First Comics News: Firstly, thanks Brad for doing this interview. If I may can I ask a little background information? Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
Brad Dunne: I was born and raised in Mount Pearl, NL
1st: Brad, who are some of the writers who have influenced you?
Brad: Poe, Tolkien, Stephen King, James Joyce, Margaret Atwood
1st: If you could hang with any writer living or otherwise who would that be?
1st: Who are you reading right now?
Brad: Dennis Lehane
1st: Besides writing, what are you passionate about?
Brad: I don’t get much time to play nowadays, but I’ve been playing guitar since I was twelve. I’ve been in a punk band called “de-mons” since 2005 with my childhood friends. We still play shows whenever we’re all in town together, which isn’t often because we’ve moved etc.
1st: Brad, you began your writing career as an intern at The Walrus magazine, what can you tell your fans about your early career, any links you want to share?
Brad: When I left university, I tried to become a journalist because that’s where a lot of authors I admire got their start. I did an internship at The Walrus as a kind of substitute for journalism school. I published some freelance journalism here and there with the hopes of eventually getting a job at a newspaper or magazine somewhere. That proved to be more difficult than I first thought. In 2016 I decided to give up journalism and started writing After Dark Vapours. I still do a bit of freelance whenever an assignment comes my way, but it’s pretty rare. Here’s something I wrote for The Walrus when I was an intern: thewalrus.ca
1st: You, also wrote some short fiction for In/Words, Acta Victorianna and The Cuffer Anthology to name a few, anything you would like to share about those projects?
Brad: These were some short stories I wrote before starting my first novel. I figured I should try and develop my craft on some shorter pieces before tackling a novel. I think my strengths are more suited for longer projects, but I do like to write short pieces occasionally. After I finish my second novel, I plan on working on short stories again to improve on that part of my craft.
1st: You have contributed to Engen Books anthologies, DYSTOPIA ON THE ROCK. What can you tell your fans about that story? Where can a fan get a copy or multiple copies?
Brad: This was actually the introduction. I’d submitted a short story to the anthology and the editors liked it, but they felt the subject matter wasn’t in keeping with their PG-13 target audience. Matthew LeDrew asked me to write an introductory essay for DYSTOPIA and I was happy to oblige. I explored the history of the genre and the value it gives readers, etc. They can find it on Amazon.
1st: I have had the pleasure to read your Engen Books debut novel AFTER DARK VAPOURS. Your characters were well rounded, the storytelling was amazing, it left me howling for more. What can you tell your fans about this book?
Brad: I first got the idea for ADV’s plot in 2009 but I was still in school and didn’t have time to tackle it. Over the years I picked at it a few times, but I eventually realized I didn’t have the chops to write a full novel. I worked on short stories and once I published a few, I felt like I had the confidence to fully commit to ADV. I researched a lot about the history of residential schools in Labrador, which figures prominently in the story. While there’s a lot of history etc in the novel, the present-day characters are very much pulled from my personal life. When I finished it, I was nervous that no one would want to publish it because it’s a bit of a mishmash of styles: literary fiction, NL history, and genre/horror. But Engen was very enthusiastic when I submitted it, so I’m glad it’s found a home and readers are responding well.
1st: AFTER DARK VAPOURS became an Engen Books bestseller, what are your thoughts on being a bestselling author?
Brad: It’s great. It’s my first novel and I wrote it purely for my own edification, so anything beyond just simply putting it out into the world is gravy.
1st: Brad Dunne, your AFTER DARK VAPOURS signings have sold out, what can you tell your fans about that experience?
Brad: It’s always a pleasure to chat with readers about my work. There are so many great books out there right now and readers have so much access that I think it’s an extraordinary privilege when someone decides they’re going to spend hours reading my work. I try to be active on social media and let everyone know when I’m doing signings and events.
1st: How can a fan get a copy or multiple copies of your bestselling book AFTER DARK VAPOURS?
Brad: Amazon is probably the easiest. In St. John’s it’s available at Chapters, Broken Books and Elaine’s Books.
1st: Brad, tell your fans what your day is like, how many hours do you spend writing? Where do you get your ideas?
Brad: I have a full-time job, so I squeeze in writing whenever I can. I try to write 2-4 hours five times a week. I’m always daydreaming, so I get a lot of ideas from “wouldn’t it be cool if, etc happened?” The ideas I consider most promising are ones that combine disparate things I’ve been thinking about. For example, my current WIP is a Lovecraftian noir. I got the idea for the plot after reading “Ghetto Side” by Jill Leovy, which is a non-fiction book about crime in Los Angeles. I was suddenly struck by an idea of how I could combine my interest in true crime/gang stuff with eldritch horror. Sorta like “The Wire” meets the first season of “True Detective” except if the plot had gone full Lovecraftian.
1st: What can you tell the readers about Engen Books? Do they have a web page you want to share with us?
Brad: The reason I wanted to go with Engen is that they’re a genre-focused publisher that is very active in their local writing community. They’re publishing about a book a month and thus growing rapidly and aggressively. I’ve edited a few books for them as well. It’s very exciting to be a part of this scene. You find them at engenbooks.com. I maintain a semi-regular blog there, too.
1st: Now that you have a bestseller AFTER DARK VAPOURS under your belt, what are your future plans and projects you would like to share about?
Brad: My current WIP is a Lovecraftian noir set in a fictional city/universe. A former homicide detective turned private investigator is tracking a missing girl who’s gotten herself involved with a cult that is trying to summon an ancient god to destroy the city and its hegemonic rulers. The novel deals with concepts of segregation and vengeance. It’ll be available sometime 2020 through Engen.
1st: Any advice for new writers?
Brad: Just start writing. For much of my life, I put off committing to writing because I thought that I needed to get a degree and read X amount of books, etc. Or that I needed a compelling and original idea. You don’t need any of that. Just start writing and work through your deficiencies. Even if the writing feels derivative, keep going. You’ll find your voice eventually. And you especially need to keep writing when it gets tough because that’s when you’re on to something good.
1st: Thanks Brad Dunne, its been my honour and pleasure to pleasure to interview you. Is there anything else you would like to inform the readers about we haven’t covered in this interview, any links or shout outs. Keep on creating!
Brad: My pleasure. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I also maintain a personal website: Braddunne.ca