One of my first experiences with live readings was at Horrorfind 13 where Bob Ford read the introductory chapters of Samson and Denial. As I finished the novella at home, I could hear the characters in my mind, just as he read them. His animated reading lent voices to the already amazing characters and I burned through the leftover pages.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Bob to chat about life, his writing and what’s coming down the pipeline.
Mandy: Thanks for taking the time to answer my inane and not so inane questions. Let’s start with inane. What are five words your friends would use to describe you?
Bob: Creative. Strategic. Hippie. Mentally unstable.
Mandy: Ha, I believe the mentally unstable part lends well to writers in general. Aside from writing, what do you do for your day job?
Bob: I’ve done advertising and graphic design for the last twenty-two years, fifteen of which have been on my own. I handle projects for Fortune 500 companies, as well as small businesses. It has its perks, but also it’s headaches like any other job.
Mandy: Unfortunately headaches and jobs seem to go hand in hand. Here’s a somewhat job-related question for you, if you could get any one thing, money is no option, what would you buy?
Bob: Even if money wasn’t an option, I don’t think “technically” I could buy a midget. I might be able to rent one for a while though. The honest answer though, is if money wasn’t an option, I’d build my parents a new home and horse barn. They’ve worked hard through their life and I’d love to be able to do that for them.
Bob: I am poorly slacking this year with reading a lot, but (and yes, it’s a sad truth), I have yet to read Kelli Owen’s “White Picket Prisons”. Since seeing the movie “Savages”, I really want to read Don Winslow’s book and the prequel “The Kings of Cool”.
This year I’ve been reading a lot of things for the day job instead of fiction. Exciting things about bituminous asphalt and hydraulic industrial piping in factory lines.
Mandy: Sounds fantastically interesting. *Insert sarcastic smile here.* I just finished reading Samson and Denial and loved it for the second time round, maybe even more this time. Aside from Samson what other work have you published?
Bob: I’ve published a handful of short stories. Off the top of my head, “Free Ride Angie” in Insidious Reflections magazine, “Georgie” in a Halloween issue of Shroud, “In Darker Waters” in the anthology “Fell Beasts”, and in a limited edition Christmas gift Brian Keene gave out to his fans one year, I had a short story titled “Bloodlegum and Lolliknives” published. That was a lot of fun. Hmmm, let’s see. Oh, my short story “The Tastes of Our Indiscretions” was in a chapbook accompanying the anthology “Dark Faith” by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon.
I turned from writing fiction for a few years and focused on screenplays but Hollywood is a tough path. I had a few close calls where everything was lined up on a script, but didn’t work out. I think I’ll be sticking to prose fiction for the foreseeable future.
Mandy: I’ve read Free Ride Angie, it was in the chapbook with a short story called “Bluebottle Summer” and loved both stories. Is there anything else coming down the pipeline?
Bob: As I write this, I’m about seven thousand words away from finishing a novel titled “The Compound”. I was swamped with work from my day job this week and the chapter I’ve left my characters hanging in is…well, to put it bluntly, the shit is hitting the fan in the worst way. I can’t wait to get back to them and finish it off.
After “The Compound”, I’ll be working on a novella and then the novel-length sequel to “Samson and Denial” titled “The Crimson Sisters”. A lot of people have asked me if there’s going to be a sequel and I love the character of Samson Gallows. I understand him as a person very well and I can tell you in the sequel, he’s got some problems headed toward him in a very big way.
I’ve got another novel in the works as well titled “No Lipstick in Avalon” that’s completely out of the horror genre. The title came to me one day and rattled around in the back of my head until the story concept decided to present itself. I’m about a third of the way finished and I think readers will really enjoy the story because the main character has such a strong voice.
Bob: I suppose the goals themselves come from the strength of the story idea for me. Like any writer, I’ve got pages of notes that include titles, bits of dialogue or exchanges between characters. Some of those ideas, as a writer, you just know they have some meat to them and are going to be a novella or a novel. Other ideas come off as only a short story and others…others should be left on the page of notes where they are.
I write the ideas that interest me enough, regardless of the genre. If the story is enough to hold my interest and become involved with the characters, I can only hope that translates to the reader being interested and involved with the story as well. It’s worked for me so far at least.
Mandy: When you are writing, it there a certain type of music you write to?
Bob: I’ve got a seriously eclectic taste in music but it’s usually a mix of Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Jack White, Beastie Boys, N.W.A., The Black Keys…pretty much anything that I can find a serious rhythm to as I’m typing. Once I get into that zone and can crank out the words, the music helps me keep the rhythm of typing. It’s an amazing mental state of mind to be in.
Mandy: Follow up question… Who inspires you to write?
Bob: Readers inspire me. I love doing readings to a live audience to see their emotional reaction. Remembering if they laugh or cried or got a certain look in their eyes always helps me with whatever I’m working on next.
Mandy: Do you have any upcoming appearances for 2012 where the above mentioned readers might be able to find you?
Bob: I’m laying a little low this year for appearances as I’ve been focusing on the pages more than anything, but I’ll be at HorrorFind weekend in Gettysburg, PA and if finances can swing it, you might see me at a few other conventions.
Mandy: And the final question–the one I seem to ask with every interview–do you have any advice for other writers?
Bob: The best advice is the advice most often repeated by other writers who have been doing this way longer than I have. Ass in chair. Write. It’s the only true way to get anything done.
As for my own personal advice, I’d tell other writers to not put it off. If you think you have a talent and a gift to tell stories, don’t put it off or else time will slip by and before you know it, you’ll be the person in their late sixties telling someone else how you had a great idea for a book when you were younger but you never got around to writing it.
Don’t die with your music still in you.
Mandy: Excellent advice. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me and I am seriously stoked for the sequel to Samson.
To the readers, if you haven’t read Samson and Denial, do it. You don’t want to be behind when the sequel is released. Trust me.
Get it here for Kindle.