The Twelve(ish) Days of Authors Day 11, Graeme Brown

28 Dec

Today’s author is another from the Burst Books line, Graeme Brown!


Graeme Brown is a Winnipeg writer, artist and student of mathematics.  Being a long-time fan of epic fantasy and suffering from an overactive imagination, he has been writing stories for more than twenty years.  He also enjoys running, yoga, and classical piano.


You can check out more about Graeme at his website, twitter account, and blog.


So, without further ado, I’d like to welcome Graeme to this interview and thank him for agreeing to answering the questions! His first short story with Burst Books, The Pact, is coming June 2013. 


Tell us about The Pact and who you think would like it.

Will Lesterall, a cowardly boy, must find courage when his castle wonderland is threatened by a host of monsters and an ancient pact made with blood and fire.  It’s a short reading vacation into a world of epic fantasy reminiscent of Tolkien and Jordan and Martin, all authors who have influenced my style and who I’ve paid particular attention to over the last many years.  Anyone who enjoys a richly detailed fantasy world with a dark, intriguing atmosphere will likely enjoy this story.


Where did you get the idea for The Pact?

It was a dark 5am walk to work.  I was contemplating putting my epic series aside and looking for a short story to write so that I could start building my writing portfolio.  A couple of ideas came to me, but the one that stuck was the one about two boys in a small castle village beside a mountain.  I knew there were monsters in those mountains and that their home was going to get attacked, and I became interested in their story.  Over the next few weeks, I started outlining, until I had a lot of the details I needed, then I started writing.


Tell us a bit about your writing style – is there anything you find really easy or, really hard? (First person vs. third person, short stories vs novel length, ect).

I write a little bit every day, even if it’s only 100 words.  This keeps me connected to whatever project I am focusing on.  Usually, I spend time going over the most recent few pages, using this to get connected to where I left off.  Often I spend weeks on one scene, depending on the layers of complexity, but I find draft-writing is a dynamic process.  I don’t have a second or third draft – I only have one.  When I’m done, it sits for a bit, gets read by an alpha reader or two, then I will give it a polish, read it through out loud, then send it away. 

I find it very hard to stare at a blank screen.  Often, getting started is the hardest part, but once I have all my outline and character and setting sketches spread out in front of me, I start typing and the story builds itself.  Fortunately, I am very good at adding in surprises, and the method of outlining I have developed gives me some tools to put together some very vivid, sharp fiction that keeps the narrative grounded in character, setting and the progress of the conflict.


In The Pact, do you have a favorite character? How about least favorite?

Heck, I love them all.  Even the villain.  One thing I did when I wrote The Pact was give each character their own profile sheet, and this meant learning about their childhood and motives.  It taught me that even the rottenest of people have reasons for what they do.


Do you have any other projects in the works that we should know about?

I am writing the sequel to The Pact, a short novel called A Thousand Roads.  It follows up with Will’s friend Jak, the story of a young man trying to find his way in a world full of lies and misdirection.  It’s turning out to be a strange and wonderful beast, full of bloody battle, swearing pirates, sexy villains and spectacles that wait in the dark.  I expect it to be submitted to Champagne Books by the spring.


In the spirit of sharing, tell us about a book by another author you adore.

I’m currently reading the latest work of George R. R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons.  There are millions of fan of the TV show, and I think even if you’re not a reader, it has its own magic, a sort of Harry Potter for adults.  Martin’s books are not only story-telling masterpieces, his command of prose is amazing, with passages that are so well-thought out I am often in awe.


What’s the best way to spend a single day during the holidays?

Reading a good book, drinking coffee, engaged in my story, and working on some math, preferably at a nice coffee shop with dim lighting and a fireplace.


How do you feel about writing the novel length as compared to other formats?

I used to writing nothing but long.  Any attempt at writing small turned large.  Even The Pact was supposed to be 15,000 words.  However, writing The Pact was my first success at writing a story from a proper outline, and this has taught me that any tale, no matter how long, is manageable, so long as you have the right way to stay on track.  I like to think of it like building a house or a stadium: you take the time to draw up the blueprints to make sure everything will be put together properly, then you go slowly and carefully to make sure it’s all just right.


Did you get into to publishing a novel off the hop, or were you in any magazines or anthologies previously?

The Pact was meant to be my small start.  I was advised to write something that could sell to magazines.  When it got longer, I had a hard time finding magazines that would take it.  Meeting Ellen at Keycon opened a different door altogether, as I hadn’t anticipated the e-book market.


For you, what makes the difference between a ‘good’ book and a ‘great’ book?

All books are crafted designs, things created to entertain and engage.  A good book does this, stopping readers and pulling them into the world of the text.  A great book, though, is one that you could read again and again and still find new things hidden in its depths.  Capturing a bit of the timeless, the elements of our world that make it what it is, is a grand task, and it’s a writer’s ability to do this that makes them an artist and not just an entertainer.


Do you have any recommendations for writers who are putting the finishing touches on a manuscript?

Read it out loud.  If you want to weed out bad sentences and poor word choices, there’s no better way to hear it than to speak it.  Think of it as preparation for all those readings you’re going to be doing.  You want to be sure of every word, and as your speaking them, ask yourself if you’d feel proud of them were a crowd of one hundred listening to you.


Have you ever been surprised during your writing?

All the time.  Every day I never know what new layer is going to unfold.  That’s the biggest surprise, and the greatest beauty of writing.  That’s why I come back to the keyboard again and again and again.


Thank you so much for stopping by, Graeme! I’ll have to invite some of these authors back as soon as they get their covers and/or their stories go to launch!


Once again, here’s the links to find out more about Graeme and his writing:




Well everyone, we’re at Day 11, and as it turns out, my last scheduled author is due for tomorrow. Things might change if I get a last-minute email or one of my tentative interviewees’ life calms down a smidge, but overall this was a lot of fun and it gave me a chance to get to know some of the authors beyond our author chats and staring at their book covers. I might do something like this again (with new questions, mind!) some time in the spring. So if you’ve been following along this blog for the last few weeks, I’d also like to extend a thank you. And hey, if you’re just tuning in today… uh, hope you like it?

Peace out everyone, until tomorrow!

One Response to “The Twelve(ish) Days of Authors Day 11, Graeme Brown”

  1. Thanks, Leia! It was a pleasure to be featured here.

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