Brendan WalshA recent college graduate, City Lights Press is excited to welcome new author, Brendan Walsh. From the age of 13 he knew he wanted to write, but finally began constructing his first novel, The Raven Gang, in college. If he can’t make a full-time career out of novel-writing, Brendan Walsh hopes to get a job at DC Comics as a writer or an editor, or at least something creative enough so he doesn’t have to turn his brain off its story-juices.

City Lights Press: When did you know you wanted to write?

Brendan Walsh: I think it was when I was 13. I would consistently make up stories in my head, but I would always keep them to myself. The funny thing is, I didn’t really become an avid reader until I was 16, but I knew I wanted to be a storyteller even before then. I think I was a late-bloomer in that way because I was still afraid of having a voice or sharing my ideas. But when I finally did, I think the story-juices just poured out the gate!

CLP: I know you just recently graduated, what are you currently doing as a day job?

BW: That’s a good question, haha. I recently finished working a seasonal position at Glendale Galleria near my house, so right now I’m not working. My degree was in English, so I hope to soon get some kind of editing job, or something that involves my creative writing abilities, if I’m lucky enough.

CLP: What inspired you to write The Raven Gang?

BW: It goes back to the time when I was 13. The very first version of the story I thought of came to me in the summer of 2009 when I was an incoming high school freshman. Of course, as I got older, the story matured and got more complex. It wasn’t until my first semester of college when I started taking the story’s construction seriously, and my drive to complete the story was too strong to refuse, even if my grades took a bit of a hit (apologies, professors.)

CLP: Have you always been interested in Fantasy books?

BW: Yes and no. I’ve always loved urban fantasy over alternate world fantasy. I’m way more into Neil Gaiman and Jim Butcher than Lord of the Rings. Though I have tried to get more into alternate world fantasy. I recently finished Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (which I LOVED) and am currently more than halfway through Eye of the World.

CLP: I know you’re also a big movie fan, what’s the best movie you have seen recently?

BW: Glad you asked! I recently watched Kubrick’s Spartacus for the first time and I’ve just wanted to talk about it constantly. It’s funny because you don’t think about Spartacus when you think of Kubrick. It’s his later work that has the more mainstream attention. Spartacus is definitely my second favorite he directed, because 2001: A Space Odyssey is still my all-time favorite movie, and one of my favorite novels.

CLP: Do your parents or brother ever read your work?

BW: My three biggest beta readers are my brother, Robert, my father, and one of my best friends, Scott. I’ve typically showed Robert and Scott my work after each chapter I write and get their comments. I didn’t show my dad The Raven Gang and Immortale until they were done or nearly done. They’ve all been wonderful supporters, and have always quelled my writing anxieties (thank you all!).

CLP: Do you put any details of your real life into your writing?

BW: It’s definitely there. Some descriptions of Weller College, the fictional college that the characters in The Raven Gang attend, came straight out of Wooster, the college I went to. Besides that, some quirks of the main characters and many of their observations are definitely some of my own.

CLP: As a young author, do you think it’s more difficult to be taken seriously?

BW: Maybe not inherently. I first started querying The Raven Gang to publishers/agents in April 2016, and didn’t have as much success as I wanted. Of course, I had very few credentials (I hadn’t yet published a short story either,) so I’m not surprised how hard it is for a first-timer to get through the publishing doors. With Immortale it was still hard, since The Raven Gang ended up being self-published. I hope that when someone reads my books that they don’t think “I can tell someone in their early twenties wrote this” because I don’t think you can put an age on the ideas and ethics in both stories, but who knows, there have been many successful authors who were published at a younger age than me, so I’m just going to keep writing and writing.

CLP: What is your writing process like? Do you start from page one, make an outline, etc?

BW: It is typically just me sitting down and writing, and any outline I have is only in my head. I’ve gotten some good plot devices by just building off dialogue or a conflict that I hadn’t even planned. I think I try to give the characters as much agency as I can, because when I write I can get so absorbed that I can forget that they don’t exist outside the novel, and lots of coffee or the occasional cocktail helps this as well ;).

CLP: What authors or books most influence your writing?

BW: No one has influenced me more than Neil Gaiman. If it weren’t for Neverwhere, my favorite novel of his, I wouldn’t have come up with the early draft for Immortale. Terry Pratchett and Kurt Vonnegut have been invaluable as well, and I must include Ray Bradbury. The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man have stories that have influence how I think. He had a magical way of doing prose that just worked so perfectly with the lessons each story taught. Every short story I’ve done has been me trying to create to same feeling in readers, and I hope I’ve come at least somewhat close to that goal.

Look for Brendan Walsh’s novels soon!