Brandon Luffman, author of Best Served Hot and Out After Dark
If you were trapped on a desert island, and a magical talking stork could bring you one book (not yours) which would it be?
This is a tough call to make! If I can get that bird to accommodate bringing me a full trilogy, I’d go with the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy by Tad Williams. But, if it’s got to be a single book, maybe The Princess Bride? That is really hard to decide!
Which authors influenced/influence you most?
My favorites are Stephen King and Dean Koontz. They both deal in subjects that I find my own writing turning toward and their styles are similar to the way I write. In fact, Dean Koontz gave me a minor epiphany recently with regards to inspiration: I was reading one of his books, possibly one of the Odd Thomas novels, when I was struck by the nature of what it really means to be inspired by someone’s work. When we talk about being inspired by someone, we usually mean something like “I want to produce similar work to this person” or perhaps “I want to be able to develop this level of talent”. But, true inspiration is more than that. When someone really inspires you, as Koontz did with me, you experience their work and it makes you want to engage your own work more fully. It’s not a desire to emulate or copy them, but rather, you feel an urge to do your own thing and maybe reach that level of competence in the art.
What made you go indie?
Initially, I didn’t really think about indie publishing. It was something I was aware of, but I hadn’t really given it much thought. However, after releasing some short work in ebook formats and seeing what it was like, I loved it!
What’s your favourite part of indie publishing?
I’d say that my favorite part is that we’re seeing the early stages of this new revolution, where anyone who has a story to tell can get their work out there. There are no guarantees that people will read your work, but if you want them to be able to, they can now. Before, we had this bottleneck in the publishing industry where a great many talented writers were simply never going to be published. There are only so many books released by the traditional publishers every year and the simple logistics of it means that even great authors are passed over. Now the reader can decide if an author’s work is worth reading or not – which is how it should be.
What’s your least favourite part?
This new indie publishing revolution is a double-edged sword. We all know the stereotype of indie authors: Poorly proofread, unedited, and of questionable talent. It’s true that there are a lot of bad indie authors out there – I might even be one of them! So, yes, we’ve turned away from the gatekeepers in the traditional publishing world and the result is that it’s up to us, the readers, to pick through the sea of writing that is out there to find what is good. But, I still think it’s worth it – absolutely so! – because I have discovered authors who I know would never have been picked up by traditional publishers, but who do great work.
Summarise your writing style (or books) in 100 words or less:
I find it difficult to quantify my own work. I can’t objectively evaluate it. But, I feel like my style is “conversational”. I tend to write the way I speak and what I write is often what I’m “telling myself” in my head as I’m writing. I hope that my work comes across with a more laid-back tone, where the reader can feel at home with my voice. Aside from this, almost everything I write ends up having supernatural elements – but it’s not always horror.
If you were offered a book-deal would you take it?
I’ve learned to never say never. I’m not opposed to the traditional publishing system, but there are benefits to being independent that the traditional publishers can’t normally match. I would consider an offered book deal, but knowing what I know now, chances are good that I would turn it down. There’s a lot to be said for the assistance that a traditional publisher can offer. If you can simplify your life, that’s often the best route. But, being independent gives you a lot of value for all the work you have to put in.
Why should someone pick-up your book(s)?
It’s difficult for me to self-promote. That might be a bit odd for an indie author, but it’s just the way I am. I think the reason someone should pick up my work is because they want to. Part of why I’ve been releasing short fiction for free is to give people a chance to see my work and decide if they like it. If my style, or my stories, are something they enjoy then that is why they should pick up the stories that aren’t available for free. I want to give my readers a fair value for their money. Ultimately, whether you consider popular fiction to be art or not, at the end of the day we’re manufacturing a product. That product is entertainment. I want to entertain my readers and give them a product they love.
What formats is it/are they available in and where?
Currently, I’ve got two short stories out, both for free. Best Served Hot is available here as well as through Lulu, iTunes/iBookstore and Barnes and Noble’s BN.com. Out After Dark is another free short that is available through Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, BN.com, Kobo and others. These are in a variety of formats, depending on where you get them. Smashwords in particular is convenient because you can download it in a variety of formats from one site. The “Works” page on my blog lists these and has links to the various places you can get them.
There are other short pieces in the works, some of which may be released soon. In addition to the short stories, my survival horror novel Frostwalker is in the last round of edits and should be released at some point in the next few months. There isn’t a solid release date for Frostwalker yet, because we’re not sure how long the final edits will take. This is something I’ve talked about on my blog recently – I want it to be the best it can be, so it will be released “when it’s done”.
If people are interested in keeping up with new stories that I release or want to know when Frostwalker is available, they can follow me on Facebook, Twitter or follow my blog. I’m always glad to hear from readers as well!
Brandon currently has a short story, Best Served Hot, available at indieebooks.co.uk.