About the Author
Bron James is a UK-based author of urban fantasy, science fiction and magical realism. He was born with a silver pen in his mouth and has been making up stories for as long as he can remember. He is best known as the creator of the Sam Hain - Occult Detective series of urban fantasy novellas.
Bron's life is largely shrouded in magick and mysticism. He presently lives in London, sharing his flat with more spiders than he can count, and a ghostly presence which likes to hide his keys. He spends his days mostly delving into the city's many secrets, writing strange stories, drinking tea, and dreaming improbable dreams.
I consider myself something of an accidental author.
I’ve always been a writer, to some degree or another, for as long as I can remember. I’ve always enjoyed telling stories, writing adventures, and marvelling at the worlds other artists and writers have created. The fact that somewhere along the line I stumbled into a story idea, and miraculously fashioned this clumsy tumble into fiction to something resembling a career, I’m forever grateful for.
My career as a writer began in 2011 when I started working as a freelance media journalist. As an aspiring actor at the time, I was always searching for new ways to find opportunities; in the times that the front door to the film industry wasn’t open, I’d try my best to peer in through the windows. Writing articles about film and television was one such way of looking through the glass. It afforded me the chance to attend preview screenings, premieres and media events, network with professionals in the industry, and seek out new and exciting opportunities.
Throughout the course of my journalism career, I reviewed numerous films and TV series and interviewed actors and directors about their work. I also enjoyed the chance to work on a number of film productions in that time (and I'm fortunate enough to say that I still do). But, in 2013, I felt it was time to begin a new adventure, and I took my first foray into writing fiction.
I’d written short sci-fi and fantasy stories before, but it had mainly been for my own enjoyment (as well as a few stage shows in college, which are better off lost to the passage of time). After two years of writing about other people’s creativity, I’d often find myself thinking about how I would've approached working on those stories. Which narratives did I enjoy the most, what ideas did I wish I’d thought of, and what things would I have done differently?
I wanted to create something of my own, that hopefully others would enjoy too. And, I thought to myself, what better than a film that I could both produce and perform?
I began to write a script.
As the script evolved, I became more and more invested in the writing, and before I knew it I was looking at something more closely resembling a short story than a film script. Scene descriptions and action directions could easily consume an entire page, when a simple "EXT. COBBLED STREET - NIGHT" would've sufficed (as may be apparent, and much to any editor's excruciating joy, I have a habit of being particularly verbose and/or rambly). By this point, it was only a month before All Hallows’ Read (the tradition of giving scary books around the season of Halloween, started by renowned fantasy author Neil Gaiman), and I decided that I would write this story for then. It was to be a short, one-off, thing; a quick read for the season of spookiness.
And so, Sam Hain: All Hallows’ Eve was conceived. Looking back, I think I was just as thrilled with the title's word-play as I was with actually writing the story itself. I got to work writing what would become the first draft of All Hallows’ Eve, feeling my way through the story as I wrote, figuring out who this Sam Hain was, and how he fit (or, as the case may be, did not fit) into the world.
I released the first short story as a free download on Halloween 2013, and I was surprised by the reception. Not only did people download it, but they actually read it and, beyond that, even enjoyed it! It was certainly a turn up for the books (although it would still be a couple of years before the books themselves would, in fact, turn up. Or a few paragraphs of this biography). And I found myself utterly enthralled with the craft of storytelling. I enjoyed writing Sam as a character, and peeling back the curtain of reality as Alice caught a glimpse of a world beyond the one she knew. Playing with the concept that maybe things are not as normal as they may seem, and what strange, metaphysical mysteries might be hiding just behind the veil of the real...
And, on top of that, I was thrilled that other people were enjoying my story too.
More ideas formed in my mind. More stories stirred themselves up. What happened next to Alice Carroll, after she had her eyes opened to the weird and wonderful? What was Sam Hain up to outside of that case on Halloween? How much work, precisely, does an occult detective get, and how could he possibly afford to live in London’s ever-increasingly expensive accommodation? (Some mysteries are simply too unfathomable to ever be solved).
I took a pen and a notebook, secreted myself away in a café just off of Carnaby Street, sat down with an almond slice and a coffee strong enough to wake the dead, and began to draft out more story ideas.
I continued writing, exploring new avenues of inspiration and creativity, honing ideas and plotlines (some of which evolved into novellas, and others which have never seen the light of day), and immersing myself in the craft of creating new stories. I soon found I wasn't writing just because I wanted to, but because I needed to. Inspiration would hound me until I put the words down on paper or typed them up on screen. It had become a way of (if not essential to) life.
It wasn’t until May 2016, when I found myself sitting behind a table at London's MCM Comic Con, scribbling signatures in the front of novellas which had my name on the cover, that it finally dawned on me: good gods! Somewhen, somehow, I became an author.
Since then, I’ve never looked back (except now, to write this retrospective, introspective piece). I continued writing new stories, embarking on new and absurd adventures, and spending exorbitant amounts of time lurking with my laptop in the dark corners of cafés.
By the beginning of 2018, the first six novellas were complete and being collected into a compendium edition, Sam Hain: Volume 1 (featuring illustrations by Camilla Winquist), with plans set in motion for Volume 2, and many more stories and worlds beyond.
Attending events over the years, releasing and signing books at various conventions, has afforded me the chance to meet, befriend and work alongside a great many talented writers and artists in the industry, as well as have the opportunity to meet the people who enjoy reading my stories. It never ceases to be a phenomenal and inspiring experience.
I would say “and the rest is history,” but this particular story is on-going, ever changing and continually being written. So instead I shall say that it’s an adventure; an often unexpected one, at that.
Whether you’re already familiar with my work, or have just discovered my books, I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoy writing them.
Be aware of the things which lurk in the shadows, shine a light on the darkness, and believe in the magic and wonder of the world. There’s more to it than meets the eye.