This month we’re getting to know Richard J. O’Brien, author of To Dream the Blackbane: A novel of the anomaly. Every author has an origin story and we know you’ll enjoy hearing his.
“When I was eleven years old my father brought home a used typewriter from work. I started writing stories on it that summer, not knowing it would be the beginning of a life weaving tales and creating worlds.
Sometime in high school I gave up the clunky old machine and switched over to handwriting my stories. When I was in the army, I accidentally left out a notebook in my barracks room. There was a story inside it about a young guy who stalks a girl who rejects him, not out of any malice, but because she’s a vampire and doesn’t want to kill him. One of my platoon members read the beginning of the story and assumed it was a diary and from there decided that I was some kind of lunatic. After that, I knew I was onto something if I could convince someone else that what I wrote was true. My platoon buddy never got to the part of the story that revealed the girl was a vampire. I did let him read the whole thing after that. He probably still thought I was a lunatic, but by then my enlistment was over. After the army, I went to college where I encountered The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (among many other books). That was the novel that taught me how to structure my first novel (now lost in time, sadly).
Throughout my life—as long as I have been able to read—horror, fantasy, and science fiction always held a place in my heart. In college, my professors tried to cure me of that. But as long as they continued to teach Paradise Lost, Frankenstein, The Odyssey, and the like, they didn’t have much of an argument.”
Richard J. O’Brien is a graduate of the Fairleigh Dickinson University MFA in Creative Writing Program. Richard’s novels include Under the Bronze Moon, Infestation, and The Garden of Fragile Things. His short stories have appeared in The Del Sol Review, Duende, Pulp Literature, The Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review, Weirdbook, and other magazines. Richard lives in New Jersey where he teaches at Rowan College at Gloucester County and Stockton University.