Book Reviews Librarian Resources Contact Us
Author Interviews Main Page
the site




Interview with Bryan Smith

by Rhonda Wilson







Bryan Smith is the author of numerous horror books published by Leisure including Deathbringer, Freakshow, Soultaker, and Depraved.

RW:  Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to do this interview with me Bryan.

BS:  Well, I did have to shuffle some things around, but I managed to carve out this little wedge of time in between sending  demons on violent rampages and forcing a proper English Jeeves-style butler to chainsaw a corpse into little pieces.

RW:  First off, can you tell our readers a little about yourself and how you got your start in the writing industry?

BS:  I'm just a guy who loves to read and write horror.  I've been doing both since I was very young.  Wrote my first stories when I was just eight and became hooked on the horror genre when I read Stephen King's The Shining at fourteen.

RW:  Who would you say have been your writing inspirations throughout the years?

BS:  Stephen King, Hunter S. Thompson, Elmore Leonard, Joe R. Lansdale, Richard Laymon, Edward Lee, Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey, Richard S. Prather, Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Basically a lot of the usual pulp fiction suspects.

RW:  Do you have a set schedule laid out for writing each week or do you just write as ideas hit you? 

BS:  I don't have a set schedule, but I do not write just as ideas hit me.  I try to write four or five days a week, but those days and the times vary depending on what's going on in the rest of my life, which frequently interferes with being able to write on any kind of regular schedule.  Basically, I just try to write whenever I can as many days a week as I can.

RW:  You are a huge music fan, correct?  Who are some of your favorite musicians/bands and would you say that the music you listen to helps inspire your writing?

BS: Yeah, I'm a big rock and roll geek.  I obsess over finding cool new music the way other people obsess over collecting books, baseball cards, the skulls of little children, or what have you.  All time favorites would include The Stooges, the Cramps, AC/DC, Guns N' Roses, the Ramones, Motorhead, Misfits, Supersuckers, etc., while relatively newer things I like (say within the last 10 years) would include the Backyard Babies, Hellacopters, Crystal Pistol, Angus Khan, Crank County Daredevils, Nashville's own The Creeping Cruds, Hardcore Superstar, Turbonegro, the Erotics, The Last Vegas, Wednesday 13, Viking Skull...well, I could go on forever.  Music hasn't been a huge influence on the books, except in subtle ways, in terms of an edge or attitude.  I have an obvious fondness for sleazy, falling-down-drunk-in-a-gutter rock and roll, and some of that sensibility creeps in a bit, but it becomes more pronounced in the next two novels.

RW:  Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release from Leisure Books, DEPRAVED?

BS:  It's safe, wholesome fun for the whole family.  Nuns should read it to little children on Sundays.  Okay, those are lies.  Basically, it's a book in which I tried to mesh my recent obsession with old pulp crime fiction with harder-edged horror things like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes.  I wanted it to be suspenseful and fast-moving, the kind of thing where you're so enthralled you can barely come up for breath.  And judging from the bulk of the reaction, I think I succeeded.

RW:  How did you come up with the idea for DEPRAVED?

BS:  As I alluded to, it's sort of the culmination of all the years of watching movies about backwoods cannibals and mutants preying on unsuspecting interlopers.  I wanted to take that and stir in a big helping of southern flavor.  I grew up in small town Tennessee, and as I've gone along in my writing career I've wanted to work in a lot more authentic local color and make the southern setting as integral to the tales as any of the over-the-top gore I'm known for.  Hoke and Jessica, for instance, feel very real to me.  They could be from the sort of hip urban neighborhood I live in, which is right next to Vanderbilt University.  They're city people with small town roots.  There was no single A-HA! moment in the genesis of this novel.  It was just the right time for all these things to come together in this particular way.

RW:  DEPRAVED, is quite extreme compared to some of your previous titles.  Do you feel that this might scare off some horror readers that can't handle the more grotesque and risque content that is included?

BS:  I suppose it might scare off some potential readers, but that's not my chief concern when I'm writing these things.  I always want to tell the story the way it feels like it needs to be told, and that includes not shrinking away from writing scenes a particular way when my instincts tell me they should be written that way.  That said, my books have always had a high level of gore and over-the-top material.  I don't think DEPRAVED is any more extreme than, for instance, THE FREAKSHOW, which easily contains the most out-there material I've ever done.  DEPRAVED, however, is a better book.  And I think most who give it a chance will enjoy it, even if they're not usually inclined to enjoy "extreme" horror.

RW:  You currently have six titles released through Leisure... which would you say is your favorite and why?

BS:  DEPRAVED is my favorite of the ones released so far, though I like my next release, THE KILLING KIND, equally or perhaps a bit more.  Why DEPRAVED?  Mainly because it feels like the one in which I most fully realized the vision I had at the outset.  It accomplished everything I set out to do.

RW:  What projects are you working on now that our readers should keep an eye out for in the future?

BS:  I have two more novels lined up so for with Leisure Books.  The Killing Kind comes out in July 2010, and The Dark Ones, the one I'm working on now will be out at some point in 2011.

RW:  Where is the best place for our readers and librarians to look online for up-to-date news on Bryan Smith?

BS: My main web address is, which redirects to my blog, which has links to my message board and Facebook and My Space pages.

RW:  Bryan, thanks again for doing this interview.  It's much appreciated!

BS:  You're welcome.  Thanks for the opportunity.




Return to the Main Page