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Brett J. Talley
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message 1: by A.F. (last edited Dec 16, 2011 05:53AM) (new)

A.F. (scribe77) | 1774 comments Mod
Please welcome Brett J. Talley to our Q & A discussion. Brett is a native of the South, and received a philosophy and history degree from the University of Alabama before moving to witch-haunted Massachusetts to attend Harvard Law School. When people ask, Brett tells them he writes for fortune and glory, but the truth is the stories in his head simply refuse to stay put. Brett loves every kind of fiction—from horror to literary to historical to sci-fi—as long as there are fantastic characters with a compelling purpose.
Brett writes when he can, though he spends most of his time working as a lawyer so that he can put food on the table. That is, until the air grows cool and crisp and fall descends. For then it is football time in the South, and Brett lives and dies with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Roll Tide.
Brett's horror novel, That Which Should Not Be has garnered much praise and was the winner of the 2011 JournalStone Horror Writing Contest.

Brett J. Talley

That Which Should Not Be by Brett J. Talley


message 2: by Marianne (new)

Marianne Wheelaghan (httpwwwgoodreadscomMarianneW) | 88 comments Hi Brett, That Which Should Not sounds pretty scary, what attracted you to write 'horror'?
And I am assuming Crimson Tide is the name of a football team, and is that American football or the kind of football we play here in the UK? Actually, I don't know why I am asking because I'm not really a football fan, but I am curious about that name ( sounds very bloody!), so please don't worry about answering that ;o)
Last question, when do you find time to write????
Cheers!


message 3: by Tricia (last edited Dec 16, 2011 06:24AM) (new)

Tricia Kristufek | 15 comments Hi Brett!
Where do you get your inspiration? Do you draw bits and pieces from people you know and observe, or just entirely make them up? Do you write with music or with silence?

Can't wait to read your book, it looks really good.
Thanks!


message 4: by Brett (new)

Brett Talley | 23 comments Marianne wrote: "Hi Brett, That Which Should Not sounds pretty scary, what attracted you to write 'horror'?
And I am assuming Crimson Tide is the name of a football team, and is that American football or the kind ..."


Hi Marianne! I have always wanted to travel to the United Kingdom. Can I sleep on your couch? I'll start with the Alabama Crimson Tide and then move on to that boring writing stuff. The University of Alabama is the state university here in, you guessed it, Alabama. Our American football team is the center of our universe. (Our stadium holds over 100,000 people.) To give you something to compare, we are the Manchester United of American college football. We've won 13 national championships, more than anyone else, and will be playing for #14 on January 9 against the LSU Bengal Tigers in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana (think World Cup final). The name the Crimson Tide comes from a game played in 1907. Our colors are Crimson and White. On a play that won a particularly important game, a sportswriter who was at the game wrote that Alabama washed over its opponent "like a crimson tide." People started calling them that, and the name stuck.

As for horror, I have always loved it. I think it started back in the 80s. I had a laser disk of Michael Jackson's Thriller video. I used to watch that thing over and over and over again. I like to be scared. I like stories about good and evil. In a funny way, I think I like horror for the same reason I like Harry Potter. The real world often lacks magic. Everything is so cold and scientific these days. But in horror, there's still that mystery. I love that.

I write whenever I can. I work a full time job as a lawyer. Like most writers, I can't (yet?) make a living off of my writing, but maybe one day. I try and write at least one single spaced page of text a day. That just means everything takes longer. My publisher really wants me to finish my next book, but there are only so many hours in the day . . .


message 5: by Brett (new)

Brett Talley | 23 comments Tricia wrote: "Hi Brett!
Where do you get your inspiration? Do you draw bits and pieces from people you know and observe, or just entirely make them up? Do you write with music or with silence?

Can't wait to rea..."


Hi Tricia! The inspiration question is kind of a hard one to answer. I find inspiration in everything. For
That Which Should Not Be, I had an idea to write a book in an older, Gothic style than most of the ones (particularly a book called House of Leaves) I had been reading. In a larger sense, I drew inspiration from the classic horror writers, most notably H.P. Lovecraft and Bram Stoker. For the stories themselves, it varies. Sometimes crazy things just pop into my head (scary, I know) and I try and find a place to fit them into the story. Sometimes I have read something in the news or something about history and decide to use that for inspiration. Other times, I take things that my friends have said or experienced and bring that in. So I guess the short answer is I draw inspiration from everything.

I can write in any conditions. One of the reasons I started writing is because I like to watch horror movies, but I felt like I was wasting my time. I felt like if I was writing while watching the movie, I was being productive. I do less of the movie watching these days (now that I take all this more seriously), but I do listen to music. All kinds really.


message 6: by Amy Eye (new)

Amy Eye | 98 comments Your book contains several smaller stories that all add up to make on heck of a thriller at the end...but when you were writing these stores, did one of them stand out to you more than the others? What character did you find yourself relating to the most?


message 7: by Sheila (new)

Sheila | 97 comments Now I'm definitely intrigued. Short stories that make up a thriller at the end... Sounds cool on this cold and foggy morning. It seems like lots of lawyers write lawyer stories. Did you decide to be different, or was horror just what you always wanted to write?


message 8: by Cassie (new)

Cassie McCown (cassie629) | 15 comments How has life changed for you now that you are a published author? Is there anything new that you have struggled with since the book has published?

If you wrote a spin-off of That Which Should Not Be, which character would take the spotlight?


message 9: by Brett (new)

Brett Talley | 23 comments Amy wrote: "Your book contains several smaller stories that all add up to make on heck of a thriller at the end...but when you were writing these stores, did one of them stand out to you more than the others..."

Hello Amy! There were two of the stories that I had been wanting to write about for a while, the first two. The one that I liked the most was the second story, Daniel's trip to Eastern Europe. I loved writing that one, every second of it. Part of it was the different locations--Venice, Budapest, the Carpathian mountains. But I also liked the mystery that surrounded it, never knowing who was good and who was evil. It wrote itself. The last two I had to come up with on the spot, as it were.

I think the character I related to the most was Henry Armitage, Carter Weston's sidekick. I've always been the consummate believer, and that is what Henry does. Carter is stubborn; it takes him a while to come around. I am more of the leap before you look kind.


message 10: by Brett (last edited Dec 16, 2011 12:11PM) (new)

Brett Talley | 23 comments Sheila wrote: "Now I'm definitely intrigued. Short stories that make up a thriller at the end... Sounds cool on this cold and foggy morning. It seems like lots of lawyers write lawyer stories. Did you decide to b..."

Hi Sheila! You know, being a lawyer is boring. You are right; lots of lawyers write lawyer books, but it's all made up anyway. So if you are going to be making stuff up, why not make up something more interesting than a lawsuit? All joking aside though, I've written three books. That Which Should Not Be is the second. The other two books aren't horror at all, and both of them involve lawyers (though not doing lawyer things really). It just so happened that the horror book was the first one to get published. My next book will also be horror, but I remain hopeful that one day I will have time (yeah right) to get back to those other books and get them ready to either submit to publishers or publish myself.


message 11: by Brett (new)

Brett Talley | 23 comments Cassie - Gathering Leaves wrote: "How has life changed for you now that you are a published author? Is there anything new that you have struggled with since the book has published?

If you wrote a spin-off of That Which Should Not..."


Hi Cassie! I have way less time than I used to. When I started writing, I was only doing it for fun and I did it on my own schedule. Now I have to get another book finished while doing all sorts of other things. I'm not complaining; I've enjoyed everything I've gotten to do. From interviews, to reading other peoples' books, to starting my own website (www.brettjtalley.com), to doing this today. But I basically devote every second of the day to either my real job or writing-related endeavors. I'm still waiting for some Hollywood producer to buy the movie rights to the book so I can just write full time . . .

After my next book, I am going to turn my attention back to this sort of Gothic fiction and to the stories around That Which Should Not Be. I would like the focus of my next book to be Carter Weston himself. If there was one criticism of the book, it was that the short stories took away from Carter Weston's time and we didn't get to know him quite as well as we would have liked. I hope that my next book can flesh him out more as a character.


message 12: by Cassie (new)

Cassie McCown (cassie629) | 15 comments Will we see more of Henry?


message 13: by Brett (new)

Brett Talley | 23 comments Cassie - Gathering Leaves wrote: "Will we see more of Henry?"

I think of Henry is sorta like his Dr. Watson. Henry will always be around.


message 14: by Cassie (new)

Cassie McCown (cassie629) | 15 comments Great! I love Henry :-)...


message 15: by Gabriel (new)

Gabriel Gadfly (gabrielgadfly) Do you find a lot of readers among the hardcore football crowd?


message 16: by Brett (new)

Brett Talley | 23 comments Gabriel wrote: "Do you find a lot of readers among the hardcore football crowd?"

You know, you'd be surprised. One thing I have learned is not to judge a book by its cover (except mine, cause the cover is awesome). I had a book signing recently and was amazed at some of the people who wanted a copy of my book. You try and not be biased, but I know I think of a certain type of person when I think big horror fan. Turns out books are universal.


message 17: by Erma (new)

Erma Odrach | 16 comments Really interesting thread. Was wondering, your book begins with a university setting. Is it maybe reminiscent of your own student days? Did you bring some of your profs to life?


message 18: by Brett (new)

Brett Talley | 23 comments Erma wrote: "Really interesting thread. Was wondering, your book begins with a university setting. Is it maybe reminiscent of your own student days? Did you bring some of your profs to life?"

Hi Erma! The novel beings at Miskatonic University. Miskatonic was an invention of HP Lovecraft and has quite a long and storied history both in his writings and others. Originally, the book started at Harvard. I went to Harvard Law School, and that's the main reason that I set the story in Massachusetts. The whole state is haunted, and nothing beats a night that's not only stormy but snowy too! When I started getting into the novel and decided that I wanted to throw in references to other great, Gothic horror novels throughout, I chose to switch the reference from Harvard and Cambridge to Miskatonic and Arkham. In my mind though, I saw Harvard when I described the campus. I am sure that if you compared the way I described Miskatonic to the way Lovecraft did, you would find a lot of differences. As far as the professors, I always steal from my friends and family when I am creating characters. I think it adds some reality to their personalities.


message 19: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Butland (sarah_butland) | 1 comments You make it all sound so easy. I have a full time job and wow - a single page a day seems like a lot.

Do you have children? If so, how do they respond to your horrific writing? :)

Where do you find time to read and what do you read?


message 20: by Brett (new)

Brett Talley | 23 comments Hi Sarah! It's more like I try and average a page a day. Some days, a paragraph is like climbing a mountain. Today, I wrote four pages like it was nothing. I wish I knew what it was that sparks that kind of creativity, but honestly, I have no idea.

I don't have children, but if I did, I would let them read the things I write. I think that kids 12 and up could read That Which Should Not Be with no problem. There are adult themes and violence, but very little harsh language or sexual situations.

If there is one thing I regret, it's that I don't have that much time to read. When I do read, I tend to do it right before I go to bed or when I am on planes. I don't know what it is about planes, but man I can read hundreds of pages during a single flight. As far as what I read, I used to read mostly literary fiction, but I've been reading a lot more horror these days. The last few books I have read, in reverse chronological order, are High Moor (loved it), Zone One (did not love it), Cinema of Shadows (Really, really liked it), Shaman's Blood (loved it), Traiteur's Ring (loved it), American Psycho (mixed emotions), You Shall Know Our Velocity (loved it).


message 21: by Amy Eye (new)

Amy Eye | 98 comments What has been the funnest (I'm making up words now) thing you have done because you have been a published author...You know like things you wouldn't have done if you weren't a published author. :)


message 22: by Marianne (new)

Marianne Wheelaghan (httpwwwgoodreadscomMarianneW) | 88 comments Brett wrote: "Marianne wrote: "Hi Brett, That Which Should Not sounds pretty scary, what attracted you to write 'horror'?
And I am assuming Crimson Tide is the name of a football team, and is that American foot..."


Hi Brett a big thanks for very full answer. It's funny how names stick, Crimson Tide is a good one! And interestingly enough I also loved Thriller video. Wish you lots of success with That Which Should Not Be and next book – and selling the movie rights!!!
ps: if you could see my couch (that's without the dog on it), you wouldn't be asking to sleep on it ;o)


message 23: by Brett (new)

Brett Talley | 23 comments Amy wrote: "What has been the funnest (I'm making up words now) thing you have done because you have been a published author...You know like things you wouldn't have done if you weren't a published author. :)"

Two things that stick out in my mind are doing Journal Jabber and making a book trailer. Journal Jabber is this internet radio show run by three crazy women. I've had the honor of being on their show three times now and it is always a hoot. Even if they are crazy.

I thought that making a book trailer would be tedious, but in the end I really enjoyed it. I guess I like the creative aspect of it. Here it is, if you want to check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jsOYl...


message 24: by Marianne (new)

Marianne Wheelaghan (httpwwwgoodreadscomMarianneW) | 88 comments Hello again, Brett
me again, just checked out your book trailer - Wow! I am new to trailers for books. Do you think trailers are becoming part and parcel of the book 'marketing package'? Has it been effective for you (so far)?
Cheers from freezing cold Scottyland!


message 25: by A.F. (new)

A.F. (scribe77) | 1774 comments Mod
I'm a writer who fell into writing horror by accident, and I can't say I ever read much horror fiction. Were you very familar with the horror genre before writing your book or did you just decide to wing it and see what happened?


message 26: by Brett (new)

Brett Talley | 23 comments Marianne wrote: "Hello again, Brett
me again, just checked out your book trailer - Wow! I am new to trailers for books. Do you think trailers are becoming part and parcel of the book 'marketing package'? Has it ..."


Hi again Marianne. I had never even heard of book trailers before Amy Eye said I should make one. If you check out youtube you can find tons of different book trailers, many of them professionally done (particularly for the bigger authors and publishing companies). How effective is it? I honestly don't know. I think anything and everything that gets your book out there is good. You never know what might get people to read it. Plus, it wasn't hard to do, and I really enjoyed it.


message 27: by Brett (new)

Brett Talley | 23 comments A.F. wrote: "I'm a writer who fell into writing horror by accident, and I can't say I ever read much horror fiction. Were you very familar with the horror genre before writing your book or did you just decide ..."

I've read quite a bit of your more traditional horror. It's one of the reasons that I decided to go with a Gothic horror novel for my first big effort. Other than Stephen King, I had not read much modern horror until recently. Now I am trying to catch up. I have a passion, however, for horror movies. I love them, and I have seen tons of them. A Nightmare On Elm Street is probably my favorite.


message 28: by A.F. (new)

A.F. (scribe77) | 1774 comments Mod
Brett wrote: "A.F. wrote: "I'm a writer who fell into writing horror by accident, and I can't say I ever read much horror fiction. Were you very familar with the horror genre before writing your book or did you..."

Not me, those horror movies give me the willies. I much prefer a good action film.


message 29: by Amy Eye (new)

Amy Eye | 98 comments How long did it take for you to create your book trailer and what advice can you give to other authors who are struggling to make one of their own?


message 30: by Brett (new)

Brett Talley | 23 comments Amy wrote: "How long did it take for you to create your book trailer and what advice can you give to other authors who are struggling to make one of their own?"

Hi Amy! It took about a week to get finished, and that was working on it a pretty good bit on those days. My advice to authors?

1. Google it. There are several blogs that give advice on how to create a good book trailer. I read a bunch of those and they really helped me to figure out the process.

2. Go on youtube and watch a few. You will quickly learn what is good to do and what is bad to do. Some of them are terribly boring, some are laugh out loud funny (not for good reasons) but a lot of them really make you want to run out and buy the book.

3. When you do go on youtube, don't let yourself get intimidated by the professionally done trailers. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter has a much bigger budget than you do. Infinitely bigger, probably. And if I am being honest with you, I think many of the self made trailers are a lot better than the professional ones.

4. Don't try and do too much. You can't tell the whole story, you can't tell everything there is to know about your book. Hit the highlights, give the readers something to wet their appetite. Think of movie trailers. Sometimes, what you don't show is more important than what you do.


message 31: by Sheila (new)

Sheila | 97 comments I need to bookmark that answer. Thank you. Goal for the new year is to look into book trailers.


message 32: by Brett (new)

Brett Talley | 23 comments Sheila wrote: "I need to bookmark that answer. Thank you. Goal for the new year is to look into book trailers."

If you need anymore help or advice on book trailers, feel free to ask me any time.


message 33: by Jason (new)

Jason (darkfiction) Hey, Brett. I read through these questions and answers, and I might have missed it, but I was wondering if there's any plans or release date for a second novel from you?


message 34: by Sheila (new)

Sheila | 97 comments Brett wrote: "Sheila wrote: "I need to bookmark that answer. Thank you. Goal for the new year is to look into book trailers."

If you need anymore help or advice on book trailers, feel free to ask me any time."


Thanks. My new year goals now include how to make a facebook group as well, but I still hope to do a trailer before Divide by Zero comes out. I will definitely be back on this page.


message 35: by Brett (new)

Brett Talley | 23 comments Hey Jason! So good to talk to you again. I am working on a second novel even as we speak. I'm about 75,000 words into it and pretty much racing to the end. Not exactly sure when it will be out (we are thinking summer, 2012). It's a little different than That Which Should Not Be. One story, rather than 4 (5? 6? depends on how you count). It's also set in the future in space, rather than in the past on a storm battered Massachusetts coast. It's probably a little bit of a risk to do something so different, but hopefully it will work out.


message 36: by Jason (last edited Jan 12, 2012 02:49AM) (new)

Jason (darkfiction) That sounds really good and interesting, Brett. I can't wait to read it!

I'm not sure if it's a risk. There are lots of authors who genre hop.


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