How do you rank your writing compared to those you admire?
I think it is very hard to “rank” art of any kind. There are certain authors that I admire and even seek to emulate in ways. Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft are chief among these. I don’t think I’ll ever be as good as them, but setting a high bar is a great way to push ourselves towards fulfilling our potential.
How long do you have to write for each session before you get “in the groove?”
It varies quite a bit. Sometimes I have entire scenes or chapters in my head and when i sit down to write it just flows. Other times I might spent days or weeks writing out of diligence without ever getting that special spark. I usually mentally prepare myself before a session by reading the last few pages leading up to where I left off, and this helps quite a bit.
Where does your inspiration come from?
A lot of my inspiration comes from classic science fiction and fantasy, especially the work that appeared in the pulp magazines of the early 20th century. Things like Robert E Howard’s Conan, H.P. Lovecraft’s mythos, and the tales of Jules de Grandin by Seabury Quinn are big influences. I also read a lot of the TSR books in the 80’s and 90’s, like Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms. Weis and Hickman were very influential to me, as well as R. A. Salvatore. Outside of literature, life is an inspiration. We can look around at the state of our own world and find all kinds of stories to be told and issues to be discussed. I feel that scifi and fantasy are great lenses through which to examine our own societies and values.
When was that moment when you realized that language had power?
Reading The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allen Poe in elementary school, and actually feeling the anticipation and dread of the protagonist.
If you could sit down with one writer from any period who would it be?
It’s so hard to choose just one! I’m torn between different authors, because i want to ask them about their specific strengths in the field. Having to choose just one, I would say Robert E. Howard. His career combined a prolific amount of productivity with an amazingly imagined fantasy world and colorful characters. From both a creative and business standpoint, conversing with him would be most beneficial.
If the universal super being came down right now and said, “I give you two choices. 1.I will give you 100 million dollars for your work, but no one will ever be able to read a word you write, or 2. You can never ever benefit even one dollar ever off of your work, but 100 million people will read every book you ever write. Which one do you pick?
There’s not even an option here. The point of writing is for it to be read, so I would take the 100 million readers over the money. What’s the point of writing if nobody reads it? Despite the money, it would still feel like a wasted life. I may die penniless, but I have published written words that will far outlive my own time on the Earth. In this way, I consider my legacy to be immortal. Money cannot buy that.
When did you know that writing was what you were going to make your life’s work? Or is it?
That’s a twisty one for me. I knew when I was about 15 that I WANTED to make writing my life’s work, but at the time (1990’s) the chances of actually getting published were very low. There were no eBooks and — as far as I remember — no ways to self-publish. I worked on writing over the years, but never took it to the level of being a career instead of a hobby. I recently retired due to medical reasons, so I am using this time to fulfill my life’s dream. I say I’ve been practicing for 25 years, and learning from life, and now I’m ready to write as a professional.
B.K. Bass writes at his studio in Tennessee. He enjoys crafting science fiction, fantasy, and gothic horror. B.K. has long been an avid reader, film buff, and all-around geek.