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Zero Gravity - Kerli

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Featured Author - John D. Brown! - Part 2

Welcome back readers! This week, John takes some time to answer a few questions!

MLM: Who is your Valentine this year? Why is this person so special?

JOHN: I don’t have one. I have five. And it’s not because I’m a schwinger (ug) or because I’m from Utah (true). It’s because I have a kick-butt wife and four wonderful daughters, and a man can’t choose when faced with such a choice. I won’t list their many shiny traits. But I will say one liked to chew on large sticks when she was a toddler. A branch would fall out of a tree and you might see her carrying it around later. Did bark make her so smart? Another we called Laffy-Kassie (like the taffy candy) for obvious reasons. The third is feisty and was born to love anything having to do with running and a ball. The fourth is a horse girl who comes home from school and makes sure to give her daddy a kiss and a bit of candy. Now my wife, she’s a rancher’s daughter, which means she knows how to wield a cattle prod. She’s the best friend I’ve ever had. And she comes with curves to boot. How do you choose? Can’t.

MLM: Well, he’s definitely a keeper, huh girls? Will you two be doing anything special for Valentine’s Day? Care to share or is it a surprise?

JOHN: To be sure. I’ve found anything that involves time, chocolate, and laughter is best.

MLM: A smart man! If you could choose your ultimate Valentine’s Day gift, what would it be? Have you ever received this as a gift?

JOHN: I’ve never thought of an ultimate gift. I grew up the son of Utah’s largest florist and nursery. A doughnut and flowers is all I need.

MLM: Ah, the simple pleasures of life! One of the greatest things about the Internet is that we can connect with writers of all kinds from all over the globe so we want to know:
a.)What area of the country/world are you from?

JOHN: I live up in the mountains of northern Utah.

b.)What are the average temperatures of your area?

JOHN: Winters are in the teens and single digits. It sometimes goes to 25 or 30 below. Summers don’t get hotter than the 80’s.

c.)What type of clothing would most residents be wearing today?

JOHN: Cowboy hats, coats, and boots.

d.)What tips do you have for people to “survive” the weather where you are?

JOHN: Live in Arizona

MLM: ROFL at that last answer! Say you’re at a cabin in the mountains, it’s not exactly warm out and you had the option of where you wanted your hot tub to be. Would you have the hot tub inside or outside the cabin? Why? What is it that you like specifically about it being inside or outside the best?

JOHN: Outside every day of the week. I made sure we built our house with the master bath shower with a large window I can open. No, people can’t see in. It’s on the top level of a three-story house, and there’s no other houses close. I love the fresh air, the wind, the stars, and the sun.

MLM: If you could go anywhere in the world for Valentine’s Day, where would you choose to go? Why this destination over others? What’s its connection to you?

JOHN: The Bahamas because that’s where Nellie wants to go.

MLM: [awkward pause] Wow, that'll be hard to top. Oh well, let's get on with the interview. Why Fantasy? What was the draw for you?

JOHN: Well, you already know I wasn’t a reader. It was fantasy that converted me. Maybe I should say addicted me.

I had four sisters growing up, and we had one TV, and so you had to reserve the time for your programs. When I was in sixth grade we were driving somewhere as a family, and my sister says, “I have to watch The Hobbit for school.” The Hobbit?! It sounded like a romance. I protested. No, way–we’re not going to watch some dumb kissing thing. Not during my time.

“No,” she said. “It’s got dragons.”

I told her she was lying. But it didn’t matter. It was for school and that was that.

So I sat down to watch with many sighs. And it had dragons and trolls and goblins and elves and I was smitten. Shortly thereafter my mother and father went on a business trip. I went over to stay at my buddy’s house for a few days. The first day we came up out of the basement to go to school, but I’d been thinking. I said, “Oh, I’m feeling sick.” Played it up. My buddy’s mom told me to go back downstairs. Yes! So my buddy went off to school, and I went back down into the basement and played hookie for two days and read The Hobbit.

And that was all it took.

MLM: All of us are influenced and impacted by TV, movies, books and/or authors at different times in our lives. Who, what and which TV, movies, books and/or authors influenced you? When in your life did you discover them and why were they so influential for you? (Don’t be afraid to give us more than one of each kind!)

JOHN: This question could take five hours to answer all by itself, but I’ll give it a go. I’m influenced by everything I watch and read. On the one hand, I might get my shorts in a wad watching something like the propaganda of Pleasantville and swear I will never do that. I’ll laugh my head off with Seinfeld or The Emperor’s New Groove and tell myself not to forget the humor. I’ll read something like Dean Koontz’s The Good Guy and I’ll cheer and weep and remember I wanted to write about heroes. Then I’ll read The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and want to make sure I spend time writing about people who delight me. On and on it goes. Adventure, thrills, wonder, romance, laffs, and poignant drama.

MLM: Considering the TV, movies, books and/or authors mentioned, is there one TV, movie, book and/or author in particular that you try to emulate in your writing? Which one(s) and why? Please be as specific as you can! J

JOHN: There are too many authors who do so many things so well. This is a huge craft. There are a tons of things to learn. And so I love Orson Card’s twists on motives. Love Dave Farland’s sense of wonder. Love Lee Child’s thrills. Larry Correia’s sense of humor. Suzanne Collins for a terrific delimma. Ken Follet for a number of sweeping sagas. And on and on and on.

MLM: If you could describe your writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please look beyond words like mysterious, suspenseful, creative, unique etc., and delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.

JOHN: I want readers to feel their life has been better for having given a few hours of it to me. I want to them laugh and cry and cheer. I want to plunge them into nail-biting suspense and bring them out again. I want them to think and wonder. I want them to feel awe and delight. I want them to feel their a bit wiser. I want the story to linger in their hair and clothes for a few days afterwards. I want them to live.

MLM: In Part 2 we asked you about your ultimate Valentine’s Day gift. Have you ever used that as a gift in one of your stories? If so, which one and what was the situation?

JOHN: No, I haven’t, but I think I will.

MLM: Also in Part 2 we asked you about where you’d put the hot tub and why. Does this show through in your writing? If so, give some examples how, please!

JOHN: I don’t know how this shows through, except to say I love adventure. And you can’t do that sitting in a room. Outdoors, well, heck a moose might come through. So you’ll notice a lot of larger-than-life events in my writing.

MLM: Who decides what characters/creatures you write about, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over their actions and the plot, or is the muse always the one deciding who done it, where they done it and with what?

JOHN: Well, I don’t know that I buy into that dichotomy J. It’s true the writer’s trance is all about electricity. And I must care about and believe in what I’m writing. I have to write from passion. But I also know from experience that my creativity and passion can be directed. I think it’s a false notion that any idea, even the ones that come in a white heat, are scarce or sacred. My job is to give the readers a marvelous experience. And so if I generate a great idea, but it’s just wrong for the story or it peters out, then I go back to the drawing board and do the things I know spark ideas until I get something that satisfies both my passion and purpose.

MLM: Of all the stories you’ve written please tell us:
a.)Which character/creature did you have the most fun creating and why? What about this character/creature makes it stand out above all the others?

JOHN: I enjoy them all, otherwise I wouldn’t write them. But I will say that Hunger in Servant of a Dark God was a joy to write. He had a voice and rhythm and a terrible dilemma.

b.)If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters/creatures in real life, who would it be and why?

JOHN: I’d want to meet a character called Harnock in book two of the Dark God series who was twisted to be the weapon of the enemy but resisted and escaped. He’s a bad mamba jamba with a dark sense of humor.

c.)Which of your characters/creatures would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?

JOHN: The Mother. She enslaves people by growing a part of herself into them then eats their souls. I pretty much like to avoid being dinner.

d.)If you could choose to visit one setting/world you’ve created which one is it, where is it and why this destination over all the others? What makes it stand out over all the others?

JOHN: My settings are so often full of danger that I don’t know if I’d want to visit. Not until things cooled down. It would be better to vacation in Australia because they have cool accents and get to say thinks like “crikey!”


  1. I love John's book Servant of a Dark God. I don't feel the title does the book justice. It is a creatively wrought new world with great multi-faceted characters. His Blog is also great for aspiring writers.

  2. Thanks for stopping by MLW! Hope you enjoyed the interview!