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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Author Interview: Brian Rowe


Brian Rowe graduated from Loyola Marymount University, where he studied English and Film. His short fiction has been published in over a dozen magazines, including The Absent Willow Review, Foliate Oat Literary Magazine, Mobius Magazine, and Wilde Oats Magazine. He is the author of three novels - Slate, Happy Birthday to Me, and Townhouse. He lives in Reno, NV, and is working on his next novel.

1.What made you want to write Slate?

From 2008 to 2010 I worked in feature film casting in Los Angeles. It's a pivotal part of filmmaking that I didn't think had been written about very much, especially in fiction. The woman I worked for was a force of nature, and I knew I wanted to write a book about a middle-aged female casting director.

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?

There was a day in one of our casting sessions when we saw probably fifty SUPER cute guys between the ages of 18 and 25 come in for us and audition for a major role in one of our films. It made me think about what we could do as casting director and casting associate so EVERY day we could see a bunch of cute younger guys. I thought, what if we just made up a movie and came up with a bunch of young male characters and had hundreds of Los Angeles' cutest young male actors audition for us? Voila... The premise of Slate was born.

3. Is there another kind of book you want to write that you haven't already written?

My novels have definitely been diverse when it comes to genre. My first book is a women's fiction novel, my second book is a young adult novel, and my third book is a horror novel. While I'll be writing YA more than anything in the next couple of years, I like to think I can step outside
the circle and write different kinds of things from time to time. One novel I haven't yet written that I'll be tackling in the next two years is a gay love story.

4. What was the first published work you remember writing?

I was published here and there in my high school and college literary magazines, but my very first publications started in May 2010 when my short story Kelly was accepted to Mobius Magazine. In the last year five of my short stories have been published in magazines all over the world.

5. Do you any have pet peeves about writing styles? What turns you off in a book?

I'm not a big fan of really dry writing styles. I just a read a novel that shall not be named in which a paragraph would read like this: "I woke up tired. Tired and weak. I needed water. I walked over to the bathroom and drank from the faucet. I urinated and felt better. Now I was hungry. I decided to eat breakfast." And so on and so on. This book won a ton of awards. What am I missing? I studied screenwriting and filmmaking in college, so when it comes to my fiction writing, I'm big on the storytelling. Even though you're allowed to take the longer road to the finish line in a novel, I still think it's necessary to move the story along with every page and every scene, and not dilly-dally with too much description and exposition.

6. What other kinds of writing do you do?

I do all sorts of writing besides my fiction writing. I've written nearly a dozen feature-length screenplays, and will probably write many more inthe future. I've written short fiction, some poetry. I've been writing film criticism for sixteen years (since I was ten!) and am currently one of the head film critics at Suite 101 Online Magazine. While fiction writing is my focus, I'm a die-hard movie fan and have way too much film knowledge in my head to let it go to waste.

7. What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

Books, as well as most kinds of storytelling, bring lots of profound cultural values to the masses. We need stories in our lives to learn about others, to divulge our passions and stereotypes and weaknesses and differences.

8. What do you think most characterizes your writing?

While many have been confused by the fact that I've written my first three books in three different genres, there's plenty of similarities amongst my work that characterizes it all as my own. I try to move the story along at a fairly fast pace, and I like to flesh out my main characters as best I can. I'm a big fan of twist endings - check out my new horror novel Townhouse for an example of one of those! But the main underlying tone underneath all my work is one of darkness. Something I learned from Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer was to make the audience/reader fall in love with the characters and then put them in dangerous, potentially fatal situations. Slate, while very funny at times, goes into a very dark place at the end. Happy Birthday to Me, my YA novel, is goofy and light at times, but is overall a very scary novel about mortality. And my horror novel Townhouse, of course, takes its characters in EXTREMELY dark, violent places in the end. I grew up on horror films, and while I don't want to just focus on horror fiction, I like to throw in horrific situations in my work, even if I'm writing a book aimed at young teens.

9. What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn't so?

Well, people may THINK there will be a twist ending, and they may THINK mostly happy story of mine will transition into horror and suspense in the final fifty pages. But it may not be true 100 percent of the time. My newest short story 11:57 has been published in two national magazines; it's a story about two young men who meet each other at New Year's accidentally, and it begins happily and it ends happily, with no darkness in between. Expect the unexpected with me. I might surprise you.

10. Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?

Stephen King has had an overwhelming influence on me, as I started reading his work when I was ten and have collected almost every novel he's ever written. I love how he puts normal, everyday people in horrific situations. If you read my new book Townhouse, you'll probably see a lot of King-isms. I've also read King's non-fiction book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft at least a dozen times over the years, and I look to it whenever I feel lost.

11. What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

I have had a number of day jobs, and yes, a couple of them have influenced my writing. I like to put aspects of my life into a lot of my writing, and a lot of my characters, so yes. Almost every character in Slate has a profession of real people I encountered while working in a casting office.In my YA book Happy Birthday to Me, the main character Cameron's dad is an egotistical plastic surgeon. This character is based on a real man I got to know while working as a field production assistant for a plastic surgery reality show called Dr. 90210, on E! Entertainment. I love that everything I've done in my life I can use in some respects in my writing - it's a lot of fun.

12. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

While there's a blossoming e-book revolution at the moment, and an emphasis on new technologies year after year that seems to be pushing reading and writing into the background. But I think books will be around here forever - I'm pretty positive we won't have to live in a society that emulates Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. People need stories. Stories will always need to be written. They will always need to be read.

13. Where can we find your books?

My three novels - Slate, Happy Birthday to Me, and Townhouse - are now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and are all available in both ebook and physical book formats. You can also buy the softcover version of my books on CreateSpace. Look for the second and third installments of the Happy Birthday to Me trilogy later this year.

14. Do you have a web site and/or any social networks readers can visit?

You can visit my official blog at, and
feel free to follow me on Twitter @mrbrianrowe.

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