Tell us a bit about yourself, Bryan.
My name is Bryan W. Alaspa. I was born in Chicago, IL and have lived here most of my life. I became fascinated with writing when I was a child, sitting down and pounding out my first short story at my mom’s electric typewriter in the third grader. I spent a lot of time doing other things, but I was always writing. I wrote my first novel in high school. I wrote another after college and then began my adventure in self-publishing. I have self-published a number of novels and then teamed up with two publishers to write several non-fiction works that explored true crime, history (Chicago and Illinois) and haunted houses. I am also a journalist, critic and freelancer.
I have always been fascinated by horror. Stephen King is a major influence, but so are Dean Koontz, Robert R. McCammon, JA Konrath and Blake Crouch, as well. I love writing thrillers and horror. One of the greatest compliments I ever got was when someone told me that something I had written gave them nightmares.
Could you tell us what work you currently have available?
I have nearly 20 books/novels available. I have works of fiction including: The Ballad of the Blue Denim Gang, The Vanished Child, Dust, RIG: A Novel of Terror, Gone, After the Snowfall, Sin-Eater: Book One, Sin-Eater: Book Two - Destiny, MYTHOS: A Thriller, The Dead Phone and Deklan Falls: One Against Many.
My non-fiction includes: Ghosts of St. Louis: The Lemp Mansion and Other Eerie Tales, Chicago Crime Stories: Rich Gone Wrong, Chicago Disasters, Forgotten Tales of Illinois, Silas Jayne: Chicago’s Suburban Gangster and Sabotage: A Chronicle of the Chesterton Crash.
Tell us about your latest release.
My latest is Vicious and it is my take on the whole cabin in the woods storyline that has become a staple of horror. I had this idea for years about a story featuring several people trapped inside a cabin, unable to get out. The problem was finding what was keeping them inside the cabin. I tossed the idea around for a long time before coming across the solution: vicious dogs. When I saw a book about Presa Canarios dogs and how some who had been trained to fight attacked a woman in San Francisco. I knew that these dogs would be tough to fight and virtually unstoppable.
So, the story if about two dogs who have been abused and trained to fight who get out and stake out a cabin as their new territory. Four people come to the cabin for a quiet weekend and terror ensues. I hope it is visceral and terrifying, but also a good adventure and edge-of-your seat.
For someone unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe your writing?
I strive to tell compelling and exciting stories. I try to create very realistic and real main characters that people can relate to. I then try to put them into very bizarre and terrifying situations. I also like to throw in a bit of humor when I can. I have been told my action scenes and scene descriptions are very vivid. I try for that. I really want people to be compelled to hit the page button on their Kindle or turn the page in the book. I love it if a reader tells me that they stayed up all night to read one of my books. I also always like to throw a bit of mystery into my books. There’s almost always someone trying to find out the solution behind a mystery.
What else do you have in the pipeline?
I have so many ideas for novels! At this rate, if I cannot start writing books full time I will have to live until the age of 198 to complete them all. I am busy working on a supernatural horror story that will be my first foray into the Young Adult genre. After that, I have an outline and concept for a mystery/thriller set in the neighborhood where I grew up in Chicago. I also have an idea for a young adult series. I want to write a second in my series featuring my detective character Deklan Falls. I have another series where I have written two installments and I have most of a third installment written. And, really, that is just the start. I get ideas all the time - for non-fiction too.
What writers have had the most influence on your own writing?
The first writer who inspired me was Peter Benchley. I was always reading at a very advanced level and I read Jaws while quite young. In about 6th grade I picked up Cujo by Stephen King and that was the hook that got me. I have read everything that King has written since then and he is probably the single biggest influence on my writing. I have also been inspired by writers like Robbert McCammon and John Sanford. I love thrillers, horror and mysteries.
What was the last thing you read?
I am currently reading a novel called Resurrection Express by Stephen Romano. It is a tense, exciting and intense crime novel in a very traditional noir style. I just finished PINES by Blake Crouch who I think is one of the finest horror/thriller novelists around right now. His novels RUN and now PINES are just some of the best books I have read in recent memory. So intense, such great characters, and a story that never lets up.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about?
I love connecting to fans. It’s tough to do when you publish most of your work via Kindle, so I have a strong online and social media presence. So, I hope people check out my website and find me on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter or wherever. I love to chat with readers and other writers, too.