"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Sir Richard Steele

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Interview With Brad Convissar

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I welcome my guest today author, Brad Convissar. He has graciously agreed to take time from his busy schedule and answer some questions for us. So lets get to it.

Bio: Not much interesting to say about me. I was born on Fort Benning Army Base in Georgia in 1977 but spent most of my formative years in southern NJ, outside if Philadelphia.

I attended Tulane University in New Orleans in the late nineties, where I earned my bachelors degree in evolutionary biology, then spent the next four years trapped in scenic Newark, New Jersey, earning my DMD from The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Now in my thirties, I find myself living back in the same zip code I grew up in, but in a different house with my own family. I have a son and a daughter and a diabetic Daschund named Friday who is prematurely going blind. But I love him anyway. When I am not filling cavities or performing root canals or extracting teeth or fabricating dentures, I am writing, playing with my kids, playing video games, reading comic books(yes, I am a geek and proud of it) or watching my beloved Philadelphia Phillies or less than beloved Philadelphia Eagles.

My favorite writers are Stephan King, Clive Baker, Neil Gaiman, Jeffrey Deaver, Jim Butcher, Simon Green, and the duo of Preston and Child, both individually and when they write together.


Tell us a little bit about your book Dogs of War and how it came to be.
Dogs of War is a different type of ghost story.  I like to refer to it as a a brutal, heart-wrenching tale of love, sacrifice and revenge.  The story is told from the first person point of view, but the main character is not the narrator, Gary, but his dog, Molly. Gary is the vehicle through which Molly's story is told.  How did it come to be... that is tough to talk about.  Life can be difficult sometimes.  You look around at the news, on the internet, on the radio, and see bad people, evil people, get away with committing horrendous crimes.  And you feel powerless, even if it doesn't affect you directly, because there is a feeling that there is no justice in the world.  And sometimes the only way I can fell some semblance of justice is to write.  Because when I write, the bad people generally get what's coming to them.  Dogs of War is a story written for this reason.  I don't know if everyone remembers Michael Vick.  He was the quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons.  He committed awful crimes.  Heinous acts of torture and murder.  And he only got two years in jail. Because his victims were only dogs.  I was angry, but time heals wounds, and I forgot about it over the years.  But when my home town football team, the Philadelphia Eagles, signed him several years ago, I was disgusted and angry and I wrote Dogs of War in response to this monster being re-introduced back into my life.

The book cover is rather unusual and spooky. Did someone design it for you? Did you have any input?
I actually used a free graphics program called GIMP to take picture I found of a barking pit bull (from Flickr under the Creative commons attribution license) and transformed it into an eerie black and white sketch.  I wanted to do something professional, but the cost is prohibitive, especially for a $.99 novella, so I went at it on my own.  I was happy with the results.

How did you happen to go from evolutionary biology to dental school?
My dad's a dentist.  I always knew I was going to be a dentist.  36 hour work weeks, good pay, make my own hours, take vacations when I want to.  Plenty of free time to spend with the family I knew I would have, and plenty of time to write.  Not a bad life.  At Tulane, if you were going pre-med or pre-dental, you needed to be a biology major.  And it was either molecular biology or evolutionary biology.  And I hate molecular bio.  Funny thing... I needed recommendations for dental school, so I went to the two professors I was closest with, an English professor and a Biology professor.  Neither of them wanted to write me recommendations, because they both felt that my talents would be wasted.  My English professor thought I should be writing for a living, and my biology professor thought I should be traveling the world and studying animals, like Darwin or the late Stephen Jay Gould.  But both relented and finally wrote me recommendations.

I find it even more fascinating that a dentist ends up writing horror stories. How did that come about?
I grew up reading Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul and Clive Barker.  My dad was a fan, so the hardcovers were always lying around.  I love the psychological horror of the eighties and nineties.  And I miss it.  At the risk of stepping on other author's toes, I feel that the "horror" genre has changed in the past decade.  Now, when people think horror, they think vampires and zombies and viruses and post-apocalyptic futures and slashers and gore and violence.  Just as with movies today, when you say horror, people think the SAW movies, not Jaws and the Exorcist.  I struggle with my genre regularly.  What I write is horror, I think.  But not really, not by today's standards.  So is thriller, then?  Supernatural thriller?  Dark fiction?  Anyway, whatever it is I write, I do it because I like to explore the dark corners of the human mind, where men become monsters, monsters become men, and no one is truly safe from others or themselves.

I noticed on your bio on Smashwords that you listen to some rather strange and unusual CD's while driving your car. Can you enlighten us about that?
Some people write while listening to classical music. Some people write in silence. I like writing to loud, angry music. It just gets me in the proper mood for writing; I can't get into my work unless my blood is pumping and I'm snarling slightly.

Do you have any WIP? If so, can you tell us about it?
Let's see... I am in the process of combining the six short story collections I have released into two volumes, making it easier and cheaper for people to pick them up.  I am editing another novella, King of the Merge, for release around Halloween. Another ghost story, inspired by an episode a couple of years ago when when the driver next to me almost got crushed by an eighteen wheeler.  He was so intent on beating me to where our two lanes merged that he blew through a red light. And after that... I have several started novels that I can continue work on.  Haven't decided which one, though.

Tell us something about Brad Convissar that the readers may not know about.
There is nothing more satisfying for me than when the tooth I've been struggling to extract for the past half hour finally comes out with a soft pop.

Where I can be found:
Purchase me at:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004SHNS0K

1 comment:

  1. I will buy this book for two reasons. One, I have an equal disgust and dislike for Michael Vick and what he did, which goes way beyond "normal" bad boy stuff, and two, because he is "zombie free" which my blog is too :) Seriously, if he is joining the genre of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Jeffery Deaver, I am a fan already! Rae, Best O' Books