Hi Denise, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Thank you for this opportunity, LaToya. Well, my name is Denise J Bryson, and I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, where I still reside. I’m the oldest of three girls and three boys. I graduated from Marygrove College with a Bachelor’s of Art degree and currently work for Delta Airlines, where I have been employed as a Flight Attendant for over twenty years. My love for reading and writing began as a kid. My mother, who departed this life a year ago, was an avid reader and lover of horror, with Stephen King and James Patterson being two of her favorite authors. She passed her love of reading and horror on to me, and I started writing in the fourth grade. My first story written as a kid was titled The Last Witch in Salem, and I still have this piece. I didn’t start writing seriously until I was much older, though. Once I finished my latest story titled In The Footsteps Of A Killer, I stepped out on faith and submitted it to Artistic Words Publishing, who ended up liking the story as much as I did. This led to me becoming a signed author. My plan for now and in the future is to keep readers entertained with my intriguing, out-of-the-box storytelling abilities.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I am teamed up with a great set of people at Artistic Words Publishing, who are working towards making my books available in bookstores all over the world. I would eventually like to make writing my full-time job and even see my books turned into movies.
Which writers inspire you?
My mother’s favorite author, of course…Stephen King, the master of horror. I want to be the mistress. (LOL!)
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on the sequel to In the Footsteps of a Killer.
What genre are your books and why did you choose that genre?
I write Horror because it’s what I grew up reading and enjoying. Some of my favorites memories are of my family and me watching horror movies on Saturday nights while eating popcorn. We would scream and hold each other in fright, then laugh at our reactions. It was a hoot.
In ten words or less, can you create a quote that describes you and your writing?
A little horror never hurt anyone.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your recent book?
I could see Gabrielle Union, Thandie Newton, or Zoe Saldana playing the part of Leah Moore.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I think writing chose me, because after that 4th grade story, my head filled with ideas. However, it wasn’t until I wrote my first story and declared it done that the stories began to pour out of my head and onto paper.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Presently, I’m writing part-time because I have a full-time job. However, I’m hoping to change that soon. Sometimes writing does feel like a full-time job, because there are some days when that’s all I will do.
Do you have a special time of the day to write? How is your day structured?
When I’m scheduled to work, I try to get out of bed a little earlier before I have to start getting ready so I can write. On my off days, sometimes I write all day. Then there are other days when I’ll write for only a few hours. I’m not very disciplined yet, but I’m working on it.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
No, I just go with the flow. Some days I might only produce a few hundred words and others I might crank out 1,000 words or more.
Where do your ideas come from?
I’m a dreamer. I dream very vivid dreams, which most times are in color and in sequence. Some people call them nightmares because it’s horror, but it’s almost like I know it’s an idea for a story. So, I’m usually not afraid.
Do you outline your story before writing it or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
As it is right now, an idea comes to me and I run with it. There are times when I draw up an outline as I go along, then use it as a reference and to keep my timeline straight.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’ve learned you have to make it believable. Even if the story is out of this world, you have to make it seem possible. Checking facts also helps. Readers want to know that you know what you’re talking about.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
For me, it’s making horror believable. If you can make it seem possible, the fear becomes stronger and more real. My mission is accomplished when I can have the reader say to themselves, “Oh, that could happen,” as they are reading my work.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Well, In The Footsteps of a Killer is about a serial murderer, and unfortunately, women are the usual targets for these types of people. So, the killing of the women was the hardest part. But, again, to make it seem believable it has to be possible.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
I think the easiest thing about writing is once I have decided where I want to take my readers the flow of the story just sort of comes. I can get going and before I know it things get revealed that sometimes even I didn’t see coming.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Well, my very first story (not the one I wrote back in fourth grade) took twenty years for me to pen. In The Footsteps of a Killer took nine months. I can write a short story in a day, and longer stories can take me anywhere from nine months to a year to complete.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I envision myself being a full-time writer who has several books on the shelves and maybe a film or two in the works.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Start writing sooner. Don’t doubt your ability to bring the written word to life. Just do it.
Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
I would like to meet Vincent Price. He was the most awesome horror actor. A lot of his roles he did without the aid of makeup. His face was his instrument, and he used it well to scare the crap out of you.
If you could have been the original author of any book, which book would it have been and why?
Braham Stoker’s Dracula. It is classic horror at its best, and the story never dies. It has been told over and over again. It was alive then and still is to this day.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Learn the craft and all of the ins and outs. While I’m grateful for what I’ve learned so far, it would have been better to study writing in school first. Don’t get me wrong. School isn’t the only place where a writer can be born. However, there are certain business practices I would have been aware of beforehand, but it’s all good. I think my stories have grown more because of my life experiences.
Connect with Denise J. Bryson:
Twitter: Denise J Bryson@OneBlackRoseDJB
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/oneblackrose.webstarts.com