Persona Cracked is a series that explores the intersection of artists, their work, and social media. My next guest, Brian Asman, is a writer, actor, director, and producer whose stories often blur the line between horror and humor. He is author of five novels, including the self-published sensation, Man, Fuck This House, recently acquired by Blackstone and optioned for TV/film. His latest release, Return of the Living Elves (Nov. 29), is a holiday horror mash-up. Although Brian lives in San Diego, he often appears in photos on Twitter with fellow scribe, Kathryn McGee, where he doles out hot takes on writing and pop culture.
What are five things only those people who went to high school with you would know about you?
Five? I mean that was a really long time ago. Umm okay—I played Tiresias the Seer in a production of Antigone, earned my Eagle Scout badge, worked the night shift at Lee District Rec Center and used to let people sneak in to smoke weed in the hot tub, framed my friend for setting fire to the football field so he could get out of taking a test, and broke my nose at two punk shows.
Judging by the length of your beard, writing is a long game. Man, Fuck This House put your name on the map, but if it hadn’t, what would you be doing right now?
Same thing! As you said, writing is a long game. Most books don’t hit, there are no guarantees. I love the actual act of writing, if something is a hit that’s just a bonus, so I’m sure I’ll be doing this in some capacity for the rest of my life.
Tell us about your first encounter with your spirit animal.
Don’t have a spirit animal. I do have a shirt that says “Glenn Danzig is My Spirit Animal” but I haven’t met him. I guess my first encounter with the shirt is when my friend Erik gave it to me for my birthday.
Regarding your upcoming story collection and werewolf novel, Good Dogs, Blackstone Editor Brendan Deneen referred to you as “one of the most unique horror voices I’ve ever seen.” What sets you apart from the pack?
When I write, I just swing for the fences. It doesn’t always work, but those books stay in drawers.
One of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve heard is to write the book you want to read. That’s really all I’m doing, and luckily a bunch of other people want to read these books too. And one thing I guarantee—love it or hate it, every book I write is going to be different from anything else out there.
You can have three people, living or dead, over for dinner. Who are they and what’s your night together like?
That honestly sounds like a lot of pressure. Can I just order pizza and watch some movies? No? Okay, fine. I’ll go with all dead people though to see what I could learn from them:
- Elizabeth Short, aka The Black Dahlia—there’s no mystery I’m more obsessed over than who killed her. I just hope she’s not like “IDK, some guy?”
- Jack Ruby—again, I’d just be like “c’mon, who made you wax Oswald? Somebody told you to do that shit.”
- Bradley Nowell from Sublime. That was my favorite band growing up and I’d love to see him play live.
Is writing a career, a passion, or a hobby?
I guess the first two, since 1 and 3 are kind of mutually exclusive. But #2, yes, always.
Who’s a villain people don’t love enough?
Pizzaface from TMNT. It’s my dream to write a Pizzaface one-shot for IDW. I love the idea of people who have these mundane jobs in a city where there’s mutants and ninjas and extradimensional brain-people running all over place, how it’s got to be annoying but you get used to it. Kind of like living in a flood zone or something.
You’re stranded on a tropical island that has clean water, food, and shelter. You have one duffel bag. What’s in it?
Laptop and unlimited power source. Time to get some fucking writing done.
What’s the next big writing and/or existential challenge you face?
My current WIP! Every new book is a challenge in its own way, because I’m always trying to do something a little different than what I’ve done before.
For your dog, what’s the difference between heaven and hell?
Belly rubs or the absence thereof.
Thank you for sharing your story!
Ryan Hyatt, Nov. 18, 2022