B.R. writes like a shadowy back alley. He nails his words to the page with a sledgehammer.
& as for Smitty, well, Smitty damn well smoulders in his stories. Dark eyes & an even darker heart. If your stairs creak at night just hope it ain’t Smitty.
P D B recently chewed the literary fat with him.
PDB: Your character Smitty has really captured people’s dark imagination. How did he come about?
By accident. Over at ThinkingTen.com, a site where writers do quick flash fiction pieces, one day I wrote a short piece—the first Smitty. About someone seeking revenge. And Smitty came out full grown—fully developed. The moment I put the first words down, especially describing his dark eyes, all kinds of stories came to mind. And with each story Smitty became more dark, more complex; more interesting.
PDB: Your mostly known as a hardboiled crime writer but you also write in other genres. Can you tell us about this?
I grew up on science-fiction, fantasy, and detective novels. While vociferously devouring everything I could in these genres, I also wanted to tell my on tales. To try my hand in creating memorable characters. Take fantasy for instance. Traditional fantasy is okay—and gifted writers make it come alive—but I’ve always wanted to explain fantasy as science-fiction. ‘Magic’ and ‘dragons’ as science in the extreme. Or fantasy as—how shall I say this accurately?—more personal. Not just caricature pieces. But something you could reach out and touch—taste—hear—and see.
Fantasy has so much potential yet to be explored. I want to explore it as far as I can.
PDB: What’s the appeal of writing series characters?
For me the appeal in writing a character, or a group of characters, as in my homicide detectives, Turner Hahn and Frank Morales, is the fascination of examining, and building, complex personalities. Personalities with both strengths and foibles; personalities that are so intricately put together they compel a reader to be drawn into their web.
I want to make my characters either lovable or detestable—but which ever—I want them to be hypnotic to the reader. Forcing the reader by their wills alone to draw the reader back for more and more.
I think Turner Hahn and Frank Morales are like that. Each unique. Each with his weaknesses. I think Smitty is like that—a cold killer, yet . . .
And if you ever read my fantasy character, the one I call Roland of the High Crags, I think you’ll find him every bit as complex and as compelling, yet uniquely different, as well.
PDB: How has the recent e-book explosion affected your writing?
This question could become a long treatise over how the publishing world has suddenly been ushered upward into a higher plane of creativity. In all honesty I think traditional publishing had been enslaved, limited, even channeled into very narrow venues of interests when large international corporations decided to buy up publishing houses. New voices, different voices, strange voices in fiction were systematically weeded out. Replaced with the idea that only authors who could write the mega-hit international bestseller should be developed.
Decades ago many publishing houses thrived on publishing mid-list authors. Not any longer. That is, not until the arrival of electronic publishing. That and print-on-demand publishing. But more so with e-publishing. The venue is so open, so accessible, it literately allows anyone to publish. The market is wide open—consumers looking for something good to read now number in the billions. I suspect those who are alive today have witnessed the birth of a new renaissance in publishing. One I hope to exploit to its fullest limit.
PDB: Have you ever considered writing for films or television?
Oh yes. I’m playing around with ideas. I have some script ideas for several Turner Hahn/Frank Morales movies. Someone, a couple of writers I know, have mentioned how they think Smitty, for instance, would make a fantastic television series.
The problem is script writing is more formalized—and I haven’t had much practice in it. But I think I could get the hang of it. The real problem is finding the producers who would be interested in these characters. Find the producers first; the writing and the stories won’t be difficult to do.
PDB: How much time do you spend marketing your writing?
As much as a very, very limited budget will allow me. I do all the free stuff: the blogs, the social networks, etc. But I believe in an old cliché, ‘It takes money to make money.’ Twist that around a little and say, ‘To make money takes great advertising.’ Unfortunately, as with most of us, money is a bit on the tight side for me at the moment.
PDB: What’s next on the cards?
Who knows? I’ve been writing for more than forty years. With little success, I might add, on a commercial level. In the last two years more people have read my creations than ever before. That trend seems to be continuing. Hell, maybe with some luck, I might even make enough money to buy my wife a good late night dinner at a fine restaurant.
That, my friends, would be a kick in the pants!
Make sure you take a peek In The Dark Mind Of B r Stateham
and you can check out some of his hardboiled short stories here at Pulp Metal Magazine and various other places across the internet.