Author Interview – Theresa Braun

Getting to know the woman behind the books…

I’ve been keen to bring my blog to a new level and give some more engaging posts for my readers, so why not give thanks to the authors that have supported me from the beginning by interviewing them and shining a well deserved light into their career and personal life! I hope to keep this type of post going so that you can get an insight into the authors I’ve had the pleasure of working with as well as the people behind my book reviews.

Why did you decide to become an author?

I’ve always enjoyed being creative. When I was younger, I was more of an artist, painting and drawing (which I still do on occasion). Then at some point I shifted into creating stories. It became a great way to escape. And, there’s a thrill in creating an entire world with words. I think most writers would say that it’s in our blood. It’s a drive that we can’t control and it makes us feel alive. At least that’s how I feel about it. If I’m not writing, there’s something missing. So, every chance I get, I follow through with the compulsion, despite all the frustrations and challenges that come with it.

Where do you get your story ideas?

As far as where I find inspiration for what I write, lots of the time I’ll get something that pops into my head and I write it down and expand on it later. Or, I’ll hear something on the radio or the news and it will spark my interest. And, on occasion, I have some pretty twisted dreams that can be used as material. Lately, I’ve gotten a few ideas from my students. One of them will say something in class and I’m like, that would make a great story. The shower is another awesome place where ideas run rampant.

Authors are traditionally cast as reclusive loners. Are you?

Well, writing does take a considerable amount of alone time. That part is very true. Sometimes I do feel like withdrawing completely. I could easily disappear and be happy. However, I try to balance it out by getting out with my friends or hanging with my writing buddies. It’s great to have people who understand the struggles of being a writer. I do enjoy the solitude that comes with creating, but I often crave socialization if I’ve been secluded for too long. It’s a balance.

Does your writing require research?

Yes, most of the time I’m doing research as needed.. I’ll open the Google page on my laptop and search up something on the spot. It makes me laugh sometimes to think about someone looking at the history on my computer. I’ve searched up a lot of bizarre things over the years. The most recent one is what happens to a body when it’s run over by a train. It could appear rather incriminating to someone who doesn’t know I’m a writer.

Which authors influenced your writing?

I’m lucky to have some authors in my circle who I really admire. As far as the famous bunch of writers out there, I’d have to say Stephen King is one of my biggest inspirations. Furthermore, there’s definitely an echo in my work of some of the classic authors like Shelley and Stoker, just to name two.

What part of writing do you find most challenging?

That would be a tie between writers’ block and some of the patience it requires to write and get a story out there. I think all authors have doubts while crafting a story. We wonder if we are approaching it right, using the appropriate POV or other techniques. There are times I have to sit on a story until it’s done. Many times it doesn’t come out in a straight shot. Lots of writers have a file of unfinished stories that they might not get back to for years, or ever. And, when a story is complete, then it’s a matter of getting it out there. Where to submit? And the rejections can be discouraging or it can take months to find out if something has been accepted. That is always a thrill, but then we have to wait for the publication to come out, which can also take months. In short, there’s a lot of waiting involved. So, one has to have a few projects going to feel there is a forward momentum. It helps to be connected to other authors so we can cheerlead each other along the way.

Do you write the story, or do your characters take over?

In the past, I’ve always been in control of the story. However, I’m starting to let the characters talk to me more. When that happens, it’s pretty cool. It’s kind of like channeling their feelings and actions. That can also be rather scary, since the writer doesn’t always know where things are going. Doing this requires quite a bit of trust. But it can be extremely rewarding when it’s all over.

When a reader closes one of your books, what do you hope they’re left with?

My biggest hope is that I’ve moved the reader in some way and he or she cared about what happened to the characters. An added bonus is if I’ve given the reader something to think about. The best stories that I’ve finished of other authors have left me haunted and contemplating life or a deep philosophical question. At the very least, I hope people are entertained by my work.

Do you have any advice for new/aspiring authors?

The best writing tip is to read. Stephen King has been quoted as saying that if you don’t read, you will never become a good writer. I think that’s so true. You have to see how other authors are treating plot, characterization, and setting, including how to write about gore or how to leave it out or imply it. I’m part of a writing group and some of what we do is read established writers and talk about what they do that works. It’s really helpful.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/spirit animal, why?

I’d like to say it’s a bat or dragon or something like that. However, my writing mascot is one of my cats. He’s always by my side when I’m writing at home, like he is giving me support or helping to rein in the inspiration. When I get excited about something, I often hug and squeeze him. I probably shouldn’t admit it, but it’s true.

Do you Google yourself?

I haven’t Googled myself in a long time. As of late, I’ve been too busy with other things to worry about what’s out there on the internet about me. That doesn’t mean that I won’t at some point. Just right now it doesn’t interest me enough.

How did you choose the genre you wished to write in?

I’ve always been into dark subject matter and the workings of human nature and the mind. Horror is the perfect genre to explore these things and to delve into the grim aspects of humanity and existence. However, I can see myself crossing over into other genres. I’d like to write more sci-fi, for example.

Do you have any new books coming up that you wish to shout about?

Unnerving Magazine is putting out an anthology called Hardened Hearts which will include my piece entitled “Heirloom”. It’s about a therapist who inherits a mirror that has the power to send her into the past against her will. Her whole world gets turned upside down. I’m really excited about its release. And, I’m finishing up a monster story that will be in an upcoming Deadman’s Tome collection called Monsters Exist. There will be about 15 amazing stories in there, and I’m thrilled to be alongside some very talented storytellers. My other pieces are still looking for homes at a number of magazines. Fingers crossed.

 Until next time…

If you want to know more about Theresa Braun you can have a look on her website for all sorts of updates. Alternatively follow her on Twitter (@tbraun_author) or like her Facebook page.

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