Smoking with Robert J. Bradley

Read the Story September 15, 2007
story art

There is, of course, a sense of absurdity to this story, but at the same time, your characters never miss a beat. The situation is as real as real gets. Did you intend for this story to be taken literally?

Everything in this story happened as written. Or, yes, that’s what I’d have you believe.

The title is perfect. Hugo’s hands are pierced with long, silver nails. He is, literally, nailed. But the title also works on another level. Nailed, in slang terms, is synonymous with busted, and surely there is an element of misbehavior going on before the men get caught. How important is titling to you? Which came first, the story or the title?

The title followed the story. It took a minute to figure out the obvious. No other title is possible. I like it when that happens.

Titles carry the weight of first impressions. When I read a story online I always choose by title.

Is this, ultimately, a relationship story?

I’m going to go with, yes. The relationships in this story, though doomed, are deep and tangled, all of them.

Now that you’ve completed your short story collection, what do you plan to do next?

What I’ve been doing closely resembles nothing.

What I’d like to do is write a play.

Since this is my first issue with SLQ, I thought it’d be appropriate to discuss firsts. Writing firsts. First time you called yourself a writer, first publication, first check. Those sorts of things. So, dish. What is your most memorable writing first?

Congratulations on your first issue. And, yet, here we are again. You were kind enough to interview me for your blog. I feel like we’re old friends, except that my friends don’t ask me questions about my writing.

As to firsts: Time makes a mockery of memory. But enough fancy talk. Maybe I can turn this story into a play. What do you think?

About the Author:

Robert Bradley has a story in the 2007 anthology The Apocalypse Reader, which is taken from his novel of linked short stories, tentatively titled These are Dark Times In a Dark Time of the Year In a Dark Year. His stories can also be found at taint, SLQ, and The Angler.