Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Throwing Down the Words - An Interview with Nic Brown

Plan D: I know you primarily as a co-host of The B-Movie Cast (http://bmoviecast.com/) where you're always introduced as the webmaster behind the website B Movie Man (http://bmovieman.com). In addition to obviously being a fan of b-movies (and there's definitely nothing wrong with that!), who is Nic Brown?

Nic: That’s a good question and as soon as I figure it out I’ll let you know! I will say that it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I want to be a writer and I want to pursue more creative endeavors. To that end, I’ve written two books that I independently published, and I have a novella coming out in March of 2012 through Muse It Up Publishing called A Grave St. Patrick’s Day. Plus I’m working on a book project with my wife Fiona as well. I’m also producing a dramatic web series called "Girl/Girl Scene" (http://www.girlgirlscene.com/) with show creator Tucky Williams and director/cinematographer/editor Eric Butts. That’s been a lot of fun and very different from my interests in the worlds of writing and B-Movies.

D: What led you to writing?

N: I’ve been a fan of horror as long as I can remember, watching the old B-Movie classics and getting scared to death by them. I decided I wanted to start writing while I was in college, but I never really pursued it. Then after I graduated, I spent three years working as an English teacher in Japan. During that time, I had the opportunity to write for an monthly English-language magazine and I developed a taste for it. But when I came back to the states, I had to focus on other things, and again my writing slipped into the dusty motes in the back of my mind. Then about five years ago I did something new. I went to my first horror convention, the Texas Frightmare Weekend, and I got inspired. However, I wasn’t ready to just sit down and write a novel, so I started Bmovieman.com so I could learn to write while writing about things I like. A year later, I started work on Blood Curse and the rest is history . . . well, except for what hasn’t happened yet!

D: What can you tell us about Michael Warren, your "werewolf for hire?"

N: Michael Warren is a werewolf. He’s also a partner in Dark Cloud Investigations with Tabitha and Sam Edwards (she’s a witch and he’s an IT guy). Unlike most werewolf mythos, my werewolves are a bit more in control. They don’t see being a Were as a curse; it’s just another aspect of their lives. However, the Were aspect isn’t without its issues. The wolf aspect of Michael is always there in the back of his mind and he has to work to keep it from dominating him. Think about it like this: there is no such thing as a “good” wolf or a “bad” wolf. The concept of good and evil doesn’t apply to animals. So the wolf in Michael is always pushing him to deal with the world the way a wolf would. See an enemy, kill it. Like a woman, take her if you can. It’s a simplified view of world and it would be easy for Michael to give into it, but he knows that if he does then he may stop being a man who becomes a wolf and turn into a wolf who can become a man. Oh, and he likes to play videogames in his spare time.

D: Was it always your intention to write Blood Sacrifice, your follow-up to Blood Curse?

N: When I started Blood Curse, I had the idea for at least two more books floating around in my head, but it wasn’t until I finished the first book that I could let myself think about the second. Also, even though I knew the basic plot of Blood Sacrifice, it wasn’t until I went to England with my wife Fiona for her sister’s wedding that I got inspired to set the book in Kent, the county where she’s from on the south eastern coast of England. I’ve got the third book rattling around in my head and some of it has even managed to fall out and land in a document on my computer. However, I’m taking my time with the third book because I have a lot of other projects I’m working on and Michael Warren and his friends aren’t going anywhere without me.

D: Podcast listeners know me as a "zombie guy" or "Hammer Films guy," and my experience with werewolf literature is extremely limited. Does the werewolf have as rich a literary heritage as the vampire or other classic monsters?

N: Legends of werewolves have been around for thousands of years. Greek and Roman mythology both have their stories, as does ancient China and the Native peoples of North America. But vampires kind of got an edge in the literary world when Bram Stoker’s Dracula became a hit. There isn’t any one book or story that I can think of prior to the arrival of the werewolf in cinema that defined the legend the way it did for the vampire. Still, if you want some interesting reading there are a number of books that collect some of the key stories from around the world. Werewolves by Jon Izzard and The Werewolf Handbook: An Essential Guide to Werewolves and, More Importantly, How to Avoid Them by Bob Curran are two good ones to check out.

D: What are some of your favorite werewolf stories (film, novels, short stories, etc.)?

N: I’m a sucker for a good werewolf movie and some of my favorites are:
Dog Soldiers, An American Werewolf in London, 1941's The Wolf Man, Brotherhood of the Wolf (that one I get into arguments about all the time regarding whether it’s a werewolf movie or not, but I’m going to stick by my guns with it) and The Howling. As for novels and such, there is a writer named Martin Millar who’s written two werewolf books that I love: Lonely Werewolf Girl and The Curse of the Wolf Girl. I also like Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf, and my friend John Catapano put me onto a really fun comic book . . . err I mean graphic novel . . . called Bubba The Redneck Werewolf by Mitch Hyman, Shawn Surface and Frank Turner.

D: Who influences you most as a writer?

N: That is a very tough question because I’ve been reading as long as I can remember. My first real taste of horror fiction came when I was about twelve and started reading Stephen King (without my mother’s knowledge, I might add). So I’d have to say he put the bug in my ear about writing. I think Jim Butcher and John Ringo are the two who most directly influence my work. Butcher really has a good style for writing the “first person” novel and I like the way his work flows. Then you’ve got John Ringo and he knows how to pen an action sequence. Finally, I have to give a nod to Harper Lee. I think To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the best books ever written and I hope that some tiny bit of her influence comes through when I write.

D: What are you currently reading?

N: I recently finished Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, which is excellent. I’m currently in the middle of two books: Not Bad For A Human by Lance Henricksen and Joseph Maddrey, and I’m also reading Becoming Nadia by Cyrus Keith. After those, I have about ten books in my kindle I need to read and almost as many stacked up beside my desk!

D: And what's next for you? More Werewolf for Hire novels?

N: Well I mentioned my novella A Grave St. Patrick’s Day coming out in March, that is going to be the first in a series of short (10,000–20,000 word) stories about a new character I’m developing named Stuart Boling. He’s a regular guy who finds himself dragged into dealing with the hidden world of the supernatural. I’m also working on a project now with my wife Fiona; we’re putting together a book on the history of werewolves in cinema and that is proving to be a lot of fun. Plus it gives me an excuse to sit and watch werewolf movies.

As for Werewolf for Hire, like I said earlier, I am working on the next book in that series as well. However, that one is taking a bit of a back seat to my other projects at the moment, but don’t worry - Michael will be back!

Blood Curse: Werewolf for Hire and Blood Sacrifice: A Werewolf for Hire novel are available for order and purchase via Amazon and other online retailers. Both books are also available in e-format. Nic Brown can be heard nearly every week on The B-Movie Cast and online at his own website B Movie Man.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Them's the breaks

I've changed gears a bit.

I've learned that my brain doesn't like to stay on one story from start to finish without trying to shove two or three other projects in the way. This is something I've fought over the years, usually with little success. While I've been trying to come up with a work around for these most recent "YOU-MUST-WRITE-THIS-STORY-INSTEAD-RIGHT-NOW" signals from my brain, I thought back to how I've best dealt with it in the past.

And I realized I've never successfully dealt with this problem at all. My more recent selling stories have been works I've started, took a break from, worked on something, then came back to them to finish them up. More often than not, I'm able to complete something only after having taken a break from it. Instead of fighting this, I'm embracing it.

Does that mean my novella is on hold? No. I'm still working on it. And I'm having a lot of fun with it. The three main characters are characters I've come to care about, and I'm finding I'm able to slip into their points of view with little-to-no hesitation . . . which makes it exciting for me to revisit any of these three people every time I start a new chapter or viewpoint section in the work-in-progress.

And I'll be doing that as I bang out the words for a different project . . .

. . . that I technically started a couple of years ago, and now the fire for THIS one is burning me up, so I need to finish IT.