a pen and a piece of paper want to do two things—they want to tell a story that entertains, and they want to say something about the human condition. The purest and the deepest human emotion is fear. It comes without prejudice and without ulterior motives. It is at the heart of human action, and overcoming it—or at least learning to deal with it—is the greatest challenge we face. There’s nothing I would rather write about.

I’ve said before and I continue to believe that the greatest stories do not spring, fully formed, from the brains of their authors, like Athena from the head of Zeus. Rather, they grow over time, starting off as but the kernel of an idea, an odd tale whispered around the fireside on moonless nights. But great things have small beginnings, and from that tiny seed spring a thousand different tales. Stories of love and loss, of high adventure and magic. And yes, stories of the blackest horrors and nameless fears. The writer is as a huntsman who stalks the forests of society, capturing those archetypes that rumble through our culture and taming them to his own ends. Those of us in horror just so happen to roam the darkest places of the world. But the truly great story isn’t just horror or just romance or just literary fiction. It draws from many wells.

We are fascinated by overnight success. It’s a funny phenomenon, really, especially since there’s no such thing. We don’t see the years of struggle. We don’t see the disappointments, the rejections, the overwhelming feeling that it’s not worth it. Behind every overnight success are many, many, many nights of failure.

That’s the way I feel about That Which Should Not Be and The Void. For years I was but one of millions of people writing down their thoughts on paper with the dream of seeing them in print one day. It was a dream I never thought would come true. The last year has been a whirlwind. From unpublished author to finalist for the Bram Stoker Award®. It’s a feeling that cannot be described, and I sincerely hope that every writer who has had the spark of inspiration and the dedication to make it into reality gets to experience it one day.

But in truth, it’s not for glory, fame, or wealth that we write. If it was, there would be a lot fewer writers in the world. No, it is something different. It is that quest for the perfect tale, for the story that will transcend all others and touch someone’s heart. That is what I seek, and if you need to find me, I’ll be in the darkest wood, searching for the greatest monsters of them all.

Happy hunting.

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