Talk about spooky.
Scott Brendel and I were in the same critique group for years. One of the excerpts he brought for feedback gave me a downright nasty chill. Even renowned horror writers fail to do that to me.
Scott’s first publication was a short story entitled “The Seventh Green at Lost Lakes,” which appeared in a British anthology called Read by Dawn, Volume 1. Just in time for Halloween, his latest, “Groundswell of Love,” was just published by Something Wicked magazine.
Former president of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and a technical editor by day, Scott has the smooth groove to his writing that will absolutely render you powerless to put his work down. He is shopping his novel, Affliction, to publishers as I write this and I wish him the best of luck. There’s no doubt in my mind that any editor will see the grace and power in Scott’s prose.
CIR: “Groundswell” is quite a grabbing title. Did you mean for it to cause the reader to have several reactions?
SB: A title can be part of the tease that lures a reader into a story. With “Groundswell of Love” the title was meant to work on a couple of levels—one quite literal.
CIR: From what you told me, it’s as if Something Wicked resurrected from the grave.
SB: They shut down for a while, during which they changed their business model from print to electronic. Their new website launched in July. “Groundswell” appeared in the September issue, much to my delight.
CIR: With “Groundswell” being your first title published by an E press, will you seek more out?
SB: Definitely. Something Wicked is published in South Africa, but it’s as easy to get as the newspaper delivered to my front door. And their reach is global. That said, I’m still a lover of print.
CIR: Do you consider yourself a writer of the supernatural?
SB: “Groundswell” and some of the other stories I’ve done are clearly horror. But I write in other genres, too. Even so, many of my characters are tantalized by what lies beyond the veil between this world and the next.
CIR: What have you read lately?
SB: Tomato Red, a "country noir" novel by Daniel Woodrell, whose use of language is incredibly imaginative; Come Closer, by Sara Gran, a scary little meditation on demonic possession told in first person; and Lush Life, by Richard Price, who is one of the best writers of dialogue I've read in a while.
CIR: To me, there’s a balance between following the rules of grammar and writing whatever strikes you to achieve the artistic expression. Do you find that it’s a fine line?
SB: There's a difference between bending the rules to achieve something specific in a story and breaking them because you don't know what they are or don't think they're important. I think a writer's success can be based on a combination of intent and skill.
CIR: How do you celebrate Halloween?
SB: Chasing visitors with a chain saw and hockey mask. Which may explain why no one rings our bell anymore.
Interviewed by Gusto.
You can read Scott’s creepy crawly story at: