Bradley Sands Interview

A long time ago, I read Bradley Sands’s book It Came From Below The Belt. Afterward, I emailed him, told him I enjoyed it, and asked if he’d like to do an interview. He said yes. A long time later, I made up some questions and sent them to him. He answered them. Skip forward a long time, and I’m now publishing those answers.

Bradley has another book, Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy that just came out, and is not mentioned in the interview. I haven’t read it yet, but if it’s like the others, it’s funny and worth your time.

Also, Bradley is the editor of Bust Down The Door And Eat All The Chickens, an absurdist journal, home to many stories by awesome bizarro authors. Check it out, and also visit Bradley’s website.

Now, without further delay, on to the interview:

What kind of computer do you use?

It’s a PC laptop. The alt key on the left side is missing. I need to hit the spacebar really hard to make it work. It overheats a lot. I think I need to take it into the shop.

What is your favorite movie, book, and beer? Least favorite?

Once Upon a Time in America.

Favorite book is a tough one. I really like Steve Aylett’s Accomplice Series, so maybe the first book in the series: Only an Alligator. And maybe all of Steve Erickson’s novels besides Zeroville (because they seem like a long novel to when combined together).

My favorite beer is Raspberry Wheat, which they have at two pub/brewery kind of places in Boulder, Colorado: Mountain Sun and Southern Sun. Unfortunately, I swore off beer a few days ago. This makes me very sad.

Least favorite movie and book is a tough one. I’ll just pick bad ones at random: The Room (I used to be a connoisseur of bad movies, but The Room isn’t fun to watch. It’s just a boring piece of shit.) And as for books: I don’t know. I rarely finish books I don’t like. I really didn’t like Tom Robbins’ B is for Beer (which I finished), while I’ve loved every other novel he has ever written.

Least favorite beer is easy. Pabst. I can’t stomach that garbage.

You have published two books: a novel, It Came From Below The Belt, and a short story collection, My Heart Said No, But The Camera Said YES! Do you prefer one form over the other?

At the moment, it seems like I’ve forgotten how to write shorts stories because it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything besides novellas and prose poems, so I guess I prefer novels. It’s exciting to work on a story for a long period of time and I find it difficult to attain the same level of enthusiasm for shorter pieces of writing, unless I can write them in one sitting.

It could be said that one of the main characters in It Came From Below The Belt, Adolf Hitler reincarnated as a sentient penis, pushes the boundaries of tastefulness. What are your feelings on good taste and Nazi penises?

I think I can pretty much get away with it because I’m Jewish. But I think one of the best ways to combat tragedy is to make fun of it.

You have described your writing in the two aforementioned books as “busy.” Your prose is full of wordplay like “peanutbutterfly nets” and packed with odd imagery. Does this style come easily?

No way! Actually, I think I forgot how to write that way as well (my first two books were written years ago). Back then, I would work on my stories, sentence by sentence, and rewrite each one until it was near perfect. Sometimes it took me about an hour to write a sentence.

Do you have any interest in writing more “conventional,” plot-driven fiction?

Yes. I’ve been doing this for a while, although the content is unconventional. My novella, Cheesequake Smash-up (which appears in the Bizarro Starter Kit (Blue), is an example of this. The majority of my future book releases will be like this, starting with the novel, TV Snorted My Brain, which Evil Nerd Empire is supposed to publish this year. I prefer writing this way (no more hours spent on one sentence!), but I don’t like the end product as much. But it is more accessible to the reader, so I suppose an easier writing process plus accessibility is better than a tough writing process and possible inaccessibility even though I don’t like the books as much. But I “do my own thing” more with my prose poems, which have become minimalist in style rather than “busy.”

D Harlan Wilson said that after all the time he’s spent in school with literature (both studying and teaching), he has trouble reading purely for pleasure. As someone who has spent a large amount of time in school, do you have this same problem?

No, not really, although I go through long periods of time where I’m unable to enjoy anything that I read. But I also go through long periods where I love nearly everything that I read. Anyway, I don’t know if I’ve spent a large amount of time in school. I’ve been in grad school for about a year, and there was an eight year gap between getting my Bachelor’s degree and starting grad school. And although I feel like I have to read too much for school (considering I’m a writing student, not a literature student, and I read a ton outside of school anyway), it’s not a lot of required reading.

Marvel or DC?

DC. I switch back and forth depending on what company Grant Morrison is writing for, but I’m not obsessed with his work like I used to be. Although I preferred Marvel when I was in elementary school and junior high. I feel like DC is more “adult.”

If you could give aspiring writers one piece of advice, what would it be?
Read lots of good books.
Advice for experienced authors?
You should probably quit writing unless your name is Steve or some variation of it. Same thing if your name isn’t Bradley.


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