Where are you from? Born, raised and still live in Detroit Michigan, pretty sure I’m not gonna leave.
Tell us your latest news? I am signed with a new up and coming publishing company called Artistic Words Publishing. It’s exciting to get in at the beginning of something new.
When and why did you begin writing? I started in the fourth grade it was a class assignment.
When did you first consider yourself a writer? When I finished my first book, Dark Reflections in 2011. It’s self-published but I’m most excited for my newest release In The Footsteps Of A Killer by Artistic Words Publishing.
What inspired you to write your first book? I used to have trouble sleeping at night. So I would sort of telling myself a bedtime story until I got sleepy. I would always pick up wherever I left off the night before. Eventually, I was sleeping with no problem. The story would come as a dream. It didn’t come every night but when it did it would pick up wherever it left off before. Until one night all I saw were white lines moving like movie credits and I woke up and thought…maybe I need to write that down. I also dreamed most of In The Footsteps of A Killer. I dreamed the beginning, some of the middle and for sure I dreamed the end.
Do you have a specific writing style? I like to write horror but I can write romance as well.
How did you come up with the title? I dream some of them and others I lose myself in what I want to say about the story and the title usually pops up.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I didn’t start out with a message but I grew to want my horror to scare but to remind people that God is present even in the midst of horror and to look to Him for help and salvation. He comes through. At the end of “Footsteps”, you see some Devine movement and I think that was something that AWP Artistic Words Publishing saw and liked.
How much of the book is realistic? It depends on if it’s my horror or romance (yet to be released) but in the horror, the possibility of reality is more real than the reality itself.
Are experiences based on someone you know or events in your own life? Parts are again depending on what I’m writing. There is a little of me in each story or someone I know and love.
What books have most influenced your life most? Robert R Mccammon and his book Swan Song. It’s more apocalyptic but I remember being mesmerized by it. Then there was anything written by Stephen King, John Saul, and Dean Knootz.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? Stephen King by far is the master of terror.
What book are you reading now? At the moment I’m more focused on promotion but I have several waiting on my kindle for pc so as soon as I slow down I’m grabbing one.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? There are so many I am finding through Facebook and social media. I am amazed at all the talented people writing. But no one comes to mind.
What are your current projects? I am working on a sequel to In The Footsteps Of A Killer. It’s called Through The Eyes Of A Killer.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. A lot of my Flight Attendant friends (before my current airline) who would answer passenger call lights while I sat on my jump seat and wrote. And of course Artistic Words Publishing…they saw my work, believed and took that chance and I’m not about to let them down.
Do you see writing as a career? For sure. I want to write until the well runs dry then look for new ideas to write about and yes quit my job and get paid to do it…lol.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Maybe I would tone down some of the killings. But what else does a serial killer do…he hunts the innocent.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Well, when I wrote my class assignment in the 4th grade I wanted to write then. My teacher didn’t give me a good grade so I never wanted to write again. It would be another twenty years before I would even try.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? My sequel finds my heroine once again up against dark forces, now she and her unborn child are in danger.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Making the insane and crazy seem possible. In horror, a lot of what happens is not always based in reality. Again the reality of making it seem real.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? Stephen King because he can take reality and bend it, twist it so that your mind begins to believe that it is possible for a girl with hidden powers to kill half the high school. Carrie. Or a dog Cujo can be bitten by a bat and turn into a vicious killer…poor puppy.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? I’m a flight attendant I get all the traveling I need. Lol…but I would if I had to and I do a lot of research on the computer. Yeah, computers.
Who designed the covers? For In The Footsteps Of A Killer my publisher Carla Dean at Artistic Words Publishing used someone that they deal with. And if I say so myself this book cover rocks!
What was the hardest part of writing your book? The hardest part for me was writing the killings. It is unfortunate that in our society women are by far the first and most times easiest targets. And for the most part, the serial killer is almost always a man. Is it wrong? Yes. Does it make for good fiction? Maybe. I can only write what comes to me and in this case, this is what came to me and I had to write it to be true to my new found passion.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? I learned that writing is a hard task master that you will love. Ideas come to me in dreams and in everyday circumstances. They force me to get up and write. Ideas come sometimes at the most inappropriate times and places and force me to seek out something to write on. I usually have a pen and I have started carrying a pad of paper so I am not forced to write on napkins or toilet paper.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Write. Write when your happy write when you’re sad. Write when you don’t feel like it writes when you have nothing to say. Get it on paper you never know what will come out and where you can use it.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Writing for me has been a journey. It has made me make decisions like should I go out and party or stay in a get a few chapters done. Writing almost always wins out. You do have to make time to refresh, relax and have a little fun. That helps free your mind to the next set of book ideas. I enjoy the fear factor of writing horror because my mom was a horror nut. She and I would read, then discuss, then go watch something spooky on TV. She always loved a good scare. And I’m not talking about blood and gore, just for the sake of blood and gore but the kind that made your mind bend. Old school horror up to the horror of Final Destination. Yeah, there was a lot of blood ( in Final Destination) but the idea that it was all somehow what Death wanted to turn it into something different for her. She set my feet on the path of horror and I will always be grateful to her. And I will continue to write in memory and honor of her.
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AWP PRESENTS… IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF A KILLER BY Denise J Bryson
Albert waited for the squealing and squeaking from the bedroom to stop. Then he waited for two hours more before creeping up the stairs. Slowly, he opened the door. He held his breath waiting to see if they had heard him enter or not. No sound and no one stirred. So, he walked into the room. They slept deep with the help of sex and alcohol. Both of which he could smell; it was an ugly smell, harsh and pungent. It made his stomach turn, and for a moment, he thought he might throw up. He swallowed hard and continued further inside the room.
On the table next to their bed lay his father’s cigarettes and on the floor sat the half empty bottle of booze. He picked it up and examined it. Why on earth do grown-ups drink this stuff? He sniffed the contents and wrinkled his nose. It stank. He timidly turned the bottle up to his lips, spilling its dark contents into his mouth. He only took in a little, but it was enough to make him gag and spit it on the floor. He almost ran because his gagging sounds caused his mother to move in her sleep, but she was only turning over. He knew he had to do it and do it now or he would never have the nerve again. He took the bottle and quietly poured its contents on the floor. Next, he reached over his naked parents and poured it on the bed between them. The sight of them in their all-in-all made his stomach turn again. They stirred but didn’t wake up. Then Albert Cain Macarthur took his dad’s cigarette, put it to his lips, exhaled, struck a match, and inhaled slowly. It was the second most awful taste he had ever tasted, second only to the Scotch. Nonetheless, the cigarette end glowed as he held in the coughs that were welling up in his chest.
He placed the lit murder weapon in the bed next to his father’s hand. The bed soaked with the liquor caught fire immediately. Taking the remaining liquor, he poured it on his parents. An insane smile crept across his face. It was the same smile that would follow him into his adulthood. He smiled as he watched first his father and then his mother catch fire. Their drunken, feeble attempts to wake up and save themselves proved futile. The alcohol they had consumed and the smoke from the flames overwhelmed them, and neither could escape their fate. He stood in the doorway smiling and watching. Their screams were deafening, as they quickly understood what was happening to them. He didn’t care; he was about to be free.
“Boy!” his father screamed while flailing about in an attempt to put out the flames and stumbling back onto the bed. “Help us, boy! Go git some help!”
Albert startled but didn’t move. His mother began laughing the laugh of the damned. She could barely move as the smoke started to overtake her. In so much pain from the flames, she barely seemed to notice.
“That boy is trying to kill us, Al.” Catherine tried to sit up but couldn’t. Her arms were beginning to burn. “He’s killing us, Al.”
In a last ditch effort to save herself, she rolled off the bed and hit the floor with a thud. With that, the room became an inferno of smoke and fire.
Albert Cain Macarthur didn’t know how he had known it, but he knew that day would be the last day he would wake up from one of his mother’s beatings. It would be the last day anyone ever called him Al. He hated that name. No more. That day she would die. That day they both would die. Albert Sr. was just as guilty for not stopping Catherine during her many tirades and abuse. Little Al had carried out the unspeakable and killed his parents.
He watched, and then suddenly, he heard the shrill sound of sirens from the approaching fire trucks. By that time, the room was in a full blaze. He had to think. He needed to look like a victim, too. He ran back into the bedroom and over toward the window. No one would ever call him Al again.
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