B.R. Stateham is on a mission to write the books he wants to read, and right now he’s juggling a bunch for our pleasure. He writes noir, mystery, and dark fantasy.
A friend of mine doesn’t read fiction, paraphrasing Frank Skinner about it all being made-up and he has no time for any of that. What words do you have for such a philistine?
Most of the words I’d have would be suffixed with ‘off’. Fiction is as old as time itself because stories have always been around. To close your mind to fiction as a form of entertainment is close yourself off from pleasure.
What must a protagonist have to make you read on?
I want a character who has traits I can identify with and understand. He’s got to be human, with the full package of emotions. No one is All Good. Or All Bad. The human soul is a mixture of the good and the bad. The lucky and the helpless. But there has to be some conundrum the protagonist either creates himself, or it is thrust upon him, which he has to address in some relatable fashion. Without a problem to resolve, what is there to keep the reader motivated?
Do you need a likable protagonist?
This is an interesting problem. No, the protagonist does not have to be really likable. But on the other hand, the schmuck cannot be an indescribable jerk. I actually stopped the other day reading the newest novel of an author I enjoy because his alcoholic protagonist was portrayed as an inescapable alcoholic with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Tell me, who would really want to read about someone who could not, or would not, pick himself up out of the gutter? Or at least, try to pick himself up out of the gutter.
Name a great antagonist, in a novel or movie, and what they do for you.
I really cannot come up with a clearly overwhelming favorite antagonist. Moriarty comes to mind out of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Cold, calculating, and supremely confident in himself. A true genius on the same par intellectually with Holmes. And I have to say, Hannibal Lecter is another villain I admire from afar. Very, very far away, I might add. It seems I like my villains to be cold blooded. And very smart.
What makes you throw a book out the window?
Bad writing. And, sometimes, truly . . . truly stupid plot points.
Do you grit your teeth all the way to the end of a dodgy novel?
Nope. Not at all. Toss’em if you don’t like’em. There’s not enough time in one lifetime to read all the potential good books out there. Don’t waste your time on the bad ones.
What gets you writing? Is it a great novel, maybe? Something you saw on the street or on TV? Something else?
I write my novels much like a screen writer writes a movie. I visualize each chapter of my novels. An opening scene pops in my mind and from there I craft one scene after another around it until the story is finished.
What did you learn about writing from the last book you wrote?
Watch how you craft your main characters. Sometimes they become too predictable. Or too callous in their dealings with others. Or they lose their moral high-ground needlessly. Or they become more like robots than human.
What’s your next book, in 30 words or less?
Which one? I’ve got about five novels I’m working on now. All of them are mysteries. Enough said.
Where can readers connect with you?
Here you go;