Devin spends whatever time he can with his wife and two children and considers himself a husband and father before anything else. For work, he attempts to teach middle-school English in the foothills of Northern California. At an early age, he discovered he enjoyed the process of telling a story, though as the years progressed he also learned he needed some help in how things should look on a page. As a result, Devin earned a Master’s in English with a focus in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. This path eventually led to the publication of “The Angel’s Share” in The Tower Journal, and “Barber’s Chair” in Page & Spine. His other stories, “Breaking of Water” and “In the Coming of Snow,” were featured in charity anthologies published by fellow students at SNHU. Conversations with casual strangers tend to make Devin a little nervous, and he finds mosquito bites annoying. Despite these vexations, he still attends social gatherings and will go out on hikes in the woods from time to time. Devin is currently working on a novel about people in a forest town who, in some fashion, find themselves cutting down a tree or two. He can be found on Facebook at @foothillechoes.
Featured Author: Devin Bradley Interview
- How long have you been writing?
- What/who inspired you to be a writer?
- What genre do you prefer to write in?
- Describe your writing process. What comes first–character or plot? Do you “pants” it or outline?
- What is your daily/weekly routine as a writer?
- Are there any software tools, resources, or websites you often use while writing?
- What are some of your biggest challenges you feel like you have to overcome in your writing career?
- Do you have a set number of words per day you target? Or do you set other goals to meet?
- Do you prefer short stories or full-length novels in your writing?
- How much time is spent on “the business of writing” – queries, seeking an agent or publisher, marketing/sales?
- Can you give some us some insight into your story in Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths Vol. I ?
- What advice can you give other writers?
LHP: How long have you been writing?
Devin Bradley: Writing has been an active hobby of mine for the last five years (which is when I concluded my Master’s in English and Creative Writing). Up until that point, I’d always enjoyed writing. However, when I’d set out to write a short story, even if I finished it, there was something off about it and I had no idea how to correct the problem. Essentially, I gave up on writing until I took the classes necessary to show me how to fix my problems and develop a decent concept. Back to top >>>
Devin Bradley: Lots of things, lots of people. Primarily though, at an early age my parents told me I was good at it and should pursue it in some way. My wife, who encourages me with each piece I write through honest comments and critiques. Close friends who are willing to read and respond. I think reading John Steinbeck, and his descriptions of the places where I grew up, was the key to making me want to even think about trying to write. Back to top >>>
LHP: What genre do you prefer to write in?
Devin Bradley: That is a difficult question. Each piece I’ve had published is in an entirely different genre. I try and strengthen my abilities by writing in genres that intimidate me in some fashion. Though, at the end of the day, I find I am drawn to magical realism—where the realism is strong and the magic subtle to the point of nonexistent. Magic occurs around us every day, and while most of it can be explained in some fashion, there are other things that occur that leave us in awe. Everybody has experienced their own ghost story, has found trinkets they thought were lost somewhere in the past, experienced moments of déjà vu. Other people have experienced things far more “magical”, some choose to share their stories while others are still trying to figure out what happened. Yet our lives continue to move forward; we remain complacent in our routines. Our lives outweigh the bits of magic we experience. That is what I like to write about: the life sprinkled with occasional magic. Back to top >>>
LHP: Describe your writing process. What comes first–character or plot? Do you “pants” it or outline?
Devin Bradley: I start with an image, write about it by thoroughly describing it. If I can take that image and turn it into something with a plot, then I go for it. If not, then I file that description away in hopes I can use it another story. I guess that’s a “pants it” kind of approach. Usually I write on “why” and “how”: Why is this important? why did this happen? How will my character go on from here? How do the others respond to this action? If those questions can be answered, then I fill in the blanks and let it roll. Back to top >>>
LHP: Question: What is your daily/weekly routine as a writer?
Devin Bradley: I write when I can. I usually write every night, but I’ve also gone for days without writing. Sometimes I only write a sentence, other times I’ve written pages. Life happens. If writing is something I have to force, I’m not going to enjoy the process. If writing only comes with inspiration, then nothing will ever get written. So, for me, my routine is a happy medium between the two: I type with passion when the inspiration is there, and forgive myself if I skip a day or two.
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LHP: Are there any software tools, resources, or websites you use often while writing?
Devin Bradley: I use Microsoft Word for the whole writing portion of the trade. And because I have cyclical writing patterns, I tend to use thesaurus.com to help me navigate this wide world of words.
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LHP: Question: What are some of your biggest challenges you feel like you have to overcome in your writing career?
Devin Bradley: Like others I have talked with, confidence is the real challenge. I have many occasions where I don’t think anything I do is up to quality. The other challenge is finding the right home for the right story. This is tricky, it involves time. Rejection just comes with the territory, but finding the time for family, work, writing, and then reading various journals in hopes my writing might fit… it all becomes a bit daunting. Back to top >>>
LHP: Do you have a set number of words per day you target? or do you set other goals to meet?
Devin Bradley: Nope. That’s the short of it. Just recently the goal I set was to finish the book I was writing before the new year. If I target a certain number of words, I will inevitably wind up staring at the computer screen for a while. I need to process what I have written, think about what a character would do. Heavily outlining, for me, tends to never go the way I plan because I don’t invest as much in the character development, just the plot. I can start with a rough idea and follow it, I can then pause and think about the situation. Setting up a certain amount of words and then getting stuck only leads to me berating myself. And that’s never a nice thing to do. Back to top >>>
LHP: Question: Do you prefer short stories or full length novels in your writing?
Devin Bradley: Short stories. Something about telling a story in a few pages that’s really neat. In many short stories, the writer introduces no more than three characters. The ability to shape emotions and twist endings with only three players is both challenging and fun. Back to top >>>
LHP: Question: How much time is spent on “the business of writing” – queries, seeking an agent or publisher, marketing/sales?
Devin Bradley: If I have a piece that is ready for market, then I try and spend four to five hours researching. By research, I look up various journals and try to read at least five stories to get a feel. Then I craft letter, a summary of the story, and a bio that is designed for that one publication. Again, as I stated previously, this takes lots of time. Reading one publication, and finding it is not a fit, leads to reading another, and another, and so on. Normally, these four to five hours are one hour a day in a five-day span, Monday through Friday. Authors Publish Magazine has been instrumental in sifting through the quagmire that is now the publishing world. Back to top >>>
LHP: Can you give some us some insight into your story in Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths Vol. I?
Devin Bradley: My story featured in Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths is titled “Pinot.” About three years ago I read the book The Best American Noir of the Century. It was so good that that I would wake up every morning before work and read one story with my coffee. Three quarters of the way through, I found there was a formula to most of the stories. Even though there was never a repeat in authors, the presentation of these stories was always the same. I decided to try writing my own noir-style piece, just to see if I could do it. “Pinot” is the result of this first attempt. In fact, the title itself was meant to be a comical nod toward noirs, as most people who are not familiar with the genre are familiar with the type of wine. Initially, I had wanted to have a husband and wife play a round of Russian roulette, but could not think of a reason why they would be doing this. So then I thought about poisoning a glass of wine and mixing the glasses up. The answers to why someone would do this inspired the rest of the story. Back to top >>>
LHP: What advice can you give other writers?
Devin Bradley: Be forgiving of yourself. Write what you can, when you can, and don’t be hard on yourself if things happen. When it comes to something you love, you’ll find a way. Challenge yourself, learn more about your craft by going into those areas where you are the least comfortable. Back to top >>>