WATCH OUT: David Nelson Bradsher Interview
SC: I want to welcome you all to another edition of Watch Out. This week I’m excited to bring you a great author by the name of David Nelson Bradsher.
Welcome David, it is so great to have you here this week.
DNB: It’s great to be here. Thanks so much for having me.
SC: For the readers out there who might not know about you or your work, can you please tell them a little about yourself.
DNB: Well, I’m a native of North Carolina, a born-and-bred Tar Heel, and after years of infrequent tarries into the creative realm, I was finally swept full-fledged into the world of rhyme and meter poetry, specifically Shakespearean sonnets. Although my degree from UNC is in English, it wasn’t until years later that I finally allowed it to come to me, as opposed to forcing something that wasn’t there. With age has come experience and patience, and both have allowed me to undertake The Vampire Sonnets, the very epitome of a patient venture…and something I may be certifiable to have even attempted.
SC: Can you tell us a little about your current release which is set in the 19th Century?
DNB: The Vampire Sonnets is the result of a random idea that morphed, through forces outside of my control, into the tragic hero of Tristan Grey, a semi-nobleman in Chelsea, London, whose story begins at what may be his end. As he stands on the precipice of continuing life, or his ultimate demise, he begins the tale of his final night; his death and rebirth; his introduction into the Chelsea clan by Nina, his sire; and his transition into the shadow-world of a vampire, along with the conflicts, connections, needs, internal struggles, and machinations of a second life. In the scheme of things, I like to think it’s a love story in the body of a vampire tale, but also a story of loyalty, morality, choices, and the immortal (pun intended) search for somewhere to belong. It could just as easily be the story of a flesh and blood man, yet this is a fledgling vampire who has to reconcile himself to the reality that he can’t straddle two worlds and survive.
The story of Tristan Grey, a 19th Century Londoner, who is seduced and turned by Lady Nina, leader of the Chelsea Clan. But things aren’t always what they seem through the eyes of a fledgling immortal. What sets this project apart from the countless other vampire tales in the marketplace currently is that these are written in sequential Shakespearean sonnets (200+ as revisions draw to a close). Publication date, 10/22/10.
An ancient knowledge showed in Nina’s eyes.
They glowed with fealty to inhuman ways
that I, a darkling, had to improvise
in order to attract her rarest praise.
She spoke of dealing death, of raping lives;
(each rape would yield the blood that we required).
She said, “The one who kills to feed survives,
and I provide the means for those I’ve sired.
Misfortune trolls the night (with death) to end
whomever dares to tread our measured path,
so be the hunter now—no foe or friend
must slip the application of your wrath.
Our coven’s creed is, ‘Kill! Compassion’s dead.
When London quivers…paint Her bloody red.’”
Discarded dross, detritus on the wind,
lent music to my sense of premonition.
I was the sinner’s soul before it sinned,
a monster at the crux of its perdition.
As waste and worry swirled, I watched the sky
conceal the stars within a smoky shroud
and, as I searched for light, I wondered why
supernal hope had fled behind a cloud.
I thought, “You‘ve lost the voice to wish upon
the mystic glimmer of a lucky star.
Those nights of fortune you enjoyed are gone;
You are alone now. God knows what you are.”
My guilt was premature, but still it came.
I’d fall to sin, and sin would have a name.
You can buy the book at www.nelsonpearlpublishers.com .
The Facebook Group – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=47383438565&v=info
There’s not an actual website that tells about the book other than the Facebook Group
SC: What inspired you to write The Vampire Sonnets?
DNB: One simple statement took this from a single sonnet into an entire verse drama. I’d written the solitary sonnet, based on the image of the sun being a portal to flame, about a vampire who has tarried too long with his victim for the night, a serving wench, and finds himself exposed when the sun begins to rise. A friend, British writer Stephen Hawkins, read the poem and told me he’d like to hear what happened to the anonymous vampire. Lo and behold, I was off to the races. My careless vampire, originally a roguish fool in the mountains of North Carolina, became Tristan, a 19th Century Englishman frequenting the taverns of Chelsea. Well, the one constant was that both were rogues, but the setting certainly became something else. Before I knew it, the project took on a life of its own, and its destination was nearly 200 sonnets telling a full circle story in place of the one-dimensional poem of a horny immortal.
SC: What sets your book apart from other vampire books currently on the market?
DNB: That’s a great question, especially considering the cavalcade of vampire lit in the marketplace. The Vampire Sonnets is unique because the entire story is told in 193 sequentialShakespearean sonnets, lending a rhythm and a purpose to each chapter, a chapter being a sonnet. It also follows more of the classic ideal of the vampire, a derivative of Lord Byron’s Byronic hero, a little bit of Jim Morrison, and a dash of Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon’s suave vampire character in the original Fright Night, a 1986 movie).
SC: What is the one thing readers might be surprised to know about you?
DNB: Probably that I’m a former tennis pro. Writers and athleticism usually go together about as naturally as skiing…while doing your taxes. 😉 It’s not a common combination, but it gives me the rationale to describe myself as a Renaissance man, even if I can’t suggest it while maintaining a straight face.
SC: Is there anything you are currently working on that you can give us a taste of?
DNB: Aside from planning a possible sequel to the VS, I’m using my love of football and my love of mythology to create another unlikely union (hmm, I see a pattern developing here). In The Iliad, the gods languishing on Mt. Olympus like to bend things to their wills in the Trojan War, setting gods and men (and women) against each other as they manipulate battles and alliances. So, I’m writing MVP, a story in heroic couplets, about the gods watching the Super Bowl from their perches, choosing their favourite players, and attempting to influence the outcome of the game. After something as dark as The Vampire Sonnets, it’s lighter fare, and I’m looking forward to it.
SC: What are you currently reading?
DNB: Right now I’m reading Simon Armitage’s translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which is a story I enjoyed in college. It also keeps my mindset on the meld of poetry and story-telling. The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss, is waiting in the wings, and I recently finished C.J. Ellison’s great new book, Vampire Vacation.
SC: Some authors when they write they need total quiet. Do you write with music or a TV on? If you do, does it help the creativity flow?
DNB: I definitely prefer some music in the background, usually instrumental music, like Clint Mansell, Deuter, Escala, or Shastro. I’m a head-banger by nature, but that’s not exactly the right mood music for what I’m trying to accomplish (though perhaps I should try it to see the result). I choose instrumentals because, as a poet, I don’t need words shoved into my brain when I’m trying to push words out of it. It would create one hell of a traffic jam in my synapses, and I’m confused enough as it is. 😉
SC: What do you do when you have writers block?
DNB: It depends on what I’m trying to write, but I’ve found that the best thing to do is walk away, watch a movie or TV, let my mind wander from my writing, and I usually find that it works its way back on its own…and it usually brings something with it. The most important thing to do, I’ve found, is not to force a square into a round hole. Things happen when they’re meant to happen.
SC: What is the one thing that surprised you in this industry?
DNB: How unimaginative most major publishers are. No one wants to take a chance on a new idea, and that’s why so much of what is released is the safe choice, et althe generic choice. Creative ideas are there, they just don’t get the opportunity to see the light of day because the decision makers are so afraid they won’t see the light of day again if they make a wrong choice. I understand, of course, but it’s a shame.
SC: What is a typical writing day for you like?
DNB: Usually a mixture of agony and ecstasy, with a side of hair, freshly pulled from my head. Just kidding, it’s really about taking a few minutes to draw down and into what I’m trying to accomplish, then stepping outside the box to organically let the Muse take over. I work out at 5 am, which gets the blood flowing early, and when I get home, eat breakfast and shower, my mind is clear and unencumbered. That’s when my best writing happens…except when I’m hit with the late-night writing bug, which is kind of like getting a craving for Taco Bell at 1 am. You know you shouldn’t, but you’re inexplicably drawn to run to the border, or to the computer.
SC: If you were not an author what would your dream job be?
DNB: I’d want to be a heavy metal rock star. Most of my teenage fantasies revolved around hair metal music…along with the perks of the lifestyle: getting to create, and getting the girl(s). Those things really appealed to an impressionable, artistic kid in the New South…OK, they still do, even though I’m a little older now.
SC: What is the biggest misconception you think people have about authors?
DNB: That we’re strange. While we definitely have our moods and eccentricities, we just have something to say, and we often say it best in the medium of the printed word.
SC: Is there one specific genre you would like to be well known for?
DNB:Probably the verse drama, which has become a lost art. I love the idea of a resurgence of stories told in the form of poetry, where manner is as important as matter. Every word has a purpose, and that enables the reader to find layer after layer of meaning, even if the writer didn’t even intend some of the things the reader finds.
SC: Any genre’s you have not written yet and would like to try?
DNB: Definitely erotica, mostly because I’d enjoy the research so much. Just kidding…sort of. I think prose is in my future, but I think I still have some more sprawling poetry in my near future.
SC: What is the one pet peeve you have when it comes to publishing?
DNB: As I touched on before, the narrow scope that defines what is “publishable” and what isn’t. I firmly believe some opportunities are being missed because of the fear of a mistake in what publishers choose to accept and what to reject.
SC: What advice do you have for new writers out there?
DNB: Mostly, to believe in your creative ideas, and follow through with them. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself into one genre, and allow yourself to grow as an artist. Listen to those who’ve been where you are, and have made it to where you want to be. Friends aren’t the best source of feedback. Find someone without an emotional attachment to your work, listen with an open mind, change what feels wrong, and keep what feels right. It’s YOUR baby. Others can hold it, and fuss over it, but in the end, you’re the one who feeds and nurtures it. OK, I think I just made a reference to breast-feeding your work, but I’ll stick to it because it’s a great example of letting creativity run riot through your mind, and out of it.
SC: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
DNB: I’m steeped in social media, so you can find me on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/davidnelsonbradsher?ref=name , as well as http://www.facebook.com/davidnelsonbradsher?ref=name#!/group.php?gid=47383438565 , and I’m on Twitter, under http://twitter.com/David_Bradsher . My blog is just now getting up and running, which will be at www.nelsonpearlpublishers.com/blog .