Today’s interview spotlight introduces new PDMI author Brian McKinley, who, like me, has been writing about as long as he’s been thinking. Brian’s a talented guy with a great imagination–so I’ll just let him speak for himself.
How long have you been writing, and how did you get started?
I’ve been writing and creating stories since I was old enough to put words on paper. I was terrible at drawing, so I was the kid who wrote little stories and gave them to my parents and grand-parents. Throughout my entire life, I never had much doubt that writing was something I wanted to do as a life’s work. I added acting for a while, but decided that I was a better writer than actor. Oddly enough, though, despite my certainty, I followed a lot of false-starts before hitting my current path. I dabbled in a lot of different genres and story types before I found my current niche.
Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King, Thomas Harris, Jim Butcher, George R. R. Martin, P.N. Elrod, Colleen McCollough, H.G. Wells. Steven Saylor, Frank Herbert, Jim Thompson, Raymond Chandler, Max Allen Collins, and Neil Gaiman.
Name one author who’s been most influential on you?
I’d have to say that Stephen King’s been the most influential. He really helped break me out of the idea that writing had to be polite. His book On Writing was the most eye-opening and exciting book about the craft that I’d ever read. I loved King’s fearlessness with his characters. He doesn’t care whether you like them or not, they just are who they are. Same with Martin as I read his Song of Ice and Fire, I loved his world-building and the way he’ll pull the rug out from under you. No characters are absolutely safe in their worlds, just like in real life. As fantastic as their worlds are, I believe them because they have an uncertainty and untidiness that I recognize from life.
What’s your favorite genre, and why?
Probably urban fantasy nowadays, though it’s starting to become too overpopulated. I read a fair range of things, but I often restrict my reading to things that are of benefit to the project I’m working on at the time. Right now I’m reading a lot of vampire novels to get a feel for what’s out there and keep my head in the right space. However, I’m going to make an exception for Doctor Sleep, which I have to read! I like reading historical novels, fantasy, crime novels, and psychological thrillers as well as vampire fiction. I actually don’t read a lot of horror, which surprises people. Mostly, I’ll read anything that sounds interesting, but most of my reading is these days is keeping up with series that I like and trying to inspire myself by reading other great books.
What do you think you do best as an author, and what do you feel like you most need to work on?
That’s a great question and one that every author should consider! I think my strengths are my characters. I won’t say that they live and breathe for me, but I do think about them a lot and they often live with me for years before ever making it onto a page. So, by the time they get there, they’ve got a lot to say. The thing I think I really need to work on is plotting.
Any advice for beginning writers?
Paraphrasing King: “Keep reading, keep writing.”
What’s your favorite food?
Tough one. My mom’s chicken and rice.
How did you hear about PDMI Publishing, your current publisher?
From my friends and fellow PDMI-authors Daven Anderson and Emily Guido.