Quick Questions with Bracken MacLeod

bm-come to dustOur second author interview is with Bracken MacLeod! Curious about his work? Be careful! “MacLeod’s fiction is full of traps – some physical, some psychological, none easy to wriggle free of.” (Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times Book Review)

Come see Bracken on October 24th at Trident Books! RSVP here.

What book do you wish more people knew about?

I wish more people knew about The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee. Lots of people know about Ketchum, and a couple of his books are hugely popular in genre circles (The Girl Next Door being the most (in)famous) but Souls is the last novel he and his collaborator Lucky released before he died, and I feel like it deserved a much better life than it had. It’s a harrowing portrait of a disintegrating family, but also a sensitive meditation on the bond between children and animals. It’s such a wonderful book in every way.

What was the first story you ever wrote?

The first story I ever wrote was for a fifth-grade writing assignment. We were told to write holiday stories for the teacher to read aloud in class. I came up with a sci fi/horror piece about Santa Claus and H.R. Giger’s xenomorph from Alien doing battle in space. It was gory and nasty (SPOILER: Santa won), and the teacher reasonably refused to read it to the class. Fortunately, I grew up in a different time, and was only sent home with a sternly worded note about what I should be allowed to watch on television. I consider it my first literary rejection.

bm-echoesWhat do you like to listen to when you write?

I find lyrics distracting when I’m working, so I tend to listen to either instrumental music or something where the lyrics aren’t easily discernible (Black Metal, for instance). Typically, the style of music though is entirely dictated by the type of scene I’m writing. For action, I need something where the rhythm of the music reflects the rhythm of the words, line by line, so that tends to be metal, where during more intimate, personal scenes, I like to listen to ambient music.


Bracken MacLeod is the Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Award nominated author of the novels Mountain Home, Come to Dust, Stranded, and Closing Costs, coming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He’s also published two collections of short fiction, 13 Views of the Suicide Woods and White Knight and Other Pawns. Before devoting himself to full time writing, he worked as a civil and criminal litigator, a university philosophy instructor, and a martial arts teacher. He lives outside of Boston with his wife and son, where he is at work on his next novel.

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