Monday, 13 October 2014

Guest Author Interview - J. D. Brink

In this week's Guest Author Interview we welcome J. D. Brink to discuss his writing and his latest release 'Tarnish'. Discover more below:

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
My name’s J. D. Brink (or at least that’s how I sign my books), I’m a scorpio, and I like long walks on the beach. I’ve been in the Navy for ten years and am about to get relocated to Japan. Besides being a career military man, a family man, and about ten other collateral duties, I also try to get some writing done. I’m hoping by the time I can retire from the Navy I’ll be able to live on my pension and royalties, thus freeing me up to write full-time. That puts me on a ten-year plan, which seems way too far off for someone as impatient as I am.

What first inspired you to start writing?
My mom still has picture books I drew when I was five, so I’ve been at it for longer than I can remember. Even the wordless bundles of stapled crayon drawings have a narrative that I can follow (though I drew them, so I guess I should be able to follow them). Surviving artifacts from antiquity include one inspired by an episode of “Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends” and another by the old 50’s B-movie Invaders from Mars. So basically, my subject matter hasn’t changed, I’ve just added more words.

Why do you keep writing?
Because I’m stubborn, I guess. I’ve gotten a lot of rejections over the years, yet I keep coming back for more. And I’ve had some successes, too, so those little flickers of encouragement have assured me that I must be doing something right. I’ve had short stories published on (mobster-horror), Tales of the Talisman Magazine (superhero), Cemetery Moon, and Ascent Aspirations (both horror stories). My military SF novelette “The Thorne Legacy” was also a finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest. And, of course, I now have full books available in paperback, ebook, and audio, which have been well received. So it’s still an uphill battle, but I’m gaining ground.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
I think it was in an Orson Scott Card book about writing that I read something to this effect: Every writer must simultaneously believe in two things. That your new story is the best thing ever written, and that it is complete drivel. If you can do that, you’ll have the confidence to keep going but the humility to accept rejection and make the necessary revisions to improve your craft.

What is your favourite novel and why?
That’s a hard one. I don’t think I have one, but I can tell you a few of my faves, though not sure I can pin down “why.” Dracula, Dune, Starship Troopers, Slaughter House Five, The Iliad and The Odyssey, Choke (by Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club)… Those are the top ones that come to mind and I could give you a few more that might occupy the next tier down, but that’s probably enough.

What is it about your writing that makes it stand out?
I’ve been told I am good at painting a picture and giving impressions that readers can visualize, but I don’t feel that’s necessarily the best aspect of my writing. To me it’s getting inside a character’s head and portraying them like a real person. When I reread a passage or chapter that makes me think, “Damn, that feels like real-world stuff,” then I feel good about what I’m doing.

Every writer loves receiving a good review, what has been your favourite so far?
I’ve gotten a few that were very encouraging. One said that she read a horror story of mine (one of four in A Long Walk Down a Dark Alley) in a hotel room and had a hard time getting to sleep because she was watching the closet all night. Another (about my fantasy novel Tarnish) said they liked the unexpected way it ended so well that they were telling they’re friends that they had to read it too. Hearing back from “the customer” that what you intended actually worked is the big pay-off in writing.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m playing a lot of ping-pong at the moment. Meaning that I keep jumping between projects and therefore am not making much progress on any of them. Part of the issue is the big overseas move coming up, so it’s hard for me to commit to anything right now. The big ones are a series of superhero books and trying to rewrite a SF novel from ten years ago. These are in addition to writing and revising a couple short stories I’d like to submit to magazines, contests, and the like. But at this rate, it may be a while before I get a solid, finished piece out the door.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
All my current and future books and ramblings can be found on my website: My only full-length novel at this time is Tarnish, which I spent roughly twelve years on from conception to publication. And now it’s finally a really-real book I can hold in my hands! (Also available as an ebook; audio coming soon.) I suppose I could just drop the blurb here:

What kind of hero would you be?

Silver, they call it, the light of the full moon: celestial magic that changes men into beasts and calls the dead from their graves—and young men to their destiny...

When his village is attacked by creatures from Blood Marsh, Billy Cole volunteers to find help. But it’ll take more than a sword and the inspiring tales of his legendary idols to survive the harsh world beyond Redfield. Taking the name Wil Thunderstrike, he sets off to save his home and begin his own heroic legacy.

On Fate’s fickle course, however, sixteen-springs-old Wil Thunderstrike will become a storyteller, adventurer, and thief; discover romance, danger, and betrayal; and return home both a hero and a villain.

Need a break from elves, dwarves, and messianic orphans? Prefer your heroes flawed rather than invulnerable? Complex over stereotyped? Evolving, not revolving? If you like Glen Cook's working-class fantasy and George R. R. Martin's realistic motivations, then you'll enjoy the rich world, deep characters, and mature themes of TARNISH.

I’m bad at writing blurbs and I’m afraid it doesn’t sound very original, but if you read some reviews (and, obviously, the book itself) you’ll find that what sounds kind of familiar in the fantasy genre quickly develops into a more realistic take on the coming-of-age tale. This isn’t your typical YA kind of book. In fact, I wrote it more for adults. I think my own globe-trotting adventures in the Navy and experience training young sailors comes through in this very involved, “boy aspires to be a hero, boy goes out into world, world kicks his ass and he learns what it’s really all about” type of tale.

Click here to buy Tarnish from Amazon US / Amazon UK

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post, Michael, and congrats on your new release! It looks great!


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