MONARCHS OF MAYHEM: AN INTERVIEW WITH MAURICE BROADDUS

Maurice Broaddus is the editor of the acclaimed DARK FAITH anthology (Nebula, Bram Stoker, and Black Quill nominated, with the 2nd one on the way)as well as the writer of the THE KNIGHTS OF BRETON series. He in addition is a prolific short story and non-fiction writer. And given all his responsibilities he was kind enough to play hooky long to provide the following great answers to my inane questions. Enjoy!
— HT

And for those of you new to Maurice Broaddus he has a pretty wild bio. It’ll put a smile on your face. Here’s part of it:

“Maurice Broaddus is an exotic dancer, trained in several forms of martial arts–often referred to as “the ghetto ninja”–and was voted the Indianapolis Dalai Lama. He’s an award winning haberdasher and coined the word “acerbic”. He graduated college at age 14 and high school at age 16. Not only is he credited with inventing the question mark, he unsuccessfully tried to launch a new number between seven and eight.

When not editing or writing, he is a champion curler and often impersonates Jack Bauer, but only in a French accent. He raises free range jackalopes with his wife and two sons … when they are not solving murder mysteries.

The way he sees is, as a fiction writer, he’s a professional liar.”


That’s only the beginning, it gets a lot better, read the whole thing at his website bio link listed at the bottom of this post. It’s hilarious. Now without further ado, onto the questionnaire…

HT: What is your favorite genre or genres?

MB: I’m a huge fan of the crime genre. Walter Moseley, Elmore Leonard, George Pelecanos, when I’m reading for fun, this is typically what I’m reading.

HT: What is the favorite thing you’ve written?

MB: The favorite thing that I’ve written might be a story called “Dream Weaver”. It was among the first five stories I ever wrote. It’s completely unpublishable. I’d have to rewrite it from scratch for it to even see the light of day. But I have an odd fondness for it. As for stuff actually published, it’s all upcoming. A three way tie between “The Cracker Trap” (in an upcoming issue of Shroud Magazine), “Under a Concrete Hill” (in an upcoming issue of Bull Spec magazine), or Lyta’s Dance (a children’s fantasy book that is currently being illustrated).

HT: Name 5 classic or genre writers who inspire or impress or influence you?

MB: Toni Morrison. Neil Gaiman. Michael Chabon. Kelly Link. Jeffrey Ford.

HT: Name some current or new writers, whose work you’ve recently read or discovered and that blew you away.

MB: N.K. Jemison. Saladin Ahmed. Ekaterina Sedia. Genevieve Valentine.

HT: Name 2 or 3 of your favorite horror short stories.

MB: Jack Ketchum’s “The Box”. Gary Braunbeck’s “Rami Temporales”.

[I had never read either of these stories, but you can read Gary Braunbeck's story here!]

HT: Anthologies are usually theme based, so you have your Poe anthologies, or Lovecraft etc. If you could do a short story for such an anthology, if you could decide/choose, what would the anthology be about?

MB: I actually have the luxury of doing an anthology. Dark Faith (Apex Books) explores the intersection of faith and genre as I had fantasy, horror, and science fiction authors write stories that turned on the idea of faith (no matter what that looked like). After the success of the first one, I’m currently putting together Dark Faith 2.


Dark Faith: Price Your Copy Here!

HT: Name 5 Favorite films, horror or otherwise.

MB: Do the Right Thing, Pulp Fiction. L.A. Confidential. Big Fish. Blazing Saddles. Amelie, Good luck trying to piece together my personality based on that list!

HT: What do you think can or should be done to get more writers of color producing genre fiction?

MB: I think we’re on an exciting cusp of writers of color exploding on the scene. As I was coming up, I could point to Chester Himes, Charles Saunders,Octavia Butler, Samuel Delany, or Tananrive Due. But as I look around, we see the success of N.K. Jemison, Chesya Burke, Wrath James White, Nnedi Okafora, L.A. Banks, Linda Addison, Kaaren Lord, Nisi Shawl, (and I’m just scratching the surface). As more folks see that it can and, more importantly, IS being done, more will pursue it.

HT: While book sales have been steadily declining, specialty presses such as Subterranean and Centipede Press continue to sell out of their lavishly illustrated, high quality tomes/reissues of writers of weird fiction. Proving that even in the age of ebooks there is an unlessened demand for collectible books with spot illustrations and/or art-books. So keeping this in mind a/what are some of your favorite book covers and b/what artist would you like to do a cover and spot illustrations for one of your books?

MB: I’ve been blessed to have artists like Steve Stone (the Knights of Breton Court urban fantasy series) and Steve Gilberts (my horror novella, Devils Marionette, as well as the art accompanying my story “Rainfall” in the recent issue of Cemetery Dance) illustrate my work. That being said, I’d love to have a cover done by John Picacio.

[Steve Stone's cover for KNIGHTS OF BRETON COURT III is fantastic!!]

HT: And finally in closing with a little less than 11 months left in 2012, what are you looking forward to?

MB: I’m such a fanboy, I’m looking forward to The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers movies!

MB, Great answers! Thanks for taking the time to provide these informed and insightful responses. Lots of stuff even I haven’t tried. But I’ve created a bunch of links to get myself and other interested readers up to speed. Thanks and look forward to reading your upcoming stories and books!

Oh and one more bit from MB’s bio:

“Speaking of which, he’s married to the lovely Sally Jo and spends as much time possible with his two sons, Maurice the Second (giving him an excuse to retroactively declare himself “Maurice the Great”) and Malcolm X (named before realizing his son would be blond and blue eyed).”

Come on! That’s hilarious! :)

To read his complete bio, and more hilarity go here!

And to purchase any of his books in e-format go here!

Unless you’re an old fashioned paper guy like me, in that case go Here to buy his books!

And tell’em HT sent ya! And HELLS COMING WITH ME!!! oh… sorry. Just re-watched TOMBSTONE and I’m all hyped up! :)

p.s. the schedule for the other MONARCHS OF MAYHEM has changed because these posts take a LONG DARN TIME to do! So yeah will need to space these out a bit more. But keep your eyes peeled (what exactly does that saying even mean?!) for the next wacky, fun, hernia inducing installment!!

Later Gator!!!

SHORT STORY OF THE DAY or Hal Bennett vs Jack Ketchum

There is a vulgar beauty, a luscious insanity, an offensive attraction in the work of Hal Bennett, that reeks of a certain time and place and mindsets, hopefully now buried, mindsets strange and weird beyond all knowing, that Bennett in prose vital, and with vision that appalls you to the point of almost shutting the book in disgust in one sentence, before being waylay-ed by the next sentence which drags to your utter surprise, sounds very much like cackling laughter from your unprepared lips.

It is the work of a master satirist, working from levels on high… and down below. Hal Bennett is a writer… to read. Cautiously, fearfully, and uncomfortably, but ultimately very additively, humanistically. He’s not one of these writers tossing shock and absurdity and offensiveness for its own sake, Bennett is a true writer, he wants to tell you a tale, that might your dark unspin. Unlike some writers who all they want to do is revel in darkness, put offal on the page and rub your nose in it (such as the work of Jack Ketchum, and writers of his ilk, that I have no use, or patience for. I think it is the literary equivalent of a snuff film, that finds a real life victim of atrocity, and victimizes them again in detail and with fervor to make money, it debases, dehumanizes both reader and read) the fiction of Hal Bennett aims higher than that, using the vulgar to tell us something visionary.

It is not just drama, and not just horror, and not just fantasy, and not just satire, and not just scifi, and yet there are elements of all of that in the criminally under-read fiction of Hal Bennett. Hal Bennett is a genre onto himself.

Case in point, our short story of the day:

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HENRY OATES from the collection INSANITY RUNS IN OUR FAMILY

“There were many things he loved– large women’s asses, the smell of chitterlings and red beans cooking on a winter morning, the onslaught of good whiskey on his groin that sent it thumping like a triphammer before the effect subsided; but what he hated more than anything else in the world was machines. Aside from the fact they were ugly and loveless, they were as prolific as rabbits, one machine spawning another in far less time than it takes to make a Black baby. Since Henry Oates had no children of his own, at least none he knew about, he felt surrounded by machinery that seemed bent on destroying him. Not just automation, but by the machinations of government and society as well. Sometimes he felt like a man standing on the last edge of an island that is being chewed away by steel-tipped waves.”

That’s a great paragraph, that using an unlikely pov character offers, in scant words, insights that resonates with the high and low. That’s the ability of Bennett, to tell a simple, intimate story, with characters you seemingly have nothing in common with, and yet show you the common and sometimes uncommon hopes and fears and desires that bind us all.

The work of Hal Bennett, particularly INSANITY RUNS IN OUR FAMILY, deserves to be rediscovered and widely printed, rather than relegated to the out of print pile. If ever an author deserved the lavish attentions of a specialty press, and nicely printed tomes, ala Ligotti, it’s Hal Bennett.

Seek him out.

Insanity runs in our family