Sunday, January 10, 2016

Author Interview: Brady Koch, Author of Guns, Gods & Robots

Brady Koch lives in Westchester County, NY with his wife and children. Feel free to read over Brady's shoulder if you see him working on a new novel or short story at the coffee shop, library, or commuter train into NYC. Despite his penchant for crime, horror, and the unusual in his writing, he's actually a nice guy and welcomes your feedback. Brady Koch's first collection of short works, Guns, Gods & Robots, is now available.  
Here is a synopsis of Guns, Gods & Robots

Guns: A girl’s birthday wish comes true when she gets to spend an afternoon on manhunt with her lawman father. 
Gods: An old man discovers his crops aren't the only dead things on his farm. 
Robots: A heartless machine built for compassion malfunctions, leading its engineer on a hunt to fix the corruption before it spreads. 
In Guns, Gods & Robots, Brady Koch, mixes and remixes three themes across this collection of stories and novellas that spans the range of science fiction and horror. The stories, collected here for the first time, range from the uplifting to the horrifying. Sure to spark your imagination, the seven stories in Guns, Gods & Robots will also keep you up at night.

Who are your influences?
I suppose I’m a populist, but I grew up on Stephen King, then Kurt Vonnegut. I was always pleasantly surprised when an assigned book in school ended up being a great read. Animal Farm and The Illustrated Man stand out for me in those regards.
I hold a special place in my heart for Edward Packard, the creator of Choose Your Own Adventure. He also worked on a series of 8 books called Escape that had the same premise, but only one ending to try to get through. I used to pour over those books on the bus, at home, in school when the teacher wasn’t looking and more. I would love to write a choose your own adventure for adults at one point if I can figure out the e-reader linking needed to pull that off.

When did you begin writing?
I’ve written off and on through my life. Never much beyond what was required for school. Four years ago, I was faced with a long train commute when I worked in Illinois, so I attempted to start writing again to fill the time. Now it’s my preferred way to spend what quiet time I can find.

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc?
For stories, I tend to simply let my mind wander. Once I figure out the loose scenario I try to find the most condense way to tell the story. My readers know how I prefer to keep things direct, pulpy and lean. Often times my final cuts are much shorter than the first drafts.
Most character names are just ones that I’ve latched on to through the years. In Guns, Gods & Robots you’ll come across names from Final Fantasy, podcast hosts, college professors and more. I’m always a fan of naming characters “Walter” after the host at a burger joint I frequented as a kid.

Do you work from an outline?
I always start with some bullet points and essentially start filling in each section from there. If there a part of the story I really have a strong vision for, I’ll start writing that instead of the actual beginning of the book. In answering this question, I revisited the original outline for “Numbers 16:32” to compare it to the final draft. It’s mainly still there save for a large phone call section that ended up just being a stalling tactic to get to the resolution of the story.
The hardest stories I write are the ones I don’t plan out from the beginning.

Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel.
There’s a scene in the story Sangrimal where a young girl gets separated from her dad, the Sheriff, while they’re on a man hunt. She ends up quietly exploring a place called the stump yards and then managing what she finds there. It’s my favorite because it’s the scene I wrote out first and no matter how much the whole story was edited and reframed and gutted, that sequence remained the same. I think it’s the heart of the story and in some ways the whole collection.

Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy?
Get to the point, avoid flowery language and finish the story before you get bored writing it and your readers want to move on to the next book.

Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?
The book itself lightly covers other genres from drama, horror and I hope comedy. I’ve always wanted to write some nonfiction, but don’t feel like I have the free time to research any topic enough to do it justice. My favorite authors currently are all in nonfiction (Mary Roach, Tony Horwitz, etc).

Do you have any interesting writing-related anecdotes to share?
I was in a long meeting at work a couple of years ago and decided to check my phone under the table for new emails. I ended up seeing a note from an unknown email address and lo-and-behold I got my first fan letter. It was incredibly detailed and offered a variety of insights into a story the reader found especially engaging. I started laughing out loud and brought the meeting to a stop. We ended up passing the nice letter around and I ended up having a room of new readers. 

Brady’s website is  and on Twitter he is @BradyTheWriter

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