Today I bring you an interview with the author of the recently released supernatural thriller Entry Wounds, Brandon McNulty!
Brandon McNulty grew up loving monsters, demons, and the thrill of a great scare. Now he writes suspense, horror, and other dark fiction. His debut novel Bad Parts won both Pitch Wars and RevPit, and his work has appeared on The No Sleep Podcase.
1) How did you get started writing speculative fiction (spec fic)?
By writing an awful fan-fiction based off The Legend of Zelda videogames. The “plot” involved a knight running through a throne room trying to kill somebody.
2) What was your “hook book,” the book that first drew you to spec fic?
The Haunted Mask by R.L. Stine
3) What specific genres and sub-genres do you enjoy writing and why?
Thrillers with fantasy/horror elements. I love stories that are fast-paced and unpredictable, and when you mix in some fantasy elements, you can keep readers guessing until you hit them with something they haven’t seen before.
4) What is your favorite part about being a writer?
The fun of discovering surprises while writing a first draft.
5) What is the hardest part about being a writer?
6) What stories or authors influence your writing?
Anything I enjoy. My influences range from Stephen King’s novels to the early seasons of 24 to the storylines from late-90s Final Fantasy games. I only write what excites me, and I draw influence from what I grew up obsessed with.
7) Talk about your current spec fic novel or story and how you came up with the concept.
My brand new novel Entry Wounds just released in September. It’s a supernatural thriller about a high school teacher who grabs a haunted gun that he can’t put down until he kills six people.
The concept of an undroppable haunted gun was actually intended for a high fantasy novel I wanted to write. What stopped me story was the fact that I was much too lazy to do the worldbuilding that high fantasy requires. But instead of letting the concept go to waste, I brought it to life within a contemporary thriller.
8) What tropes do you think are important for spec fic?
Magical concepts that add originality and fun to the story. I always love to read stories with concepts I haven’t seen before.
9) What are tired tropes you wish you would read or write less?
Squeaky-clean heroes who always do the right thing.
10) What tense and POV do you enjoy writing in?
3rd Person Past Tense
11) What is your favorite internet resource for writing? This can be a website used for research, a blog, an advice article, William Shunn’s formatting guides, anything.
YouTube. There are so many videos out there that can demonstrate everything from damming a creek in the woods to properly using firearms.
12) Are you self-published or traditionally published, and, if the latter, small or large press?
13) What is your best advice about marketing, social media savvy, and building a platform?
Find something valuable that you can offer an audience on a regular basis. My weekly writing advice videos on YouTube have played a big part in driving book sales.
14) What advice can you offer aspiring authors about query letters, querying, and the publishing process as a whole, be it traditional or self-publishing?
Query Letters are brutal to write, but you need to take the time to learn how to nail a good query. If you can’t convince potential audiences to give your book a chance, all the effort you put into the book itself will go to waste.
Here’s a shortcut for writing good queries: Find a book similar to yours and copy/paste its Goodreads summary into a Word doc. Then see if you can use that as a template for your book’s summary. Plug in the names of your characters, switch sentences around, etc.
15) Recommend a great spec fic writer, published or unpublished, who has flown under the radar, who needs exposure, whose works you adore, or who is simply a must read?
John Everson. His books Covenant and NightWhere are two of the best supernatural horror novels I’ve ever read—especially NightWhere. It’s about a twisted sex club located on the boundary between earth and hell, and the book could best be described as Hellraiser meets Eyes Wide Shut.
16) Recommend a great spec fic book or movie that may have flown under the radar.
The movie Upgrade (2018) blew me away when I saw it in theaters. The trailers for it looked a little cheesy, but it’s a clever and fun horror/sci-fi story about a quadriplegic who regains control of his body with the help of a chip that’s implanted into his brainstem. As he surrenders more and more control to the chip…well, I won’t spoil. Go check it out.
17) What’s the best way to find you online?
http://brandonmcnulty.com/ or my YouTube channel Writer Brandon McNulty