Name: Bryan W. Alaspa
Where are you from: Chicago, IL
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc.: Well, I grew up in the Chicago area. I am the oldest of two brothers. I have always had the support of my parents, who always encouraged me to write. In fact, I never would have discovered my love of writing without their love of reading and the fact that my mom left out her electric typewriter once when I was in the 3rd grade and I wrote my first short story. I went to Webster University, where I ended up studying communications and falling in love with broadcasting, particularly radio. I spent quite a few years trying to get a full time job in radio, then spent 8 years working in human resources, before going back to writing and what I loved back in 2006.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I just published a horror novella called Strange Fruit and the Slender Man, which is my take on the Slender Man phenomenon. This past year also saw the publication of my first YA Novel – Sapphire, which has garnered some of the best reviews of my career. I just had a vampire short story published in an anthology called Wrapped in Red. This Christmas, the third novel in my Sin-Eater series is due to be published. I plan to publish the first novel in a four-novel Young Adult series next year. I am currently also writing TWO novels, both of which I intend to release in a serialized format. Whew…
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I remember loving books for as long as, well, I can remember. I was fascinated, as a kid, by sharks and during my young days (in the mid-70s) everyone was reading JAWS. I remember being fascinated by the cover, with that big shark on it, fascinated that someone had written this story. I wrote my first short story when I was in the third grade – and it was a total rip-off of Jaws. I loved the feeling of creating my own characters, my own world.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably after I self-published my first novel. This was back in 1998 and it is still out there – lurking. It is an overly-ambitious sci-fi action novel called The Ballad of the Blue Denim Gang.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Well, my actual first novel was handwritten in high school and my early years in college. It will always stay forever in a binder on my bookshelf because, well, it’s awful. It’s a murder mystery called Among Friends and all of the characters are based on friends I had in high school. The murderer kills off all but a couple characters, this making the mystery not quite mysterious.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Not that I am aware of. I like to vary my style. I wrote my thriller novel After the Snowfall during my Cormack McCarthy days and didn’t put any quotes around the dialog. I have done first person and present tense. I always like trying new things to keep myself intrigued and interested.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I wish I knew. The titles just come to me – much like the stories. When my brain settles on a title, however, it is virtually impossible for me to change it.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I write to entertain. I don’t usually have a message. In my novel VICIOUS I did try to convey a message about cruelty to animals, in particular dogs, but I also wanted to just entertain and scare people.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I try to set my books in reality so that the audience can relate. However, most of my horror involves a supernatural element introduced into the real life part.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There are quite a few characters based on real people in my life. The events in the novel are usually wholly fiction.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Gosh, that is hard to say. Jaws, obviously, since it was the first thing to inspire me to write. Stephen King’s work in general has been the biggest sole inspiration. Some of my other big inspirations: HG Wells’ War of the Worlds, Robert R. McCammon’s Boy’s Life, Blake Crouch’s RUN, Thomas Tryon’s Harvest Home and The Other. I am sure there are more – and I discover new authors all the time.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Right now it is Scott Nicholson’s novel After: The Shock.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Blake Crouch, Iain Rob Wright, Ian Woodhead, Patrick Greene, JA Konrath, Scott Nicholson, Bryan R. Dennis, Ronald Malfi – to name a few.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
See above! I have so many, and I still work a full-time day job. I hope I can get to them all.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My teachers. I had two great teachers in my life: my six grade teacher Mr. Tatone, and my high school Composition teacher Mrs. Rundio.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I dream of it every single day. I long and ache for the day when I can spend my days just doing my stories and writing my novels. I write both fiction and non-fiction, and I would love to write my books all day instead of the day job, you know?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Mostly finding the time. These days I get up very early to work on my writing before I have to start my day job.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My current novella cover was designed by a friend named Tim Bliznick. The covers to my novels Sapphire and Vicious were designed by Stephen Bryant. My covers for One Against Many and RIG were designed by Erin Engelmann.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Always write. Never give up and never let the world tell you that you cannot do it. Even if you write for just a few, write. Write even if you just put your work in a drawer for now.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Always remember that indie writers, like me, rely on feedback and reviews that you find on Amazon. Word of mouth is so key to us achieving any kind of success, so telling others about a writer and work that you like is key.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies.
I love movies and I try to see as many as I can. I watch way too much TV. I love listening to the radio, including shortwave radio. I read a lot.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching.
Marvel Agents of SHIELD, Blacklist, Once Upon a Time, Parenthood, Hostages, American Horror Story. My list of films is just so long it would never end.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Sushi, blue and Pink Floyd
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done ?
Geez, I have wanted to be a writer since the third grade, but working in radio (even though I never did more than part-time) was always a blast. If I could work in that field, I would be very happy.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?
Yes, my website and blog is www.bryanwalaspa.com. You can find links to all of my books there, too.