Meet Brian Koscienski & Chris Pisano.
Hi Brian & Chris! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourselves.
Brian Koscienski & Chris Pisano skulk the realms of south, central Pennsylvania. Brian developed a love of writing from countless hours of reading comic books and losing himself in the worlds and adventures found within their colorful pages. In tenth grade, Chris was discouraged by his English teacher from reading H.P. Lovecraft, and being a naturally disobedient youth he has been a fan ever since. They have logged many hours writing novels, stories, articles, comic books, reviews, and the occasional ridiculous haiku. To find out where they may be skulking next, visit them at http://www.novelguys.com. If you happen to see them at one of the various conventions they participate in, feel free to stop by their table and say, “Hi.” They’re harmless!
If you could live in any fictional world, where are you headed?
C: The City.
B: The city? Which city?
C: THE City. From “The Tick.”
B: You don’t follow directions well. She asked which world, not city.
C: I think she means “world” as blanket setting containing a specific set of characters and associated confines. I’d love to rub elbows with The Tick and Die Fledermaus. Arthur never wants to be “the bunny guy,” so I figure maybe I can give that a try. Play with Speak, the mangy capybara… teach him a few tricks, possibly even how to walk. The possibilities here are endless! Look out! Here comes Carpeted Man and he’s fully charged with static electricity!
B: You don’t have issues, you have subscriptions.
C: Yeah? What world are you choosing?
B: Star Wars.
C: Star Wars isn’t a world.
B: Following your arbitrary definition, it is. All those planets. All those cities. All those cantinas filled with cool sentient beings. And light sabers! Star Wars has light sabers! And pew-pew guns. I want a pew-pew gun.
C: Rebel scum.
What is your writing origin story?
B: I wish it were more interesting.
C: And more enlightened.
B: That’s true. See, we’re guys and we communicate as such.
C: Meaning we speak to each other with monosyllabic grunts about beer, sports, and movies where stuff gets blowed up.
B: So, we knew each other for literally ten years before either of us knew the other aspired to be a professional writer.
C: Not only that, but it took a third party to tell each of us that the other aspired to be a professional writer.
B: We started working a novel together, but then also discover a mutual appreciation for comic books.
C: And comic book conventions.
B: We started writing scripts for original material as well as a few short stories and a series on online articles. Once we realized that this collaboration was going to be permanent and far reaching, we decided to form a corporation to protect our intellectual property.
C: It makes me laugh every time you say, “intellectual.”
B: Thus, Fortress Publishing, Inc. was born. We started with a graphic novel containing four different books and a few chap books. Even though we’re up to eight novels published through four other publishers, we use Fortress to develop those properties as well as about two dozen more. And we have legal recourse should one of us kill the other in his sleep.
C: Rebel scum.
Favorite genre to write for?
B: Even though I usually like science fiction more as a genre, I like to write fantasy.
B: I feel like science fiction is far more limitless, but to write anything more than “laser-guns and aliens” type science fiction, you really need to have a firm grasp of the particular science you’re writing about. With fantasy, you can run unabashedly with scissors.
C: I like horror.
B: Dare I ask why?
C: Horror delves into the human psyche. What makes us afraid? Are we still human if we’re stripped away of the comforts of humanity? Plus, most horror stories, especially the classics, are allegories. Dracula was an allegory about lust. Werewolves examine what happens when we no longer contain the beast within. Zombie stories reflect upon our fear or becoming another brainless member of a work-only-to-consume post-modern society.
B: Wow. You really like to give your literature degree a workout, don’t you?
C: Each and every day.
Do you have any writing quirks?
B: I lick my computer keyboard.
C: Eeeeew!! You’re disgusting!
B: I’m joking! It’s a joke! I don’t lick my computer keyboard. I lick YOUR computer keyboard.
C: I hate you.
B: I think that might be my writing quirk. Annoying him. Other than that, I think the quirkiest thing I do is write specific scenes of a chapter and then suture them together.
C: I have two writing quirks. I tend to get stuck in inner monologue mode, which often leads me to switch point of view without trying to do so. For this reason I cannot stress enough the importance of re-reading your work and bringing in another set of eyes for editing.
B: Yeah, as his second set of eyes, I sooooooo love that. He mumbled sarcastically.
C: The other quirk I have is searching for the exact word even when it doesn’t immediately come to me. I have to remind myself to move on. I sat down to write and my time to do so is limited, so I have to get better at keeping on task and word searching when I’m re-reading or editing.
B: Of course, for this he never contacts me.
C: We’re guys and communicate as such.
Are you already planning for 2020?
If yes, what does your writing schedule look like?
C: We’re always planning. We’re like rabid wolverines; we can’t be stopped, most of the times we can’t be contained.
B: Your analogies make me itchy.
C: Then get a cream and quit whining.
B: Anyway… We’re looking to have three or four novels released as writers, and as publishers, we are launching at least one solo-topic magazine and possible the start of a series of novellas.
C: As well as shopping around two novels and develop another series or two and crank out more and more words.
B: After all, we are rabid wolverines, apparently.
C: See, I knew you liked the analogy.
B: Still itches.
What is it like co-authoring?
Do you both have different schedules and deadlines?
C: This is a tricky question. We are completely different in terms of, well, everything. From our writing backgrounds to our styles to our joking styles. When I hand off a work in progress to Brian with some instructional thoughts I rarely get back what I expect… and I think that’s the best part about it. It’s a challenge, but a mind expanding one.
B: The same water flows in the other direction, too. It’ll be his turn to work on a project and I’ll say, “This is point A, get to point B.” He’ll get to point Q via points J, K, and pi, and never even get close to point B.
C: He attacks tricky problems differently than I do. His characters speak in strange tongues. His sentence structure is simplistic… but his characters actually accomplish something, argue their points with validity, and he can advance a plot in wondrously unexpected ways. My characters do NONE of that!
B: Basically, he’s the better writer, but I’m the better story teller.
What has been your greatest author experience so far?
B: I’d have to say getting our first novel published. Getting it accepted by a publisher was an amazing feeling – someone was willing to invest in us! But then to hold the finished product in my hands? Total dream come true!
C: I am humbled and elated every time someone comes up to us at a show and asks about the next book in a series. Please keep doing that. I need more humbling experiences!
B: You just love to be loved.
C: It’s just natural for a human being to appreciate the well wishes that other humans give.
B: Attention whore.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
C: I have a tremendous love of the written word, so I often encourage people to keep reading. Read what interests you, but don’t forget to try new things.
B: I agree. Half the books in my read pile are thrillers and mysteries, which are styles that we don’t write in.
C: Read the classics, particularly some of the brilliant Gothic classics. Ann Radcliffe and Charles Robert Maturin are great examples. If you like Alfred Hitchcock presents, read some of the stories that inspired him – Robert Bloch and Daphne Du Maurier stories, in particular. When we stop reading, we stop learning. And we must never stop learning.
B: I’m going to add, “We love conventions.” And we’re going to suggest going to them if you already don’t. There are so many right now, that I’m sure you can find a couple that not only fit your schedule, but fit your fandom.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
B: Thank you for taking the time to put up with us!
C: Yes, thank you. And we’re sorry if we broke anything.
B: If we did, just send the bill to Jeff Young. He’ll fix it.