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BRIDGETT NELSON - A bouquet of talent

We all love horror collections, those short terrifying tales that somehow manage to drag you in and turn you inside out in just a handful of pages. That takes skill. And if you ask people at the moment what their favourite anthology is, the name on the majority of their lips is Bridgett Nelson, with her debut novel A Bouquet of Viscera. Freshly back from Authorcon, and about to appear at StokerCon in a couple of weeks, she was kind enough to pause for five minutes to answer some questions

Something Wicked This Way Comes – Hi, when did you know you wanted to be an author?. Bridgett Nelson - I've loved writing since I was a kid. I wrote songs and poems and all sorts of goofy stuff that I hope never sees the light of day. I contemplated majoring in creative writing in college, but ultimately decided to become a registered nurse instead. Writing took a backseat for a long, long time. A few years ago, I decided to give it another go. My career took off, and I haven't looked back.

SW - What has your life been like so far? BN - Lovely. My life has been lovely so far, and not-at-all full of corpses.

SW - What other jobs have you had? BN - I've been a snake milker, a happiness advocate, and a pornography historian. Oh, and you know, that registered nurse thing too.

SW - Tell us about your personal favourite novel of yours. Brag a little. BN - I only have one so far - A BOUQUET OF VISCERA - and I am so proud of everything about this collection. The cover (by Lynne Hansen) is totally fucked up and gorgeous. She used vintage autopsy photos to create the various parts of the flowers. Todd Keisling did the interior formatting and design, and it's also spectacular (I love e-books and read almost exclusively on my Kindle, but this is one book you need on your's stunning.) Ronald Kelly wrote a foreword that had me sobbing like a baby (in a good way), and it was blurbed by Jeff Strand and Richard Dansky. Thankfully, based on the reviews, the stories are living up to the beautiful exteriors. If you like stories leaning toward the extreme, often with shocking twists, this collection was meant for you.

SW - Does writing energize or exhaust you? BN - This is an interesting question because, for me, it does both. While I'm writing, I'm full of energy and enthusiasm. But as soon as I've finished for the day, I feel like I've run a dang marathon.

SW - What are common traps for aspiring writers? BN - No matter how talented or successful, you're going to feel like an imposter. Expect it, take a deep breath, and push through. You're worthy, I promise.

SW - What is your writing Kryptonite? BN - Distractions like social media and on-line shopping. I'll finish typing a sentence and think to myself, "Huh, I've only ordered three pairs of stiletto heels for StokerCon...maybe I should get some more." An hour later, I'm financially poorer (but oh-so-rich in shoes!), and I haven't written a single word.

I'm not proud.

SW - Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? BN - Nah. I was blessed with a snazzy and memorable stay-at-home-mom name. And I'm always getting asked if I'm Rocky's wife, which is just so funny! Why would I possibly want to change it?

SW - What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? BN - I'm friends with lots and lots of writers. The one who has helped me the most? Jeff Strand. He has pushed and encouraged and supported and believed in me through it all. In fact, A BOUQUET OF VISCERA wouldn't exist without him.

SW - What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? BN - Probably the time when I was seven and called my mom a "butthole."

SW - As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? BN - Ivan the Werewolf from Jeff Strand's WOLF HUNT. He's depraved, extreme, and goes through more clothes than I do.

SW - What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? BN - It really just depends on the story. I'm not an outliner, so I never know exactly where the story is going to take me. I research on a PRN (i.e. as needed) basis.

SW - How do you select the names of your characters? BN - Sometimes I have contests (although I never guarantee the winners will come out alive), but mostly I simply develop an idea of who I want the character to be and then search for a name that feels right. I don't typically put a ton of thought into my character's monikers.

SW - Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones? BN - I do! I'm still pretty new to this whole writing thing, so maybe I'll wise-up and stop one day...but for now, I read all my reviews. I've been known to shed happy tears over the good's overwhelming for me to realize readers actually enjoy the twisted goofiness coming from my brain. As for the not-so-happy reviews, I'm pretty good at shrugging them off. Not going to lie though, they sting a bit.

SW - What was your hardest scene to write? BN - Read "Jinx" in A BOUQUET OF VISCERA. I think I gave myself an ulcer writing that story.

SW - Do you Google yourself? BN - I just did! It wasn't too enlightening.

SW - What is the most difficult part of your artistic process? BN - I've always struggled with story ideas. I'm not one of those writers who has hundreds of stories in the pipeline just waiting to be written. And even when I do have an idea, it has to be something I'm excited about and would want to read myself. Otherwise, I'm just not motivated to write.

SW - Does your family support your career as a writer? BN - They sure do! My daughter reads everything I write and mayyybe even thinks I'm pretty cool. My parents support me, but aren't interested in reading my work. I'm okay with that.

SW - Do you believe in writer’s block? BN - Yep!

SW – I am a huge horror fan. Mainly of the mid to late 80’s. Do you love horror movies and what is ‘your’ go-to horror era and fave movie? BN - I do love horror movies! I grew up watching all sorts of inappropriate stuff with my very lenient father. I'm not ashamed to admit I've always been a Friday the 13th fan. Something about that hockey mask creeps me out. I remember I was at a slumber party and we watched Friday the 13th IV: The Final Chapter. Afterward, we went to the graveyard across from my friend's house and attempted to "record the dead." When we brought the tape recorder back inside, we heard whispers and freaked the hell out!

Then we realized we'd just recorded over "Vogue" by Madonna...but could still hear faint remnants of the song coming through. I'm not sure what that anecdote has to do with Friday the 13th, but I think it's amusing. As for my favorite movie? From that era, I loved Re-Animator.

SW - What is your favorite childhood book? BN - If I'm being completely honest, I never really read children's books. I went straight to adult horror and read PET SEMATARY when I was eight. No! I take that back! There was this series of children's books, I believe about a porcupine family - the Little Critter series. Anyway, one of the books was called JUST ME AND MY DAD. I read that book until the pages were falling out. In fact, I still have it. That's my favorite childhood book.

SW – Favourite cartoons as a kid? What shows made you happy? BN - The cartoons I watched faithfully every Saturday morning, while eating my Cap'N Crunch with Crunch Berries cereal, included: The Smurfs, Garfield, and Alvin and the Chipmunks. Even though it's cringey to admit now, I loved The Cosby Show.

SW – You are on death row. What do you choose for your last meal. Pick a starter, main and dessert + a drink? BN - Starter - Tortilla chips and spinach artichoke dip Main - BBQ and all the fixins'! Dessert - Ice cream (flavor to be determined) Drink - Amaretto Sour

SW - What are you planning next? BN - I went on a writer's/artist's retreat in Asheville, North Carolina, with Lynne Hansen, Jeff Strand, and Richard Dansky this past March. While I was there, work commenced on my first novel. Beyond that, I have a summer FULL of horror conventions, and I couldn't be more excited.

SW - Thank you again for taking the time to chat with us.

WEBSITE A Bouquet of Viscera

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