Tuesday, May 15, 2012

GFP: Chatting with David M. Brown - Fezarius Epiphany

Welcome to BK Walker Books Etc. I'm so happy you could join me today.

BK: Please tell us a little about yourself...

I was born in Barnsley, a former mining town in South Yorkshire, England. I first started writing in 1999 when I was studying at college and have become the creator of my own world – Elenchera – over the last decade or so.

I now live in Huddersfield with my wife, Donna, and our six cats.

BK: Please tell us a little about your book....

Fezariu’s Epiphany tells the story of Fezariu, a young boy who suffers the abandonment of his mother and the murder of his stepfather, tragedies he comes to reason as being his fault. Unable to endure such a difficult childhood, Fezariu runs away from home and finds solace with the Merelax Mercenaries – Elenchera’s most prestigious band of hired hands.

As a mercenary, Fezariu is perched on the pendulum between life and death and he believes this existence will help him to bury his past. Although he excels as a mercenary, Fezariu soon learns that for every battle he overcomes, his biggest challenge still awaits and only in facing his past will he ever be able to forget it.

BK: What inspired you to pen this particular novel?

In building the world history of Elenchera I had many ideas for novels but this story just stood out for me ahead of the others. You could say when the characters lined up demanding their stories be told, Fezariu was the one that shouted the loudest. It’s a shorter novel than future books I have in mind and isn’t on as large a scale as other stories but that made it more appealing as a debut work. I wanted to ease readers into the world of Elenchera gently and I think there is something for many people in Fezariu’s story.

BK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I would probably say when I completed my first novel. I actually wrote four now obsolete novels prior to Fezariu’s Epiphany, the first I finished in 2004. Even though I have no use for those works now they gave me the conviction I needed that I could write and complete a novel which I knew would demand a lot of time, patience and commitment. Anyone that completes a novel should feel very proud of themselves.

BK: How do you keep your story flowing?

I draw inspiration from Hemingway and Murakami in terms of style, theirs being simple on the surface but difficult to mimic. I know with fantasy that you can spend too long describing your world and leave readers weary before the story has even got going. I try to describe characters, events and places in as few words as possible to avoid losing the reader and to keep the narrative moving along smoothly. It’s a difficult balancing act because I do feel the need for some detail in conveying the world of Elenchera but I take the approach that readers have imaginations and they know how to use them. I may give the readers a map, but I want them to have the freedom to explore by themselves.

BK: Do you ever run into writer's block, and if so, what do you do to get past it?

I’m fortunate that this hasn’t happened very often. As well as my novels I have a blog, The World According to Dave, where I mostly post film, book and game reviews. If I’m struggling with my novels I may switch to my blogs which demand a different approach to writing but they ensure I remain fresh and don’t get too bogged down trying to force life into a novel when I just need a break from it. If you have multiple projects it’s much easier to switch to another one when writer’s block appears. Failing that, I go for a long walk to clear my head and hopefully find inspiration in my surroundings. This may not always work but getting some fresh air is better than being stuck at home staring in frustration at my laptop screen.

BK: What is your writing process like? Do you have any quirks, or must-haves to write?

I write in two places. The first is in a rocking chair I inherited from my late grandfather, the second is on the edge of my bed. I usually write blog posts while juggling my internet research and social media in my rocking chair. When I’m writing on the bed it’s usually a novel I’ll be working on, whether it’s a first draft or editing. I do write better with some earphones in listening to a selection of songs on YouTube. Artists such as The Decemberists and The Beatles are always inspiration to my ears but the ultimate soundtrack for me is the music from the Final Fantasy games, which makes me feel like I’m in the midst of a fantasy world and results in a smoother immersion into Elenchera.

BK: Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?

I’m not a greedy person. I would love to be able to earn a comfortable living from writing but I don’t need to have a fortune to rival JK Rowling to feel I have achieved all my dreams. I fully intend to keep writing novels set in the world of Elenchera and intend each one to be better than its predecessor. I never want to be a writer that reaches a certain level and is content to remain there. It’s better to keep developing and giving readers a variety of stories and not just relying on the same plot format each time. I believe there is enough variety in Elenchera to satisfy a myriad of novels. I simply can’t wait to share them all with readers.

BK: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

In writing fantasy I want readers to fall in love with the characters more than they do the world. I don’t want Elenchera to have more character than its inhabitants but I do want readers to feel they wish to immerse themselves in it at the same time. The characters whose stories I share are never perfect individuals. They always have flaws and hurt just as we do. Some of them you will find selfish, others you will wish only the best for. As long as the characters engage the reader and are memorable then I have achieved what I set out to with the novel.

BK: What is one piece of advice you received that you carry with you in your writing?

When I left secondary school my English teacher signed a book telling me to never give up writing prose and poetry because he believed I had talent. That was in 1998 and initially I didn’t follow that advice. By 1999 I was writing and have been ever since. Having a teacher with that level of faith in me is something I will never forget. I hope if my English teacher ever sees my books he remembers the advice he gave and knows how grateful I am.

BK: What is one piece of advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?

Find a critic you can trust and listen to them. My wife, Donna, is my top critic and the reason I trust in her is because she was the first person I met who told me aspects of my writing did not work. Before, friends and family had always said my work was perfect which I never believed. Your critic should be willing to praise the good stuff but also pick out the bad as well. You may not always agree with them but I always remember that if my critic has issues with some parts of my writing then other readers will as well. Better to address any weaknesses sooner rather than later!  Thankfully, even though we later became friends and then married, she never lost her brutal honesty!

BK: Are you currently working on any new projects? What can we expect from you in the future?

I am currently preparing to publish my second novel, A World Apart, which tells the story of three friends – Demetrius, Halcyon and Eleyna – that grow up together and find themselves in an unwanted love triangle in their teens. Demetrius leaves to join the army but is reunited with Eleyna and Halcyon around a decade later. The three friends find they have changed dramatically, so much so that they are now enemies!

I’m about to start work on my third novel, which will tackle the popular subject of vampires. These are not the sparkly Twilight vampires that have divided critics and readers, but will rely more on the traditional tales of vampires. At the same time I want to put my own ideas forward on the subject. It may be a gamble writing about vampires, but I believe I have a good concept and having shared my ideas with some book bloggers (including my very critical wife) it seems I may be onto something good here. I certainly hope so!

BK: Where can readers find you?

If you want to know more about me and Elenchera you can head for my website (www.elenchera.com) or stop by my blog The World According to Dave (http://blog.elenchera.com).

I am also on Twitter (@elenchera) and Facebook (authordavidmbrown). If anyone wishes to know more do contact me. I am always happy to answer questions and share my thoughts.

Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.

Thank you for taking the time to interview me. It’s been wonderful sharing my thoughts with you.

12-year-old Fezariu thought his mother died when he was little, but when his beloved stepfather dies the boy discovers she is alive and well - and working at the most famous brothel in all of Elenchera. When she cruelly rejects him it's more than he can bear, and he runs away to join a band of ruthless soldiers for hire. The Merelax Mercenaries will fight for anyone who can pay them, no matter the justice of the cause.

Fezariu grows up among the soldiers and becomes one of them. He thinks his time with the mercenaries has hardened him. But a campaign in his old home town pushes him too far, and he discovers what really happened to his mother. Maybe there are some things money shouldn't buy... and maybe it's time Fezariu took his revenge.

Excerpt 1:

Jessamine’s arrival at the White Oak was the subject of conflicting rumours. Some said that Vincent had found her on the streets and offered to take her in, others professed that Jessamine was a prostitute from a rival brothel and that Vincent had persuaded her to join the White Oak. The worst of the sceptics claimed that Jessamine was payment from one of the local merchants who was heavily in debt from his frequent visits to Vincent’s inn and had been forced to sacrifice his own daughter. Whatever the truth, Vincent arrived at the White Oak one day with eighteen-year-old Jessamine by his side.

The atmosphere at the White Oak changed completely. Vincent quickly found himself overwhelmed by love for Jessamine and his hostile demeanour descended into a rare placidity that was welcomed by all that frequented the inn. It seemed that Vincent’s days of sexual promiscuity were at end and with Jessamine he had found the reassuring comfort of monogamy. However, Vincent’s new found and tender devotion did not last long.
Within months, Vincent’s love submitted to the lure of opportunity. During the long nights sitting with Jessamine by the bar, Vincent hadn’t failed to notice the lustful gazes of the patrons. Their eyes, wide with desire, followed Jessamine’s every move. Rather than feeling the insecurity of a jealous lover, Vincent was struck by a glorious epiphany, one that could increase his already vast wealth.

Vincent took his time in laying the foundations of his treacherous scheme. He enticed Jessamine with sweet words, flowers, rich trinkets and promises of impending marriage and children. Once Jessamine was at his mercy, Vincent introduced her to the wealthiest and most impatient of his patrons. His assurances to Jessamine spoke of monogamy and sacrifice that would bind them together for all time. If this had been the beginning of their relationship then Jessamine would have refused Vincent’s proposal and walked away; however, by this point her heart beat to the same rhythm as Vincent’s and to leave now was simply unthinkable. So Jessamine submitted body but not soul to the eager patrons, all the time thinking of Vincent’s reassurances that they would one day be married.

Jessamine’s new life as a prostitute of the White Oak brought fame and wealth. The mysterious and shy girl Vincent had first brought to the inn became spellbound by the power of her own intoxicating femininity. As her confidence grew Jessamine learned to dominate the room, giving equal attention to each patron before choosing to share her bed with the highest bidder. Vincent remained in the background and watched the patrons – old and young – offer money and fabulous gifts for just one night with Jessamine. The partnership was perfect. Jessamine would earn a fortune by day but at the end of the night would sleep in Vincent’s richly adorned arms.

When Jessamine passed her first year at the White Oak she saw a sudden change in Vincent. His greed, seldom constrained, was now unleashed in all its ferocity. Jessamine began entertaining patrons day and night to line Vincent’s already bulging pockets. Their nights of tender lovemaking and untarnished promises of marriage were forgotten. Jessamine, believing it to just be a phase Vincent was going through, worked even harder to please the patrons and win back the adoration of the one man she loved. 


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Mary Preston said...

It can be a very fine balance between providing detail & literally 'losing the plot'.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting David today.

David M. Brown said...

A big thank you yo BK Walker Books for hosting me today.

I really enjoyed the interview and love the theme on this blog :)

If any readers have any questions please feel free to comment.

David M. Brown said...

Hi Mary,

You're quite right. It's easy to lose track of the story when being heavy on description.

I try to always keep the plot in mind no matter how much or how little description will be the result of such focus.

MomJane said...

I think you would not be able to lose track of the plot with such a persistant character pushing at you.

David M. Brown said...

Hi Jane,

This was true with Fezariu's Epiphany :)

My next novel has a lot more characters so it was more challenging keeping track of events.

Catherine Lee said...

There's still room for vampire stories out there...as long as they have a different twist on them. It sounds like you have something different planned for yours.

catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

David M. Brown said...

Hi Catherine.

Thank you. Yes, I would want to do something different with vampires if I'm going to address them in a novel.

Hopefully what I have in mind will be considered quite original.