Down The Stairwell we go...
One of the things I'm really looking forward to, is meeting some great authors and finding out information behind the scenes. My first blog interview is with Dean Bryant, author of The Stairwell, the fantastic cover of which you can see above.
Meet the man:
Hey Dean. Thanks that you took time out of your schedule to talk to me. The Stairwell is being released on 30th October and is a horror novel. So obviously we all want to know – what elements of your own experiences are in the book, or more succinctly – Have you fleshed out any of the characters or scenes in the book from your own real life?
"The Stairwell is set in two places that I have lived, Cambridge and East London. I’m quite glad that I haven’t experienced any of the more paranormal aspects of the book – but I think that I, and hopefully my readers, will be able to empathize with the main characters, Brandon and Alice. Some aspects of Brandon’s character I can find in myself and I think that helps to flesh out the characters and make them feel real."
You write alongside your father, I believe. Has his dedication to his art made an impression on you, or are you different in your approach toward commitment to writing?
"It certainly did make an impression on me, and I think that I wouldn’t have finished this book without our writing sessions together. He fully invests himself into his writing, turning off his phone, the radio, any source of distraction. We’d sit and write like this for hours, and before we knew it we’d written thousands of words each."
You’ve mentioned in several interviews, that you are a big Stephen King fan, and a horror book fan too. So out of all of his books, which is the one you would give to someone who has never read any of his books before, and why?
"Good question. I think, rather than any of the better-known novels, I would say The Dome. It may not be his most revered piece of work, but it felt so unique to me whilst reading it. I also think it’s a wonderful example of how even a world-famous author like him improves over time. He initially began writing it many years ago, but wasn’t happy with it. Coming back to it over and over through the decades, he finally produced the story that he felt was worthy of being told."
You are in London presently. With the lock down and Covid going on, is the growing sense of isolation making any effect on your writing?
"It’s a little awkward to admit but it’s helped my writing. Without being able to go out and enjoy my home city, it’s allowed me to devote more time to writing. That being said, I do hope that we are not subjected to a second lock down, it would be devastating to our country."
The Stairwell has some great cover photography and looks fantastic. The phrase that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover just doesn’t apply here – both are brilliant – the vertigo feeling one gets from looking at it is hypnotizing. Is that an effect you were going for, or is it happy coincidence?
"It’s certainly what I was going for. Without giving away any spoilers, Alice, one of the main characters in The Stairwell, has an irrational fear of the stairwell in her university student halls. She feels a great fear whenever she is on the stairs, and I’m glad that her feelings are portrayed in the cover."
To the book – are you a planner, do you write by feeling (a pantser), or are you a combination of the two?
"I’d say I’m a little of both. Before I started writing The Stairwell, I knew that it was important to me to build a strong duality in the book, and to end each chapter on a cliffhanger. What I mean by that is that after finishing a chapter that focuses on Brandon, I want the reader to be dying to find out what happens to him next – but to feel the same way about the chapters focusing on Alice. So, I planned the main events for each chapter, and spent a long time fleshing out the characters traits, desires, goals and relationships before I began writing. From there, a lot of it flowed as I was writing."
We’d love to know a little about the man behind the book. Do you have any pets? And if so, what are they named, and who named them?
"I have a six-month old female tortie kitten! She’s a Maine Coon and British Shorthair mix. She’s incredibly naughty but gets away with it most of the time as she is very cute. Her name is Soya, named by partner Rachel and I together, partly after her colouring and also partly after the fact that we get through a huge amount of soya sauce at home!"
Do you have the next project lined up, after the stairwell, and if so, can you give us any hints about what it’s about?
"I do. I’m currently writing the first book in a series that I’m planning following a London Metropolitan police detective. However, rather than being a crime thriller, it’s a horror / paranormal thriller. The main character is working a case that he can’t solve using traditional means. He stumbles on evidence that suggests a supernatural event has taken place, and conducts his own investigation. Each book in the series will focus on a new crime committed by a supernatural creature."
So – Multiple choice question – Regardless of possibility in COVID London, where do you go for dinner if given the choice –
Chinese restaurant – Italian Restaurant – Mexican Restaurant – Thai Restaurant – Indian Restaurant
"It has to be Chinese – though, admittedly, I am a bit particular when it comes to Chinese food! My girlfriend is from Hong Kong and we lived there together a few years ago. That really spoiled me as the food there is incredible!"
Music influences – Most Authors have a playlist for their book – so if you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
"I think it would have to be Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi. It’s one of my favourite songs of all time and I think that Brandon, one of the main characters, would be able to identify with the story told in this song."
Austrian disclaimer: I am not responsible for any trauma caused by watching 80's hairstyles.
I can see how their style has heavily influenced your own. Not.
There’s a film being planned for the Stairwell, in your own head, so who have you cast as the main characters Brandon and Alice?
"I’ll admit that I have spent some time thinking about this previously! I think for Alice, Holliday Grainger would be perfect. If you’re not familiar with her, she’s probably best known for her role as Robin Ellacott in the BBC Series Strike, which is based on the Cormoran Strike novels by Robert Galbraith. She was excellent in that series and she reminds me of Alice.
For Brandon it’s a little harder to decide. As strange as it sounds, the actor I think would be most fitting is Ricky Gervais. I think he can be a great actor in some of his more serious roles, and in my mind he looks similar to Brandon."
Have you got any advice you would give to a younger version of yourself given the opportunity – as you start out on you writing journey?
"I think I’d advise myself to believe the praise I was being given by beta readers during the writing process. I spent a lot of mental energy wondering whether anyone was going to enjoy The Stairwell despite the fact that all of the feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive."
Lastly – If you could go back in time and meet any author in any time zone, who would you meet?
"Probably Edgar Allan Poe. I’d love to know what it would be like to spend some time with him and see what his dinner conversation is like."
Dean Bryant's The Stairwell is available from Darkstroke books from October 3oth.
You can buy it directly from Amazon by clicking the link Here.
Dean's website is available HERE.
Dean is on Instagram,
and also on Facebook,
and also on Twitter.
Dean's blog is available HERE.