When asked about his stories, author Bryan Asbury notes that, while they may not be the goriest or the scariest, they excel at being eerie, moody, and creepy – full of open endings and complicated, with realistic characters caught in strange situations.
He’s been writing since he was in high school, but only got his big break of sorts last year, when his short story ‘The Chair in the Closet’ was selected for the podcast “Chilling Tales for Dark Nights.” Since then, he’s written even more stories, and has compiled them into a book, “A Windowless Room: Excursions into Horror.”
Asbury is a long time fan of horror and short stories. He noted that his biggest inspirations come from author Stephen King and director Rob Zombie. More than anything, he’s a big fan of realistic dialogue and characters. Growing up, he was obsessed with King’s short story collection “Night Shift,” which played a big role in teaching him the power of short fiction. Around that time, he started writing his own horror stories. He recalled how he presented one of his stories to his friends, and they got, “creeped out,” a reaction he liked. It told him his stories were working as intended.
Though he enjoyed writing, he didn’t take it too seriously, and didn’t publish anything. It got to a point where, a couple years ago, he realized his computer was full of unfinished stories, just begging to be completed and maybe, just maybe, sent somewhere to be published.
That led him to “The Chair in the Closet,” an eerie story about a haunted office chair and the desperately stressed office worker that can’t escape it. It starts on an almost funny note, with a short prologue about another poor office worker having a horrible fit of diarrhea on the chair, after which it’s interned in a closet for years.
The story is a great highlight of Asbury’s strengths as a writer. The main character, David, is a simple and relatable sort of everyman, but also pretty abrasive. Asbury managed to make him complicated in a very short amount of time, both sympathetic and hate-able. The story itself is strange and moody, with poor David seeing the strange chair everywhere he goes, eventually breaking down and almost going mad at the sight of it.
It should be reiterated that Asbury’s biggest inspirations come from film, namely directors Rob Zombie and 90s films like “Falling Down.” He grew up in the 90s, and has a real soft spot for the films he watched as a kid. All of this is important because Asbury doesn’t just want to stop at writing. More than anything he wants to make a movie, no matter the budget or scale.
Ever since self-publishing his book, he’s started asking around Hollywood, trying to get any sort of in to get some of his stories published. Right now, actually, he’s working on a story with his wife, tentatively titled “The Mariachi Man,” about a mysterious elderly Mariachi man he envisions being played by Danny Trejo. Once it’s finished, he’s hoping to get in contact with Trejo’s people and try as hard as he can to get a movie made.
All of this goes to show that Asbury is extraordinarily motivated and persistent. He self-published “A Windowless Room,” and got it into Barnes & Noble stores across Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona through sheer tenacity. He talks about how, once he started publishing the book, he talked to Barnes and Noble managers across Colorado, looking to get his book onto store shelves. He lucked out with a manager in Littleton, a horror fan who helped him get his book into the store. Since then the book has expanded to Barnes & Noble stores across the west, a damn fine feat for a self-published book by a relative newbie on the writing scene.
With this in mind, Asbury said that, to him, the key to making it as a writer is persistence, talent, and a vision. He recommended that upcoming authors focus first and foremost on writing the best stories they can and knowing what they want to make and why. From there, all that’s left is to fight like hell to make a name for yourself and achieve whatever it is you want out of your writing. For Asbury, that’s a movie. For others, it might be a novel or a writing gig on a well known podcast. As Asbury puts it, “Write good stories and the rest will come.”