GREAT INTERVIEW: Horror thriller novelist Brandon Massey

your family what's going on what's going down with shakey welcome to Jonathan Saul's podcast this is Jonathan sole speed with you now here on Jonathan sole Sundays every Sunday every Sunday I talk to an artist a writer a filmmaker an expat an entrepreneur somebody who's creating the kind of world that they want to live in so if you have any interest in these fields any curiosity any desire to create your own path this is the show that you needed tune into at the end of the interview you hear their contact information where you can reach out to them purchase services get their books their novels their art whatever it is and of course go to Jonathan sold calm and pick up my novel Malcolm Mars the sci-fi novel I wrote and you can support this broadcast all right family without further ado let's get into the program chop the soul sunday talking to a brother who will scare you to death if you let them I'm talking about the horror and the thriller writer Brandon Massey how you doing brother I'm doing good how are you real good man real good real good now what let me ask you a question man I I picked the bio a little bit and I want to know did you leave Chicago because the Trump you can be honest man I know the troops of the time and I heard I heard boots on the ground I just want to know was that the reason that what happened no actually I love Chicago about 16 years ago okay and I was living in the suburbs so you know I wasn't you know deep deep in the heart of the city you wouldn't know ground zero no no ground zero but you know if I were still there you know let's just say there's just a lot going on there right now yeah I mean I know that there's like was like 20 some you know districts or whatever in that area so I know it's not every areas you know impoverished and in that every area is dangerous right I personally think that the whole area is getting a bad rap I mean I think Trump is just using it as a a whipping boy so to speak yeah I think it's it's an easy target for him right now and you know I don't really know what if anything he's actually going to do about it I mean I just I think that the issues that are going on in Chicago just like other issues going on in other major cities you know there are things that just can't be so easily solve them and they're very complex problems that have been generations in the making I mean this stuff didn't just start just didn't just start overnight you know right so there's a lot of you know areas that need to be addressed from you know an economic perspective educational perspective you know school systems are not where they need to be you know there's just a whole gamut of problems mm-hmm he I personally don't think he's very serious about solving those issues but it it's a way for him to look to his supporters like he's taking charge you know I personally think that the election for Trump was his own thriller novel he was turning to page he was little things and stuff I don't think he really thought he was gonna win yeah I totally agree with you I think he he was running on a campaign you know was you just really trying to touch hot-button topics for his supporters but right I think he was as shocked as anybody are were we no I literally when I will I stayed up late that night watching the results coming in and I was you know once you started seeing him taking these some of these battleground states you know Pennsylvania Michigan Wisconsin I was like oh my god this is really this is really gonna happen I believe and then and then when it all went down and Trump came out of the office first of all he stayed in there with Obama in in the in the little conference room for like damn near two hours right when he came out that dude had a look on his face like what did I get into oh my god you know it was interesting I was reading an interview with Howard Stern you know he had done a lot of interviews with Trump over the years theory was that the only reason troch ran for president is he wanted a bigger contract from NBC for The Apprentice Wow it was so it was just a PR campaign basically mm-hmm it's happened to catch this wave of discontent with Washington and these folks actually voted him president I mean it's still surreal yes very surreal very surreal Wow and speaking of surreal so you write horror novels you write thrillers and as a matter of fact I saw upwards of what like 10 books over the years since what mm yes yeah well yeah yeah had self-published my very first one uh-huh and that was Thunderbirds right yeah Thunder land yeah Thunder land okay I'm sorry in Atlanta huh yeah so there's been you know about ten novels some story collection some anthologies so just you know just trying to stay busy you know I have lots of lots of ideas for stuff I haven't even gotten to even writing yet mm-hmm because you know ideas they're everywhere I mean I can walk down the street and come up with an idea I mean there's just that's just kind of how my mind works although just kind of to go back to Trump I mean I don't think anyone could have written something like that you know what I'm saying man I really I'm not saying we're living in some kind of virtual reality thing but I think we're living in a moment in history where you know 10 15 20 30 100 years from now people are gonna be like what I y'all serious exactly y'all serious and the funny thing about it is we're all on this ride together I mean if there's a such thing as an Illuminati damn talk to Trump yet well I guess I got to make the best of it you know kind of thing yeah this is crazy I mean the other thing is you know with the social media piece this guy Trump Trump he tweets more than my daughter yeah Petrey T tweets more than and whoever thought that something is silly as a tweet I mean it just sounds silly I still don't like the name is it but we find it now what's going on with the federal government on social blanket media can you believe it no I keep waiting for somebody to just take his phone that's something that Bradbury never seen I was just talking to uh to guy Simms who was a writer he started with like the brother man coming back in the day now he's doing detective novels I want to ask you the same question asked him do you think that social media is dumbing down the English language absolutely because dumbing down the language isn't dumbing down the thought processes I mean talk about that a little bit um yeah I think it is I mean I see just not even just from a Twitter perspective just think about text messaging okay and I'm guilty of this myself even though I've written books where I will shorten words and not use complete sentences not use correct punctuation just because I'm trying to quickly get a message across via text so you know my wife my mother whoever and you know when you see everyone's doing this we're not taking the time to form complete sentences use proper punctuation and follow those rules of grammar and uses that we learned in school you know it generally I think it does change the quality of our thoughts and our in our discourse think about it mm-hmm if we're getting news from Twitter and you know 140 characters how much depth are you really absorbing from a tweet right you know or you look on Facebook which and I know you've seen this so we've heard about the so-called fake news the battle against fake news really know what's real and what is it I mean you see stuff people post all the time that just flat-out isn't true like they'll say oh you know Eddie Murphy died last night he didn't it's a hoax but as soon as that gets posted people will immediately start commenting on it like it's true right and you know he was such a talent so sad and I just think that it's this we're in this age now uh you know like instant commentary no ones we're not taking the time often enough to just stop and think does this really make sense hmm you were such in such a rush to just you know like somebody's post or comment on somebody's post about this or that and I just don't feel like as a as a society we are taking a step back taking the time to think through this communication that we're having and one of the things I actually did recently because I felt like I was falling into that same trap as I actually subscribe to a couple newspapers the print versions of the newspapers that would get away from my computer get away from my cell phone and actually have to read through an old-school newspaper you know you you read you read paper yeah paper did some I made from trees right you've just found that I need a break from looking at a computer screen looking at a cell phone and I just think more of us need to just take time away I mean I know are you you're in New York right DC DC ma yeah yeah so yeah so you'll get this so you know here in Atlanta traffic obviously is a major issue I know it's issue in the DC area to this think about whenever you go out driving how many people you see on their cell phone and they're supposed to be driving yeah yeah and it's literally become tragic because you see so many accidents cause I mean I've been in near accidents because somebody was texting or otherwise occupied on their phone as they're drifting over the lane about to smash into me right off so we've just become this nation into people who just literally aren't paying attention to what's going on around us which is fixated you know on these screens and Twitter or Facebook you know all these different you know websites and you know you you go to a website like you know like a what the Washington Post or the New York Times you know the the comments section is more important more interesting than the actual article now let's go into that a little bit cuz I was gonna mention that earlier people a lot of times they look at the headline and then that go straight to the comment section what is good as that say about our society what does that say yeah this we don't really care about whatever the writer was saying we just want to hear what people are thinking hmm you know I'm guilty of that too or how kind of quick quickly skim the article and then I just want to get down – okay let's expand the comments let's see what folks are saying about this mm-hmm then you know naturally you get the trolls on there especially now with all the political stuff going on so what is that I guess what I'm trying to get at what does that say in terms of what we value is it a voyeuristic kind of a thing is that we don't trust a quote-unquote authority what what does that mean that we go straight to the comments I think some of it is I think some of it's voyeuristic for those of us who are more lurkers we're not necessarily commenting on the story we're just want to see what other people are saying not one of those people and I'm not trying to get in arguing with somebody on a website about some story right so I'm just more of this you know sort of like rubberneckers passing by a traffic accident yeah what are they saying what's going on here but other people I think the anonymity of the Internet mm-hmm allows you to it gives you what they call that keyboard courage yeah feel like I can get into an argument I can be as rude as I want to be mm-hm and I don't have to bear any consequences of that yeah soon though there are some folks out there who they enjoy that you know they just want to wade in and shout folks down and cuss at them and all this stuff and it's just it just kind of gives a vehicle to some of the some of the less socially acceptable parts of us you know because a lot of the things that you see these people say on these message boards or comment sections they wouldn't you know they would never say to somebody's face in a room exactly ever so yeah I mean on one hand is great that people are being honest you know honest with you know with whatever their opinion is or being honest about that but other times I think it's just created this this environment where we can't even have a civil conversation about anything you know yes it's interesting I think this keyboard Kurds as you call it is like the liquid courage back in the day yeah you know you know people wouldn't say in today was they would sloppy drunk and then all of the feelings come out I mean I guess you know to wrap this whole social media thing up to me you know this liquid courage people courage whatever you want to call it it's showing that society is evolving very slowly very slowly now I make a clear distinction you know whenever possible between you know my white brothers and sisters the racist pieces of yeah and then the progressive the corner progressive people who you know like to me the difference between a liberal in a in a conservative is the Liberals don't beat the slaves I mean none of them want to disarm the police you know to me never none of them wanna you know you know make any serious changes none I'm going to talk about ownership none of that kind of stuff and so it kind of it kind of shows us where we are but on the flip side the most beautiful thing about social media and it's part of the reasons why I love doing this show is that that it gives artists and not everybody does it but it gives artists the opportunity to get rid of the middleman and take their product right directly to you know to the consumer I was peeping at your facebook page a little bit and I saw how many people are saying you know love your novel can't wait for the next one to come out you know this one guy I think it's a girl it's a girl I don't read too many books twice but I've read to your books twice you're a longtime fan of what I consider a Georgia office so I mean how important is that to you in terms of your writing and you gauging what impact your writing is having on your audience well it's huge you know when I first started out you know the internet was in terms of being a marketing vehicle was really just just getting started you know I gave your age away when you say a message board okay yeah yeah you know it was just just getting started but you know but now you know cuz I was with a major New York publisher for several years okay you know there are advantages and disadvantage disadvantages to that but you know my last couple books I've released independently and I plan to continue to do that really yeah absolutely because I have we control over when the book comes out content of the book the cover design where it's promoted how its distributed you know all those different decisions I'm able to make and then you tie in thee the social media aspects of being able to get the message out exactly how I want it to be conveyed is very important and it's a very important asset as a writer to have you know and you know and I try to strike a balance on Facebook and other social media platforms with I don't want to be one of those people that just constantly is promoting myself yeah you know because I have some probably a few thousand Facebook friends where you know some of them are writers and it just seems like okay well I don't even know you but you're already promoting your book Wow think that we you know we have to strike a balance between engaging people going conversation but also balancing that with you know just not trying to be some hustler all the time getting your work out there so but I just think overall you know for writers for for recording artists for film makers you know the the changes with how intellectual property is distributed in the last few years have been just literally world-changing I mean you you can now have a legitimately successful career without dealing with a major publishing or recording company I mean look at chance the rapper in Chicago mm-hmm where he wins a Grammy I mean he was an independent artists Wow you know so this these are things that just weren't possible ten years ago now you know authors creators of all kinds have that power oh just leave a look at the show you're doing mm-hmm you know could you have had this 15 years ago probably not right but now you've got this opportunity where you just started you just decided you know what this is a kind of show I want to hear so instead of waiting on somebody to do it I'm gonna create it myself no and it's just incredibly empowering and you know there are people out there what's what's interesting too is when you parts start putting your your work out there you find that there are others of like mind who say you know what this is exactly what I've been wanting to hear – mm-hm you just have this you know like these pockets of like-minded people just who you know you have this interest and support with this we know similar things so it's just it's a great it's a great time to be someone who creates anything new these days you know I've been saying this on my on my show since probably the second episode that there's we're in the middle of like this Renaissance of african-american I would say content creators yes and and that you know I think it's something similar to what was happening in the 90s mm-hmm I was saying in 90s because there was a ton of people I was in Philly at the time and there was a ton of people that they were doing all kinds of stuff it was there the people who were doing the hair and the locks and coming out with their own haircare products and then it was the comic book people and it was the writers everybody's independent publishing some from kiko some more legitimate yeah and and they were in that and the black expose to travel up and down the East Coast in the whole bit and and so I'm talking to these people so I'm talk to brother from Canada who's doing his own stuff even with the podcasting thing I mean it's a just one show which is kind of cute they're kind of young you know I mean it's like the Millennium something like melon and Millennials I think it's what they call it sassy little 20-somethings you know just just just talking whatever they talk you know and and like you said that people it's like their own personal gravis that line from from p.m. dawn my own personal gravity serves me well all those people are just drawn to them you know and and I don't want to talk too much but tell me about your your demographic who responds to you who is reaching out to you in social media to describe those people I think right now and as it's been for I would say the majority of the crew of my career it's been primarily black women I would say probably between the ages of 25 and 54 wait a minute wait a minute wait you being sisters reading your scary novels man is that what you're trying to tell me absolutely yeah you know I have done dozens and dozens of book club meetings no whole phone and in person across the country so I would say oh if I had to put a percentage I would say that probably 75% is that particular group Wow and um you know after that then I would say black men you know not as many black men as I would like I think a lot of brothers mostly will read nonfiction you know we're looking for for information not necessarily looking for a story sure looking for something like you know tell me how to make some money you know immediately applicable type information but there's still those of us who do you know read fiction so that would be the second largest group probably 10% after that I would say it really runs the gamut I mean it's you know white white women some white men you know people of color you know not black people but you know Hispanic Asian you know you know but those are you know the smaller segments so and the thing is when I was a written when I was published by Kensington out of New York and I was part of a you know an actual african-american rent-a-car Dafina and you know they specifically focused on the african-american market so at the time you know there are a lot of black bookstores across the country you know independent stores so that a big focus was getting into those stores getting into the blacks fiction section of a bookstore chain like borders you know remember that borders yeah man I was there by my stuff the last day I felt like a vulture man I felt real shame myself man had an arm full of stuff you know when when they went out of business that really impacted the bottom lines of a lot of black authors because we were selling 40% of our books in borders Wow yeah I mean they they did a really good job with getting our books you know you know in front of the readers he did a really good job with that mm-hmm they weren't replaced you know Barnes and Noble doesn't do as good of a job with and you know obviously online book selling has really taken off since then so you know it's pretty much Amazon is you know the number one game in town now exactly you know as far as the demographic is concerned you know those are pretty much you know I haven't done an official study but it just from you know anecdotal evidence I would say though that's the breakdown of it okay you know and that's cool you know I'm honestly at this point I'm happy to have any fans yeah you know no it's cool with me because I've just decided I'm gonna write what I enjoy writing I feel like I can write well and what challenges me that's that's what I'll focus on and then whoever happens to like these kinds of stories I'm happening I'm happy to have them along for the ride so it's not it's not so much a thing of them I'm trying to say oh I only want black women or black men or whatever I'm just trying to stories that I feel a representative the world that I know right now I got just like I say your own personal gravity man you gotta make excuses for Mother Nature let me let me ask you this question um answer this question what function does horror and this is my North Carolina accent coming out I can't say that last a walk what what function is Whore serve in society's got to have the function I think I know but you're the expert what is horror sir what what function why do we go to horror novels why do we read your books why what's what's the other than the excellent writing and all that kind of stuff but what what what value do we gain from it so I really think that for horror fiction movies activities like riding a roller coaster I really think it's because people have this thrill seeker gene I'm not really a gene but a thrill seeker inclination where you want to be taken to the edge okay and then you want to come out on the other side and realize that hey you know what that was pretty awful but I survived that you know it's almost like it in a way sort of prepares you to deal with the worst things that could possibly happen you know and with my books in particular obviously you know they're about things that horrible things that happen people die people getting killed in bad ways but you have the primary characters you know somebody lives and somebody sees these horrible things they endure it they survive their maybe scarred by it but they're still get to the other side and they are they've learned something from that experience so I think that we have as human beings we have this innate inclination to want to know what death feels like you know no one really knows until obviously until you actually die but we want to at least get an experience that sort of approximates what we think it would be like and then get comfortable okay you know what that was pretty scary but I'm alright you know like you get on that roller coaster you know that goes 15 stories high in the air and swoops down it makes you feel like your stomach's in your mouth but when the rides over you're like you know what that was scary as hell but I'm alright so I really think that that's kind of what it fulfills you see people in the movie theater watching horror horror films jumping in their seat screaming you know and it's it's scary but it's kind of fun in a way and it's thrilling it gets your heart pumping I guess your adrenaline surge and you know and so when I'm writing when I'm writing you know I'm trying to take people to that peak of Terror but also show them that you know when it's all said and done you know what this character of these characters may have been through this but they live through it and they're stronger for it you know that's ultimately the message that you know which we seek from this type of material Wow all right all right I hope that coulda said that better so uh speaking of scary stuff in the dark novel that came out in 2013 2014 yeah yeah okay describe a little bit about that I feel like you got a a Morehouse graduate running for his life is that the deal so so that one is about this you know most of my books are set in the Atlanta area because you know that's where I live and it's easy to just drive down the street and set my story somewhere this particular one is about a family that they give this a really good deal on a historic home in a historic neighborhood of Atlanta and so they're moving into the house and you know they're excited about it got this great deal but then before they've even finished unpacking somebody shows up at the front door that's this old man and he basically tells them look I know you got a good deal on this place but this is actually my house it was stolen from me mm-hm and I want it back I'm giving you three days to get the hell out of here larette's okay and there's some indication when he has this discussion with the husband at the beginning of the story that he maybe there's more to him than meets the eye you know we know is he's not just some kooky old man he may actually have some particular talents or a background that makes him somebody to be reckoned with okay so the story follows you know it's all it all takes place within three days Wow and basically from that initial confrontation of the front porch of the house things just begin to escalate for family and you know well it's always interesting when I write these stories and I have characters who were african-american a lot of black folks when we see a movie we'll say you know what if that if if that happened to a black person immediately I'm leaving the house right no if white folks stay black folks leave Oh always when I write these stories I have to think of like realistic reasons for why black person would stay in the house once you deal with that okay here is why they might stay in the house you know you kind of handle it from there then you then you escalate the further and say well with this particular story I actually had them just decide you know what we don't want the house anymore we're getting now well but then it's too late it doesn't matter so you know that this the stories I don't want to spoil it right don't spoil it that's going on yeah exactly you know that's how it builds it's just realistically handling how would you know a black black family handle a situation like that because we have this idea in our heads you know what if somebody came up to me and was talking crazy and I thought that there was something supernatural about them I'm just gonna leave right okay well you might leave but what if that doesn't end it you know it just kind of builds from there but yeah that um that was a fun book to write you know it deals with the subject buddhu which really yeah it kind of freaks some people out but you know was it was it was fun to deal with you know I did a good amount of research as I always do to just try to make it you know somewhat credible at least sound credible anyway and yeah so the response to that book is it has been really good so let me ask you this when you write how are you like from what perspective are you writing are you just like this kind of all sing i above watching everything below are you inside with the characters well i'm definitely inside with the characters the book i'm working on now for example you know i I always create a basic outline before I start writing something but what always happens in the course of actually writing it I start identifying so closely with the characters that I will start changing the story from what I originally planned okay so I'll realize well hey this guy this woman is actually not going to do what I thought they would do at first mm-hm they are the kind of person who is they're not gonna run away they're gonna do make this decision or that decision that sort of varrock veer away from what I had originally planned so you know that forces meaning it sort of recalibrate the story but it's a great thing because that's so that's evidence to me that I'm at least emotionally connecting with the material so you're saying that the characters are kind of guiding you yeah okay it basically to some extent take on a life of their own so beat so that being said is there ever a point in your writing process where you scare the hell out of yourself absolutely absolutely in that I actually feel like there's every time I write a story I need to have that particular experience where I need to have a scene where got chills down my spine when I wrote it because I was so closely experiencing that moment the character so I definitely you know I'd like to feel that I like to feel like oh if a character is feeling sad crying you know I want to feel tears in my eyes to me that's what I'm seeking because I think if I'm experiencing this through the character that I'm writing then I'm gonna be able to touch the reader that much more effectively so I'm really looking for those strong emotional connections tell me a little bit about your writing process so so what I have pretty much had the same process of follow up I will take some time brainstorm some ideas and uh you know I I said earlier I have ideas for you probably take me 20 years to write all the ideas I've generated so far but once I get that basic premise which really just starts with asking the question what if you know what if a family bought a house and soon after they got there some crazy person showed up and told them to get out in three days so start with that initial question what if that premise and then really start taking notes this really sort of a free association process of just thinking of random scenes you know pieces of dialogue just things that could possibly happen in the course of fleshing out that story from there that might that process might take a few weeks for me to work through and then I will actually start doing what a more formal outline of here's what I see happening in the beginning of the book is rest tapping in the middle and then here's what I see happening in the end and then that usually will take me about a month to flesh out mm-hmm so I have that I usually get to a point where I'm just sort of tired of working on the outline and I'll just be impatient to actually start writing a draft so I'll start writing the first draft the first draft could take they could take a mouth that could take four or five months it just depends on how quickly a flow but I'll have that first draft I'm really at that point I'm not trying to get everything perfect I'm just trying to get down the story as as quickly as possible like follow whatever inspiration I get put it down them you know on the page and just keep keep things rolling okay so I'll finish the first draft I like to set that aside for at least a couple of weeks you just sort of let it marinate a little bit and I'll come back I'll read it from beginning to end start making notes about okay you know I like that part of the book I didn't like that part of the book I need to add in some more details about this or change this character add a new character you know whatever you know story logic or structural type improvements I need to make so I'll do a second draft without those notes and then I'll also finally do a third draft where sort of is like a clean up draft of just trying to get everything as tight as possible with the story and then normally by that point I'm done okay usually I don't do more than three but you know some people will do you know they'll do five ten drafts it just depends right Wow now at this point is this where your team comes together do you have editor as there other people involved I guess there's somebody that actually creates the electronic version prepares it for print like is there a team that you work with yeah there's there's a guy used for typesetting and like proofreading okay and then as far as just beta readers attend to use my wife my mother a few other family members people who you know been read my stuff for years and you know will generally give me someone on his feedback but then you know then I have a cover designer that someone I've also worked with for a while who I know I could give him some direction on what I had in mind and that he can just bring it to life you know it's pretty amazing to see this stuff but this guy can do know pretty much from that point like I said since I'm now working independently I have control over that whole process where before it was send off the book to the publisher and they just eventually they'll give you a cover and you really don't have any say over the cover and write the final you know content you know it's pretty much out of your hands with some writers like that that you know some writers don't want to focus on the production aspects of things right I've never been like that I've always been a hands-on person I you know I like to I have I like having input in every part of every step of the process okay okay okay now now at what point does this book end up on Brandon Massey calm and that's Brandon spell the way it sounds Massey mas s ey calm at what point does that book end up on Brandon Massey calm so normally I like to once I know the book is going to be done and published by a certain date which I would say is typically about two months before I'm going to publish it I will at that point post it on my website post you know the cover synopsis an excerpt maybe some pre-order links to various you know channels for people to buy it and then I'll start promoting it I have an email newsletter that folks can sign up with by visiting my website so folks who are on that newsletter I will also give them this advance notice about forthcoming book but yeah I mean you know the you know it's interesting though with with the rise of the social media a lot of the authors are finding that their own websites really aren't that valuable anymore I mean they're spending their time on Facebook while just letting people know via Facebook that they've got a new book out so I do that too when a book is out I'll post it on my website I'll post it on Facebook I need to read to revive my Twitter account but I'll put it on there too okay you know from that point you know once you get there initial push things sort of take off from there and sometimes I'll do some you know additional advertising or promotion to just keep things you know kind of going from that initial push you know that thing that the advertisement promotion is that what form does that take is that ads on Facebook is that other things what it's I would say ads on Facebook are a really really effective way of getting the word out because it's just so targeted to the exact profile of the people you're trying to reach so that's that's one way the Amazon actually has advertising channels that they've opened up to independent authors now so that's something else that I've been exploring okay but then there's some other websites like there's an email distribution less called bookbub book bu okay and they have a really powerful email list where you basically purchase an ad that goes out to a pre-selected group based on whatever genre you're writing in and they have an african-american list as well I think it has something like a hundred thousand people on it I mean it's it's just crazy Wow is that you have to pay for that I suppose you do have to pay for that but it's when you look at the actual cost of the compared to the benefits potential benefits it's I mean it's it's cheap its cheap I mean you're talking a couple hundred bucks to reach a hundred thousand people that's nothing you know yeah so but that you know there there's this whole eco sphere so to speak that that's sprung up to support this whole movement toward independent work you know you have like I was talking about your type centers or graphic designers your freelance editors your book promotion vehicles and all these things have created after the rise of e-books and print on demand and you know all this you know audio books and authors can create on their own all this stuff is sprung up to that so you just don't you don't need a traditional publisher unless you just have your heart set on getting your book in the Walmart right all right so you felt like we're in entering the age of the decentralized mode of production so to speak oh yeah absolutely absolutely now years ago I remember driving with somebody of mine to New York to listen to George Frazier he did a book called success runs in our race yeah and I think George and I remember going to another lecture it was Ron Karenga Maulana Karenga I think he calls his name now and then so I remember going to these you know book signings different places and stuff and I remember back in the day in Borders I would see the sister circles right you know the cutie pies with the locks and all that kind of stuff sitting around pull the chairs together you know I me and they are reading this thing like once a week they mean it is that still happening now it still happens it's I would say it's not as prevalent as it was like back in the you know like 2003 and 2004 you know I was doing book club meetings like all the time okay so I would say that you know and I actually do have a book club meeting scheduled next month but they're not you don't see as much of them as they used to some of the book clubs I'll be honest some of them were just more more like social gatherings of you know when we just kind of want to get together you know Todd drink wine II you know the book was sort of an afterthought I got I got you know if that's cool I mean but they were they were still supporting authors they were buying the works some of them were really avid readers they're really into you know taking deep into the book and asking you know incredibly detailed questions or the authors about why you why you did this or that way your story I think that's still there but I don't see as much of it as I use – okay so I think I think what's what's probably happen is though some of that discussion has migrated online you know so it's no longer you know sisters sitting together you know in the living room you know they're talking on Facebook you know it's just you know there's still conversation but it's not it's not this it's not in the same same location as it used to be I think gotcha gotcha so four people want to be notified about your upcoming book now let's let's talk about it we kind of tucked off air you said that there was a book you were working on you know coming out this fall or or winter maybe you talked about they said it was the working title is what you said frenzied right frenzied and it really deals with I've always been fascinated by these these live-work-play communities where they have a lot of them here in Atlanta where they sort of like these self-contained cities hmm are you you know you drive through and they've got you know they've got the retail you know with the restaurants and the shops and then they have the residential aspect of you know all the houses apartments condos what-have-you and then they have a play element so they may have you know a golf course bowling alleys you know things like that so I was just thinking you know whenever you're writing something like a thriller or a horror novel it's all about trying to create an isolated location where you can have you know your bad stuff go down okay so with this particular story it takes place in a live-work-play community a place it you know I it's fictional I created it there's basically a an infestation of an unknown virus so to speak okay it begins to spread like wildfire through this community Wow it follows so you know you've got this community of you know let's say 2000 people contain would literally already contain within walls that they created themselves as part of the community that they agreed to live in oh you know what happens when something like that some type of threat takes hold it causes people to behave in ways that are you know deeply disturbing so that's that's frenzied and that's coming out fall early winter is that yeah like let's say September okay okay we call that September all right I want to talk about a couple more books today we're gonna kind of wrap it up maybe we could talk a little bit about like some advice for aspiring office things of that sort covenant key tell us about covenant so covenant was a book I did in I actually wrote that in 2008 that story deals with I've always been fascinated by religion and specifically sort of the the charismatic type Christian churches where it was the church is really based around the personality of a you know a charismatic leader so there was quite a bit of that here in the Atlanta area so for example like a Bishop Eddie Long who recently passed yeah or a creflo dollar you know who this is 63 million dollar plane man exactly you know that's that's a really well you know it's popular these churches are very popular in the Atlanta area mm-hmm and you know I know I've been to some of them myself I was a member of one of the churches for a while so I have you know my own inside information perspective on some of the things that happen and so I just really was wanting to write a story about you know what if there is such a church with large membership thousands of members very influential leader who let's say their agenda just isn't necessarily Christian maybe what if they're at is control you know what if it's power mm-hmm what does that look like what happens in that situation you know how can you deal with some of the people who are so fanatical in their belief that they don't even question what the leader of that church is doing like anything thinking they can do no wrong you know whatever they say okay and I think that that is a very dangerous attitude you sure that's fiction I mean you describe it everything but the kool-aid yeah exactly exactly that's what's scary about it is that it's it's all very realistic so just taking that that's really the background of covenant is you've got this very influential powerful church it got some characters who are basically standing in the way of that church reaching its ultimate objective and there's basically the secret scandal that's involves the pastor of the church did you get any backlash from that book I mean what were people with their religious sensitivities offended it means you know it's fun it's funny you asked that because I thought I would but I honestly that the people who read my stuff in general probably don't go to those churches okay because I didn't really get the backlash that I was expecting to get I was just getting more of them oh yeah yeah that's yeah that's how they are okay talk about cornered so cornered was actually my last book with Kensington and that one dealt with dealt with a character who basically he had grown up in Detroit he was best friends with this guy who you know I think we've all had these friends who probably were people we on retrospect shouldn't have been friends with but for whatever reason you know you hung out with them and you did stuff with them that maybe you regret doing but let's say at some point you put that pass behind you maybe maybe you moved to a different city you were no longer in contact with this person so that's the main character of the book his name is Corey he's had he his running partner from back in the day in Detroit was this guy who basically is because what became a career criminal okay and it got bad enough with his former best friend when his performer best friend is actually on the FBI's ten most wanted list Wow he's on the run and then Cory you know has rebuilt his life he's moved to Atlanta he's married you know got a kid everything's gravy but then his old friend just shows up one day and he's basically like yo what's up crispy and we should hang out again and it just builds from there of you know trying to basically cut those ties some of those as you know that you have with your past and how difficult that that can be sometimes because you know you still have some of those old loyalties or feeling like you know how I don't want to think that I'm you know you know sold out or this or bad you know I want him to know think I'm still down with the cause yeah yeah yeah all right that's scary to cut loose people into toxic yeah that you've grown you've outgrown so to speak yeah you know it's something that I personally have dealt with and it's you know it's a little it's a little uncomfortable because you're just like look you know we were we were close thirty years ago we don't have anything in common anymore you know I'm say and to even try to open that door again it's just gonna cause problems so you just you know you just kind of have to move on but it's just not always easy to do that mm-hmm Wow Wow ladies and gentlemen we continue to talk to Brandon Massey horror and suspense you know years ago Brandon I remember talking to this dry media artist he was in the mall with the kiosk and the stenciling you know and you know I was I was still in high school me my buddy was asking all kinds of questions and he said something I never forgot he said it takes ten years to master a medium and he wasn't talking about pastels pencils oil you know I don't know that placket anymore but things like that you know you've been riding since what you've been published in 2002 correct yeah since 2002 well we're actually more like mid-90s I did some shorter work but okay I was writing I've been writing since I was 15 like serious fear seriously writing so almost 30 years so you've definitely attained mastery in the art of telling a story can you talk about some of the pain points that you've discovered along the way some common mistakes the office may encounter things of that nature yeah I think one of the biggest mistakes is just not taking it seriously enough okay you know what's really necessary not just when you're learning but even when you've been doing it a while it's just to be very consistent in just working this writing like I literally try to write every single day I don't let a day pass where I don't write something every day I write means that I'm growing you know I'm writing something I'm learning more continuing to practice my craft and what often times when I talk to two writers who will ask questions about you know how you get started how do you punish finish a book you know I asked him what was the last time you wrote something oh you know I haven't done anything in a while I'm just kind of thinking about something only that's you're not serious about it you know you've got to write just like if you imagine if you are a you know you call yourself a guitar player guitarists you imagine not playing your guitar every day I mean why would you not play it every day that's what you do that's part of who you are that's your passion that's your expertise that's something you're going to regularly practice so I would say but number one thing that people fail to do just to write on a consistent basis if you do that everything just starts to take care of itself it's really that simple you know writing after that I would say reading you know reading is sort of the pathway to writing okay so you know reading you know everything you can get your hands on lots of different stuff you should always be reading something if you know it may not be fixing I mean you just just to be reading something those I think isn't very important I think if you do those two things you can be successful you know I think sometimes writers will get too worried about the business aspect of how do I promote something or you know do I need to get my book copyrighted or you know how am I gonna promote myself how that stuff is just you don't even need to worry about that until you written a lot of material because like you said like you're this guy you met said it's ten years mm-hmm or to do another analogy 10,000 hours yeah okay right it's a level of competence and just looking at my own you know path I really do think that that's pretty accurate so in that if I'm a new writer starting today if I'm writing you know five pages a day I'm still looking at probably about five years before I'm ready for primetime so to speak okay all right Wow Brandon May has been a pleasure speaking with you brother yeah yeah I've enjoyed this definitely so I'm just that to wrap up you gonna come up with a novel let's just say September of 2000 I was 17 and the working title is frenzied yep and in August in August of 2000 17 you mentioned to me Atlanta noir can you speak to that real quick yeah Lana noir is a story of crime and mystery stories anthology that's being released in August and basically all the writers participating have been asked to write a story that takes place in a respective neighborhood of Atlanta so I wrote about Grant Park which I'm very familiar with so I put my story there in the store it's come out the prisoner and the book comes out in August righteousness righteousness where do folks buy your books tell us how to reach out to you on social media I would say buying the books the best place to start would be Amazon they've got all of them in both ebook and paperback editions okay and then as far as social media go to my website Brandon Massey comm you can also find me on Facebook and add author Brandon Massey right yep they offer Brandon Massey fantastic elicit man it's been a pleasure speaking with you thanks for appearing on the show yeah man I've appreciate it thank you very much yo family that's another episode of Jonathan's soul in the bag hope y'all dug it and I hope y'all took note of the contact info into the interview go ahead reach out go ahead and support those folks and you listen by the way family speaking of support you can support your friendly neighborhood podcaster by going over to Jonathan Sol calm and pick it up my ebook Malcolm DeMars Malcolm like the Prophet Mars like the plan it's an e-book I wrote three families go to Mars to escape the violence of racism of Earth black people in space always intrigued me and that's what you get you get the politics the aliens the family dynamic high technology the whole not and I think they've been tuned for something for that story but yeah family go ahead and check them out also you can follow me on our social media jo hn hej in scul on black spot on tumblr and on twitter and of course you can subscribe to this show on iTunes and if you go to John Pistole calm as it with an RSS feed achieving the comfort listen I love you guys hope all your dreams come true and if they're not just work a little bit smarter you

2 thoughts on “GREAT INTERVIEW: Horror thriller novelist Brandon Massey

  1. WELL'WELL in just about 1:02:15 minutes broadcast and interview was uploaded on March 4,2017. "BLACK FIRST"

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