Welcome to the sixth instalment of #InterviewWithAFlashDog
FlashDogs are an international community of talented and supportive flash fiction writers.
I’m now in editing mode for my first novel, Metropolitan Dreams (it’s progressing well, with the expert help of EJS) and I thought it would be a good time to catch up with as many FlashDogs as I could.
No word limits. No need to win a comp. Just a chance to get to know the writer.
The questions follow a format: First, Next and Last.
Today I’m spending time with Brian S. Creek.
Brian has appeared in all the FlashDogs anthologies. He frequently enters the weekly flashfic competitions and is a highly supportive member of the community. Brian is a magician with small word-counts and big stories.
He’s been busy working on his own projects recently. Such as this:
To find out more, read on…
Please tell us the…
MK: First song / album you purchased
BC: The first song I can remember buying with my own money was ‘Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me’ by U2. I picked it up from a Virgin Megastore in Southampton not long before the release of BATMAN FOREVER. I drove my mother crazy by playing it over and over (and over) again. It was on cassette, so when it finished you just turn it over and press play again – hey kids, do you remember cassettes?
MK: Next project you want to work on
BC: Experience has taught me that talking about future writing plans usually ends up with things not turning out the way you had hoped. But I’m not too bright and I never really pay much attention to past mistakes, so I’d have to say that the next project I’m eyeing up (once Chris and Mike’s adventures are up and running) is something that’s very recent into my ideas notebook (and yes, it’s an actual notebook).
It came from a dream that I can no longer remember anything about, and got the gears turning throughout the whole of the next morning. Slowly but surely story ideas sprung up, merged, and evolved.
It takes parts of my childhood, mixes them up with my passion for Superhero comics, and sprinkles a little atheists-eye-view of religion in for extra measure. It’s current working title is SUPERGOD, and it’s unlike any of my other projects; past, present, or future. It’s not Flash or Short, it’s not part of a trilogy or a series, and it feels like something that wouldn’t be close to half way drafted after just one NaNoWriMo.
It feels epic, and like something I couldn’t have even attempted to write until this point of my life. It both scares me and excites me. Fingers crossed what you peeps eventually see is as good as how it all looks in my mind.
MK: Last time you did something truly special
BC: I think I shot myself in the foot with this one, because it is still the peak of my birthday gift ideas.
For my wife’s 26th (?) I thought it would be nice to take her to one of those track days. We both loved Aston Martins and I knew she would love to actually drive one. And, as if that wasn’t enough, I thought it would spice things up just a little more if I proposed to her on the same day too.
While the look on her face at each step of the surprise (we’re going away for your birthday, you’re going to drive an Aston Martin, and by the way, will you marry me?) was totally worth all the stress of planning, I have not been able to top that birthday for her since.
MK: First time you remember being scared
BC: I’d have to say it was back in the heyday of the eighties. I was five years old and my dad had just made the brave decision to walk out on his family (what a role model!). It was such a dramatic change in my family’s life and I didn’t know what was going to happen to me, my mum, and my brother.
MK: Next thing you want to tackle on your bucket list (if you have one)
BC: I don’t have an actual bucket list as I’m not a very adventurous person. Sure, I sometimes wish it were different, but I’m an introvert, so I do a lot of my adventuring in the books I read and the stories I write.
But the next thing I want to tackle? That has to be self-publishing. Now it’s just about putting in the hard work, getting to a finished product I’m proud of, and building up the courage to wrap a bow around it and send it out there.
MK: Last time you admired a story from a fellow writer
BC: For a writer to put a piece of work out into the world is a brave step, and one of the hurdles a lot of us must get over to succeed at our author dream. But harder still is the moment when a writer hands over a raw version of their work, flaws laid bare, warts and all. The author might be aware that something is broken, or that errors little the story, but they want help from someone just like them, someone who will understand.
As well as helping fellow writers on the first three FlashDog anthology projects (Sarah Cain, Emily Livingstone, Chris Blackburn, and Geoff Holme), I’ve recently helped a couple of authors outside of Flash Fiction. Michael Blackbourn, Liz Hedgecock, and my Anglo-Canadian friend Mr Craig Anderson have all done me the honour of letting me see their work in earlier drafts, sometimes different from what hits those digital bookshelves’. And while I have a little pride that there may be one or two tiny things I’ve assisted with in projects that belong to others, I can’t help but admire these folks who were brave enough to reveal their works in progress to someone they barely knew.
MK: First comic/book/film that you wanted to appear in (and in what role?)
BC: X-Men. I don’t even have to think about it.
Nothing spoke to me more as a kid than the characters in that comic book. And it wasn’t because of their cool super powers or globe hopping adventures. It was the friendships the characters shared, friendships born from surviving together as outcasts, and having the strength to look at a world that hated them and still say “we’re going to fight to stay here, no matter what”.
I was bullied in school for so many reasons (being from a single parent family, my haircut, cheap clothes, and dental braces to name but a few) and it made me into someone that hated the world, hated people, and someone who was happiest when left alone with my imagination as company.
I wanted to travel to their world so badly that I ended up creating my own UK based X-Men comic. In it I joined up with three of my classmates and we fought evil time and time again, sometimes side by side with my merry mutant idols. It was my first real experience of creating stories, developing settings and writing my own characters.
When I met Stan Lee back in 2014, I didn’t have much time to speak to him. But as the camera clicked and a highlight in my life was captured forever, I just told him one thing. I said “Thank you.”
MK; Next adventure you want to take
BC: Well want is a strong word. The next adventure that I’ve chosen to take (mayhap my sanity was away that day of the decision) is to go abroad on holiday for the first time since the wife and I introduced a mini-me into the world. We’ve had two dry runs with the Isle of Wight, but this year is the big one. We’re going back to where we got married, this time as a complete family. The little guy is exceeding his goal of being a challenge recently so we thought ‘let’s throw a plane ride, a strange new place, lots of strangers, and high temperatures into the mix’. It’s going to be fun.
MK: Last time you purchased something regrettable
BC: That would be last year when I finally got round to downloading the e-book version of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, only to find it was a rip-off version with terrible formatting.
I did complain to Kobo (and checking today, it has been removed). It upsets me, not that I wasted my money, but that people put things up to sell that are such poor quality (and in this case, not even their own work). Like it’s not hard enough for indie writers to get strangers to buy their work despite not being an established name. It’s harder still when a minority of people out there go for the quick buck and dirty the name of indie authors.
Shame on them.
A big thank you to Brian for sharing his time and thoughts with us. I can’t wait for the new projects to be released.