Brandon R Luffman-Interview with the author
Born in Statesboro, Georgia in 1976, Brandon Luffman was raised in rural North Carolina from the time he was old enough to walk. In the sixth grade he discovered The Chronicles Of Narnia. Soon after that, he was on to Stephen King and Arthur C. Clarke. At the same time, he was making his first forays into writing fiction. After creating a series of short fantasy pieces for a class assignment that were received with praise, he was hooked on writing fiction for the entertainment of others. Now Brandon writes supernatural horror as well as fantasy, science fiction and other genres. His short fiction is available online in various formats. Brandon still lives on the family farm in northwestern North Carolina with his wife and family. Taking inspiration from his homeland, he brings southern sensibilities and a modern flair to these classic genre themes. His upcoming survival horror novel, Frostwalker, is expected to be released in 2012.
TRC: Hi Brandon Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. It is always nice to meet new and upcoming authors.
Brandon: Hi! I’m very flattered to have a chance to talk with you. Thank you!
TRC: We will start with some background information.
Name: Brandon R. Luffman
Year of Birth: 1976
Birthplace: Statesboro, Georgia
Residence: North Carolina
Marital Status: Married
Children: Three kids, 2 boys and 1 girl
Would you please tell us about yourself.
Brandon: I mostly define myself as a geek, if I have to put myself into a box. I’ve always been fascinated by science and technology, particularly astronomy and computers. Growing up in rural North Carolina, I was a bit of a minority. Instead of a large group of friends, I had only a few, but they were (and still are) very close ones. I’m generally rather shy, so trying to get my name out there as a new author is a bit alien to me. But I’ve met lots of new friends in the process, and that’s helped immensely.
TRC:As a child, growing up what were your hobbies and interests?
Brandon: I was into the usual things at first, the typical toys and cartoons that everyone was interested in. But, in the 6th grade, a couple of things happened that would shape my future for a very long time to come. The first thing was when a friend introduced me to the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. For those who have never really tried pen and paper RPGs, the thing to understand about them is that they are, at their heart, a cooperative storytelling experience. The social aspect of that is part of what made my close friends closer and shaped a lot of my ability to create fiction that, I hope, works on a personal level. My wife and I still play these games today, with friends or with our children. Humans are natural storytellers and these games tap into that in a very satisfying way.
TRC: Were you always interested in writing?
Brandon: This was something else that happened in the 6th grade, actually. My teacher had these boxes, several of them, all filled with pictures she had clipped from magazines and laminated. As a writing exercise, she would have each student pick a picture from the boxes and then write a one page story about it. My first one ran to something like four or six pages and I found it to be fun to write. However, I learned that we then had to share these stories with the rest of the class. I was petrified at first, but after seeing the positive reaction that the story got, I saw that stories could affect others in a very basic way. I was immediately hooked on that ability to reach others. Being able to elicit a reaction from my readers and the ability to entertain them with something I created is really what drives my desire to write. I’ve been writing fiction off and on ever since.
TRC: You have several short stories available for free from lulu.com, kobo and itunes. Please tell us about your series of short fantasy writings….Out After Dark and Best Served Hot.
Brandon: Best Served Hot is really a bit of a catalyst in all this. I elaborate on this a bit more in my first blog post “Falling Up The Stairs”, but essentially that story was what finally moved me from hoping to be a writer someday to actively pursuing it seriously. During the 2011 NaNoWriMo event, I saw that Lulu was having a short story contest. Since the word count limit was only 600 words, I figured I could bang that out pretty quickly. It turns out that it’s really hard to squeeze any sort of story into 600 words! However, it was a fun exercise. The fun part was trying to build this personal history between these characters, but none of it is explicitly stated. Due to the tight word count restriction, everything from their past is only hinted at in the dialog. I don’t know if Best Served Hot is really all that well written, but it’s a fun little piece of micro-fiction.
Out After Dark is an interesting piece. Most of my writing is kind of organic. I don’t normally work from outlines or plot things out ahead of time. Instead, I tend to start with some idea for a scene or a character and it just grows from there. Out After Dark was simply an idea that I had for this one specific scene and it was predetermined in detail. I wanted to try and turn that traditional vampire vs. hunter story around a bit. So, from the start, it was intended to only be just what it is.
However, a funny thing happened once I’d finished it. Every person who’s read that story comes back to me with the same reaction: “Where’s the rest? I want more!” Honestly, I even felt a bit of that myself, and had tried to rein myself in because those characters really seem to have a much larger story they want to tell. So, in the future, Out After Dark may become something more. The current manuscript is about 14,000 words and it looks like there’s at least a novella, if not a full length novel, in there somewhere. I’m really coming to like these characters!
TRC: Your current writing genres include, supernatural horror, fantasy, science fiction as well as others. Which genre do you prefer to write and why?
Brandon: I would have to say that horror is my main genre, but I’m not sure if I have a preference so much as I have tendencies that I don’t really control. I read a lot of different genres, so I often write a variety of types of fiction. However, the supernatural has a tendency to creep into my work over time. Another story I have in the works is an adventure/thriller type of book. Around 40,000 words in, I came to realize that it would ultimately have supernatural horror elements by the time it was finished. Almost everything I write comes back to these elements for some reason. Maybe not always horror, but almost always something supernatural.
TRC: Which genre do you prefer to read and why?
Brandon: I really do read all sorts of fiction and it’s hard to pick one genre. I tend to favor horror, but my favorite authors range from Stephen King and Dean Koontz to Tad Williams, Arthur C. Clarke and Tom Clancy. For me, the real key is a protagonist I can identify with. If you can develop that empathy with the main character, the story can take you anywhere. A great example of this is Simon, from Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy. We’ve all had times in our lives when we felt like we were in over our heads and things seemed hopeless. So it’s easy for the reader to cheer for Simon and understand the troubles he faces, even if they’re taking place in a fantastic fictional world. I hope that I can capture some of that empathy in my own characters, but it truly is an art.
TRC: FROSTWALKER is your current novel. What is the release date and where can we buy the book?
Brandon: At this point, Frostwalker is in the final stages of editing, but a solid release date hasn’t been set. I’ve been working with some really talented editors to put the final polish on it, but I’m unsure of how long this process will ultimately take. Meanwhile, I’ve been working to get the rest of the project lined up. I got the preliminary version of the cover artwork from my artist back in February and now I’m working on ideas for a possible book trailer as well as all the other promotional bits needed for a proper launch.
So, the hope is that Frostwalker will be released in the next few months, but that’s all still up in the air. Once it is released, our plan is to make it available in as many eBook formats as possible as well as a print edition. So, we should have it available in the usual places – Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes and so on – but we hope to get it into bookstores as well, over time.
TRC: Please tell us the premise behind FROSTWALKER and the title of the book? In which genre would you categorize the novel?
Brandon: I think Frostwalker is probably best categorized as Survival Horror. The easy answer is that it’s a “zombie book”, but that isn’t really accurate. The creatures in Frostwalker aren’t zombies in the traditional sense. The story centers on Jake Marsden, a geeky sort of guy who finds himself in the middle of this nightmare scenario where his rural hometown is threatened by an evil force of prehistoric origins. The story tells how Jake and his friends come together to face this threat and how Jake has to step up to the greatest challenge of his life. Along the way, maybe he can get the girl, too!
TRC: You have the preliminary Cover art posted on your website. Is this the final cover picture? How much say do you currently have with the selection of the cover art?
Brandon: I’m very lucky to have a close friend who is a fantastic artist. He’s worked closely with me throughout the process to create this specific concept and it turned out beautifully! There may be a few minor adjustments made, but that is likely to be the artwork we go with.
Since I’m probably going to be self-publishing Frostwalker, I will likely have total control over the art layout and design. This is one of those double-edged swords that shows up in independent publishing, because it’s great to have that level of control, but you also have total responsibility for making sure it’s done well!
By the way, while my friend isn’t currently accepting work, he does plan to make his services available in the near future. When he does, I’ll be posting about it on my blog and Facebook page, no doubt!
TRC: Many authors talk to their partners and spouses, bouncing ideas and information back and forth for books. How involved is your wife in your writing process?
Brandon: My wife is my first beta-reader. Everything that I write goes through her hands first. While we don’t generally discuss my work in detail during the writing stages, her input is often invaluable when it’s time to revise and rewrite. She’s a voracious reader and enjoys a wide variety of genres, so she can give me a different perspective. That’s something a writer really needs, because we get so close to our work that we often fall prey to a sort of tunnel vision. She can see the other angles that I might miss.
TRC: What are you doing today?
Brandon: Foremost is to get Frostwalker finished and released. This includes thinking about some of the other supporting work for the book, such as working on my media kit. However, there’s a lot of down-time while I wait on results from my editors so there are other projects ongoing as well.
There are several projects in various stages but, aside from Frostwalker, the primary thing I’m working on right now is a new short story, currently titled The Card. I recently finished the first draft on it, but I’m waiting on feedback from beta-readers and editors before I begin revisions. It’s about a poorly-behaved tarot card and is twice as long as Out After Dark – currently at 4,200 words and likely to end up a bit longer after revision. Once it’s finished, I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. I may release it either for free or perhaps at 99 cents, or I might shop it around to various markets.
TRC: Do you have plans to turn FROSTWALKER into a series of books? For example: Frostwalker is book ONE
Brandon: At this point, Frostwalker is intended to be a stand-alone story. I’ve had a few beta-readers express an interest in knowing what other adventures these characters might have later on, but for now, the story ends with the one book. Still, you never know what the future holds!
TRC: Is there anything you would like to add, that may be of interest?
Brandon: The only thing I’d add is that I’m really enjoying this social media stuff. If people would like to chat, I sometimes spend an alarming amount of time on
Twitter: Brandon R Luffman
Facebook: Brandon R Luffman
Blog: Brandon R Luffman
Favorite Food – Beef, in just about any format
Favorite Drink – Iced tea
Favorite Author – Stephen King
Last Movie you saw – Identity, with John Cusack
Favorite TV show – Supernatural
Dark or Milk Chocolate – Dark
Who is your muse? – Not sure… She’s flighty and I’ve not been able to pin her down long enough to ask her name!
TRC: Thank you Brandon, for allowing us to interview you today. We will let you know when the interview will be published.
Brandon: Thanks! It was lots of fun!