Bryce Heckman was born in Midland, TX and grew up in Houston. Before earning a creative writing degree from Colorado Christian University in 2013, he studied film at The University of Texas. His short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Flash Fiction Online, among other places, and his creative non-fiction is forthcoming in Boom or Bust, an anthology of oil & gas narratives from University of Oklahoma Press. He lives with his amazing wife and two canine beasts in West Texas, where he works by day for an oil & gas company. Follow him on Twitter @BHeckmanWriter.
Main Literary Influences: Stephen King, Haruki Murakami, and Tobias Wolff.
Other Frequently Read Authors: Rich Larson, Paolo Bacigalupi, Ken Liu, Aliette de Bodard, Tobias S. Buckell, N.K. Jemisin, Jhumpa Lahiri, Amy Tan, G.V. Anderson, C.J. Cherryh, S.L. Huang, A.T. Greenblatt, Nancy Kress, James Patrick Kelly, Julio Jiménez (yes, the great writer of telenovelas), Adam Johnson, Raymond Carver, T.C. Boyle, Cormac McCarthy, James Lee Burke, Dennis Lehane, George Saunders, William Gibson, George R.R. Martin, Ray Bradbury, Karen Russell, Michael Chabon, Margaret Atwood, Jesmyn Ward, Philip K. Dick, Peter Straub, H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen Graham Jones, Richard Matheson, David Mitchell, John Steinbeck, Michael Connelly, J.K. Rowling, Frank Herbert, Bentley Little, Ramsey Campbell, Joe Hill, Graham Masterton, Dan Simmons, Robert McCammon, Michael Marshall Smith, etc.
Favorite Books & Why:
- The Holy Bible – Not just for the variety of individual stories and abundance of wisdom therein, but because of the coherency the collection of books, each written throughout a span of thousands of years and by different authors, has collectively: its singularity of vision and the message that good triumphs over evil. I get to read about broken people who had the same struggles we still have today, and about people who found redemption despite horrible choices they made. But most importantly for the eternal impact it has had and continues to have in my life. It is more than a life manual; it’s the receiving end of a spiritual telephone.
- The Stand, by Stephen King – For the varied cast of relatable and broken characters and its epic story that kept me turning pages as a teen with joy, wonder, and fear. King has a way of creating complex and realistic characters by using the right background detail or internal thought that really speaks to me. How does he know that about us mere humans? I often think. Then his way of pushing characters to their limits makes for fascinating and powerful stories with emotional resonance. And let’s not forget King’s voice, that narrator sitting around the campfire just telling us what we’re scared to know–what we need to know.
- Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Haruki Murakami – Along with almost everything else Murakami has written, what I like most about his work is the journey of living with his characters. Sharing meals and drinks with them in an un-real world made real. Then arriving at the end a new person. The speculative elements he inserts without explanation into his literary brand of fiction–because that’s just the way things are–taught me a lot about writing spec. fiction. Finally, the simplicity and musicality of his prose is unmatched. He could describe a rusty toilet and I’d still be under his trance.
- The Game of Thrones series, by George R.R. Martin – (I admit I haven’t read all the books and am drawing largely from the show–cheating, I know). But I most enjoy the realism of this thoroughly landscaped alternate world. Main characters can die, and many do. Motives are not always black and white. Martin’s working moto, taken from William Faulkner, is that in good fiction a character’s heart should be in conflict with itself. Repeatedly, and with a giant cast of lovable/hateable (it’s hard to decide sometimes) characters, Martin proves that this does create the most compelling kind of fiction. The emotional ups and downs are real and honest. Best of all, I can see a part of myself in each of these struggling characters. We all have the potential to be good or bad. But it’s our choices that define us.
Honorable Mentions: The Odyssey, by Homer. 1984, by George Orwell. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. Wonder Boys, by Michael Chabon. Kafka on the Shore, 1Q84, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, by Haruki Murakami. Bag of Bones, The Shining, It, and Rose Madder, by Stephen King. The Lord of the Rings series, by J.R.R. Tolkien. The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding.
Favorite Short Stories & Why: Coming Soon!