Personal: Getting to know the Author:
Brian Anthony Hardie.
How long have you been a writer?
Since I was a little kid. I wrote and designed and produced my first book when I was in the second grade. I spent my first eleven years with my mother and sister. I can remember when I was six or seven, telling my mother that I wanted to be a writer. It came from a love for books, just the look of them, I can’t really remember what it exactly was, the smell of them, the look, caught my fancy. And it just kept growing. My mom would tell me as an alternative to getting in fights with neighborhood kids or classmates to use my words. “Use your words, honey, use your words.”
Which topics do you enjoy writing about most and why?
I try to create an experience similar to what music can do. An experience the reader would not experience with anything else. Even if disgust. A lot of it is about offering the world a work of originality, authenticity, intelligence and honesty. Waiting to talk after walking. Talk is cheap.
What do you write? (books, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, articles, blogs, etc) Which is your favorite to write and why? What draws you to this genre?
I write poetry and a lot of abstract, musical, compulsively rhythmic prose. I have written one book that was published in 2011. It was a book of journals I had kept while I was in a treatment center for all types of emotional, mental, and addiction issues. I felt a need to publish it because it was painfully honest and very raw. And the thought that it may offer material for research for doctors and psychologists I contribute to a lot of D.I.Y. art and lit zines and publications. My biggest influences come from the D.I.Y./Punk movements from all over-now and then- and a lot of the early 20th century abstract art movements in Europe. I guess what draws to me to being such an “Outlaw” or “Punk” is the thinking outside the box mindset. The attempt to always push the envelope further, or along, however one wants to see it. I believe as an artist it is our role in contemporary society to offer new and original ideas, authentic, to be educators, enlighteners, no-bullshitter’s.
Have you won any awards for your writing?
I was offered a $16,000 Merit Scholarship from the Pacific Northwest College of Art last year. It was offered after a review of my most recent published work. Does that count? Other than that, no. I have never entered any competitions. I plan on applying for the Oregon Literary Fellowship Award this year.
What inspired you to write your first book?
To create something beautiful.
What do you think your book offers that others in the same genre do not?
There is no book like it. It’s simply very real and honest. Poet Scott Weinberg called me “The Billy Burroughs of Yes” after reading it. I have had a lot of people tell me it saved their life. Which is overwhelming to hear and surreal however I acknowledge the beauty of that alone.
What is your favorite aspect of the writing process?
Everything from the inspiration, the urge to make something beautiful and give it to someone or the world, and what impact it has on others, and what comes from the creating of what was created. How much more you find within yourself throughout the process.
Where do you find your inspiration? What motivates you?
The universal platform that art provides where we can find connection with others while coming from completely opposite walks of life.
Who are your favorite authors? Why do they inspire you?
Jean Baudelaire, Andre Breton, Henry Miller, Jim Carroll, Ezra Pound, Robert Desnos, Jean Cocteau, Tristan Tzara, Giacomo Leopardi, Steven Jesse Bernstein, Edgar Allen Poe, Paul Eluard, Clayton Eshleman. Wallace Stevens, Jack Kerouac, Lucretius, Goethe, Cesar Vallejo, Aaron Commettbus, Jack Spicer, Antonin Artuad, Russell Edson, Charles Simic, Billy Childish, Louis Aragon, John Cage, Lao Tzu, Joseph Ceravalo, Gerald Manley Hopkins, Hafiz, Frank Stanford.
Is writing your career? Are you writing full time or part time?
I write full time. Inter-disciplinary artist and art teacher for kids has been my career for a few years now. It is an honor.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
Composing film scores, playing bass, creating sound sculptures, studying audio production, going to gallery shows, music performances, hiking, traveling, book shopping, studying Tibetan Sound Healing, recording spoken word, Mail Art, noise music, reading, Zen Walking.
Do you have a favorite motivational phrase?
“Knowledge Is Power”
Where do you enjoy vacationing?
New York City. Sunny places.
Where are you currently living? Do you find inspiration in a certain room or space of your home or surrounding area?
I live in Portland, Oregon. I was born here. I grew up in the northeast and southeast neighborhoods. I now live downtown. I am definitely a city boy. That loves nature.
Books, Writings, and Routines:
What books have you written? Do you have a favorite? Why?
My only published book was called “A Distant Skeleton Cowboy” and it has long been out of print. I am thinking about re-writing and publishing it on a wider scale. I have many collections of poems that I will be publishing at one time or another. No favorites.
Do you have one or two specific spots or places where you write? If so, why do you choose to write there? If not, why do you write in multiple places?
I like to write where there is a lot of activity going on, where I can sit and write hidden in plain sight. I write when its time to.
When you write (books) do you have a specific regimen? If so what is that routine?
No regimen. No rules. Usually done in a manic state.
In your latest book, is there a specific message that you want readers to grasp?
No. Yes. But not telling.
Do your books seem to revolve around the same morals and themes?
I am not sure.
Are experiences in your works often based on someone you know, or events you have personally experienced?
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes. But I don’t exactly know at the moment. Sorry.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing it, then reading it.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your latest book to life?
Dealing with the fear of being judged for trying to simply offer insight.
Give us an insight into your main character of your latest work. What does he/she do that is so special?
I’m the main character. I was a 26 year old heroin addict. I have been clean 3 ½ years.
If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about the series.
It’s the first of a series of more than only one book written and published by me in my life time, unless I die or get fed up and the elastic stretches too far and breaks, where I will too.
How is your day structured? Do you set aside a specific block of time everyday to write?
I do not have a structured day really right now. However, I make sure to do a list of things every day that are bettering my sense of self and creative process. I am dealing with some personal stuff that needs to be addressed in order for me to move forward in the fashion I want my life to. Sanely and mindfully. I don’t like how I am remembered by people, and do not like the way I see myself, which is as a piece of shit. Grieving and accepting and moving on has been a son of a bitch to do. But needs to be done. So my body has been in the shop getting a tune up.
I write in the late hours of the night. Some times the day at a coffee shop or while sitting on the edge of my bed in my studio apartment thinking or in Forest Park. On a greyhound bus.
Do you write every day? If not what days do you write and why have you discovered this works best for you?
I write every day. Different times of day. But every day. Absolutely.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
How structured are you when writing? Do you draw an outline before beginning or do you enjoy writing freely from scratch? Or do you use another method?
Not at all structured. Neither. I use another method.
Do you develop your characters first, or the plot and events?
Not really. The written work itself is an event that is done so I can feel that my life has some kind of plot. Even after the plot is found it is still confusing and mysterious anyways. Writing is done to try and get closer to that…. Thing. Some call it God, Higher Self, Higher Power, it is an entity higher than me, for sure. Poetry is the only thing that has caused that type of experience for me. And it has all been from events that have happened, that are as if they are supposed to happen to validate my motive and actions in life with writing words or making music. I can’t explain them, its spooky in a sense.
How long (on average) does it take you to write a book?
Give me a month and I will have you a book.
Do you believe there is such a thing as writer’s block?
Not really. I think our muses can get a little constipated some times. Having ‘writer’s block’ I think is simply a phase of being burnt out or bored or insecure, where expectations have lost sight of realistic long and short term goal making, a temporary losing of faith in oneself and reason to keep creating. But one needs still to do it even if you do not feel the inspiration, this is a craft also, something you have a talent for. Regardless of what you think (this is for a real devoted artist that aspires to have had experienced success and has received praise for what they do somewhere some time by someone) be grateful for being given something that causes universal harmony. Set up a routine for when it happens. Because it is going to. When you come around you will be proud that you endured which will lessen the chances of it happening as often or in the first place.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block?
Yes. It sucks.
Do you recommend any “tricks” or tips on how to get through writer’s block?
Writer’s block is out to trick you, so are you going to be tricked or will you trick the trick from being able to outsmart the trick of the trick?
Do you set your work aside for a certain amount of time before editing and rewriting? If so, for how long and why do you find this effective?
Yes. But no time limits or any of that.
Who edited your latest book and how did you select him/her/them?
I did. Matt Dickman, B.T. Shaw, and Justin Hocking offered input and moral support. We all made a connection on a personal level that was fitting for the situation.
Tell us about the cover. Did you design it yourself or have a team do that for you? If you did not design the cover yourself who did and how and why did you select that designer?
It has a black cover, with the title and my name in white typewriter-like font in the center. Very minimalistic. I designed it.
How are your books published? Do you self-publish or go through a publishing company? In your opinion, what are the advantages and/or disadvantages of each?
I publish, from scratch, and then find a local distributor and international distributor usually on the internet. Amazon.
If you self-publish do you use print-on-demand?
No. I do it all.
Do you have any e-books? If so, how does the e-book process differ from getting hard copies published or put together?
No. I have a blog. BrianAnthonyHardie.com.
Social Networking and Marketing:
As an author, how do you feel about social networking? Have you been able to use it to your advantage? If yes, how so?
It is a very useful tool. I suggest using it especially for self-publishers. I have been able to use it to my advantage by learning how to do that. Knowledge is power.
Which website or social networking site is your favorite to work with? Have you had the most online success with this website?
WordPress. Yes, I have reached a wide audience. I am very pleased with the results of keeping a blog.
What other ways have you marketed your books?
Putting a few copies in record stores, when poetry, recording spoken word versions and you can expose yourself to a whole new audience. Networking. Reading books on how to one-man the whole thing. It is do-able, just most people don’t realize the resources available to them. They are out there. I promise.
Where and how are your books sold?
At Powells Books in Portland. For readers that are not local, go to Powells.com.
Direct contact with who needs to be contacted in order to get the book on sale. It is all pretty simple.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Don’t be phony.
How much time to you devote to marketing your books?
As much as I need feels. At first, all my time, of course, and then more of all of my time after a day break. It’s time consuming, tedious, and sometimes a boring task. But how you do this right here is how others are going to decide if you are committed or not to your craft. And this is where the real and poop filled part ways.
What do you do to get book reviews?
Submit them to reviewers. With a cover letter and CV.
Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales?
Creativity is key here. Get the word out. If you do not know how maybe you need to invest in a person that will for you.
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in the future?
Yes, I would have booked some readings to promote it more.
What do you think of “trailers” for books? (Most online trailers include a brief “movie” or slideshow of photos, music, and text to intrigue readers about a new and upcoming book, much like movie trailers do for films.)
I do not have an opinion.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
Yes, it does work. Simple as that. The rest comes down to if you are good or not.
Have you had a book signing?
Where did you have your signing?
How long did your signing last?
What all did the signing entail? (For example: Did you give a brief speech about yourself and/or your book? Did you have food and drinks available? Did you get a chance to really talk and interact with your readers? What are some of the “do’s and don’ts” at a signing? What can a new author expect at their first signing?)
On average, how many people attended?
Do you have any advice for other writers or new authors?
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks. So much.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively over the years as a writer?
By constantly studying the craft and staying involved and up to date in all things locally going on regarding the ‘scene’.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
What is the easiest thing about writing?
What advice would you give to your younger self?
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
My blog. Reading this interview. Contacting me. Living in the Pacific Northwest. Finding me on one of the social networking sites. I’m on most of them. I’m not too hard to find. I’ll do my part by making sure to keep getting work published. Keeping to my system of 100 submissions a month. It seems to be working. Slowly. Surely. Slowly.