Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Interview: Indianapolis horror writer Maurice Broaddus!

An Indianapolis based horror and fantasy writer? I must know more. I just finished reading his debut novel The King maker and thought it was great, more than anything I wanted my Indiana peeps to know more about him, and to check out his books. That being said there is alot for everyone to enjoy in this book.

David Agranoff: This is your first novel can you give us some background how you ended up being a writer?

Maurice Broaddus: I’ve been a writer for almost as long as I can remember. The first story I wrote was in fifth grade called The Big Mac Attacker ( From there, it was all downhill. I was encouraged to pursue writing by a high school English teacher. After a few years in college when I tried giving up writing, I came back to it to give it a full go. King Maker was actually my fifth novel written, though first published, so it has been a long an interesting journey.

DA: So I grew up in Indiana too, I am wondering what impact Sammy Terry had on you?

MB: Wow, Cowboy Bob (the morning cartoon host) and Sammy Terry (host of the horror movies showcase) were like the book ends to my day. Throw in the Saturday afternoon kung fu marathon, and you pretty much cover my formative years of television.

DA: King maker is a modern re-telling of the King Arthur legend set in the Indianapolis gangland. The Wire meets Excalibur is a valid comparison. I grew up in Indiana, and my experience with the city is mostly through punk rock and north of fall creek, as I read this book I found myself what you directly about the gangs of Indy? Is it research or first hand?

MB: It’s a bit of both. The novel found its origin in my working with homeless teens through the ministry, Outreach Inc. Also through them, I connected with the gang ministry, Save the Youth. Between the two of them, I encountered a side of Indianapolis I never knew existed.

DA: I enjoyed the 70's prologue with its reference to cowboy bob, and such. Any chance we might someday get novel set in 1970's Indianapolis?

MB: I wouldn’t rule it out.

DA: One feedback I saw was that some readers were interested in some of the more minor characters, Do you plan to expand characters Like Omarosa or Burke?

MB: Some of the characters get expanded upon, especially as their connection to the legend of King Arthur gets explored. It’s very much the overall legends of each of the knights that get expanded. So we get to see a variation of The Green Knight in King Maker, The Red Knight in King’s Justice, and The Black Knight in King’s War. Characters like Omarosa may not be who people think they are.

DA: This is origin tale and you built the characters methodically, are you worried that might lose some urban fantasy fans?

MB: This is not the urban fantasy many people will be used to. For a start, I still have my roots in horror writing which shows through at times. Second, this isn’t the world urban fantasy diehards, despite having “urban” in the description, may be used to. Thirdly, the way I tell the story (and what I do to the canon of King Arthur) may lose some folks. That said, I hope to pick up an entirely different set of readers who may not realize they are urban fantasy readers.

DA: Can you tell us about Devil's Marionette? When I first read the description it seemed like the set-up for a satire but the reviews I have read say that it is quite disturbing.

MB: Devil’s Marionette (Shroud Books) is a novella about a cast of an all-black sketch variety show who is haunted, literally and figuratively, by the ghosts of its past. In a lot of ways, it explores the pressure of black artists to be “true to their community”, this tacit pressure to put their best foot forward for the sake of the race. Balanced against a history of racism as a part of their story and experience. You combine all of that with murder, mayhem, and madness, and you have a potent tale of anger and loss, if I do say so myself.

DA: Can you tell us about working with Wrath James White? It seems no mistake that your king Arthur is named after him?

MB: I named a couple of characters in King Maker after a couple of close friends of mine in the writing world. Wrath James White is one and Chesya Burke is another. Wrath and I have an interesting relationship in that we are polar opposites. We come at the world, spirituality, and writing in such different ways, but we have a fundamental respect for one another … even as we passionately disagree. Which is what makes projects like Orgy of Souls (Apex Books) so much fun, well, a disturbing kind of fun. People who know both Wrath and I can easily see us in the main characters of that novella. And it’s also why we are currently working on another project that I can’t talk about just yet (but can tease the mess out of folks about).

DA: Last can you tell us about your convention you put on in Indianapolis?

MB: Whenever there is a writer’s convention, there are always room parties at night, where people unwind, lower their guards and have great conversations over food and drinks. Mo*Con ( is like that room party for a whole weekend. What also makes it different is that it takes place in a church. So we have all of these horror, science fiction, and fantasy writers from various spiritual backgrounds who come together and hang out all weekend in a church. We have a couple panel discussions ranging from spiritual issues to social issues to writing issues all over meals. It’s very much a time rooted in getting to know one another and one of the highlights of my year.

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