PSB: I’m writing a horror novel and finishing up two short stories in the same genre. Though I plan to keep writing noir fiction, my roots lie in horror and dark fantasy. I’m also beating into a shape a manuscript for a collection of my crime short stories.
PDB: How did you research this book?
PSB: I conducted hours and hours of online research for the Chicago, New York and Connecticut scenes; learning about the cityscapes, demographics and history of each neighborhood. I wanted my scenes in those places to be as believable as the ones that occur in Maine (where the bulk of the novel is set, and where I’ve lived since 1983). I knew my research had paid off when my former agent, upon reading the completed manuscript, told me she’d assumed I had at some point lived in Chicago and Brooklyn. But I’ve never been to either place.
PDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?
PSB: Bitter Water Blues, because it’s my first published novel. It took me five years to write and revise it.
PDB: What’s your favourite film/book/song/television programme?
PSB: Jaws; Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath; “Heaven and Hell” by Black Sabbath; I have a love/hate relationship with TV, but I’m currently enjoying “Deadliest Journeys,” which is a documentary series about how poor and working-class people in the undeveloped world have to struggle and risk their lives just to get from point A to point B in order to make a living. I also like “Key & Peele” on Comedy Central and “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” on BBC America.
PDB: Is location important to your writing?
PSB: Absolutely. People are shaped by their environment even as they try manipulating it to suit their needs. I like to think that I use setting as a character. For me, the plot begins to develop only when setting and character are firmly established.
PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?
PSB: I’ve been doing it every morning since the e-book version of Bitter Water Blues was released on January 19. That’s kind of pathetic, I know. For the first ten days, it was in and out of the Kindle Top 100 Noir list. It peaked at #33.
PSB: The paperback edition of Bitter Water Blues will be out soon. I hope to do some signings and readings in Maine and elsewhere. I might be going to the World Horror Convention as a panelist this May. One of my main goals for 2015 is to get out and meet as many other readers and writers as possible.