I recently reached out to interview author BT Shapiro. He is a husband, father, and author who recently released a new book. In this interview he discusses books, writing, and why he decided to write and release this book.
BT Shapiro is an award-winning writer and filmmaker based in Huntsville, AL. The
inspiration for his works run the gamut from Shakespeare to Clive Barker. He is a lifelong fan of
horror and a loving father to two beautiful kids and husband to one foxy wife.
Check out his interview below.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Sitting down and doing it. I am busy being a stay-at-home dad and house hubby and all the stuff that goes with it. I find that if I ever decide to not do something, it’s writing that will fall by the wayside first.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It’s a little of both. I find it is a great release for some of the darker feeling within me, allowing me to lighten my load of negative emotions on a day to day basis. So, in that way it’s energizing. While I’m sitting down and turning all of that darkness into what I hope is a finely crafted tale, though? It’s completely exhausting.
How do you select the names of your characters?
A good amount of my characters are unnamed. That’s because I’m rubbish with names. When I do have names, they’re usually little Easter eggs. For instance, in the story "Prima," all of the characters are named after famous ballet dancers.
What was your hardest scene to write?
"Journal of a War Artist" was probably the hardest individual story, because it involved a bit of research about World War I and a war artist’s role in the war, as well as learning about what a black soldier would experience during the early 1900s.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I feel like I’ll never have the attention span to write a novel. I’ve tried over and over again, but I find I’m most comfortable in short form works.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Anywhere from six months to a year.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
BT Shapiro is a semi-pseudonym. I used to write under the name Ben Shapiro, but sharing a name with an already established person that you are diametrically opposed to is kind of the pits, hence the switch to BT. I do plan on releasing some work under a pseudonym in the future.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t listen to that teacher that made fun of your story in elementary school and keep writing. (I agree with this. I had a teacher tell me I would never write a successful book and that I should give up - and this was in college)
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I think I’m pickier with what I release these days. My first two books were all poetry and I just haphazardly picked poems on certain themes regardless of quality. Now, I tend to only put my strongest stuff out.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
I can tell you right now, it certainly wasn’t on Amazon ads or any other spam ads. Spent a lot of money for no sales.
What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
Thomas Hardy. I found his work really hard to get into until I found an annotated copy The Mayor of Casterbridge. Once I started in on the footnotes and learned historical context of his work I was hooked.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Does House of Falling Leaves count as under-appreciated? I think a lot of people disliked it for what it was attempting to do with the novel format, but it is a brilliant book and a story well told and worth the work to read.
What is the first book that made you cry?
I think it was Cujo. I was probably in eighth grade at the time and the ending of that book destroyed me. (I agree with him here, Cujo broke me)
What is your favorite childhood book?
It was this little book of what would be called Dad Jokes today. No idea what the title was, but I loved it.
What is your book about?
It’s about 150 pages. Ha cha cha. No, really, it’s a collection of short stories from the past fourteen months, which covers the period from when I had my mental breakdown at the end of 2020 until right before my 41st birthday in April. It has horror of all kinds, from body horror to existential horror. It really is a wild ride.
Why did you decide to write this specific book?
Honestly? It was a form of healing.
What makes this book important to you?
It really does show my journey from my lowest of lows to a point where I feel like I’m on my feet again. It’s probably my rawest and most honest book.
What do you want your readers to take away after reading this book?
That even in the darkest, grimmest corners of the world; the places where even demons fear to tread; there is hope and beauty to be found.
Up From The Depths Synopsis: Imagine a world where pulling a simple skin tag can cause one to unravel, where origami can save your life, where the secrets of the universe are revealed at its very end. This is the world of terror and wonder you are about to enter with Up From The Depths, the first short story collection from BT Shapiro, award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker. Open the cover if you dare.
You can visit BT Shapiro's page at btshapiro.com/
You can buy his latest book at the link below: