I had the privilege of meeting today’s author at Archon this year. I enjoyed his comments at the panels I was able to see him in and I really loved his answers to my questions in this interview. Be sure to connect with him and read his stuff!
Tell me a little about yourself.
*Gets out old-timey glasses and sits down* Well… a long time ago in a galaxy not that far away… okay, to make quick work of a long bio – in terms of writing I started out as a playwright in high school, that’s where the bug really bit. I worked in the corporate writing world for a while, but then I devoted myself to writing, and published my first novel, Iron Horsemen in 2014. I was co-publisher and acquisitions editor for Blank Slate Press, and I currently serve as Historian of St. Louis Writers Guild.
What are your go to snacks/drinks as you work?
Popcorn. I have issues. Especially when I’m writing.
I celebrate all my books with really good Scotch.
When did you start writing?
Storytelling has always been a thing with me. From elementary school, not only was I writing, but I was traveling to other schools as a storyteller. Shout out to Mrs. Goldman, my creative writing teacher. She fostered my love of writing and publishing. She had us make a little book every year. We’d write the story, illustrate the page, and she laminated the covers and bind them. I still have them on the shelf with my other novels. In high school, seeing my words performed by others was such a rush. There is nothing quite like seeing your work performed. Hearing the sentence you worked on forever flow in a scene and be received by the audience… it’s an incredible feeling. Equaled only by the reader who comes up and is like, I loved [insert beloved character].
Why did you decide to pursue writing?
It is the single greatest way to use all the weird facts and anecdotes that my brain insists on retaining. Seriously, algebra, I kind of remember. Balancing chemistry equations, gone, but the name of Ulysses S. Grant’s horse (Cincinnati), or when toilet seats became common place – they won’t go away. I would also have to add that there are several books that truly inspired me to be a writer. They had such an affect on me that if I can have even the slightest sliver of that kind of impact, I would be happy. Books like The Alchemist, The Great Gatsby, The Dragonlance Chronicles, Lord of the Rings, Their Eyes Are Watching God, and of course, some Where the Sidewalk Ends or A Light in the Attic. Still wondering about toilet seats… the cold stone of Dark Age Castles.
Who are some authors you look up to?
I think I just named most of them… Paulo Coelho is my hero, I would love to write the way he does. J.R.R. Tolkien inspired me, as he did many others. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman taught me to care while still having fun. The death of Sturm… hit me in gut, and yet I love that series and reread it often. F Scott Fitzgerald taught me about language and point of view. Zora Neale Hurston taught about the power of books, how they can mold minds. Then I clearly get my humor from Shel Silverstein. I know I’m forgetting a bunch like Alexander Dumas or Sir Thomas Malory.
What genres do you write?
I love historicals, so I tend to write historical fiction and historical fantasy. Though, I also have science fiction, some literary drama, and some non-fiction, but most of that is unpublished. At the moment…
Are you traditional, independent, or hybrid published?
Hybrid. The Iron Chronicles is from Treehouse Publishing Group but my other books are from my company Broadsword Books.
Why did you choose that publishing path? For me its about what is best for different projects. My steampunk novels are traditional novels. I was happy to have an editor and a house behind them. However for my short stories or other projects like my next one, the History of St. Louis Writers Guild, they aren’t the best fit at a publishing house, but there is a market and readers who want it.
Which protagonist would you want to swap places with?
What do you love about writing?
Wordsmithing. I like crafting sentences. I’m not saying I always achieve it, but when you write that perfect sentence, its like, wow I wrote that. I also, love telling stories, it’s why I spend months or years on these books.
What is the most difficult thing for you about writing?
Editing. I like writing, but even I have to admit the real magic is in the editing. It takes twice as long as writing and even then I can spend hours on a page… 250 words, just took hours, and that was only one pass through the manuscript.
If you could live in or visit any fantasy world, where would you go?
I think about this a lot. There are a lot of places I would not want to visit. I love these places, I love reading about them, but I’m not even certain they would be nice places to visit. So instantly anywhere without a/c and well cooked food is a problem. However, I would want to attend Hogwarts. Who wouldn’t. Not going to Westeros or even Middle Earth, but I might want to visit Krynn. I want to fly on dragons. Also, I’d like to go to one of Gatsby’s parties.
Where do you get your inspiration?
The Iron Chronicles came from the idea of airships broadsiding each other like ships on the sea. From that, I knew I wanted to play with competing secret societies. Then add in all the fun steampunk stuff, and the Iron Horsemen was born. For those that read the book the epic battle in the maelstrom is that vision.
What are your “fandoms”?
Star Wars. The rebels and the Jedi.
Now let’s deep dive. I’m all about Ghost in the Shell and Cowboy Bebop. I’m a huge anime fan, and love Gundam Wing and G Gundam. I’ll add in old school like Crying Freeman and newer stuff like Naruto.
I’m a classic animation fan too like Rankin Bass, Looney Tunes, and Hanna Barbera.
I’m obsessed with Bruce Timm, Batman, Justice League, and Batman Beyond.
Lastly, I can’t forget Steampunk. My top hat and goggles are sweet.
What are some lessons you have learned about being an author?
Write regularly. Habit is better than inspiration.
Write without hesitation. Everything can be fixed in editing, but you can’t edit a blank page.
Write, revise, submit… repeat.
What projects are you working on?
I have several projects on the horizon. Several new short story collections. On the novel front, I am seeking a publishing house for a new Middle Grade I’ve been working on. Then the big one for this year is the History of St. Louis Writers Guild. In 2020, the organization will celebrate it’s 100th Anniversary. Due out this summer is a history of SLWG from 1920 to now.
Where can people find your writing?
Online and in some bookstores.
Drop by Main Street Books in St. Charles because I love indie bookstores, or any bookstore can order my novels. You can also visit, bradrcook.com for all my books and stories.
How can we connect with you?
Facebook Of course, find me at BradRCook
Twitter Definitely, tweet me @BradRCook
Instagram I take a bunch of cool photos at @bradrcook
Tumblr and MeWe too, both @bradrcook, I’m sensing a branding trend.
Links to published works:
All me books and short stories – www.bradrcook.com/bookshelf/
Iron Horsemen – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00P199YW
Steamtree – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077HM5C72/
Latest Short Story – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KQPH84C/
Please remember I do not own any of these pictures and the opinions in this survey belong to the interviewee.