How to Write Dark Fiction: Interview with Horror Author A.R. Braun

It’s not every day that we get to sit with a Dark Fiction Author with over 14 publications in the Hard Core Horror Genre. A.R. Braun methodically wears an impressive rack of ribbons on his chest with as an indie horror author, with publication credits in the following: “NREM Sleep” in the D.O.A. anthology; “Freaks” in Downstate Story magazine; “The Unwanted Visitors” in the Vermin anthology; “Coven” in the Heavy Metal Horror anthology; “Remember Me?” in Horror Bound magazine; and “Shades of Gray (the Symbiosis of Light and Dark)” in Micro Horror magazine; “Little Ghoul,” in the Mad Men Anthology.

The terms splatter punk and heavy metal horror only begin to describe A.R. Braun’s collection of creative phantasmic, demonic, terrorizing tales! With the upcoming releases scheduled for this Fall, we wanted to sit with A.R. Braun prior to his releases of Phantom World and The Oncoming Evil.

I try to write 2,100 words a day, that’s about a chapter for me. Then I have time allotted for editing. I try to invest in my whole day into writing.

A.R. Braun, Dark Fiction Author

Q: Let’s jump into this. Can you tell us a little about yourself, and how or why you came about writing?

A: I grew up in small towns in Illinois. In my early 20’s I moved to the city. In high school I had nothing to do but get into trouble. I ended up taking a class in which we had to read The Tell-Tale Heart. When I read The Tell-Tale Heart, it just blew me away, I got an adrenaline rush from it.

I fell in love with horror and soon purchased the Stephen King collection which was only about ten books at a time. I also used to read ‘Chillers magazines,’ with articles on horror movies and short stories by up-and-coming authors.

Q: Tell us about how you began writing, or how you knew you wanted to become a writer.

I started seriously writing at 2006. I would go to the library in the mornings before work. What got me started was Stephen King’s, On Writing; it really motivated me.

HorrorBook was first published at the age of 50, and it is a short story collection. This is most people’s favorite. But my favorite to write has been the novel, Only Women in Hell, because of the isolation that happens to the main character. She gets locked into a basement, serving as a dungeon, and nobody knew she was even there. It’s just scary to think about, that this this kind of stuff really goes on. It’s based on a real life story about a girl that was abducted by her father in Austria.

My first novel that I published, Only Women in Hell, was actually my 5th that I had written. I say that because I wrote some really evil stuff prior to that when I was heavy into Satanism. I was then getting into trouble online and took a break from the internet. After regaining my faith, I was soon published 10 times by 2009.

Q: Everyone wants to know, what are your writing habits and how have you written so many publications?

To begin with, I have my own writer rules. I usually have them written on the inside of whatever notebook I’m using. My Writer Rules would be to first, use the five senses, (2) show don’t tell, (3) draw a picture before you start to utilize both sides of the brain. (4) The biggest tip is to read; I like to read at night.

I try to write 2,100 words a day, that’s about a chapter for me. Then I have time allotted for editing. I try to invest in my whole day. And I do consider myself to be a pantser. Once I sit down to write, I get in the zone. I’m just kind of an overachiever, I get inspired.

Don’t believe the hype. I used to know this one writer that bragged about keeping dead people in his closet.

A.R. Braun, Dark Fiction Author

Q: How do you prepare for writing?

A: Well, I gotta be well rested. Coffee is another big one. But mostly if I am well rested, I can bang it out. I like to outline too. You know, I heard that Stephen King and Joe Hill don’t like to use outlines, even in their novels. I like to outline everything, even short stories.

Q: We know it’s hard to choose, but who are your favorite 5 favorite authors?

A: Ira Levin, Shirley Jackson, the 73′ to 83′ Stephen King, Early Dean Koontz, and Adam Nevill.

Q: Where do you get your ideas for characters? Are they based on real people or mostly made up?

A: A lot of times, I do base my characters on real people. I’m a firm believer that truth is stranger than fiction. I mean, Ted Bundy escaped from prison twice. He admitted to 200 murders… to the fact that he jumped off of a two-story courthouse without breaking a leg. You can’t make this stuff up!

The little girl in Little Ghoul; I was friends with this guy and he had this little daughter. We use the truth as much as possible. (Little Ghoul is included in the Mad Men anthology.)

The Oncoming Evil, is actually based on me. The only difference is that he’s a best seller (he says jokingly about himself.) The guy has a crisis of conscience, and as he is trying to get right, he runs into the evil has to fight; somebody else’s evil – its paranormal. That’s my favorite kind of fiction, the paranormal with witches, demons, and wolves. (The Oncoming Evil is a full length novel, scheduled to release on Halloween. Currently in review.)

And in 66SICK, in the plot, I was killing my ex wife in the story. Boy, she really didn’t like that (he replies chuckling).

It’s wishful thinking to be able to write something that will traumatize someone. You know, like the effect that The Exorcist had on people when it first came out, and in fact, still does today.

Q: From H.G. Wells – If you could travel to any point in time, where would you go?

A: I would probably go back to the 70’s and 80’s and live my life over so that I could be into better bands. I used to listen to some really junkie stuff.

Q: What are the worst and best parts of being an author?

A: The best parts would be working on that first draft. The worst part would be the trolls and constant editing. I just had a troll recently. It was a post about Edgar A. Poe… I said something about how he would of been 212 if he was still alive. And some troll jumped on the thread to say that he wouldn’t be 212, that he would be dead. So, I let that troll have it. I told him that he is a POS and that he still lives with his parents, which is why he likes to start trouble on the internet, he obviously has nothing better to do.

Q: We would like to know what are your thoughts on editing? Are you big on editing?

A: You can’t get enough eyes on it. I usually go through twelve times in the edits. Another important thing is the critique. It’s better to have close friends to do them that you can trust. I have had someone steal my idea before. I had submitted a copy for review/edit and it ended up being stolen.

Braun’s word of advice

Dark Fiction author, A.R. Braun
Dark Fiction author, A.R. Braun

Don’t believe the hype. I used to know this one writer that bragged about keeping dead people in his closet. Don’t keep dead people in your closet just to have something to write about. I have met writers that really kill people and I was like, why? “Research,” they would say.

Also, I would like to thank you, Willy and The Ritual Blog for taking the time to interview me. I really appreciate it and am always open to more interviews should any other publisher be interested.

“I’m just kind of an overachiever, I get inspired.”

A.R. Braun, Dark Fiction Author

A.R. Braun is a featured writer in our dark fiction anthology, “Mad Men” – a collection of three disturbing tales exploring what lies within man. Available now at Google BooksBarnes and NobleKoboApple iBooksSmashwords, and Amazon.

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Willy Martinez

Willy Martinez is a creative writer, Integrated Marketing Specialist, and Boxing coach. Since being honorably discharged from the Marines in 2004, he has pursued his passion for telling stories, whether they be through film, graphic design, and writing for digital art.

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