Brian Barr is a multi-genre fiction author.
1.Why storytelling? What made you yearn to tell a good story, and how long was this story within you before it came out?
I’ve learned storytelling since I was a kid. This particular story, Serpent King: Shadow and Light, revolved around a character I created nearly a decade ago: Zian Ur, a Reptilian planetary conqueror with a dark past. I wanted to go into his origins, where he comes from, and what made him. I knew the story would be long when I was done with it, but I would say it’s of a decent novel length for a dark science-fantasy story.
2.What is it about your genre that speaks to you?
I write in all speculative genres: horror, science fiction, and fantasy. I often mix genres. So Serpent King is no exception, since there is science-fiction and fantasy combined with horrific elements of an occult nature. I am an eclectic person, so I like my stories to be wide-ranging and not limited in one particular zone.
3.Without giving any spoilers, what is your favorite thing about this book?
I was happy to finally give my character Zian Ur a voice. I had written comic scripts involving him, as well as a short story called Sinbad and the Serpent King, which is also on Amazon. I had so many things planned for Zian over the years, and it felt great to get the ball rolling with this novel. I have so many stories so I have to be patient on when I release them, and now was Serpent King’s time.
4.What character from your book fills you with hope?
Zian. Zian is the type of character to persevere when everything crumbles around him.
5.What character from your work frightens you, makes you feel dirty to write?
That would be either the Emperor of Naga (Zian’s world), or a number of the commander generals that populate Naga. Naga is an imperialist society with fascist elements, ruling on a vast empire of colonies and territories. These particular Nagans can be cold and heartless when it comes to lifeforms who are not Nagan/Reptilian, and they also have a firm warrior code build on hyper-masculine principles and cruelty.
6.What is the most fascinating thing about your main character?
He has a dark and uncanny past that will prove to separate him from other Reptilians.
7.When you are writing, tell me about the emotions that are running through you and what it takes to work alongside them.
Passion. Happiness in the act of creating, anger when I write about things that upset me yet I feel are important to address, sadness at things that I find tragic. Passion will get me through anything I have to write. Just loving the process of writing and creating is why I’m a writer.
8.How do you police your production? Do you have a word quota, or a page goal, maybe you work for a set amount of time? Do you place demands on yourself when you’re working? How do you meet those demands?
I’ll set word quotas as far as a minimum, but never a maximum. I never want to limit how much I write. I’ll do page goals as I write, as today I was close to 100 pages in a novel and knew I would make that goal before calling it a night. So my demands are pretty spontaneous. I’ll have a goal to finish a certain short story in a week, or a novel in a month like nanomowri right now, stuff like that. But I mainly want to love what I do and never want to bog myself down to where I feel like a robot when hitting a goal. So there’s a balance there, and I’m freeflowing as well.
9.How did you find the time to write this book with your busy life? What ideas do you have on how others can make time in their lives?
I’m lucky to have a life I like, with my weekends and evenings providing free time for creativity. Everyone’s life is different, but I would say know yourself and know what influences what you like to do and inspires you to do it.
10.Everyone has at least one specific challenge that holds them back. What is that challenge in your work and how do you overcome it?
Keeping the momentum going. There are months I’ll knock out project after project and have a flow. There are times where I’ll feel uninspired and not as productive with personal. I’ve learned to let my creativity come naturally and not force myself into projects contrary to what I enjoy writing.
11.If you could change any one thing about your work, what would it be?
I would have made it longer and gone into other cities, towns, and villages of the planet Naga. But it’s probably good I didn’t. I focused on the places the story went, and did do a lot of world building for the areas I visited. Doing too much of that could have been overload and distracted from the story.
12.You’re going to go back and visit yourself when you first started writing, at whatever age it was, and you can give yourself one piece of advice. What would it be?
Don’t stop writing. You can be creative and get paid, so get out of the mentality that creative people have to become realistic and give up writing. Stop wasting your time trying to fit in at places that are not you. You’re not a spoken word poet, stop going to coffee shops and slam festivals. You are a novelist and a short story writer. You like speculative fiction, so stop trying to write general and contemporary fiction that you wrote for college courses. Read a bunch of epic fantasy and more occult horror novels. It’s good that you got into Clive Barker, but there are other authors who will also influence you when you get older. Stop worshipping your English professors and feeling inferior to them, they’re just people like you are. Do what you love.
13.What piece of art, that is not writing, moves you?
Music. I’m in a band called Pig Head Dog with some friends, a punk metal project. I love so many genres and styles of music as well, anything that is creative and lively.
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