The Gift of Illusion, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about The Gift of Illusion?
RICHARD BROWN: Something wicked has returned to Elmwood, and it longs to continue the study it began over a century ago. It's looking for volunteers, but few seem worthy of the gift. Isaac Winters might be the one. Still haunted by his wife's murder sixteen years earlier, Isaac has thought more and more about turning in his badge. Over the years, he's seen the worst mankind has to offer. Until now. A strange fire has consumed the life of a young girl, but she won't be the last. There are no witnesses and no evidence except a small stone figurine, a gateway to the past. Accompanied by a partner with questionable experience, Isaac must discover and defeat this mysterious villain before it takes from him the greatest reminder of his dead wife.....their daughter.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
RICHARD BROWN: I think having strong, believable characters is the most important aspect of a story. I don't have to like them. In fact, I could hate them. But I have to feel something for them. No matter how exciting the plot, if the characters are cut from a block of wood, then I'm not going to care much what happens anyway. In the case of The Gift of Illusion, I gave the two detectives Isaac and Simmons very contrasting personalities, which made the story more entertaining and also offered some funny bits of dialogue.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
RICHARD BROWN: Myself. I tend to be a very picky reader. I'm unforgiving as hell. If I'm lucky, I finish reading half the books I start. More often than not I get bogged down with over exposition. Knowing this I tend to avoid describing every detail of a room, or what someone looks like or is wearing this chapter. If it's not something that's absolutely important to the story I cut it. I sent about a third of the first draft of The Gift of Illusion to the recycling bin.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
RICHARD BROWN: I first remember writing when I was around ten. For the longest time I wanted to be a songwriter, so I started writing lyrics. By the time I reached high school, the lyrics had become poems. I would often sit in class and write poetry when I was supposed to be working on an assignment, which is probably the reason I didn't graduate at the top of my class and didn't go on to college. I wrote maybe a half dozen short stories before starting on my first novel, The Gift of Illusion. In the end it took me three years to write, a few more to edit, and a few more to finally publish.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
RICHARD BROWN: I sit at the computer and make words out of letters using my keyboard. No, really? I once read an interview with Dean Koontz where he described his overall writing process, and how he wouldn't move on from a page or even a paragraph until it was as perfect as he could make it. In this, Koontz and I have a lot in common. I know most writers say they plow through the first draft as fast as they can, and worry about editing later. I guess it's all about getting the story out in one hard push. I've never been able to do it that way. I've always found it easier to embrace my perfectionism than to try and fight it. So I stare at my word processor and mull over every sentence as though it holds the key to my future as an author.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
RICHARD BROWN: Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, Clive Barker, Jack Ketchum, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Michael McDowell, Scott Nicholson, and many more.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
RICHARD BROWN: Pet Sematary by Stephen King. My goal in life is to write a book half as good as that one. The movie is a complete waste of time. The book, however, is one of the most disturbing stories I've ever read. It inspired me to try much harder. Ketchum's The Girl Next Door is a close second.
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
RICHARD BROWN: All the common stuff from building and maintaining a webpage (www.richardbrownbooks.com) to soliciting reviews, using Facebook and other social networking sites, blogs, paid advertising, and obviously participating in interviews like this one.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
RICHARD BROWN: That's an easy one. I published on Kindle because I see ebooks being the future of publishing, and Kindle right now is the leader in this new marketplace. If next year things are different, and the market for ebooks goes down like the Titanic, well then I'm sure I'll follow the tide. Doesn't matter to me, my loyalty is with the reader. I'll go wherever they go.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
RICHARD BROWN: Go for it. But first, make sure you put in the work to deliver a good product. Write a good book, and have it thoroughly proofread by multiple people. You also want to make sure your book is properly formatted. There are a lot of poorly formatted ebooks out there and it's an immediate turn off. There is freedom in being an indie author. You're the boss! You make all the choices, whether it's the title of the book, the description, the cover design, or the price. You also make all the mistakes. Be careful. Be patient. Have fun.
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
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