Name: Scott Bradley
Age: 41 (Born July 25, 1072)
Where are you from: Born in Springfield, Missouri; have lived for the past 16 years in Los Angeles, California.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
Born in the Midwest; father in Education, mother worked for the phone company and later the airlines. Two sisters. Raised mostly on a farm in Brighton, Missouri, but went to school in a nearby smallish city, Springfield, which is notable as the birthplace of Francis Dolarhyde, the killer in RED DRAGON by Thomas Harris. This amused me to no end when I was introduced to that book at age 13 by my friend Joe Straughan’s very cool mother Liz.
Received my Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 1997, then moved to L.A. the following year. Worked a variety of jobs, including in development at RKO Pictures, at a Hollywood talent agency, in the classical music department at the Virgin Megastore that used to be on Sunset, and at one of the last of the mom-and-pop video stores.
A pretty dry recitation, but it was more exciting than it probably sounds.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
The release of a charity anthology I edited called EXPLOSIONS: TALES OF OUR LANDMINED WORLD, which is for Mines Advisory Group (MAG). These are the folks who go out and take care of unexploded munitions all over the world in former war zones. Places where, literally, there’s unexploded stuff that has lingered for 40 years or more.
I had the opportunity to observe this – and the work MAG does – close up on a series of trips to Southeast Asia that I have taken with my Dad, and was intensely moved, particularly during the time we spent in Laos. I wanted to do something that could help the cause and a project like this one seemed to be a way I could bring something to the table.
It’s turned out to be the most difficult professional experience of my life, but it’s also something I’m very proud to have done.
The book is published by Evil Jester Press and is available as an eBook and print on demand. 100% – yes, all – of the earnings of the book will go straight to MAG. This represents an extraordinary commitment of generosity, creative vision, and energy on the part of Peter Giglio and Charles Day of EJP, as well as our cover artist, Pulitzer Prize winner Matt Wuerker, and our line-up of authors, including Jeffery Deaver, David Morrell, James Grady, John Skipp, Amy Wallace, and the proverbial many, many more.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I used to think I started as a teenager, but as I’ve reflected, I think it was a bit earlier than that – say 9 or 10. These would have been pastiches of my favorite things that age, STAR WARS and James Bond. A couple of years later, I discovered horror and thrillers – Stephen King and Robert Ludlum for starters – and got into imitating them.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Interesting question. I think, without being entirely conscious of it, that I believed there would be a predetermined moment of “Eureka!” but I discovered it was more fluid and complex than that. In other words, it wasn’t like losing your virginity. I thought, for instance, a first publication would make me feel that way, and it did…to a point. But then I wanted to be paid, and I made that first sale and suddenly I was a writer…to a point. I wanted more sales. And on and on – a book, multiple books, coining a word that ends up in the Oxford English Dictionary, take your pick – they’re all respectable writerly goals, but I think I could achieve all of them and still find something to aspire to.
So this is all a long-winded way of saying: I know I’m a writer, but there’s always something on the horizon – and not even something that’s necessarily very likely – to encourage me to strive.
God. That sounds so pretentious. Sorry.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
At the risk of coming off as ungodly long, I’m going to cheat and talk about my first two books because they were both vital but entirely different experiences. So maybe you can lose your virginity twice. Anyway…
My first book was THE BOOK OF LISTS HORROR (HarperCollins, 2008) and it was compiled in collaboration with my late girlfriend Amy Wallace and our friend Del Howison.
My first novel, THE DARK, was co-authored with a very old friend named Peter Giglio (himself a writer and editor of much distinction), and was based on a idea by another friend, New York Times bestselling author John Skipp, who ushered into print during his tenure as editor of the short-lived genre imprint Ravenous Shadows.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I know I like certain things and they seem to pop up in things I write. I like alliteration, for instance. Since I’ve done so much collaboration, I can definitely see things that are my style in the finished product, but I don’t ever consciously set out to do them.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For BOOK OF LISTS HORROR it was a no-brainer (though the original title was THE BOOK OF LISTS: HORROR – HarperCollins wanted to change the order and delete the punctuation).
THE DARK is funny because John Skipp and I were watching a wonderfully bad seventies horror film called THE DARK on DVD and howling at how bad it was and how completely generic the title was…and then Skipp said “Did I ever tell you the idea I had for a story called THE DARK?” And the rest is history.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really. I hope it’s a good story, well told. If there are certain messages or themes, that’s simply the a product of who I am.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
It’s got a pretty good handle on the geography of the Silverlake/Los Feliz area in which it lives and a certain grasp on the zeitgeist, but – plotwise – not very realistic.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Chunks of THE DARK definitely is drawn on time I spent working for a video store in Silverlake.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
So many; just gonna name them as I think of them (with the proviso that there are a bunch I’m going to forget): RED DRAGON by Thomas Harris, BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy, Stephen King, Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald, FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS by Ernest Hemingway, Harlan Ellison, THE SHORT-TIMERS by Gustav Hasford, FRISK by Dennis Cooper, Ross MacDonald, Carson McCullers, Patricia Highsmith, John le Carre.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
My friend Yale Udoff, who wrote the Nicolas Roeg film BAD TIMING. On individual projects: Amy Wallace on THE BOOK OF LISTS HORROR, John Skipp on THE DARK, and James Grady on EXPLOSIONS.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
POLICE by Jo Nesbo.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
You mean that I’m interested in? I try to keep aware of things, but I’m often the last one to know about cool stuff. I’m pleased to say that Ryan Gattis, a contributor to the EXPLOSIONS anthology, is getting a lot of attention for his most recent novel, and I’m very much looking forward to that.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m working on a screenplay called TOPANGA CANYON with my dear friend, writer/director Charles Pinion.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would have chosen not to lost the love of my life Amy Wallace and have a nervous breakdown, thereby putting Jim Grady and Peter Giglio in the position of having to get the book in order for publication.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Probably because I was often looking for an escape.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Not really. Sorry.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
All kinds of things. It varies. Sometimes it’s smooth, sometimes it’s rough.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I can’t answer this. Sorry.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, but I LOVE to travel.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
On THE DARK it was a fantastic lady named Paula Rozelle Hanback, whose cover frankly looks like a snapshot of the inside of my head while working on it.
On EXPLOSIONS it was Pulitzer Prize winner Matt Wuerker, who – like everyone else involved in the project – donated his work.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
All of them are hard for different reasons. Sorry – I’m shooting snake eyes on a good answer to this.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Kinda like the previous answer – I learned things from all of them.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
The usual: Read, write, repeat.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks for reading.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I like to travel.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
For TV: I’m absolutely mad for THE BIG BANG THEORY, which I think is destined to go down as one of the truly classic sitcoms. And I’m equally convinced that Jim Parsons as Sheldon will go down as one of the iconic TV series characters in any genre.
It took me awhile to warm up to it, but I found myself loving TRUE DETECTIVE, though it’s narratively imperfect – and seemed all the more so because the first 4 episodes really set such an extraordinarily high bar. But whatever flaws, it was great. So like everyone else, I’m very curious to see what Nic Pizzolatto does with Series 2.
In my slightly hermetic way, I’ve managed to miss out on a good deal of popular culture – particularly on TV – in the last 20 years. I don’t, for instance, have cable. This has had its up sides (dropping out on THE SIMPSONS before it got lobotomized; missing out on most reality TV) and down sides (I’m assured that I would adore THE SOPRANOS, DEADWOOD, MAD MEN, et al., none of which I’ve ever seen).
There are certain seminal old shows that are very important to me: THE TWILIGHT ZONE and to a lesser extent NIGHT GALLERY; classic STAR TREK; a few sitcoms like CHEERS, WKRP IN CINCINNATI, and NIGHT COURT. Given my age and interests, TWIN PEAKS was huge when it came out in 1990 – I was a little bit ahead of the curve since I already knew David Lynch’s work from BLUE VELVET and ERASERHEAD, but none of us could have foreseen what a radical jolt that show was – it’s pretty easy to see the through-line, for instance, from TWIN PEAKS to TRUE DETECTIVE, although the former was, like the latter, ultimately a flawed gem.
For film: So many and I know I’ll manage to leave stuff out. First and foremost, Stanley Kubrick – I often say, with tongue only partially in cheek, that his films are what I have instead of religion.
Although age has considerably mellowed my obsessions with them, I can’t deny or underestimate the profound influence the STAR WARS and Indiana Jones films had on me. Throw in James Bond and you essentially have the trifecta of how I was formed.
Then as I got older: the aforementioned David Lynch; Peckinpah; Scorsese (though I absolutely hated THE WOLF OF WALL STREET); Schrader; Malick; Michael Mann. Horror films – Romero’s DEAD trilogy; Cronenberg; eighties slasher movies. THE ROAD WARRIOR, John Carpenter. The great seventies paranoia movies like THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR and PARALLAX VIEW.
CHINATOWN was huge for me – Watergate with real water!
As I’ve gotten older, I find myself less and less movie mad, and find I just don’t have the patience for many of them. Being really out of the comic book loop, I’m pretty disconnected from the blur of bazillion-dollar superhero epics. The trailers are enough to wear me out.
Certainly there are have been a few movies in the past several years I loved: CACHE, ONLY GOD FORGIVES, THE TREE OF LIFE, THE HURT LOCKER CARLOS, and MELANCHOLIA come to mind.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Foods: I’ve joked that if I can digest it, I’ll eat it, and that’s kinda true. I was sort of an insanely picky eater as a child, but now as an adult I do things like eat a beating cobra heart in Vietnam (seriously). So I’m pretty adventurous.
Living in Southern California, I’m addicted to great Mexican food.
For whatever ambivalence I might have about other aspects of Midwestern culture, I certainly can’t say food is among them: I love Springfield style Cashew Chicken and Kansas City BBQ. Stroud’s in Kansas City also has probably the best Chicken-Fried steak in the known universe.
Outside the U.S., I love Bangkok street food; the Blue Lagoon Café in Luang Prabang, Laos; and St. John’s in London. For both physical and financial health I should cook at home more – and I do enjoy cooking – but I just sometimes don’t have the energy.
Foods I don’t like, by the way, include cherries, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.
Colors: I dunno. I tend toward dark, but having just visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, I find myself liking all colors.
Music: Another tough one. I fell in love with music with movie scores when I was a kid (John Williams and STAR WARS, ‘natch). That led me to classical.
I also love the great sixties trinity – the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Doors.
When I’m in the right mood, I’m all over Jazz – especially Miles Davis.
Bobby Darin – especially for “Beyond the Sea” – is one of my idols.
As for current stuff – I honestly don’t hear much of it outside of movie trailers and/or commercial. I know Miley Cyrus is pissing off people and controversial, but I think she seems lovely and anti-establishment.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
In a different world I might have been an okay shrink. Or a bartender.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Nope. But I can be found messing about on Facebook occasionally.