Bryan S. Best
writer of suspense, thriller, horror, Christian horror, dark fantasy, and young adult
I am bible-believing Christian who has been reading and writing horror and suspense fiction since I was barely a teenager. I only started pursuing writing as a career in 2007. I've been to the Borderlands Press Boot Camp for writers hosted by Tom and Elizabeth Monteleone in Baltimore, Maryland in 2010 and again in 2012. That workshop boosted my writing by leaps and bounds and if you are a serious writer, I strongly encourage you to attend a boot camp when you're able. I'm also a member of the Horror Writers Association and have a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Tennessee. For a day job, I currently work as a property claims adjuster and have completed an additional Associates Degree in Claims. Believe it or not, I love the job because it can be exciting, but mainly because it's something different every day and some of the strange claims I see help spawn new story ideas.
One of the first questions I usually get when people find out I'm a writer is: "What is Christian horror?" A fair question. I start out gently giving examples of writers like Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, and William Peter Blatty. Christian horror is horror involving combating evil with evangelical values based on the Christian faith. First, you must understand the definition of horror, or at least the definition I agree with the most which I first heard from one of my favorite writers, David Morrell. Horror is an emotion. That being said, it's an emotion that every human being feels at some point in their lives. Whether experiencing an unexpected scare, watching movies, or living through some type of tragedy, or dealing with a chronic disease, the emotion of horror touches all of our lives in some way. In the realm of entertainment (movies and books), I define horror as seeing a story, or an event in a story or movie, from the character's point of view and thinking "Why are the doing that?" or "Who in their right mind would go in there unarmed?" or "I can't believe they're having to go through that, but thank God 'that' is not happening to me." Those are examples of true horror.
I got into horror after reading Stephen King's Skeleton Crew in the seventh grade, and I've been hooked on the genre ever since. I read King's work for a long time before moving on to H.P. Lovecraft, Richard Matheson, Robert E. Howard, Shirley Jackson, and Dean Koontz and then transitioning to David Morrell, Dennis Lehane, Elmore Leonard, and host of other writers. Once I became a member of the HWA, I discovered the works of Tom Monteleone, F. Paul Wilson, Doug Winter, Heather Graham, and several other contemporaries. As I mentioned before, horror is an emotion we all must face at some point in our lives. That cannot be said about all emotions. Take love for example. It's sad and tragic but not everyone will experience what true, pure love really is in their lifetime. In my mind, horror and suspense are feelings that almost everyone can relate to on some scale.
Another influence in my writing comes from spending over half my life in various styles of martial arts which include Northern Praying Mantis Kung Fu, Yang style Tai Chi, Jeet Kune Do, Muay Thai kickboxing, and finally Shaolin Kempo. I love to train. I also love to hike, hunt, work out, and shoot guns. All of these interests, as well as my own life experiences, have helped and continue to shape who I am as a writer.
And speaking of dealing with horror in our own lives, I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease over 15 years ago and continue to battle it today. I've had three surgeries related to the disease, one was a bowel re-section at Christmas 2011 where I almost got to experience the afterlife first hand, and the disease is now in remission. I thank God that it's manageable and is more of an inconvenience than anything. So, if you're reading this, take a moment and say a prayer for me and all others who have to battle this awful disease and for those who suffer from any form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I've spent many a night re-reading 2 Corinthians 12:9. It's tough medicine, but if you know the Jesus that I know, then you know it's true and it gives true peace.
You've probably noticed from the photos on this site how fond I am of the mountains. I love to hike and most the background photos on this site are from my hikes. Most of them, not all of them. I'm also a fan of the beach, but if I had my druthers, I'd rather live in the snow for about six months out of the year and then at the beach for half a year. As it is, I live in a town at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains called Maryville in Tennessee with my wife and family. We get the annual cycle of climate changes, but the winters are usually too short for my liking. However, if you decide to come for a visit, the mountains are beautiful. Who knows? I might run into you on a trail.