Interview with Brandon L. Rucker

Published 2015-07-16.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Necessity, more than anything, I suppose. An avoidance to the odds that are insurmountably stacked against a no-name author. But also a kind D-i-Y punk mindset of doing things yourself with little reliance on the establishment because they’re not going to go out of their way to make it easy on the un-agented and under-represented, nor would you expect them to. I was just getting my feet wet publishing in the Small Press when I discovered Smashwords as a viable partner and helpful tool for D-i-Y publishing. Not that I’m currently in this for the money (ha!), but in terms of the monetary breakdown self-publishing via digital partners like Smashwords and other, the distribution of earnings from sales is flip-flopped compared to traditional commercial publishing. I’m a musician as well so D-i-Y ethos is in my blood. I suppose the overriding aspect is a sense of control.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I have a few “latest” books since I’ve uploaded several short stories. The situation with these is simple, it’s part of what I jokingly refer to on my website as Operation: Remember Me? Basically, I’ve taken old stories that were first published in print anthologies a few years back, and have since gone out of print, and have republished them on Smashwords in an effort to archive them digitally and electronically (for online reading and downloading). Aside from microfiction and poetry, I really do not have anything published online, so this initiative will help increase my online presence. It’s nice to be able to point people to an accessible source to sample your talent (and this is even despite the fact that these works do not represent the best of my writing abilities).
When did you first start writing?
I'll answer this with when I first started writing prose seriously. And that was in the winter or spring of 1993 when after reading my mom's paperback copy of Dean Koontz's WATCHERS novel in late 1992 and being deeply influenced by that reading experience and thinking I wanted to be as imaginative and accomplished someday in deftly telling suspenseful stories in a very accessible way. I'd dabbled a little before that (the oldest story I remember writing was in 1989 or so), but at the time I still wanted to be a comic book writer since I'd been reading them for about seven years prior to getting bit by the novel and short story writing bug. So fast-forward to 2015 and I've been writing seriously for about 22 years, with a few breaks here and there.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, the first "serious" story with actual prose was for my creative writing class in middle school called "Apocalyptic City". I still have the dot matrix printout of it from the class. I got an A- (95%). Morbid, apocalyptic science fiction at such a young age. Obviously the heavy metal music I was heavily into at the time had a major influence.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Simple answer? Creating. The mere act of creating something from nothing is the greatest joy of any artistic pursuit. I used to write for me, which is the typical answer many writers give. Writing fiction used to be about discovery and enlightenment of the human condition, whether for me or the reader. Within only a few years, though, I started writing with the purpose of entertaining others. I'm a born performer and writing fiction for a reading audience is a performance art.
Who are your favorite authors?
Favorites lists can always be tricky and complex. To simplify I’ll mention who I’ve read the most in my adult life in alphabetical order: Jason Aaron, Brian Azzarello, Clive Barker, Brian Michael Bendis (though not a favorite), Amy Bloom, Ed Brubaker, Warren Ellis, Matt Fraction, Neil Gaiman, Jaime Hernandez, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Elmore Leonard, Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Walter Mosley, Anne Rice, John Ridley, Greg Rucka, Neal Shusterman, Mickey Spillane, Bob Thurber and Brian K. Vaughan.
What is your writing process?
Wait, you mean there’s a process to this stuff? Well, that explains a lot about my shortcomings at this. I have no singular process. I write when I'm able and think about it a constantly when I'm not writing. I suppose if there's one thing to my "process" it's long, extended periods of brainstorming and really mulling things over prior to writing. I'm very heady about it in my older years, whereas when I was younger it was more visceral and spontaneous. I'm probably too self-aware for my own good now and I tend to get in my own way, impeding progress. I'm a mess. Don't judge me.
What do you read for pleasure?
I’m a dyed-in-the-wool hardcore lover of suspense novels. I’m also a sucker for crime fiction, particularly hardboiled and noir, which sadly aren’t all that prevalent these days. I lament the loss of the greatest crime storyteller of our time, Elmore Leonard. I'm known to devour a good biography from time to time, particularly if it's a musician memoir or band documentary. I'm currently reading DARK DAYS: A MEMOIR by D. Randall Blythe of the America heavy metal band LAMB OF GOD. There are a number of comics I read regularly. The can’t-miss ones are: SAGA, SEX CRIMINALS, LAZARUS, SOUTHERN BASTARDS and VELVET -- all indie creator-owned titles published by Image Comics, of course.
Describe your desk
A hot mess, really. I have two in my office, but one that is actually used for sitting and writing (the other is a, um, place for STUFF). Unfortunately my writing desk it’s the smaller of the two, so it’s flanked on each end by makeshift extensions that I salvaged from my old large entertainment center so that I have shelves on which to put even more STUFF. It’s all about STUFF, my office. But really, my home office is my sanctuary and has multiple purposes. A (mostly) quiet place in which to write, read, listen to and create music, play video games with my youngest daughter, watch movies. My primary incentive for finally building a house and owning a mortgage (wink, wink).
What do your fans mean to you?
Ha! I don’t think I have actual fans. I do have supporters, I suppose, mainly fellow writers. However, if I did have actual devoted fans who eagerly read my work, well, they would be some of the most important people ever in my life. I would owe them my “career” and would happy and thrilled with the task of find ways to entertain them with the my stories, long and short.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Books by This Author

The Underneath: A Bizarro Flash of Horror
Price: Free! Words: 970. Language: English. Published: July 5, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
(4.00 from 1 review)
After Ramsey discovers a strange blemish his life takes a swift turn into a painful, surreal experience, leaving him to wonder: is this real life?
Finder Kept: A Tale of Unintended Fate
Price: Free! Words: 1,970. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
Like Pandora's Box, some things are simply best left buried or undisturbed. When a drunken homeless person unwittingly acquires a strange object from a man who is obviously running for his life, the homeless person's apparent new fortune takes an instant turn for the worse. This is an unfortunate tale of unintended fate.
Pieces of Candice: A Horror Story
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,610. Language: English. Published: March 12, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
A short story. Told in a voice of madness and menace inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, "Pieces of Candice" is the first-person account of what happened when a helpless young woman in a desperate situation ventured into the dark woods for help. It's psychological horror right in step with classics by the likes of Poe, Stephen King, Clive Barker and Ramsey Campbell. Also has serial killer aspects.
Shard: A Bloody Microfiction
Price: Free! Words: 590. Language: English. Published: March 11, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
(4.00 from 1 review)
Short, sweet, bloody vengeance. His misdeeds will not go unpunished.