IN THE PRESS
Interview with author Roger Bradbury
Serious Reading: Let’s start with something broad. What do you think is the most important part of a
Rog: For creative writers, the most important part is the story. What we call literature began with someone
telling a tale around a fire. Something happened, and someone rose up to tell the others what and why.
The teller had to recount the incident from beginning to end. Otherwise, he might not get his portion of the
animal someone else had killed, or she might have to forfeit her life like Scheherazade. Her artful story
telling is probably the first recorded instance of “Tune in tomorrow night for the exciting conclusion of
1000 and One Nights! Will Shahryar kill Scheherazade as dawn breaks?”
Serious Reading: Fortunately, he did not, otherwise no Ali Baba.
Rog: Aladdin either.
Serious Reading: Does it take a penalty like the one she faced to inspire you to write?
Rog: Not quite, but I have to be intrigued by some event; something has to pique my interest or curiosity. I
find myself wondering about the why, the who, the what, and I start to jot notes. Back in the day I threw
them into a box; now I save them on a computer. Sinclair Lewis said that the secret of writing is to apply
the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. It helps to have a box of notes, seeds if you will, even though
I discard most of them as I work a story out…
For the complete interview, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Projects are typically flash or micro fiction and/or a ten minute play.
I review creative work of ten thousand words or less and reply with a one-page critique covering:
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I review stories up to ten thousand words, one act plays, or the first ten thousand words of a novel. I suggest revisions using Track Changes or Google docs. The object of the review is to guide you toward the finished piece.
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Send an e mail to bywordsalone.com. Attach a draft of the project. I will do a cursory review to determine whether the piece it is ready to be taken forward. If it is, I will use either a Track Changes or Google Docs format to edit the text. You may accept or reject the changes as you see fit.
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Please understand that I do not ghost write or proof read. If the work is not ready for a content review or prepublication formatting, I will suggest a critique. If you agree, I will invoice you accordingly.
Once I have completed work on what you send me, you will receive specific suggestions that will enable you to complete the project.
Here is the first one:
Proofread until your eyes bleed.
What you miss will the first thing an agent, editor, or reader sees.
Roger Bradbury brawled into existence one Tuesday morning at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa. It is an out of the way place created by the junction of the Missouri and the Sioux rivers. East of the town roll the hills of Iowa; west stretch the vast plains of the Dakotas. Sheer sided bluffs rise above the river; wide flats created by the spring floods lie beside it.
The town is an historic place. The only member of the Corps of Discovery to perish, Sargent Charles Floyd, is buried there. His grave is marked by a monument that rises from a bluff south of the town. A river beneath it bears his name, the Floyd. North of the town rises a monument to War Eagle, the Yankton Sioux chief who guided Theophile Bruguier, the earliest settler, to the place where he built a cabin to trade manufactured goods for the furs and hides brought to the post by the far-flung Lakota. Between his cabin and the mouth of the Big Sioux stood a huge oak where the tribes meet in council—at first with each other, later with the white soldiers.
Roger grew up in the neighborhood formed by a loop of the Sioux River before it joins the Missouri. He played baseball in the park where the Council Oak stood. He gazed in curiosity at the tree and the monuments along the road to the stockyards and packing plants where his entire family worked. Almost all of them were the descendants of Norwegian immigrants who celebrated Leif Erickson day as much as the 4th of July. The place and the people created his lifelong interest in the formation of the west and the rise of the Progressive movement. A library in the neighborhood fueled his interest in books; first history, then fiction, mysteries, especially those of Howard Pease. Sitting with one in the quiet, cool library, he began to wonder if he could write stories, maybe one that would be published in a newspaper or a magazine....
The philosopher and playwright, Frieidrick Schiller, once wrote: “Be true to the dreams of thy youth.” The boy who became the man never forgot the quiet moment in the library, a clumsy apprehension of the future like the vision sought by the red man. But, like the restless white men before him, he lit out, as Twain wrote, for the territories: cities, towns, schools, universities, jobs, careers, a wife, an almost wife, girlfriends who came and went without warning—his dream unrealized but never forgotten.
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