The Behrg is the author of the story “The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title,” and the book Housebroken; here is a link to his website:
Q: What is “The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title,” about.
A: “The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title” was spawned from a comment a blogger friend of mine made on Twitter regarding the sheer number of books coming out with “The Girl” in them. Girl on a Train, Girl in the Ice, Girl on Fire, the list goes on and on, and I thought wouldn’t it be great to poke fun at that trend by also taking part in it? Yet I didn’t want the story to be merely a satire. When I started writing it, without knowing where it was going, it led me to a very dark place. Ultimately the story is about life and death, and the short distance between.
Q: What makes “The Girl” an interesting character?
A: I think “The Girl” is interesting because she’s so relatable. We all have trying times in our lives and can identify with those who are down. She takes the tumble a little further than most, however, and we’re able to follow her journey into this realm known as “The Lines,” which parallels her own attempts at suicide. Like I said, it’s definitely a dark story.
Q: What is Housebroken about?
A: Housebroken is a novel about a seemingly ordinary family who is held hostage in their own home. But unlike most kidnapping / home invasion tales, these kidnappers want only to observe the family. They create rules that are almost impossible not to break, and the consequences for both action and inaction are quite terrifying. There are plenty of twists and turns as the narrative unfolds, revealing secrets not only from the kidnappers, but the very family they’ve decided to target.
Q: What inspired you to write the story?
A: The idea for this story came after a recent move with my family. A guy showed up at our door selling magazine subscriptions, but there was just something off about him. After he left I had the creepiest feeling that he had been there for something other than his purported purpose. It got the wheels turning. I started working on the novel the very next day.
Q: Why do you think stories about kidnapping interest people so much?
A: Kidnapping stories are different than your typical horror or thriller driven tales. In the latter, we find surreal monsters or serial killers that, while possible, most likely will never cross our paths. Kidnapping is different because it doesn’t require the supernatural or supreme coincidences; it could happen to anyone at any time, thus it becomes a universal fear. Kidnapping stories are also about ordinary people fighting back against untold horrors, and that’s something we can all relate to, in one way or another.
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it impact your writing?
A: My day job revolves around sales, in one form or another. I’ve sold everything from knives to marketing services to credit insurance to trucks. I’ve always known that to pursue my goals of writing I would need to have something to support a family, and sales has enabled me to pursue my passions in my off-time. The funny thing about being in sales is that I’m so reluctant to sell myself or my writing. I have no problem slinging a product for a company but have a difficult time telling people about my work or asking someone to buy something I’ve created myself.
Q: Who are some of your literary influences and how can we see this in your writing?
A: There are so many, it’s difficult to narrow this one down. Stephen King is an obvious influence, but rather than the horror elements of his stories I’m more taken in by his development of character. I read a wide array of genres, so I would have to include Orson Scott Card, Blake Crouch, Ralph Ellison, Gregg Hurwitz, Michael Connelly, Michael Crichton, and Peter Straub. These are all authors who inspire me with their words, craft, and understanding of story.
Q: What trends in literature annoy you?
A: I love this question! I do agree w/ my blogger friend about the trend with “Girl” in the title, though it’s only the latest in a long slew of popular trends. I find it funny that when a book breaks big everyone scrambles to try to be the same thing as that book, rather than attempting to innovate, which is typically the reason for the original book’s success in the first place. I try not to follow trends and instead write stories I would want to read with characters that fascinate me.
Q: You say you worked as a child actor and appeared on the Twilight Zone. Which episode were you in?
A: I worked quite a bit for over ten years as a child actor and have no idea how my parents did it, to be honest! The Twilight Zone episode I was in is one called “The Elevator.” I played a “Young Will” in a flashback scene and was able to practice screaming for awhile. J
Q: If one of your characters could come work for you as your personal assistant, who would you pick ?
A: Most of my characters are fabulously flawed, with dark sides that make this question particularly difficult. I suppose I might choose one of the protagonists in my Creation Series, Faye Moanna, solely because she’s a person who gets things done. She wouldn’t care about hurting my feelings but would probably push me to do the marketing things I consistently put off.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.