And so, we sat down a few weeks ago, and today I received a pre-publication transcribed copy. I present it below, warts and all.
Me: First of all, and let's get this right out of the way. You're very handsome. Does it embarrass you when I say that?
BPM: (blushing) Thank you, thank you. And no, of course not. I get that a lot. But it's always nice to hear.
Me: So let's talk about your writing. What got you into it?
BPM: Well, I guess you could say I'm a lifetime reader who probably, like everyone else, once or twice put a book down and said, "I could write something better than that." I'll confess too that I tried my hand at it as a much younger man, but what the hell did I know back then? Didn't really have a lot of experiences to draw from at the time, if you know what I mean. So, a few decades later, I tried again, and here we are.
Me: Here we are. Now, you've written four novels . . .
BPM: Five, actually.
Me: Really? Well, we'll get to that. You've also written a number of short stories. Why the two? I mean, why not one or the other?
BPM: Truth is, I set out to become a novelist. But after completing the four novels and having them go nowhere, I thought I'd try my hand at short stories, maybe get a few published, build a name for myself that way to spark some interest in the novels. I was fortunate to have the first two shorts I wrote picked up.
Me: What were they?
BPM: Hmm. The first is easy, that was "Ohrwurm," which appeared in the "Malpractice" anthology from Stygian Publications. Next was called "Where Spirits Dwell," which appeared in the "Northern Haunts" anthology from Shroud.
Me: That's when you set up your blog.
BPM: (smiling) You've done your homework. But yeah. Still feel funny about it, though. Have sort of a love-hate relationship with it. I'm not a very social person and don't like to toot my own horn. But I'd lurked lots of aspiring writer blogs along the way, and it seemed that's what people do. Anyway, both stories were accepted within a week or so of each other, so I thought I was on my way! Didn’t quite work out that way.
Me: Did those publication credits help you at all in getting your novels taken more seriously?
BPM: Not that I could tell. Anyway, I was just pleased both to appear in print for the first time, as well as having something else to put in my query letters for the novels.
Me: You also received an Honorable Mention in the "Writers of the Future" contest, right?
BPM: Yeah, that was for "Adamson's Rock." I really enjoyed writing that story, and I think that showed up in the final product.
Me: Now, rejection is, of course, a part of writing. How many times have you been rejected?
BPM: (smiling) Gotta be somewhere between 500 and a thousand times. Probably more like 700 to a thousand times.
Me: How do you deal with all that rejection?
BPM: Drink. Heavily. (laughter) Seriously, though, it's all part of the process. Or so they tell me.
Me: Let's talk about the novels. What got you started?
BPM: Well, I sat down one day and said "I'm going to try writing a novel." That turned into "Sumner Gardens," a quasi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale that drew heavily on my youth. Almost as soon as I finished that, I said to myself, "Anyone can write just ONE novel. But if you really want to be a novelist, you've got to write more than one." So I sat down and immediately wrote "Hopetown."
Me: The thriller.
BPM: (smiling) Well, my attempt at one anyway. It's a flawed book, I know that. Still, it has a warm place in my heart.
Me: What came next?
BPM: Well after those didn't go anywhere, hundred or so rejections on each, I sat down to write the next one, "Applewood."
Me: The vampire one?
BPM: Yeah, that's right. Excited to say it's coming out on May 15 from a small publisher called By Light Unseen Media out of Massachusetts. It's available for pre-order now from both the publisher's website and BarnesandNoble.Com.
Me: I know you sent that out a lot, tried real hard to get a publisher. Did you ever get close before finding BLUM?
BPM: Probably closer than the others. I'd only had one request for a partial before, and that was on "Sumner Gardens." Big shot New York agent showed an interest in it, but when the associate who showed that interest moved on, the big shot agent asked me not to contact him anymore. Quite nasty about it, too.
Me: Oooh. Who was it? Let's hear some dirt.
BPM: (smiling) Not gonna happen. Doesn't matter anymore anyway.
Me: So, "Applewood"?
BPM: I got a couple of requests for the full manuscript on that one, including one from Dorchester Publishing, which I was very excited about. Got "thanks but no thanks" from most of them, and heard nothing at all from some of the others who requested it. In fact, Dorchester sent their rejection more than two years after I'd sent it.
Me: Two years? That's despicable.
BPM: (laughing) Hey, I've learned that's about as polite as the publishing industry gets. Been my experience, anyway. And at least they sent one.
Me: Did you set out to write a vampire story?
BPM: Actually, no. In fact, I didn't even know there were vampires in it until they showed up. It didn't start out to be about vampires at all. Funny, thinking about it now, but as autobiographical as "Sumner Gardens" was, "Applewood" is probably moreso. Most everything that happens in "Applewood," the coming-of-age stuff anyway, is something that really happened, either to me, or to someone I know.
Me: Including the vampires?
BPM: (grins) More things in heaven and earth, my friend. More things in heaven and earth.
Me: Well, you can probably tell, I could talk to you all day. Do you mind if we come back sometime? Maybe check in to see how "Applewood" is doing? And of course, we haven't even had the chance to talk about "Swash," that mysterious "fifth novel," or even what else you might have in the pipeline.
BPM: Nah, this has been fun. I'd do it again.
Me: Me too. And again, thanks so much for your time.
BPM: No, thank you.