This week, on Novelwatch . . .
Author of The Light of Epertaste, a new fantasy trilogy that absolutely bowled me over with its brilliant writing, intriguing twists, and astonishing story, Douglas R. Brown has certainly won me over with his awe-inducing talent—at both writing fantasy and taking interviews. Enjoy these masterful responses from the man beyond Legends Reborn, an epic of, well, fantastic proportions.
Nicole: When did you start writing? Has writing always been a big part of your life? Will it continue to be? What inspired you to begin writing?
Douglas: I enjoyed writing as a teenager. When I decided to become a firefighter, writing mostly went by the wayside. It wasn't until I responded to an emergency call that broke my heart 4 years ago that I dove back into telling stories. At first, writing was a cathartic way to deal with how I felt. After writing the story of my fire department life, I rediscovered my enjoyment in the craft. I plan to continue writing as there are too many stories stuck in my head for me to stop now.
N: The illustration on your book is gorgeous. Who did them? How?
D: The artist's name is Steve Murphy. He is a phenomenal artist and I'm excited to announce that Rhemalda will be using him for Book two of Epertase. A funny side note is that my next door neighbor is actually the model for Rasi. I'm not an artist by any means but this is how I understand it. Steve used both digital painting and a bit of photo manipulation to create the cover. I had an idea of what I wanted to portray and gave Steve the freedom to create the cover with his vision. I couldn't be happier.
N: Name your favorite book-to-movie adaptation. What is it about it you like?
D: Unfortunately, I have to give the usual fantasy answer. I'd say "The Lord of the Rings." I know, I know, a completely unoriginal answer, but when it's true, it's true. When watching the trilogy, you can't help but feel like Peter Jackson got it right. If I had to pick a single trilogy to explain the word epic, that would be it.
I'd also add a few graphic novels. "Sin City," "The Watchmen," and "The Crow" because I loved those graphic novels and was impressed with how the directors recreated the feel and style of those books.
N: Tell us about your favorite (of your characters). What are his/her motives? Why is s/he your favorite?
D: My favorite character has to be my main character, Rasi. I created him with every trait I have always wanted to see in a fictional character. He will fight for what is right regardless of what happens to him as a result. He wants nothing more than a family, yet the world seems to work against him at every turn. He believes in love and honor and, yes, killing if he believes that is what is needed. In fact, I created the entire world of Epertase for him as a way to share him with others.
N: Tell us about your least favorite (of your characters). What are his/her motives? Why is s/he your least favorite?
D: I didn't like Rasi's best friend, Terik, for most of my early edits, and I couldn't figure out why. I made him a good friend to Rasi, tried to make him personable, and even changed his name, thinking his earlier name was too blah. Since he was such an important character, I couldn't just get rid of him so I had to work out the problem. I think I did in the end and I like him now, but something about him gave me fits. I'd be curious to hear how other readers feel about him once they finish. (You, too, Nicole.)
N: Okay . . . random question time. Pirate or ninja? Which one would you rather be, and about which one would you rather write? Why?
D: Great questions with two different answers. I'd rather be a ninja but I'd rather write about pirates. Ninjas are the ultimate bad-asses. Their legend makes them nearly invincible. As a child, I pretended to be a ninja a lot, more often than being a pirate. The idea of an unbeatable assassin was way cooler for a kid than pirates when I was growing up. But that was before "Pirates of the Caribbean," so maybe pirates are cooler now. On the other hand, if I were to start a new book right now about either of them, I would write about pirates. I think I would enjoy creating the story, motives, and style of a pirate story more than the tired one-dimensional idea of ninjas. Now, ninjas versus zombies on the other hand…
N: If you could become one of your characters, who would it be and why? What would you do differently in your story?
D: Well I'd like to be Rasi because of the things I talked about earlier. He's honorable, tough as nails, and only seeking to do what is right. Though, I wouldn't want to go through what he went through. But saying that, I think Rasi could have handled things a little differently that might have made his life a bit easier. If I was Rasi, I may have accepted help when it was offered. I may not have been so stubborn when I had a chance to better the quality of my life even if it came with a blow to my ego.
N: How do you write? Do you have a special place, do you listen to music, how much do you write a day, etc.?
D: I write in my living room at a desk. I like the open curtains and the outside world. It can be distracting sometimes, but no more distracting than having the Internet at my fingertips. When I get focused, I get into what I'm writing. People walking by my front window, music playing in the background, or the Internet calling to me-- none of that matters. When I'm not at work and my wife and son are at work and school, I will spend 4-6 hours doing something with writing. I say something because I count editing, promoting, or anything else that needs done in my writing world.
N: What has been your great success in writing? How did you feel?
D: I love this question but I wish the question was "...five great successes in writing" because I have a hard time narrowing it down to just one. I've been fortunate in my writing career so far. I'm not going to use the typical signing-of-my-first-contract answer, though that moment does set near the top of my rankings. Instead, I'd like to share a moment that was very special for me in another way. Though Epertase wasn't the first book I had written, it was the book I had always wanted to write. I had created the lead character, Rasi, when I was a teenager (at the time, he was intended to be a comic book character). Writing his story now on such an epic scale took quite a bit of work. As I reached the final pages, I was in that writer's euphoria where everything was coming together and I couldn't stop writing even if I wanted to. Then I wrote the last couple of lines. Typing the word "END" at the bottom of the last page was magical. I felt overwhelmed with pride and accomplishment. I stared at the last few paragraphs, reading them over and over again, until I could pull myself away. I actually called a few people as if I was about to give them cigars and say, "It's a boy."
That's how I measure success. Not fame or fortune, but in accomplishing something I never thought would be finished. I was and still am highly proud of how it turned out and I remember that moment fondly.
N: If you could go back five (or ten or twenty) years in time, what writing advice would you give yourself?
D: To keep writing. I'm not going to say whether it would be 5, 10, or 20 years ago, but I would go back to when I was a teenager. OK, 20, but that's all I'm saying. I enjoyed writing back then but after I decided to be a firefighter, I lost a little of the desire and, pretty soon, stopped writing altogether. As I think back, I imagine how much further in my writing career (not to mention how much better at it) I would be.
You can find out more about The Light of Epertase: Legends Reborn at http://epertase.com/ or learn about Douglas R. Brown at http://epertase.blogspot.com/. Check out http://www.amazon.com/Legends-Reborn-Light-Epertase-Book/dp/1936850109 for more information on how to buy Legends Reborn.