Interview with Brad Grusnick

Who are your favorite authors?
The Vagrant Mystery Series was inspired by the works of Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, and Dashiell Hammett -- specifically the books, "The Long Goodbye", "Red Harvest", and "I, The Jury". As far as my favorite authors to pick up just for the joy of reading, the list is huge. I always go back to Douglas Adams, Tom Robbins, and Chuck Palahniuk.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Haha. Yep. It was a terrible rip-off of Lord of the Rings. Right down to calling the main wizard, Gandwalf. I remember thinking the word "shop" was too basic, so I went to the thesaurus and came up with the word "emporium." So the wizard, Gandwalf, got his potions at a "magic emporium." It taught me early on that the fanciest word isn't always the best word.
What is your writing process?
I write in several mediums -- TV, Film, Novels, Sketches -- and I have a different process for each. When it comes to writing novels, I just sit down and bang out a first draft as quickly as possible, usually in 8-12 weeks. I don't have a plan, I don't have an outline. Then in the second draft, I go back and make sure everything makes sense. Then shave off problems and edits with each consecutive draft. A lot of drafts is important. Because there are really no constraints when it comes to writing a novel, I don't like to box myself in with an outline. It helps me make connections and discoveries that I never would've found if I had pre-planned everything. With TV and Film, it is different. There are specific structures in place. If you don't know where your story is going before you reach scripting stage, you are going to create a lot of unnecessary work. Beating out the story and outlining scenes is essential.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This list changes on a regular basis, but here are a steadfast few:
- Lamb by Christopher Moore. This book is a brilliant retelling of the story of Jesus. It is irreverent without being biting. A fine line. I have bought and gifted this book more times than I can count.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. When I first read this book, it was the first time I'd ever seen this kind of writing. It was a main story with all these hilarious rabbit holes. Along with my love for Monty Python, it showed me that true humor is the perfect blend of brilliance and buffoonery.
- The Gunslinger/The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King. Though I take issue with how the last three books in The Dark Tower Series ended up, the first four books will always hold a special place for me. The epic world and vivid characters are what really got me interested in telling stories for a living.
- The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. War stories that are hilarious, frightening, haunting, and thought-provoking.
- Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. Sometimes a life of creativity can be harrowing. This book always brings me back from the fringe.
Published 2015-04-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.