Welcome back everyone. Today, we’ll be talking with John Brage. John, while I’m getting some refreshments, why don’t you get us started with a little about yourself and where you’re from?
- I’m from St. Joseph, MO and now live in Kansas City, have a B.A. in History and a J.D. I am married and have two kids ages 11 and 7.
Do you remember how you were lured into the world of writing and authorship? ::Hands you a glass of your favorite drink::
- I’ve always had it. I’m very analytical and writing is just thinking things through with written words.
- I have an hour commute to work each way and one afternoon while driving home the “what if” for Protocols and Blinding Sky popped into my head.
- I liked to write when I was younger. I decided to start again about 5 years ago when I got the idea for the books that became The Protocols of Uma and Blinding Sky. Both are out in e-book now, and Blinding Sky came out in paper back around the first of 2016.
Sounds like you’ve had quite an experience getting your books written and published. Do you have any authors or books that have influenced your choice to write, or even your life leading up to this?
- 1984, The Road, Siddhartha
Would you consider one of those authors as your guide, or does someone else fill that role?
- [I would have to go with] George Orwell. He’s just a genius. He deals with such complex issues and has a great talent for discussing/describing them in very plain, simple (yet accurate) terms.
I’ve read a little of Orwell’s work and enjoyed it. He has some subtle messages woven into his stories for everyone to find. Did you follow this example, if so can you give us any hints what to look for?
- Attitudes towards authority. The real bases of true power. Group obligations vs self-obligations (how we define and separate them).
I know almost every author runs into challenges when they are writing. They also learn something beyond the process of crafting a well told story. Do you have any challenges or lessons you can share that you learned along the way to publication?
- Probably nothing major.
- Making sure all the details fit with each other.
- Finding the time with a full-time career and a family.
- I found a number of resources for artwork, formatting, etc. that I didn’t know about before. I also didn’t know how hard the marketing and sales parts were going to be.
That’s quite a list. And, I do agree, it’s the little things that can trip you up more than the big things. Are you at a point yet where you can share anything about your current work or recent news?
- I [did] my first book signing on 8/8!
- I’m marketing Protocols right now and will eventually get round to putting the finishing touches on Blinding Sky.
- Blinding Sky takes up where Protocols leaves off. It is much faster paced and has multiple conflicts that get resolved. Sort of.
::Chuckles:: Fair enough. Congratulations on the book signing. I hope it went well for you. Did that help you define a point that you can look back on and say, “There! That’s when I really became an author.” Or is there another point that already defines that moment for you?
- [For me it was] when Protocols was completely finished and people told me they enjoyed reading it.
I’ll bet you were walking tall for quite a while. (I know I was when I got the first stranger feedback on my work.) Getting back to your writing process: When you’re writing, do you think that your favorite authors helped to shape your writing style?
- I try to REALLY focus on the story and not so much on trying to sound “pretty” or “sophisticated”. I’d say my style is a bit on the spare side.
Do you include any realism in your work, or draw from personal experiences to help shape the story?
- I think the behavior of the characters is realistic.
- [And] no.
What about your titles? Did those come from the story as well, or do you have a specific method to select them?
- I really have no idea! Both titles are related to the plot obviously.
Hmm. That seems eerily familiar. Did the cover designs come to you as well, or did you work with someone on that part of the project?
- Don Semora did Protocols. Ros White did Blinding Sky.
I’ve worked with Don. He’s a fantastic artist. (In fact, I think you’re one of the ones that pointed me his way.) Speaking of help, did you have any help outside of the immediate family while you were writing your books?
- My friend Leslie. She’s a big sci-fi fan and gave me a lot of feedback.
Now that you’re into the marketing part of the process, are you immersed in any good books right now?
- Right now I’m reading The Name of the Wind. I’d describe it as light fantasy. The writing is some of the best I’ve come across in a very long time.
Have you had a chance to explore and find any new authors then?
- Not really.
Perhaps someone will pop up who can catch your attention one of these days.
And, the million dollar question: What advice would you pass on to other up-and-coming authors?
- Before you start, talk to people who have done what you are about to do so you can hopefully miss some of the pitfalls.
(And pray they can learn from someone else’s example, rather than painful personal experience.)
John, than you for coming over today. Before I completely wrap up, do you have any last minute words for your readers?
- I hope my writing engages them on multiple levels. I want the plot to be interesting but hopefully they will also pause every once and a while to think about some of the issues raised.
Indeed. Folks, let’s give John a warm thank you for coming by to visit. I’ve invited him to come again, and bring a couple of his characters with him, so keep your eyes open tomorrow and the day after for those posts to come around.
If you enjoyed the interview and wish for me to host one for you, please stop by my Offered Services page, and fill out the simple submission form. I’ll get back with you soonest to discuss details.