Author Interview: Ken Brosky

Welcome everyone one. Today we have a special guest stopping by to tell us a little about himself. Everyone, please welcome Ken Brosky, author of “The Unauthorized Biography of Michele Bachmann (and other stories)” !

Publisher: Brew City Press 
Release Date: November 21st 2011 
Rating: 3.60 avg ~ Goodreads
Pages: 142

Buy: Amazon | B&N

A white man lost in Darfur. Phone hackers. Honey thieves. An Iraq War veteran searching for his missing leg in the dead of night. These are just a few of the characters inhabiting Ken Brosky’s first short story collection, which features short stories that have been published in magazines including Gargoyle, Cream City Review, Barcelona Review, Pif, and more. If there’s one theme running through all of the stories, it’s survival. Every character approaches this theme in a different way. For the couple stuck inside a coffee shop during the Apocalypse, "survival" means getting through the next hour. For the middle-aged man who fears he might be downsized, it means going out on your own terms. How do you survive? Will you?


Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Right now, I live and teach in Madison, Wisconsin. Home of Scott Walker and other things.  

What or who inspired you to write?  And how long have you been writing?

I remember the first time I tried to really, really write. It came years after I’d first started drawing and writing comic books, and I ended up with a really strange graphic novel from the local comic shop. This graphic novel was one page of writing, one page of pictures, one page of writing, one page of pictures. I loved it. I started imitating it with my own story.

My parents saw it and said it was good. That was all the encouragement I needed. From there, I kept writing, getting away from drawing and focusing entirely on writing. After I finished college, I started delving away from horror and science fiction. Not entirely, though. I still occasionally delve into science fiction.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

After I got my first horror story published at the end of high school. Sure, the magazine went out of business, but that wasn’t my fault (I don’t think).  From there, it was just a matter of sending out and getting used to the rejection letters that pile up.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?

“The Unauthorized Biography of Michele Bachmann (and other stories” is a collection of published short stories dealing with humor, tragedy, loss an
d—above all else—satire.

I love reading the warnings on the blurbs for many books. If you could write a warning label for yourself as a person or an author, what would it say?

Warning: This author does a lot of research for his stories, so please give him the benefit of the doubt when something crazy or unbelievable happens.

If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?

I imagine the less-developed background characters would say something like: “Hey Ken, sorry to bother you. Where did I go to school? What’s my favorite snack? Do I enjoy listening to rock music, or jazz? I need to know these things, man!”

The more-developed main characters stuck in my story about The Apocalypse might want to know why I can’t just change the scene with a stroke of my pen. They might call me names, like “sadist” and “monster.”

Which character speaks the loudest to you? Do any of them clamour to be heard over the others?

I think the character who lost his leg in Iraq probably speaks the loudest. That particular short story meant a lot. There’s also a character in a later story who tries to “go out” on his own terms. I respect that.

Do your characters try to make like bunnies and create ever more convoluted plots for you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters?

I’ve never written a story that I didn’t have to cut. There’s always another side-street you can take.

Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?

Tons. Tons of them. Lots of amalgams. The best characters are a blend of a few people from real life. That way, you can ensure each character in the story is perfect. Plus, it’s fiction. And when you sneak in a friend, you want to be able to say: “No, this guy totally isn’t based on you … he has red hair! Do you have red hair? No!”

Do you have a specific writing style?

“Good.” Sometimes “very good,” depending on whether a story gets published or not. Then of course there’s the “crap,” which gets put in a special folder on my desktop.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Everyone struggles to survive. We all do it in a different way.

Do you have plans for a new book?   Is this book part of a series?

I’m going to release a collection of my published horror and science-fiction stories soon. They’re just sitting on my computer, collecting dust. Some of them stand up pretty well so I think they deserve an audience.

I also wrote a fantasy-horror novel, The King of Blades. That sells pretty well on any given day and I’ve had some good feedback with it. It’s an updated version of a horror book that was going to be published, but the publisher decided after a couple years to just drop it. Ah, the publishing biz.

Who designed the cover of your book?

Chris Smith, a classmate from my MFA program. Awesome cover.

Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

Jim Shepard. Just a fantastic writer who spends a lot of time researching so he can create these very unique, realistic stories. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: his short story about the designer of the original Godzilla costume is one of the best short stories ever written. Period.

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?

I think the e-book is perfect for short story collections. You can put an e-book out with some ease and then charge a low price so the reader gets his/her money’s worth. 

How do you market/promote your books?

Gods, I’ve been pointing and clicking for the past two months. Searching for reviewers. Searching for book lovers’ websites. Searching for any way to promote the collection. I contacted a few local bookstores, and they were really great about selling a few print editions.  

What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?

My favorite short story in here is “Positivity Squares.” It’s a story about all of the weird stuff that happens in corporate culture, and most of the story is based on some real events, which just makes it even more funny/depressing. I still love this story.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?

I’m reading one of Jim Shepard’s older short story collections, and I’m reading a book on postwar Europe by Tony Judt. It’s a little depressing, but

Ok Ken, now for a little fun quizzing . . .

Do you have any advice for other writers?  

Read, read, read. It helps improve your writing so much.

Cats or dogs?

Depends on whether I have to change the cat litter.

Coffee or tea?

Chai tea.

Favourite food?

Thai Volcano Chicken.

List 3 of your all time favourite books?

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein

List 3 of your all time favourite movies?

John Carpenter’s The Thing

Batman Begins

Young Frankenstein

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?

The League, Community, Battlestar Galactica. I think Battlestar Galactica’s ending made absolutely no sense whatsoever, but the final battle was so, so worth it.

Where can your readers stalk you?

Site | Blog | Goodreads | Amazon

Other Works:

The King of Blades



1 ping

    • Brenda on February 8th, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    What a fantastic interview! I have to try Thai Volcano Chicken!

    1. Can I get some Volcano Shrimp instead? (Can’t eat bird 🙁 or cow for that matter)
      He’s great to type/chat with, and cheeky too 😉

  1. […] Like, for instance, Áine P Massie, who published an interview with me. […]

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