Imitating Order – An Interview with Bryce Allen

Hello and welcome to the first installment of my new series of interviews, “Imitating Order.” Much like my flash reviews, these interviews will be brief but hopefully succinct and informative and, who knows, even entertaining. Here we’ll meet and talk to and explore a wild range of topics with a wild range of individuals, including authors and artists and much more.

I’m really excited to have Bryce Allen with me today for my first interview. Bryce is the author of the mind-boggling anti-thriller IDOL THREAT now available from Necro Publications.

Matt: You’re a writer, we know that much. But what’s your end game? Why do you write, why do you write what you write? What drives the words, where do the stories come from?

Bryce: Like most writers, I think, I just write because I enjoy the process and get a kick out of seeing the finished product. I like coming up with new ideas and worlds, and seeing them come to life on the page. I think the stories just come from various elements from the cumulative fiction I’ve absorbed across several mediums over the years. Not sure I’d say I have an “end game.” Just continuing to put out stuff that I’d enjoy as a reader is ultimately what motivates me.

M: What’s a story that is not just influential, but integral to who you are? Something that resonates with you, that inspires you. It could be a book, a movie, or a video game. It could even be a cartoon you loved watching as a kid. Or a cartoon you love watching now.

B: I’ll actually go with The Simpsons (first 8-9 Seasons!) for this. The show debuted when I was Bart’s age, and to a certain extent I think my concept of comedy and storytelling evolved with the show’s increasingly dynamic sensibilities over its first few seasons, right up until I was in high school. I still think seasons 4-6 are the greatest, and watch the reruns to this day. I won’t comment on anything that’s come out since around 2002 or 2003, but it’s still a cultural touchstone for me and really shaped how I perceive various storytelling tropes and the subversion thereof. It was the first post-modern thing I ever loved and I’m sure a lot of writers around my age feel the same way.

M: Where are you from, and what—if anything—about it shaped the writer you would become? What idiosyncrasies of your background and upbringing influenced the person you are now?

B: I do come from a small town in eastern Canada, and I’d say that growing up somewhat detached from mainstream culture to a certain point (this is in the Analog 80’s!) gave me a unique perspective on things as cultural ubiquity and inter-connectivity slowly invaded all aspects of our lives in the late-90’s and 2000’s. I’m not saying technology is a bad thing, but it’s definitely nice to have been able to consciously go through that transition. Especially from a remote location like rural Nova Scotia.

M: Some simple ones for you: what’s the last thing you read that really spoke to you, and what’s the last movie or TV show that your really connected with?

B: I really connected with TRAINSPOTTING 2, actually. I know it’s not a great film, but the way they went about consciously weaving meta-nostalgic conceits into the narrative and the characters’ interactions with one another was quite well done. And as an almost 40 year old man who saw the original film with his high school pals, it worked for me on a very visceral level that was a different flavor than the original. That and COBRA KAI are hands down the best rebooted/re-imagined IPs we’ve had recently, in my opinion.

M: Let’s wrap it up. Here’s your chance to do two things. One, plug your own work. Something either out, or something coming up. What makes you believe in it, and why does someone absolutely have to get their hands on it? On the other side, plug someone else’s work. Maybe another writer you’re acquainted with, or a book you’ve loved for a long time that you think deserves more visibility.

B: You can grab both of my books, THE SPARTAK TRIGGER and IDOL THREAT at Necro Publications. As you said in your review for IDOL THREAT, the point of this series is to question the concept of storytelling but within a pulpy, funny manner that takes the reader out of their proverbial “comfort zone.” Not that the comfort zone is inherently bad or boring, I just enjoy trying to find new ways of challenging our ingrained and preconceived notions of content absorption, which is changing at a societal level almost daily it seems like nowadays. I’ll go ahead and plug another Colorado-based writer for the second part: D.S. Atkinson; his recent flash fiction collection ROSES ARE RED, VIOLETS ARE STEALING LOOSE CHANGE FROM MY POCKETS WHILE I SLEEP is a fun read that showcases some great imagination within the confines of the flash format.

For more from Bryce, give him a follow over on Twitter at @Cool_As_Bryce, and stay tuned for the next interview.

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