Bravado’s House of Blues by J.A. Pitts is a wonderful read of speculative fiction of dark and light, triumph and failure. His short story collection is the type of book to keep around, to read one story at a time, and to savor each one to its fullest. These stories all stayed with me long after I put the book down. Bravado’s House of Blues is published by Fairwood Press and is available in trade paperback and ebook form.
I had the chance to ask John a couple of questions about Bravado’s House of Blues.
1. This is your first short story collection. What kinds of things did you think about when selecting stories for it?
John: Right off the bat, I added in the 10 stories I’d sold in other markets. Some of those markets don’t exist anywhere (e-zines) and some stories were sold to very small press. I thought this would be a great way to get those gems back out into the world. Then I picked out a few stories that I hadn’t sold, a few new ones and a couple related to my novels to help tie in fans. It’s an eclectic collection, that’s for sure.
2. Do you have a favorite short story in the collection? If yes, which and why? If no, is there a reason for that?
John: Interesting question. “The Hanging of the Greens” was the first story I ever got a review on. That one’s special. “Fucking Napalm Bastards” is fun for me because I was told it would never sell, and this is its third appearance in print. “Black Blade Blues” holds a strong place in my heart because it launched the book series. Each of them are special in some way to me. It’s hard to pick a favorite.
3. You write novels as well as short stories. How do you approach writing short stories?
John: With novels I’m a detailed outliner. With short stories, I’m a total panster. I get an idea for a theme, scene, character, whatever, and see where that takes me. It’s rather organic in nature. I have a bazillion stories in my head just waiting to burst out.
4. BRAVADO’S HOUSE OF BLUES is published by Fairwood Press. What is it like working with a small press rather than a large one for a book project?
John: Fairwood Press is great. Patrick Swenson, the publisher/editor puts out a very high quality product. Putting together BHOB was a lot more agile than we both anticipated due to life interruptions, but we worked together to put out a great book. New York has more hands in the mix, more eyes on the production, etc. so their process is more mature and less prone to flaky author hiccups. I truly love both experiences. It’s a broad tent.
5. What is something you’d really like to have your readers know about your short stories?
John: It’s funny, but writing shorter is harder for me. With novels, I feel like I’m floating down this placid river, soaking in the sun and just enjoying every minute of it. With shorts, I’m in the rapids and every paragraph is another rock threatening to flip my boat. In the end, I’m told the quality is the same, it’s just the mental acrobatics that no one sees that shakes things up. Also, my shorts are across more genres than my novel readers would expect. There’s an eclectic mix of fairy tales, horror, science fiction and fantasy. I’m hoping there’s something in this collection for everyone.
6. Where can we find all things J.A. Pitts related?
John: Well…. there’s Twitter: @japittswriter; Facebook:japitts; website: japitts.net; and of course, your local bookstore (brick and mortar or digital).