Sunday, March 2, 2014

Author Interview with Writer Brad Stevens

Today we are sitting down with author Brad Stevens, who has his first novel coming out April 10, 2014.   He has also contributed to 'Cahiers du Cinema,' 'Video Watchdog', 'The Dark Side', 'The International Film Guide', and Chris Fujiwara's 'Defining Moments in Movies' (Cassell Illustrated, 2007). He recorded commentary tracks (in collaboration with R Dixon Smith) for the Masters of Cinema DVDs of F W Murnau's 'Nosferatu' and 'Tabu', has appeared in several documentaries, and can be seen interviewing Christopher Lee on VCI's DVD of 'The City of the Dead'. He has also written many DVD sleeve notes. He co-authored the English subtitles for F. J. Ossang's film 'Dharma Guns' (2010), and was on the jury at the Oldenburg Film Festival in 2007.

Please tell us a little about your self.
I'm a film critic based in the UK, just outside London. I've written books on Abel Ferrara and Monte Hellman, and contribute a regular column, entitled 'Bradlands', to SIGHT & SOUND's website. I've only recently started writing fiction.

What is the most recent book you wrote? Can you tell us about it?
It's called THE HUNT. It has its origins in an article I read about THE HUNGER GAMES and FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. This article pointed out how the US bestseller lists for 2012 were dominated by these two trilogies. The person who wrote the article mentioned how odd it was that these series should have been so popular at around the same time, given that they had absolutely nothing in common: they were in different genres, aimed at different audiences, etc. But it seemed to me that the books did have things in common. They were both about young women coerced into participating in painful or dangerous activities which required them to surrender their free will. Once I'd noticed this connection, I started to wonder if this was a theme that particularly spoke to people these days. On some level, I guess it must be. While I was thinking along these lines, I suddenly had an idea: Wouldn't it be interesting to write a novel that was THE HUNGER GAMES meets FIFTY SHADES OF GREY? I sat down and started writing it immediately, and wrote pretty much the entire first chapter in one sitting. The whole structure came to me in a flash. The novel takes place in a futuristic Britain where women have been stripped of their rights, and are forced to participate in a brutal weekly contest which involves them being pursued across an abandoned area of London by a group of sadistic men. It expresses my ideas about those directions in which the world seems to be moving, particularly in connection with the way women are treated. It's being published as an e-book by Vamptasy on April 10th. The paperback should be available a week later.

What genre do you usually write? Have you branched out into others?
I enjoy reading dystopian science fiction, and my book is very firmly in that tradition.

Do you currently have in projects in the works?
I intended THE HUNT to be the first part of a trilogy. I'm currently working on the sequel, A CAUTION TO RATTLESNAKES. As soon as I've finished that one, I'll start writing part three, which is provisionally entitled HARES AND HOUNDS.

Do you have any rituals when you finish writing a book?
No, because I never really feel I have finished a book. Even after sending it off to the publisher, I'm always making changes and improvements. With one of my non-fiction books, I made changes right up to the day it was being printed.

Who is your favorite author?
George Eliot and Henry James are probably the greatest authors in the English language, P. G. Wodehouse the writer who has given me the greatest pleasure. And I like discovering forgotten writers such as J. R. Salamanca and Newton Thornburg. If you want to know about my reading tastes, read THE HUNT. All my literary obsessions are shared by the central character.

What inspired you to start writing?
I've always loved cinema, and at one point I wanted to be a filmmaker. But I'd seen too many great films, and knew I'd never be able to do anything half as good. I thought I could write film criticism at least as well as anyone else, though, so that's what I ended up doing. I still find criticism extremely demanding. Writing fiction is a holiday by comparison. You don't even have to do any research!

Connect with Brad Stevens to stay up-to-date on the remainder of his trilogy!


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