It has been a looooong time since people have gathered in the Arena to witness someone face the 10 Questions. Now, the torches have been lit and the crowd cheers in anticipation.
I met Dillon Brown recently through our work together on the Disquieted (check it out here) horror anthology along with Sean Cochrane and Jack Wallen. Dillon happened to be having a new book launching today, and I thought it was a good time to throw somebody to the question lions.
- Why did you decide to join the damned and write a book?
I’ve always loved creating. I started with drawing at a very young age, and found I was quite good at it. But there was always something left to be desired with drawing, and that was telling a story around it. So I remember writing my first stories back when I was about ten years old. But it wasn’t until I went away to college to tackle my first attempt, a novella called “The Wild.” Catastrophic failure in the editing department, but it was in print, and my friends thought it was so cool. I persisted and in 2008 I wrote a book called “The Extraordinary Travels of John Frances Huntington,” which sold over 3,500 copies and really got me excited. From then, I was hooked.
- What was your muse when writing “Velvet”?
My wife. And being quarantined together, ha! We were both stuck at home for a few weeks due to a potential COVID exposure, and I was in desperate need of creating something. I’d had this idea floating around in my head about an Instagram “Influencer” who was just all lies and deception in order to amass all of these followers, and I just started to run with that idea. I had an outline in a day, a chapter by day two, and 17 days later, a freakin’ completed manuscript. I couldn’t believe it. It was my Jules, though, who fueled it. She was so interested in the project and it made me want to keep writing. I dedicated it to her.
- Do you drink as much coffee as Sean Cochrane? Does anybody?
Oh hell-to-the-no. I don’t think it’s possible.
- Do you have a routine you settle into when you write?
Yes. I have to write during the day. If I try and write at night, I get maybe a page done before I’m fading. If I write with the windows open and the sunlight coming in, I can sit for hours.
- Any weird rituals you do to get the creative juices flowing?
I read a ton of science articles when it comes to new things being discovered, and sometimes I’ll circle a sentence and see if I can build a story around it. I have them all over the place. Some on my phone, some on the computer. Some on Post-It’s in my wallet or in my car. Story ideas all over the place. And pictures. If I see a cool picture, I start to usually wonder what the story around it is. So I’ll often time save them as well. I
have a lot of weird shit stashed around when it’s not put into context.
- What writers do you consider your biggest influences and why?
Michael Crichton, Dean Koontz, CJ Box, Adam Cesare. I really like those four. Crichton for the science fiction that seems grounded in reality. Koontz for the hideous creatures and lovable characters he builds. Box because his mysteries are so far up my alley; he’s got my favorite main character of anything, ever, in his “Joe Pickett” series. And Cesare because he’s a young guy who just loves to write horror, and he scares the ever-loving shit out of me with it. He’s so simple and clean with his writing, without ever over doing it. He just tells a story. And a damn good one.
- Have you had any other writing credits?
I’ve self published a few books, and I’ve done a children’s book. I’ve also written a slew of scripts that have been filmed. Some of them under my own production company, Horror Nerd Productions. Others were done by Goreela Productions, an indie film company out of Santa Rosa, CA that I was a co-founder and shareholder in. My script “Lou” was turned into a 45 minute film by director Will Thorn, and it was actually premiered on a big screen and everything. Pretty cool. Oh, yeah, and then I wrote this short story with this guy Brent Abell, along with two other cool dudes, in a collection called “Disquieted.”
- Where do you see your writing career in five years?
I’d like to say in five years that I’m writing as my only profession, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be a side gig. But hey, a realist can still dream. Maybe the film thing will take off. Maybe I’ll end up writing a reboot of The Golden Girls, but with dudes, and starring Robert Englund, Kane Hodder and Nick Castle all reprising their roles as Freddy, Jason and Michael, respectively.
- What is up next for all the readers out there?
I’ve got a few things in the works, but I’m going to take a break from writing books for a little while and focus on a film I’m working on. I do have a short story for a secret VHS project with a couple of strapping lads that I’ve already mentioned earlier… and I’m really excited about that one. It was a super fun tale to spin. Plus, working with you, Sean and
Jack again will be a blast.
- Where can the masses find and connect to you?
You guys can follow me on Instagram and Facebook, under the Horror Nerd Productions accounts, and you can also subscribe to my YouTube channel, Horror Nerd Productions to see my films. And I supposed with the new book coming out, I’d better get an Amazon page ready as well.
Bonus question: Do pumpkins have feelings? Explain your position.
YES. How do I know this? Read my short story, ‘Jack’O’ in the horror collection, “Disquieted,” available on Amazon! Wow, I’m pretty good at this salesman thing. Also: boycott pumpkin spice. It’s a fake flavoring that is ruining Halloween and taking away the only flavor that actually matters during that time of year: Candy Corn. Oh yeah, get mad.
And now, a little taste of Velvet…
“Velvet” by Dillon Brown
Six dead deer. A missing brother. A mysterious assassin. The next twenty four hours are about to be hell for the Evanston boys. They run a successful red deer farm in rural Pennsylvania, but money opportunities in the form of illegal arms and drug smuggling has connected them to a dangerous man from Miami. As the bodies pile up, one name seems to have connections to it all. A rival deer farmer, known for producing expensive supplements from antler velvet, has started to create a buzz again, after years of silence. A woman with a mysterious past and an even stranger existence. A woman who may not be who she says she is. Lady Velvet.
KEITH EVANSTON JUST STARED AT THE hollowed-out deer carcass in the meat locker. The stitches were split open and the entirety of whatever Miles Kennemore had trusted they could hide for him was gone. There were tracks around the deer and leading out of the door, but they didn’t look like boot-prints. Someone had come in and taken great care to disguise them. The ranch-hands all wore the same brand, Danner’s, and they left distinct prints. But these tracks were large, plain, and impossible to make out.
He figured it was one of two possibilities: either a rival to Kennemore’s operation had figured out where he was hiding his shit and come in and taken it, leaving a calling card behind by killing the animals, thinking they were also Miles’. Or the other option: that it was an inside job. With Alex missing, it was pointing a big red arrow at him being the culprit that was too hard to ignore. But Keith felt like it was too convenient. Nothing in Alex’s character was built for doing something like this. He would never touch Miles’ shit; he knew the consequences for that would end very badly, not only for him, but for his family. And he sure as hell would never hurt the deer. This was all too weird.
Keith figured he’d call up to Rawley’s later and ask them if they’d experienced anything strange on their property. He hated dealing with them, though it had been years since Lady Velvet had taken any calls herself. He usually dealt with Delphine Lockwood, a representative for the farm that didn’t even live in Pennsylvania, and if she couldn’t help him, he was directed to one of the ranch-hands. He didn’t mind them, as they were just collecting a paycheck at the end of the day and most of them had no allegiance to Lady Velvet. They went where the work was; if they didn’t like the pay, they’d find work somewhere else. There was always plenty of need for a good hand.
First, he had to deal with the six dead deer in the barn.
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Until next time, my friends,