Permuted: Hi Brian! Thanks for chatting with us. Why don’t we start at the very beginning. Will you tell us a little bit about yourself, what books you’ve written, etc?
Brian: Always a pleasure and thanks for inviting me. I’ve been writing pretty much since I was old enough to spell, and what began as a kid’s homemade comic book eventually evolved into my Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter series. A kind of a third-grader’s concept of a werewolf hunting superhero became Sylvester Logan James, or SLJ as we call him.
Permuted: You have a pretty epic book coming out this September. What was your inspiration for writing the Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter trilogy? In other words: why werewolves?
Brian: Yes, the trilogy will be bundled into an omnibus and I’m looking forward to that. The release date, as you know, is September 20th which just so happens to be SLJ’s birthday, so I’ll take that as a good omen.
As for inspirations, there have been a slew of them. Early on it was my father’s animosity toward the whole concept of werewolves that probably planted the seed for a werewolf killer. Then my mother gave me her old typewriter when I was ten which got me started writing. Aside from those two very formative things, I remember watching or reading about vampire slayers in the 1970’s and thinking, ‘why aren’t there any werewolf slayers?’ I mean it seemed like every time I opened a comic book or turned on the television someone was staking a vampire. I liked the idea of a monster hunter, but there were just a lot more monsters out there than there seemed to be hunters. I thought I’d fill the gap a little, even if it was for my own imagination.
Permuted: Do you remember what first drew you to this genre?
Brian: My first horror film was Dan Curtis’ take on Dracula, with Jack Palance as the Count. I saw it on a motel TV when I was 7 or 8 while my family was on vacation. My parents weren’t into horror at all so it was my introduction to the genre, and I was hooked. I went out searching for more and it wasn’t hard to find; Famous Monsters of Filmland, the Marvel Comics monster line and Friday night Creature Features became a regular part of my diet. The genre itself appealed to me because it deals in fear, which is such a primal emotion and can take the heart out of even the staunchest superhero. As a result, the idea of courage became very important to me but I didn’t find most superheroes to be all that brave. They had superpowers, so what did they have to be afraid of? An ordinary person on the other hand dealing with monsters would need to be courageous.
Permuted: In your experience, what has been the most difficult part of being a writer? What about the most rewarding part?
Brian: Finding the time to write has always been the hardest part for me, made harder when my son was born a few years back. The other obstacles don’t really bother me that much; I feel they just come with the territory.
As for rewarding, naturally I love seeing my books printed and bound, and positive reviews are always encouraging, but for me writing is its own reward. Finishing a solid paragraph or page or chapter satisfies me the most.
Permuted: What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Brian: It wasn’t given to me directly, but I read in Stephen King’s Danse Macabre, which kind of encapsulates his perspective on writing , that he likes questions more than he likes answers. He essentially says that it’s OK to leave some things hanging, and that he doesn’t feel a writer is obligated to tie every single loose end. I was relieved to read that because I had always felt the same way, and if you write horror you could do worse than have your opinion validated by Stephen King.
Permuted: What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you?
Brian: Hard to say what people will find surprising anymore, but one thing that comes to mind is my faith in Christ. I don’t say much about it for the same reasons I generally don’t talk politics, and although I don’t always walk the walk nor talk the talk, my personal faith is important to me.
I could also throw in that I don’t read nearly as much as most authors I know. Some people are surprised by that. I also won’t eat corn if its off the cob.
Permuted: What kind of research did you do when writing Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter?
Brian: Almost all of my research for the first book was done in libraries because I didn’t have the internet the book was almost finished. So, I had to research the Vietnam War, the USMC and its role in that war, POW jungle camps, the Canadian penal system as well as its facilities in the 1970s, Canadian government agencies, their relationship with the Soviet Union under the Trudeau administration of the 80s, New Orleans voodoo/hoodoo culture, I could go on but let’s just say it was a lot. I wanted to be as accurate on every front as I could so I tried to cross reference every fact I could. I already had a good deal of information under my belt from my background in anthropology and my independent research of the occult, and tried to incorporate these things whenever the story allowed.
Permuted: Was there a book you read growing up that was particularly formative for you?
Brian: No, not really. To tell the truth I didn’t read all that much coming up, unless you count comic books and horror mags. As a result I don’t think my writing style really echoes a particular author. I will say, and I seldom miss a chance to, that Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian has had a tremendous impact on me and how I write. It’s easily the best book I’ve read in the last ten years and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been through it.
Permuted: Can you tell us a little about your writing process?
Brian: I start any project by collecting ideas. I write down words, phrases, character traits, etc. for sometimes months. I think about the story I want to tell until I fall asleep thinking about it. I let all that get mossy in my brain and turn it over and over until it starts to come together. At that point it’s like something has come alive in my brain that needs to get out and then I’ll sit down and start to write. I do rough outlines as well, but most of the time they go right out the window after the first chapter or so. The story takes on a life of its own and surprises me at every turn.
Permuted: Here’s the big question: what’s next for your writing?
Brian: Working on the first installment of the Winterfox Journals, which will be the life story of Sylvester’s mentor Michael Winterfox. I’ll probably get 3 books from that at least, and then I have several ideas on expanding the world of AWH, from a sequel series that will continue the werewolf hunter’s legacy to something written from the Beast’s point of view. We’ll see how things go.
Permuted: Have you had any incidents in your career that were major a-ha moments? What did you learn in those instances?
Brian: The biggest a-ha moment of my life was the day I started identifying as a writer. I had always loved to write but I never really internalized it as part of who I was. I was talking to a friend about something I was working on and I told him, ‘Y’know, I’m happiest when I’m writing.” That sort of clicked in my head, hearing myself say it out loud, and I realized writing was something I was meant to do for the rest of my life. Even if what I wrote was never published, even if it was never read, it was something I had to do.
Permuted: Where can readers find more information about your work and upcoming events?
Brian: The best place to find out more about the books would be my website www.werewolfhunter.com . For the latest news I suggest liking my Facebook page, either www.facebook.com/autobiographywerewolfhunter or www.facebook.com/Brian.P.Easton or both. The second page is my author’s page where I interact with readers.
Thanks, again, for joining us, Brian!
Brian P. Easton’s Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter Trilogy (now available for preorder on Amazon) debuts September 20, 2016. The three volume omnibus includes: Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter, Heart of Scars and The Lineage