Interview with Alex S. Brown — Southern Haunts

Alexander S. Brown is a Mississippi author who was published in 2008. His first book, Traumatized, is a short story collection that has received rave reviews from horror fans throughout America. Although, Brown began as a horror author, he has recently published two young adult steampunk tales, which can be found in the anthologies, Dreams of Steam 2: Brass and Bolts, as well as, Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells. His poem, “Maters” was later published in the magazine, Midnight Screaming Volume 3, #4. Brown says there are more works on the way as he plans to write a series of novels chronicling the lives of residents in a town that is damned. Eventually, he will pen a fantasy/horror trilogy.

Interview with Editor Alex S. Brown Alexander S. Brown
Southern Haunts  

I was wondering what makes a collection of stories come together for a great anthology?

Personally, I believe a great anthology comes together when a specific theme is followed.  The composer of the anthology might open a submission call for fictional ghost stories inspired by actual locations.  The composer might go a step further by requesting that the stories are Southern or Southwestern based while maintaining historical elements.  Even with the specifications detailed in the guidelines, the composer might receive stories that are dramatic, suspenseful, frightening, and even comedic, which is exactly what we received with Southern Haunts: Spirits that Walk Among Us.  Although the genres of the stories differ, we are pleased to note that each tale lives up to the guidelines.  The authors used their creativity to think “outside the box” and didn’t simply limit themselves to horror alone.

As an editor, describe the feeling you get when you read a piece of well-crafted fiction?

Excited. I consider well-crafted fiction to be original while featuring relatable characters and tangible settings.  Personally, I don’t mind a slow burner.  If you can catch my attention with the first sentence, then I am interested to the end of the story.

Are you also a writer or publisher?  If so, can you tell us about your work?

Besides being a co-editor for the Southern Haunts books, I am an author.  I am quite diverse and I specialize in horror and steampunk.  I have written both adult and young adult fiction.

What is your daily writing/reading time like?

Hectic.  As much as I would like to keep a schedule, I have to write, edit, and read whenever I get a chance, which might be 3 p.m. or 3 a.m.  Either way, I try not to miss a chance to be productive.

Are you a full-time writer/editor?  If so, when did you make the decision and what factors led to that decision?.  If you are not a full-time author, is it your plan to one day be one?

Currently, I am not full-time.  I plan to be eventually, but currently I have a part-time day job and spend more time writing than I do actual working.  I hope in the next few years to be able to write full-time.

Can you tell us about your experience working with your current publisher?

SouthernHaunts-CoverWorking with Dark Oak Press (Kerlak Publishing), Seventh Star Press, and Pro Se is an absolutely wonderful experience.  These publishers assist me with advice and suggestions that simply cannot be provided by a vanity press.  These three publishers allow me the freedom to create while they provide constructive criticism.  I honestly am not certain what I would do without them.

What is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series.

Southern Haunts is an anthology of ghost stories all based in the South and Southwest.  Although they are fictional, they are inspired by actual locations.  The tales are adult and young adult friendly.  Audiences can expect a sequel next year.

Can you tell us about some of your other writing and any appearances or signings that you have planned?

I write young adult steampunk stories that have been published in the Dreams of Steam series by Kimberly Richardson.  I also have a steampunk short in Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells edited by Hericka R. Raymer.  Upcoming adulterated work includes my first horror novel, Syrenthia Falls, which will be published by Dark Oak Press in the Fall of 2013.  Also, Pro Se Publishing is releasing a special edition of my short story collection, Traumatized, which will be enhanced with illustrations by artist Robert K.  Seventh Star Press has granted me the opportunity to publish a fantasy/horror trilogy that I am currently writing and next year they will publish Southern Haunts 2: Demons in the Darkness.

I am currently attending local signings and nearby conventions.  My tour is as follows:

Bayou Con: Lake Charles, LA, June 28-30

Lorelei Books: Vicksburg, MS, July 13 from 1-3 p.m.

Vicksburg Warren County Public Library: Vicksburg, MS, July 27 from 12-4pm

Pensacola Paracon: Pensacola, FL, August 16-18

Backwoods Con: Louisville, MS, September 27-29

Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention: Memphis, TN, November

As an author/editor, what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to author?

Write, write, write, and when you are done writing then edit, edit, edit.  Before you approach an author, your work should be complete and near perfect.

Attend as many conventions as you can.  Meet authors, editors, and publishers.  Compliment them on their work.  A lot of times by doing this you will learn of open submissions and publishers who are currently looking for new work.  When you explain your story, only give a one minute spiel.  If you have successfully sparked an interest, the person will inquire further about your work.

After your work is published, your publisher will market your work, however, this does not mean you should slack with marketing.  Whenever you have a chance, you should market your work.  Sometimes, spending 10 minutes a day doing online marketing can do wonders.

Who is your favorite author and can you recommend a book or series by that author?

Currently, I am conflicted by three really fantastic authors.  I absolutely love Stephen King, Clive Barker, and John Ajvide Lindqvist.  I would suggest Gerald’s Game by Stephen King, The Thief of Always by Clive Barker, and Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

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