The Nightmare Engine Podcast

Art, Craft and Emotion: The World of Horror Writing with Brian Asman

June 01, 2022 David Viergutz Season 1 Episode 10
Art, Craft and Emotion: The World of Horror Writing with Brian Asman
The Nightmare Engine Podcast
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The Nightmare Engine Podcast
Art, Craft and Emotion: The World of Horror Writing with Brian Asman
Jun 01, 2022 Season 1 Episode 10
David Viergutz

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๐ŸŽ™๏ธAbout the Episode
Step into the lurid world of Brian Asman, an extraordinary horror author who's not afraid to get personal. This week on the Nightmare Engine Podcast, Brian takes you on a whirlwind journey that encompasses everything from his love for his 2005 Chevy SSR Super Sport Roadster to his acting career, and the life-changing decision that led him to swap the familiarity of Virginia for the sunny shores of San Diego. Get a glimpse into the makings of his latest horror novel, where he masterfully weaves together elements of his affection for California, his acting experiences, and his knack for spine-chilling narratives.

If you've ever wondered about the art behind creating realistic, relatable characters in horror writing, you're in for a treat. Brian unpacks the emotional potency of fear, and how this universal human experience can be harnessed to create compelling narratives that resonate with readers. We delve into the nuances of character creation and dialogue crafting, using references from popular pop culture icons such as The Wire and Nightcrawler. Brian shares his unique approach to formulating characters, drawing from his personal encounters and existing character templates.

Finally, discover Brian's ambitious aspirations as he paints a vivid picture of his future in the creative industry. With over 800 glowing reviews for his book and a vision to sell film rights, Brian is no doubt on a promising trajectory. Hear about his plans for upcoming projects and the inexplicable joy he experiences when spotting someone engrossed in his book in public. As part of our bonus content, we explore Brian's current reading list and his admiration for the works of Thomas Legotti. And just when you think you've heard it all, we drop an exciting revelation about Brandon Sanderson's endorsement of David's Kickstarter campaign! So, buckle up for this riveting conversation where we dissect the intricacies of horror writing, screenwriting, and much much more!

๐Ÿ”—Connect with David
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐ŸŽฅ Youtube | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

๐Ÿ”—Connect with Jay
๐ŸŒŽ Website |

๐Ÿ”—Connect with David
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐ŸŽฅ Youtube | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

โญ๏ธ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast, please do leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts and let us know in your review who you want to see next on the podcast. Thanks!

You can also Tweet me @ViergutzDavid and tell me what horror author you want to hear from next, or what topics you want me to cover. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

How did you like the show? Text us and let us know.

โญ๏ธEnjoy the podcast? Do your good deed for the day and leave a 5-star review here ;)

๐ŸŽ™๏ธAbout the Episode
Step into the lurid world of Brian Asman, an extraordinary horror author who's not afraid to get personal. This week on the Nightmare Engine Podcast, Brian takes you on a whirlwind journey that encompasses everything from his love for his 2005 Chevy SSR Super Sport Roadster to his acting career, and the life-changing decision that led him to swap the familiarity of Virginia for the sunny shores of San Diego. Get a glimpse into the makings of his latest horror novel, where he masterfully weaves together elements of his affection for California, his acting experiences, and his knack for spine-chilling narratives.

If you've ever wondered about the art behind creating realistic, relatable characters in horror writing, you're in for a treat. Brian unpacks the emotional potency of fear, and how this universal human experience can be harnessed to create compelling narratives that resonate with readers. We delve into the nuances of character creation and dialogue crafting, using references from popular pop culture icons such as The Wire and Nightcrawler. Brian shares his unique approach to formulating characters, drawing from his personal encounters and existing character templates.

Finally, discover Brian's ambitious aspirations as he paints a vivid picture of his future in the creative industry. With over 800 glowing reviews for his book and a vision to sell film rights, Brian is no doubt on a promising trajectory. Hear about his plans for upcoming projects and the inexplicable joy he experiences when spotting someone engrossed in his book in public. As part of our bonus content, we explore Brian's current reading list and his admiration for the works of Thomas Legotti. And just when you think you've heard it all, we drop an exciting revelation about Brandon Sanderson's endorsement of David's Kickstarter campaign! So, buckle up for this riveting conversation where we dissect the intricacies of horror writing, screenwriting, and much much more!

๐Ÿ”—Connect with David
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐ŸŽฅ Youtube | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

๐Ÿ”—Connect with Jay
๐ŸŒŽ Website |

๐Ÿ”—Connect with David
๐ŸŒŽ Website | ๐ŸŽฅ Youtube | ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸซFacebook | ๐Ÿ“ธ Instagram |๐Ÿค Twitter | ๐Ÿ•ฐ๏ธTikTok

โญ๏ธ Leave a Review

If you enjoy listening to the podcast, please do leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts and let us know in your review who you want to see next on the podcast. Thanks!

You can also Tweet me @ViergutzDavid and tell me what horror author you want to hear from next, or what topics you want me to cover. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Nightmare Engine Podcast with your hosts, horror authors David Virgoots and Jay Bauer, where they discuss all things horror, books, movies, stories. Nothing is off limits, nothing is safe, and neither are you.

Speaker 2:

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome again to another episode of the Nightmare Engine Podcast. I think we're on like number seven or eight or something like this at that point, but we're just going by titles and who's who's joining me on the show. So I'm your host, david Virgoots. I'm gonna be alone in the studio today. It's Wednesday, april 13th, and I may be alone in the studio, but I'm not just talking into the microphone by myself. So who we got today is a very special guest and you guys know I've been bringing on some of the best horror writers out there right now and today I'm happy to introduce Mr Brian Asman. Brian, say hello. And how are you doing, man? Hey, pretty good. How are you, david? I'm good. So what kind of car are you gonna sell me today?

Speaker 3:

Oh, let's see. Well, actually I have a car for sale right now. It's a 2005 Chevy SSR Super Sport Roadster. It's got a Corvette engine, 400 horsepower. It needs a little bit of work, but I'm asking 15,000.

Speaker 2:

15,000. Well, definitely know that that price is totally worth it right now, and me as a rider, I can definitely afford it. So let's do it, man.

Speaker 3:

It's a hardtop convertible. It's got a hundred and forty thousand miles on it. I'm not doing a bit, I'm literally trying to sell this car. If you're in Southern California, arizona, nevada, contact me after the podcast and buy my car please. I'm tired of having two cars.

Speaker 2:

So about this car? This thing became a shill-free car. Love it, man, don't buy my books.

Speaker 3:

Buy my car, actually buy my books. Get a free book. If you buy the car, that works too. Just give me money. That's how.

Speaker 2:

I'm gonna market this to everybody. Buy Brian's car.

Speaker 3:

Yes, I like it. First time someone's tried to sell a car through your podcast, right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, this will be a first for me.

Speaker 3:

Dude, it is nightmare engines though.

Speaker 2:

That's what I'm saying.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I've had some nightmares with this car, but they're all over. It works great now, so oh you're still going.

Speaker 2:

Nobody is safe. You know, at the end of this, at the end of this podcast, I'm also gonna ask you to shameless plugs. I guarantee I'm gonna get the car spiel again for another 10 minutes.

Speaker 3:

Oh, I'll come up with some new shit, dude, it's all good. Yeah, I'm not gonna repeat myself. That's boring. Seriously, buy my car, though, someone, someone. I need one too.

Speaker 2:

Alright, make sure we get a link with some good pictures. Yeah, clear title, alright. So, brian. So everybody wants to know and everybody's gonna talk about it, because you were the buzz, probably about a month ago, about a particular book and we'll get to that. But let's get a little bit of a background on you. Besides, to use car salesman voice and everything who are you, where do you come from and why a horror specifically?

Speaker 3:

Those are all very existential questions and I appreciate them. So who am I? Where do I come from? I guess I'll start with the second part of that. I am originally from Virginia, right outside DC, a city called Alexandria. It's got beautiful cobblestone streets and lots of ghosts and George Washington used to fuck around there. It's pretty awesome. However, it's not as awesome as where I live now, san Diego.

Speaker 3:

When I was a kid I always like I'd see California like in movies. I remember that movie, the Wizard, from like 1989. That was like the child-sized Rain man and the kids were trying to get to California to go to like a video game competition and I don't know. Between that point break I think I saw some cartoon where animals were surfing or some shit when I was a kid. All those things just made me go. I want to go to California. It looks awesome. I like palm trees. I've always liked the beach. I love girls in bikinis. These are all things that California has and I love. I don't like winter. I like to visit winter, like snow was really cool. That's why I love California, because I can drive two hours and be a big bear and I can go throw a snowball at someone and then drive right the fuck back to the beach and sit there in my shorts.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, that's so. Virginia said that's not far off from where I saw. I'm a Texas implant. I've been Texas for about about 10 years now, but yeah, I came from the East Coast as well, so I came from outside DC. I came from, actually from Maryland, but you know.

Speaker 3:

DC, it's all together, it's all. Yeah, murder land nice, where in Maryland?

Speaker 2:

so outside of a little town, so outside of Frederick. Actually, most people probably are familiar with Frederick, but outside of Frederick is a little town called Mount Airy and yes, I know that my friend Colin is from there originally yeah, so small world, but yeah.

Speaker 2:

So now I'm in Texas where there is no, there is no beaches. We have snow. It tried to Texas tried to freeze everybody last year, which was incredible. But Brian, so out in California, I mean, I know there's more to you than then just riding horror. I think you do some some acting and you've got your agent did and everything else. So let's talk about that a little bit sure, definitely yeah.

Speaker 3:

So I I got into film a couple years ago. I think if you're a writer or a reader, you know that publishing moves kind of slowly and when you have a lot of creative energy, sometimes like you need multiple outlets for it. I'm also a big believer in the fact that, like I think generally we're storytellers, not just like writers. Some people are writers of one thing, but generally we're storytellers. We want to, we want to tell stories, and what I found when I bounced between writing comics, writing prose or writing screenplays I get better at all three. When I'm shifting the way I write and the way I tell stories, I learn things like I think I think my prose writing has gotten much more cinematic ever since I started writing screenplays, which is kind of funny how I got into that. I so this is a good segue actually into talking about. You know degrees for writers, but I did an MFA program at UCR Palm Desert and in that program you have what's like you basically have a major right and that's for me that was fiction, and then they want you to take what's called a cross or a minor. It can be something different each, each quarter, so they have like poetry or playwriting or screenwriting or nonfiction is different things that you can do, and I had never been interested in doing really any of those. I had always been like no, I just want to write books. I want to write the best freaking books I can write. I'm just gonna write books. And that was like well, screenwriting looks really weird, but let's give it a try. That could be interesting and I kind of fell in love with that.

Speaker 3:

So I think after I started doing that, my prose got so much more cinematic and then, because I started writing scripts, I got into wanting to make movies as well. So it's, you know, essentially I started, you know, writing some shorts and things like that, because I'm like one thing you can probably know about me if you followed my prose career is I like doing stuff myself. Like my first book was traditionally published through Eraserhead Press but I've since gone off and kind of done my own thing, because I don't like like, I don't like waiting for people in general, you know, I like to just go do stuff. And so I was like what are some short films that I can make myself? Or what are you know? What are some film related things I can get involved with. So I started doing a little acting that way too, you know, because I've got, I've got the used car salesman voice and I make a really good sweaty redneck.

Speaker 3:

I can really bring out that like that Virginia, the Virginia in me when I need to, you know and so I got involved. I've been in a couple of little films I think all the ones that I have parts in actually aren't released yet, but I do. I do have one that I co-wrote which is on Amazon Prime right now. It's available to rent. It's called a haunting and Ravenwood. It's distributed by Broken Glass, but it's kind of like a neo-gothic Vincent Freistyle ghost story I got. I got approached to be a part of that project because of some people I had worked with previously. The script was already written and I kind of came in, did some passes on the script, collaborated a bit, and we're really happy with the result of that. So you can go check it out now. A haunting and Ravenwood.

Speaker 3:

I think you said, leave the plugs for the end. But like I'm just going to work him in. Also, my car is for sale.

Speaker 2:

Brian, I and I love your, I love your sense of humor. Man Like we.

Speaker 2:

I have found that a lot with all these, all the writers that we've interviewed, we all have this same and and and I say this specifically because of horror. What I'm trying to do is break down some of the stigmas about horror, and that's who we are. Number one is the writer, and then the books that we put out to and say, hey, look, so these things, anybody can enjoy these, because there's one thing that we can all share and that's in fear. And the one thing we do as writers, we tap into those emotions and I and I tell you what, man, when I was looking at your, the book that I think everybody's you know you're known for right now, and that's man, fuck this house.

Speaker 3:

And I just I was, I was. I'm mostly known for womb. Actually, Don't get me so angry.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to tell him I cannot get that dude on this podcast. I have tried. Jay knows him and he won't do it. Jay knows him and he just still won't do it. So I told him look we don't have to record your. I'm going to throw your name around. I mean, Brian was on here and he was taking credit for womb man, so you've got to be on this podcast.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean honestly, dude. If you want, I can. We can shut off the camera for a minute. I'll slather myself in feces and then put on a Canadian accent, and then you can, like you know, change, change, just edit the episode and say that I'm Duncan.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'll move some names around. Yeah, you might be able to play a better Duncan than Duncan can play.

Speaker 3:

But yeah, For anyone who hasn't read womb, that probably sounds that we don't think a lot of Duncan, but he's a. He's a good friend and we love him. And if you've read womb and you know. We do that hopefully, hopefully doesn't come across as too mean what I just said about how I would portray him.

Speaker 2:

No, no, and it's 100% contextual. That's the thing is that it's not. It's not, it's. It has a purpose and a meaning behind it. Go check out womb, Shameless Duncan anyway.

Speaker 3:

And it's semi sequel, gross out, which I just read, and, my God, I cannot say enough good things about that book. That is, it's just phenomenal. It's a great way to continue the story of womb and like a slight way, but it also spins off in all these different directions, so highly recommend that one.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, when you can go ahead and make traffic cones Interesting, I think you've done a good job, so yes indeed. Tell me about so, and this is. This is a very broad question, but I think it's important because we, as writers, we have a lot of different venues and outlets we can use, and and also a lot of genres that we can dip into. So why horror? Why horror specifically?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, why horror specifically I mean for the reason that you just said is my biggest one. Horror is, for me, the biggest tent that I can write under, because it encompasses so many different sub genres, so many different kinds of stories, like honestly, and that's what I've tried to do with, like the last couple of books. I've done. So I have three releases through my own imprint, mutated media. The first is called jailbroke. It's a sci-fi horror book. The next is called nunchuck city. It's an action comedy set in like a weird, like kind of superhero ass ninja turtles ass world.

Speaker 3:

And then I have man, fuck this house, which is probably the closest thing I've done to like a straight up horror book. Except anyone who's read it will be like dude, that's not even a straight up horror book, that's you know, no spoilers here. But but that's truly what I love about horror is that someone like me and someone like, say, like we just mentioned, duncan, someone like like Sina Pelleo and you know, someone like Brian Keen and someone like you know Ratchett and Wade and someone like Stephen King, we can all just kind of like you can put us in a lineup and it all kind of makes sense to throw Laird Baron in there. And then you know, you know you can put it in like a basely different kinds of fiction and into a lineup. And you know, just look at the lineup and it all kind of makes sense. You know, we all write books that like the same people like to read.

Speaker 3:

But I think, and for me the reason why that is is, like you're saying earlier, horror is an emotion, so like where's the feeling, and it's common to human experience.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, what I found with horror too is that it's it's and me even as a reader, just from that perspective, I said you know what it's. This is kind of emotionally taxing on me when done right At the end of the book or even during the parts when it's like when you can feel for that character, you're just like man. I may need to take a step back and you can probably see that a couple of times in some of the groups. You're like man people saying I had to put it down for a minute and it's not just the.

Speaker 2:

It's not just the, the blood and gore and the poop, it's, it's everything that's going on with those characters. We try, I mean it's not scary if you can't relate to the characters, right, I mean, if it's just so outlandish, then that's the whole thing about horror. I think that's really important is that we can we create characters that our readers can gravitate towards and they can really step into their shoes. This is more than urban fantasy. This is more than than epic fantasy Not saying that the one's better than the other, but the focus on character. It becomes so much more personal when it's about fear. It's about losing things you don't want to lose.

Speaker 3:

Exactly, I completely agree. It's, in order for it to work, you have to care about the characters or identify with the characters, or you know, or both, right? You have to see something in that person that you think is worth saving, otherwise it's just gore for gore's sake, right? I think that's one thing that I like. Again, going back to him, I think that's one thing Duncan does really well is he creates these distinct characters that you feel. You feel like kinship with them, even though they've had wildly different experiences than you and they. You know you can see the good in someone, even as something horrific has happened or as they're doing something horrific. You know, and like, there are a lot of writers there are phenomenal at that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and then, and even in my own writing, I find that it's something very important that I'm having to gravitate back towards, because when I first started writing, I I wrote all about the cool moments and started to and said you know, I'm missing something here. I'm missing the human element, I'm missing the characters, I'm missing the. You know, you could have a bunch of stuff happening on screen, but if you don't have Tom Cruise running, then it's not going to be interesting. You know you're just having a bunch of stuff happen, you know.

Speaker 3:

So, yeah, yeah, exactly, you see that in. Like you know, one of the best action films for me of the last 10 years was John Wick. Yes, the choreography is amazing, but the movie also did something very important, right? It helped you identify with him, right? You felt for this guy. Like you know, even though he's a trained killer, he's had these double losses, like just bam bam, and just that motivates everything and that makes the actions in which we're fun to watch.

Speaker 2:

Well, you broke the number one rule, which is don't kill the dog. Exactly, that was the first thing. Yeah, exactly, I actually tested this there. I wrote my first zombie book. I killed the dog and I could first like five pages. I just wanted to see if I could make it pass. And I've got good read through between all three books, but yeah, so if you don't like, I'll tell everybody, and everybody knows that the dog dies. But if you read the first couple of chapters you know the dog dies. So just keep that in mind. I just wanted to test the idea. But we were talking about I want to go backtrack a little bit about shorts. About shorts, you know this.

Speaker 2:

On this podcast we talk a lot about movies, we talk books, we talk comics, we talk everything. If it's horror related, we talk about it. I mean, the other day we talked to Jay and I discussed the religious implications of exorcisms outside the Catholic church. It was just so weird because Jay's got a history in medieval history and there's a, he's got a degree in some other stuff and he's got this big focus on religion and things like that. So Jay and I had this really weird but still kind of interesting conversation. Like what do the Baptists should do for an exorcism if they need one? You know, just stuff like that.

Speaker 3:

Right, oh, that's cool, yeah, so just kind of questions like that.

Speaker 2:

So, anyways, everything's kind of open on this podcast. So one thing I was going to ask you is short stories. Did you like the movie? If you've seen it, lights Out.

Speaker 3:

Lights Out. Yes, so that's the one where, when the lights out, the monster can advance towards you, and when the lights on, the monster disappears, right.

Speaker 2:

Yes, that's such a simple idea, but just taken it's a great idea. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3:

I love that one too, because it started as a short film.

Speaker 2:

Yes, an indie film.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and then it got picked up. Yeah, that was cool. I thought that was a powerful movie, cool concept. I had some issues with the end.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 3:

But other than my issues with the end of it, I thought it was good.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, what I'd really like to see too is and I'm kind of a sucker for these movies, I don't care if there's 20 of them or not, but the Paranormal Activity movies, I love them. Even after like the fifth or sixth one, I'm like, okay, this is getting kind of ridiculous, but I love them because it was so simple and it was so. It was a video camera. That's it not like this all-knowing third eye view that you get normally, like a lot of books will portray. You get something that can only show you one view. It seems so much more intimate and I would love to figure out how I could capture that feeling in a book. I think Haunted Houses can do that for you, because you have to kind of personify the Haunted House as a thing.

Speaker 2:

People love the house, like with Lee Mountford. I read a few of his Paranmanner books and I grew to love the house because the house itself had its own history. The scary thing had a history. I wrote a book called Wendigo and the Wendigo had its own history and I loved the Wendigo as its own character. I'm just trying to figure out how do you capture emotions in your book, in your books, what is the main thing you look for. How do you make characters matter to readers?

Speaker 3:

I think the number one thing that you do with any character to make them matter to a reader is just make it. Make every character have a goal. As long as every character has something that they want, the reader can relate to wanting something that you don't have. One of the best examples of this I've ever seen is in the Wire, season 4. I'm not sure if you watch the Wire. There's a scene where a very, very, very minor character is driving up and down the interstate buying cell phones from different convenience stores. He has his girlfriend in the car with him and she's even more of a minor character. These are the only scenes she's ever in the whole series. I believe this is kind of one of those almost like bottle episode type things where it's like what's going on with these people? But you care? Because through dialogue, just a handful of lines, she's articulating what she wants. She'd rather be doing X, y or Z than driving up and down the interstate buying burners with her boyfriend. All of a sudden I'm like, oh man, I can totally relate to the time that I was at the mall with my ex-girlfriend and she wanted to do this. I was like can we go eat? I don't want to be here.

Speaker 3:

I think just being able to articulate what each character wants will make the reader care. It's only when a character is there in service solely of the plot or other characters that it becomes like who cares? Right, if I have a character walk into a store and there's just someone behind the counter that says, may I help you? Okay, here are your chicklets. Okay, who cares about that character? Right. But if the character walks in, the guy behind the desk is yelling at the TV because his sports team is losing. That is that little moment of characterization that will make the reader care, right. And so when you talk about your protagonist and side characters, it's like that dialed up because you have so many more opportunities to show people here's what they care about, here's the things that they can't have and what they're striving for.

Speaker 2:

Yeah and so on. Long form, do you take events that you've seen, or do you make things up, or do they fit with the story, or kind of a mix of the craft, like, how do you come up with your?

Speaker 3:

ideas. Oh, any semblance to any person living or dead is entirely coincidental. No, I mean, yeah, I mean sometimes.

Speaker 3:

I guess sometimes I might insert something that I've seen in real life. Generally, I'd say generally, it's just me making stuff up, but I don't want to sound too esoteric and be like. The characters reveal themselves to me but they sort of do Like. I essentially look at it as like, like I don't know like. The character at first is kind of like a gray smear or something like that and they're kind of in the distance and I'm zooming in on them right, and sometimes as I zoom in I learn new things about them. But part of the way that you learn new things about your characters is just putting them in different situations and going, ok, based on what I know about this person, how would or wouldn't they react? Right, and you know. A lot of the time I do think of characters as I'll kind of have a template for them.

Speaker 2:

Sure.

Speaker 3:

And whether it's someone I've met or a character in a movie or something like that, or like six characters in six movies plus six people I've met, all kind of combined right. But it helps if I can kind of have a vague visualization of at least that type of person.

Speaker 2:

And is that I mean in screenplays? I mean, it knows it's kind of going off the wire a little bit here, but with screenplays I mean you kind of you're kind of limited, right. You know you really personify things very quickly. You don't have an entire book to explain things, right. I mean it's written. I don't know much about screenplays. You're going to be the expert on this one.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's interesting, so you have to have a lot of dialogue and subtext and things do. The heavy left in it also matters in how you introduce the characters. You know it's like that first time you see them. What are they doing? You know, are they late for work or are they doing this or doing that, right? You know kind of the basic. You know the kind of basic story forms are do they have it together or do they not have it together? Right, are they in their state?

Speaker 2:

of grace.

Speaker 3:

Or are they in their everything's already screwed up right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I really like that, and I'm kind of notorious for my plot points that are like, if I, if I feel like I'm stalled out, I will 100% introduce a problem. You said you, now you've got something to solve, even if it's something as mundane, as you know. Like you said, just I need to go buy a bunch of burners, for whatever reason. You know, just it seems like people in their daily lives are constantly trying to put out fires, so that after that point is just introducing fires. That are real, you know, that feel real to the character, at least you know.

Speaker 3:

So let's um let's talk about oh sorry, go ahead.

Speaker 2:

No, no, go ahead.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I was gonna say. One really good example of how to introduce a character, I think is in the movie Nightcrawler. Have you seen that with Jake Gyllenhaal? Yeah, yeah, okay. So think back, okay, the very beginning, when we first meet Louis Bloom. He's stealing chain like fence. And then he gets caught stealing it. And then you hear him go wait, what kind of uniform is that? Yeah, and you know. And then, and all of a sudden, like flash forward, he's asking the guy that he's selling stolen chain like fence to for a job. And I think that's just. There's just so much character work jam packed into those couple scenes, right, where you see not only who this guy is but what he's willing to do and where he wants to go.

Speaker 2:

Right, you can already see that, like he wants, he wants to become legitimate somehow and that's his struggle Even is, and even his way to get there his way to get there was in that movie was completely wrong. It was bass Aquartz and but you started like feeling for him. You're like, yeah, man, I could you know, in the quest for fame and the quest for for belonging, you know, you were like what is someone willing to do? And you're like, yeah, I could totally see him doing that, and maybe even me, you know, if I really needed to make it.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and I think the entire, the opening sequence of that movie is just really a microcosm of his, of his entire journey throughout the movie. Really, you know, because you see him doing, doing stuff he stood stuff that's illegal, you see him escalating, you see him disregarding other people's well being, you see the opportunistic nature of him, like all these things are just there in those couple minutes, like it's amazing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 3:

And I think once you, once you've seen that, it really sells all the other character decisions that happen throughout the movie as well.

Speaker 2:

Well, yeah, and it sets the stage for what you can expect, I mean of, of of that character, what it's going to be like seeing him go through things and go through his daily life. So let's speaking of a daily life. Yeah, I know, we were trying to make the schedules work. What do you do during the day? I mean, this is this, is your night crawler right here? Right, I mean what we're doing right now.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, this totally is so during the day I work, for I don't like this isn't necessarily a secret you can find out with Googling but I don't, I don't, I don't mention the name of my employer publicly only because I don't want to, you know, create a public association between what I do for a day job and some of the things that I write. You know, I don't want to be constrained like that. So, anyway, I work for a company in the biotech sector biotech Okay. Yeah, we do, we do DNA sequencing.

Speaker 2:

Okay, and scientific end of it, or administrative, or which end of that are you on?

Speaker 3:

I guess kind of more on the administrative. I'm in quality assurance so I lead investigations into complaint trends about our products, and then I do executive a lot of executive like a lot of my job is just making PowerPoints, frankly, I do like a monthly report out to the executives about you know kind of what problems our customers are facing. And then the other portion of my job is just communicating with the customers. Had a serious issue. Tech support handles most of it, but sometimes my team will come in and provide the customer kind of like an official, like okay, here's, here's our official statements on what's going on and how you can avoid it, how you can mitigate it.

Speaker 2:

And so the long term, I mean the long term is it there? Is it in creative, this creative outlets? I mean, where were we? Was this just a cool hobby that just does that? That helps get some of the creative juices flowing. I mean, what? Where do you see yourself?

Speaker 3:

Oh, I mean, working in DNA sequencing is definitely a cool hobby for me.

Speaker 3:

Yeah you know? No, it's that. That's a that's a great question. I think a lot of people have this, you know. I think a lot. For a lot of people, the goal is to go full time with writing. I'm not sure that's necessarily my goal. That doesn't mean it's a hobby for me either, sure, but it means that in order for me to be like a complete person, I need to challenge myself in different ways, and so I find that my job, my day job, compliments by writing career, you know, and I went, I went to excel in both kind of like how, like you know, jack Dorsey was the CEO of Twitter and square at the same time.

Speaker 2:

Right.

Speaker 3:

Like you know and like he ran two successful companies. Okay, like not to compare myself to Jack Dorsey, but, like you know, I can have a successful career doing one thing and another successful career doing the other thing and you know it makes me happy.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the reviews speak for themselves. You got about 800 positive reviews, so it's not like you wrote a bad book. You wrote a good book.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you wrote a good book and it's got attention and and you know that's, that's kind of one of those things that you have to find a happy medium, I think, between where you want to go, you know what the long term looks like, and then what's paying the bills, and see if you can find the medium and or have one take over for the other. So you moved out to sunny California chasing, chasing a dream of some sort, did you? And what was that dream that you chased? I know we talked about it earlier. It was kind of it was a mix of creativeness, but it was like acting, and then it was screenwriting and so, and then books came into play. So what's the what's the? What's the, what's the picturesque vision for you? Where do you want to be?

Speaker 3:

where do I want to be? So I am, I love where I am right now. First of all, I should say, you know, I'm getting like, you know people are reading my books and that's what I want. You know, having a, I have a very I'm starting to develop a very dedicated core audience, which is fantastic. Um, you know, and I'm getting to make some film. I'm going to do film projects I want to do. I'm going to do comics projects I want to do. I'm getting to write the books on a right. So this is all great. As far as where I want to be like, more, more, more as always, a component of it, for sure. Um, to I, you know, and like I, like I am agent and I have some more sort of mainstream but still interesting stuff. She's shopping around.

Speaker 2:

Sure.

Speaker 3:

You know that it's not necessarily like a book like nunchuck city, which is dumb ninja jokes for 200 pages. Um, you know, it's like. It's like more of like a like a one's a crime novel and others a horror novel. That's a little more straightforward. It's a little. These are both kind of things. They're a little bit different than what I've written or that what people are most familiar with, probably from me.

Speaker 3:

Ideally, yeah, I'd love to sell a book to a bigger publisher and get that that next step up. You know, right, that would be cool. Sell the film rights I like to get paid twice for the same property, that'd be amazing. So selling film rights, that's a goal as well. Ideally, though, I just I still want to make sure in like 10 years, 15 years, whatever I'm in, I'm in a place where I can make my own decisions creatively. And you know, if my audience, like I, want people to read my books, but if my audience contracts, then well, like I write for myself first and foremost, right, so like I'd rather put out stuff that I want to write, then try and, like you know, create like a thriller series or something like that that, like you know, people buy a ton of an airports, but everyone forgets when they get off the fly. You know, sure.

Speaker 2:

Okay, well, I mean that personal element. You want that to kind of stick with them for a little bit and and have them talking about your books and have them talking about things that happen. You know, I think we all kind of dream about that. Just say somebody to be walking down, you know walking through the mall, and just have somebody be having a conversation about your book. I think that would be just wicked.

Speaker 3:

I mean I've had. My buddy was at a restaurant, like looked over and like the table next to him was reading my book, Like it's pretty cool stuff, stuff like that's happened before you know. And when those things happen you're just like, whoa, this is amazing, yeah. But we're talking dreams and goals. By the way, I always put this out into the universe every chance I get. But one of my biggest career goals is to convince IDW to let me write a pizza face one shot for their Ninja Turtles comic line. I saw that cover.

Speaker 2:

I've yet to pick up that book, but I tell you what with the name of the cover, it's on the list of two of to be read. So what's on your pile of books that needs to be read right now?

Speaker 3:

Oh, I was talking about the old Ninja Turtles villain pizza face, not the regard collection it's also very good yeah.

Speaker 2:

See, see, my mind was that was out. Yeah, Aaron's supposed to be. I think he's going to.

Speaker 3:

I'm trying to get with him on this podcast as well, but yeah, I'll let him know that you you've named, dropped him as well, and Duncan, so yeah, accidentally again I was trying to talk about Ninja Turtles, but yeah, yeah, I'll give a shout out. Anyway, that was a lot of. That was a fun collection and the you know God that cover just got me. I mean, I was like I must own this.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, even just on the shelf, just as a talking piece and like just to scare the, scare the Joneses away when they come over.

Speaker 3:

Exactly.

Speaker 2:

So, um so, real quick. What's what are you reading? What do you read right now?

Speaker 3:

Let's see what am I reading right now. I am currently reading the Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schultz. He's a, you know, kind of a post-moderous writer from the early part of the 20th century. Like your facts about him, he was. He shares a birthday with me and he was actually murdered by the Nazis on the on my father's birthday.

Speaker 2:

Um, morbid, but awesome and weird.

Speaker 3:

More of a but interesting, yeah, and so I'm. He's an influence of Thomas Legotti, and so I'm. I'm going back and reading, uh, his, his couple surviving works, uh, in the Street of Crocodiles, and it is wild stuff, yeah, yeah, it's kind of like I don't know, it just veers him like. It's kind of like very, very Florida and interesting pros Very, very dent. There's lots unpacked there. It's very kind of magical realism.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and so I'm reading it in a way. Uh, it's super interesting, so I'm reading that. I just read Gross Up by Duncan Ralston, which again is fricking fantastic, um, and then, uh, I'm trying to think what else? I've got a couple other books. I read Children of Chicago by Sina Playa recently Um, that was so that one, the Schultz book. Um, I have a book of Angela Carter's that I'm reading, and then I'm rereading some Thomas Legotti. So all of those are kind of like what I'm putting into my mental blender for the next project I want to work on Very cool.

Speaker 2:

And is that going to be in the same, uh, same line that you've got right now? Or are you looking at sequel to man, fuck this House? Or what are? What are we? Uh, what do you? What do you got on the chopping block?

Speaker 3:

Oh, so this will be a completely new book that has nothing to do with anything, um, but yeah, as far as the sequel goes, I know, like some people have asked about that, I'm not so much a sequel guy, um, generally I don't know, like I don't there, I mean, I could write a sequel to man Fuck this House, like, but like what I want to? Probably not. For me, that story is kind of over and done with. Uh, the one property that I would go back to and write more sequels, which I have several in mind, is, uh, nunchuck City. Uh, that's like a whole ass world. That's a super fun playground with all the things I love, whether it's ninjas, whether it's cyborgs, uh, whether it's drive through fun, do, restaurants, all of that shit. So, uh, that's the one where, if it caught on a little more, I think I'd go back and write a sequel.

Speaker 2:

It's kind of hard to write a sequel and everybody fucking dies. So yeah. Exactly.

Speaker 3:

Well, also, you could just be like fucking, I'm bringing them back. This is fiction. I can do what I want and you can't stop me.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think at the beginning of one of these books that I read, somebody put a disclaimer at the front of that, like uh, surprise. The first line was like surprise, everybody didn't actually die.

Speaker 2:

Here's the sequel and it just kept going and I was like I love it. I love it. Um, you know, as, as independent authors, we have that creativity, we have that option to, to, to take it another step and test it and and do the fun things. Like one of the things I'm doing right now is I'm I ran a big Kickstarter and, uh, raised a couple of thousand dollars and really, good A lot more than congrats.

Speaker 3:

That's awesome.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I was hoping for 500 bucks and I ended up with a couple of thousand, so apparently it caught on and, um, and I think, um, I have a new frame next to my uh, next to my books, and that's of Brandon Sanderson's company backing my Kickstarter.

Speaker 3:

Um so, I thought, yeah, that's awesome.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. So he went and backed everybody. But mine was on that list at the time, so I went um. You know big daddy Sanderson.

Speaker 3:

So wait, wait. He went back and bet he like backed all the Kickstarter projects that were in flight at the time.

Speaker 2:

All the publishing, every single one of them. He actually has a video. Yeah, he has a video up of and uh of, where he shows all the ones that he backed. Uh, I think it's. I think it's a couple hundred of them, um so that is, that is pretty amazing. Uh, sanderson, is that's a great way to give back. Yeah, that's my goal.

Speaker 3:

That's a great way to get back.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, he's setting the goals, man, he's really setting he's. He's using the social media, he's using the community, he's. He's. You know, he's teaching at the BYU. He's got the courses up online for free. I mean, sanderson is just paving the way for what I think authors need to be aspiring to be, and that's just open and and part of a collective of say you know what here's, here's who I am, let's talk, let's meet my fans and let's let's build something together. And I think Brandon's doing that. So I just look up to him as as an author. I look up to him as a fantasy author. I look at him. I read almost all of his books. So Sanderson's just a and he's just a great guy. He's just nice, nice guy, and that's that's what I found too about the horror community. Man I think you'd probably agree with. Now, this is that man. Horror people are some of the coolest, nicest people you'll ever meet. I read some fucked up shit.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, you get. Yeah, if you go to conventions. Everyone is super friendly, super outgoing, um, everyone likes to have a good time. Like it's a total misconception that horror writers are all like dark and blah, blah, blah like no. We purge all that shit onto the page and when we're done, we go party.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So, um, son of a, we have kind of a little habit, I guess a little thing that we do on this podcast and that's uh, you got to tell us something like, honestly, that scares the shit out of you and my stuff is weird. We've already talked about me. So what, what are you afraid of?

Speaker 3:

Uh, heights, uh, heights scare the shit out of me. Uh, so I'm not really a fan of being on ladders. Um, I'm getting better at flying, just because I have so many places I have to be. Now I can't really afford to like be nervous about flying anymore. Um, so that's good, but like, yeah, I'd prefer not to be up high. My other weird fear is that if I am going into the bathroom at night, uh, I will not look in the mirror. Uh, mirrors, uh mirrors in dark rooms, uh, uh, freak me out, and it's it's more of like a I'm afraid of being scared type thing. Um, because, like I'm worried not like I'm I don't actually believe in ghosts or anything, but I'm like I'm worried I will look in the mirror with, like my sleep, a fog brain and eyes and it's dark, and I will mistake a shape for something that it's not and freak out.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome. So a quick story my wife is, um, my wife and I were both cops, um and so, and so my wife actually almost shot herself in the mirror. She was clearing a building at night, the lights wouldn't come on, and so when she went past the, went past the mirror, she saw herself and almost pulled the trigger at at the mirror. Um, so yeah, it's just, uh, just kind of funny. She's going to hear this later and then and be like I'll put the hell we talking about that. So I almost shot a life size uh cut out of Elvis, uh, in a barn.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, don't be cruel.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so he had, uh, he had two pistols and we were clearing the barn cause there was a bunch of. This is just kind of off topic, but totally funny. Uh, we're clearing the barn cause there was a bunch of lights came on in this guy's uh farm land, so there's some people out there and we went to go check it out. I mean, uh and the and the county, and we went out there and we're going room to room and there's nothing, there's nothing, there's nothing. But we know they're there because the lights were just on. So, unless they ran out the back or a window or something, you know, we know we're going to find them. So we go to the last room and, uh, we go into the room, the lights won't come on and boom, there's a guy with two pistols in the corner pointed at us, and you know it is damn Elvis.

Speaker 3:

That is so ridiculous. Like that's hilarious though I'm sure stuff like that happens all the time man, that's a little disconcerting, but yeah, gotta be relief and you're like, oh, it's just the king of rock and roll.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that was the longest trigger pull ever. Like I, I swore I was pulling the trigger and it just, it just. The gun would not go off. So it was just a just a funny story that I I think I stepped in cow shit my way out too. So it's just it made my night, yeah, so anyways all right, all right.

Speaker 2:

Brian, I know you're short on time here, man, and I do appreciate every every minute that you give us so and the reader so shameless plug time. Give us, give us a talk about the car, give us a talk about your books, let us know where we can find you, and then afterwards I'm going to get some information from you so I can get this up.

Speaker 3:

All right. Thank you very much, sir, and again, I really appreciate coming on. I'm down to come back on anytime and hopefully we can figure out a kind of a block where we can chat for longer. This is a super fun conversation. Yeah, if you're in the Southern California or Arizona or Nevada areas, I'm trying to sell a car soon. It's a 2005 Chevy SSR 140,000 miles. It's got the Chevy LS2 engine Pretty badass. So message me anywhere if you're interested in buying a car that I own, because it'll probably be worth a lot of money very soon. Also, check out man, fuck this House. From Mutated Media available now on Amazon, barnes, noble Pals and all the other places fine books are sold. You can also buy signed copies on my website, wwwbrionasmandbookscom. I also have a couple other novellas up there for sale and keep checking back. There might be some new stuff up there soon, who knows. And finally, I'm mostly on Twitter. All social media is at the Brian Asman, so give me a follow.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome man. That is, ladies and gentlemen, we have the best intro and outro ever to the Nightmare Engine podcast. So until somebody can step it up, duncan, calling you out, until somebody can step it up, brian, you lead the way, man. Thank you for your time today, thank you for your awesome books and thank you for being part of this community, and we'll talk to you soon.

Speaker 3:

Awesome. Thank you very much, david, much appreciated. All right, have a good one.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. Thanks for listening to the Nightmare Engine podcast with your hosts, horror authors David Virgoots and Jay Bauer, where nothing is off limits, nothing is safe, and neither are you.

Horror Authors Discuss Writing and More
Character's Role in Horror Writing
Characterization and Inspiration in Screenwriting
Career Goals and Creative Pursuits
Book Recommendations and Author Influences