Name Bryce David Salazar.
Where are you from
517 in the murder mitten. (Lansing, Michigan, to those unfamiliar our state’s charming little nickname.)
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I’m always terrible at answering these questions, be it in a literary interview or a job application. Trying to glamorize a life that’s a by-product of Catholic school attendance, bookworm loneliness, and prideful boasts of having been watching The Empire Strikes Back while friends were doing their homework and losing their virginity is no easy feat, but there you have it.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m currently in the painful editing stages of my follow-up to She Sees Metaphors, which is either a short story collection or a novella, depending on how you look at it. I say painful because this is the part of the publishing process where you’re depending on other people and their schedules, and there’s little else to do but twiddle your thumbs and play videogames. It’s titled Tales of Timeless Springs, and I would love nothing more than for it to be on digital shelves this fall.
I also do a podcast, We Write Weird Shit, with Jon James, a bizarro author from Michigan. In a nutshell, someone pitches us idea, one of us writes it, and the other has to read it. As you can probably guess from the title, fans of Jonathan Franzen should probably look elsewhere for their literary podcast fix.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
When I was three I would have my mother sit at a typewriter and type out whatever stories my very small, very odd little brain came up with. Why? I haven’t the faintest. But I kept at it and haven’t found a reason to quit yet.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
If you write, you’re a writer, so for as long as I can remember I have considered myself a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I can’t remember what gave me the idea for She Sees Metaphors. I had variations of it for a couple of years and one day I sat down and wrote a short story about the main character which was subsequently put away for another two years until I had the bright idea to turn it into a novel.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I try to sprinkle little bits of poetry into simple, straightforward, expletive filled prose.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
This is so lame. I was listening to Acey Slade and the Dark Party’s cover of She Sells Sanctuary, and I realized just how much I loved that title. Especially the “She” of it. I started thinking of titles that followed the pattern of “She does something” and She Sees Metaphors is what came of it. Before that it had an appalling and generic title that essentially begged to be ignored.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’m not that kind of writer. To me what’s important is that there’s a solid story that can be taken at face value and enjoyed. Naturally, since I’m a brooding cliché of an author, I’m going to weave in my feelings, politics, and perspectives into the narrative, but all of that is for the reader to decide if they care or would rather just enjoy the tale.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
It’s hard to say. The premise of the book, which is a young woman seeing the world in literal metaphors, is very unrealistic. But everything else, the drinking, the casual sex, the family feuds, the depression, the joy of friendship and Chinese food, that’s all very realistic. So it’s in a weird place on the realism spectrum, because while it takes place in the real world (which closely resembles Lansing), the characters and setting all appear to be something out of fantasy.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I steal bits and pieces from people I know but I wouldn’t say that any of the characters are exclusively based on actual people. I like to run with my imagination.
Of course there is an exception, which is Jacqui’s high school English teacher, Mrs. Deal. She is very much based on a terrible excuse for a human being that I had to deal with during my freshman and sophomore years of high school. Tales of Timeless Springs also has a character that closely resembles an idiot I worked for recently. Is that petty? I don’t know. But it felt good.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
The Dirt, by Motley Crue is an amazing work of literature. I’ve read that book more than any other. There’s also Hope by Glen Duncan, Never Come Morning by Nelson Algren, and Kingdom of Fear by Hunter S. Thompson.
I never had a mentor, but I do treat On Writing by Stephen King as the writer’s bible. If anyone is trying to figure themselves out as a writer that’s the book I go to. It’s short, simple, and full of great advice.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished The Fellowship of the Ring and plan to have the entire Lord of the Rings read (finally) sometime this year. Other than that I’m just picking at short stories here and there while I wait for Irvine Welsh’s A Decent Ride to come out.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Gillian Flynn. Sharp Objects was my favorite read of 2014. Dark Places and The Grownup were great. Gone Girl is on my list to read this year. I absolutely love her twisted violence, filthy sex, complicated characters, and the beautifully bleak tone of her writing style.
I guess she’s not new, but like everyone else it wasn’t until David Fincher’s adaptation of Gone Girl that I heard of her.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Tales of Timeless Springs is taking up all of my attention at the moment. I do have a pile of stuff that I’d like to rewrite and edit while I tackle my next book, which I aim to be epic in scale. That’s all I want to say on that one for now.
Of course, there’s also my (neglected) blog and (the not so neglected) We Write Weird Shit.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I have three friends who are also writers. (Shout out to Emily, Robert, and Jon.) They have all been incredibly supportive and willing to do whatever they can to help me out as I try to break into that exclusive little club in the writing world that is being a full time novelist. I think every writer needs a trio like them. They’re not shy about telling me what they think is shit, nor are they stingy about dishing out compliments. All they care about it seeing that I write the best story I can. So cheers to them. May they have many fat children and one day know the myth that is being able to retire. (We are millenials, after all.)
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, very much so.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Honestly, if I knew then what I know now I would have just gone straight to self-publication. Once upon a time I had a publisher, and they held She Sees Metaphors for a solid five or six months before changing their minds because the novel “violated their decency standards.” I feel like half of an entire year was wasted on people who did little more than get in the way.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Tales of Timeless Springs is a collection of stories that all connect in one way or another. It takes place in the city of Timeless Springs, where there is no exit and the population is slowly dwindling. What’s left is a city of violent residents that are all looking to get ahead. There’s a necromancer bartender, a hag who runs a brothel, corrupt city officials, a dead wife who haunts her living husband, a violent talking cat, and a young couple hopelessly in love. Among other things. There’s even an oven that leads into Hell.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The first draft is always the worst for me because at that point I’m still trying to figure out where the story is going and it feels like I’m trying to cook during a blackout. And since I’m running blind for that draft, it’s difficult to muster up the discipline to keep working on the story and finish it.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Glen Duncan. He writes about filth in such a poetic way that I feel impotent whenever I read his work. But it’s glorious. It’s beautiful, it’s filthy. I love it.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Ain’t nobody got money for that.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Lori Weismantel, one of the greatest artists of this generation. She’s really obscure. You probably haven’t heard of her.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
During the editing process I read the novel a number of times. That last read through, where I’m hunting for typos and anything else I might want to change while I still can, feels like homework and I hate it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned how to write a novel in a way that works best for me. It seems like everyone has their own opinion on how a novel is supposed to be written. I just tried everything until I found what worked.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Finish what you write. No excuses. I’m not interested and neither is anyone else. Just finish it.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Honestly, I can barely remember what I read last year. If I hadn’t been writing it all down as I went along then all of it would be lost.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
For laughs I alternate between edgy comedy and really bad puns. I’m not really one to cry outside of extreme circumstance, such as death or a spider suddenly going missing. If I feel pent up and need a good cry I can always look at the status of my student loan debt.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Glen Duncan or Irvine Welsh. But I’d probably just blush and run away.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I’d like to be buried under a sleeping willow. No words, no headstone. Not even a note to whoever owned the property. I don’t even want to be fully buried. Just in the hopes of giving someone a really weird day.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
No. I’m not that interesting.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Anything weird or dark. I really like DareDevil and Jessica Jones. Hannibal is definitely a top three favorite. Same with Pushing Daisies. Just about all of my favorite shows are cancelled too soon, the exceptions being Justified and Mad Men. Although Mad Men should have been ended in its fifth season.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Chinese food. I can’t go a single week without some orange chicken and dumplings.
I really like brown. I don’t know why.
Silversun Pickups and Chvrches are my two current obsessions. But I’ve also discovered The Weekend recently and I’m digging that scene as well.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I probably would have stayed a working drummer. Not that I had to choose one or the other, but being in bands is an animal of its own and I always managed to work my way into multiple projects, so I never really took the time to write when I was in bands.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I update it sometimes.