This interview is with author Todd brown who is a married father of seven (through a carousel of marriages and relationships). He is a big fan of reading just about anything. He plays guitar and has been the guitarist and vocalist for a couple of bands. Todd is also a die-hard KISS fan. Football is a passion that can derail his schedule if he is not careful. He is a bit (more than a bit if you ask his wife) of an obsessive-compulsive. He doesn’t drink (since 1994) or smoke (ever) or have any use for drugs. He is a dog person and adores his Border Collie, Aoife.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Todd Brown: I wrote a story in grade school, JAWS 2…the first unauthorized sequel. It starred all of my classmates and I read it out loud at the urging of the teacher. The actual assignment was for a single page based on one of four sentences she had on the blackboard. I wrote eight pages, single-spaced, typed.
Books & Writing: What got you hooked on Fiction?
Todd Brown: My grandfather taught me to read when I was four. At age ten I remember being in a friend’s attic and finding these boxes of paperbacks. My mom was a raging drunk and that was my hideout…I just started passing time with all these stories. It started as an escape and turned to a passion. Even though many of the titles were beyond me, I read some great stories: Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Time Machine, Dracula (still one of my favorites), The Exorcist. I remember being so glad my grandfather had taught me to read. It got me through some brutal times.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us something about your book “Dakota”?
Todd Brown: It begins in modern day, but the main character ends up in 1861 Charleston, South Carolina just prior to the start of the Civil War. It is a bit of an action-adventure. The time travel element technically qualifies it as Sci-fi, but there won’t be a return trip to the 21st century. The characters, Dakota and Marc, are stuck in that time now. With Marc, being African-American, things are a bit rough.
I did a lot of research on the time and tried to keep in line with history. There is a lot for the main characters to overcome due to the societal norms of that era. Also, the Civil War is looming which adds another element for them to deal with. There is a sequel planned that continues the story. My idea is for the Civil War to take a more prominent place in the drama.
Books & Writing: Is the main character Dakota Riley based on someone you know?
Todd Brown: Not really. Some folks who test read it say that he talks like me and I guess that might be true because I put myself in his place a lot when writing the story in order to try and get his actions to seem real. I didn’t want a “hero” type with all the answers. But he is just another one of the voices living in my head for the most part.
Books & Writing: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Todd Brown: It can come from anywhere at any time. The actual inspiration for Dakota came while I was in the Navy and stationed in Charleston, South Carolina. That city looks the same now as it did during the Civil War. They work very hard to preserve the look. We were waiting to come in to port one morning after a deployment, but the fog was too thick so we had to do circles off the coast. A few of us were commenting on how we could be back in time and not know it until we pulled in…from that, Dakota took shape.
Books & Writing: Is it hard to work on a book and editing it all the time?
Todd Brown: It can be at times. I can get so tied up with editing that I don’t write as much as I would like. Still, it has to be done. Someday I hope for us to be a big enough publishing entity that we can hire editors. I would love to JUST write.
Books & Writing: Are you working on anything new at the moment?
Todd Brown: Oh boy. Well, besides editing a few anthologies, writing the fourth book in my DEAD series, doing research for the second book in the DAKOTA series (tentatively titled Dakota: Traitor/Patriot), working on a mainstream piece titled Uncivil War about a modern day race war in the United States and reading all the submissions that come in…I try to scribble out a few short stories to send out for consideration.
Books & Writing: Which writer(s) inspires you?
Todd Brown: I am a big Stephen King fan of everything he wrote up to, and including, It. I love Nathaniel Philbrick, Kim Harrison, and Scott Sigler. But as for actual inspiration, I am inspired by every indie writer who busts their butt every day in the real world while trying to scratch out enough time to put down a few words knowing that they might not be read by anybody except friends and family.
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Todd Brown: Very simple. Write because you LOVE it. If you get published, don’t get too high on the good reviews and don’t let the bad ones rip out your heart.
Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?
Todd Brown: Everything I have is on Amazon (either as Todd Brown in the case of Dakota, or TW Brown with my horror titles). A lot of it is on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and pretty much any of the usual online locations where you find e-reader titles.
Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?
Todd Brown: I can be found on Facebook through May December Publications or at www.maydecemberpublications.com
Books & Writing: Thanks Todd for answering the questions!
Below is an excerpt from the book Dakota!
Dakota pulled the trigger. Silence was the only response. Dakota looked at his gun. His confident smile was replaced by a look of betrayal. The slide of his .45 was back, exposing an empty chamber. How could he not have noticed that? In all the excitement during the fight, followed by the argument with Marc, he failed to realize an important fact: he was out of bullets.
Dakota’s mind began to race. His advantage was gone and he was at a loss as to what course of action to take. If he rushed these guys, both Marc and Joshua would most likely be killed. If he allowed these men to take them prisoner, all of them would be killed.
He looked up at Marc, a look of resignation on his face. Marc was looking back towards Dakota, but past him rather than at him. His eyes were wide with alarm. Dakota was till trying to decide what to do when the butt of a musket slammed into the back of his head. As unconsciousness draped over him with its numbing blanket, Dakota’s mind replayed a vision over and over. The vision was of the convicted rapist dropping through the trap door.
Dakota fell to the ground in a heap.