TW Brown was one of the authors I chose for the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour because he’s a great writer. And that’s the bottom line. I love his work, I love his energy, and I can’t wait to keep reading what he’s putting out there. Let’s learn a few things about the man, shall we?
Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
TWB: Zomblog is a trilogy written as a journal. Because of reader response, I am actually returning to that world and am working on the 4th book in the series titled Zomblog: Snoe. It was actually a warm up intended to get me ready for DEAD and never intended to be a book. After a reviewer contacted me and asked when the next book in the series was planned, I decided on two, then people asked for more but I drew the line at a trilogy. DEAD is going to be a 12-part series. The 4th book, Dead: Winter, just came out on May 30th and is being well received. All of the books are told in 3 rotating chapters: Steve, The Geeks, and Vignettes. I wanted something that focused on characters, not the usual rending and ripping of the standard zombie fare. I have some very evil villains and hopefully a few people that readers can relate to no matter their background. That Ghoul Ava is my newest undertaking and I think what started as a fun short story will have legs as a full length series of books. She is witty, sarcastic, and very unlike anything else I am writing.
What drew you to the horror genre and zombies in particular?
TWB: I got hooked on horror at an early age watching the late night “Creature Feature” movies being shown at Friday at midnight (on my black and white television that my folks gave me for my room when they upgraded to color…so that shows my age). As for zombies, it happened at age 14 when I saw the original Dawn of the Dead. I can’t even begin to express how in awe I was at all the amazing things I saw that day, plus, a girl in the row ahead of me puked in her popcorn. How cool do you think that was for a teenage boy? The movie is tame by today’s standards, but it was absolutely a life changer.
What is a typical day in your life like?
TWB: Usually I wake up around 6:30 to my Border Collie, Aoife (pronounced Eye-fa) nudging my face to go outside. After that it is a mandatory pot of coffee and maybe some yogurt to eat while I read a few blogs that I follow and scan my email. From there, I get in my first 500 words in whatever my current WIP might be. After that I pull up whatever happens to be the current May December Publications anthology where I read, edit, and score a few stories. By then, it is close to noon and I get in my workout. I just resumed the P90X after a nasty knee injury that laid me up for a while. A dog walk and a shower before I settle in for another writing session. If I have a novel that I am editing—either for MDP or as an outside job that I have a contract for—I work on edits. Another writing session takes me to dinner. After dinner, it is time for my last writing session of the day. At around midnight, I hit the sack ready to do it all again. Some days—though not as often as I like—I get out one of my guitars and play some Rolling Stones, KISS, or whatever strikes me at the time.
Do you still allow yourself time to read, or does writing hinder this?
TWB: I read quite a bit. I keep my Kindle beside me at my desk and break up some of my previously mentioned daily grind with reading. I don’t believe you can be a good writer if you don’t read. Also, I write reviews for my “Brutally Honest Reviews” page, Amazon, and Goodreads. I think it is important to read if you write. Period. I get a bit weary of people asking for reviews, but then they don’t bother reading or posting any themselves. I actually have a goal to reach the top 1000 as a reviewer on Amazon.
What is your favorite and least favorite part of getting a book ready for print?
TWB: Hands down, the least favorite is the editing. It is so time consuming. After the 6th or 7th read through and still finding a mistake here and there, you can start to feel like an idiot and wonder how you could have missed the error so many times. As for the favorite…just writing without a filter and seeing where the story takes me. I love being surprised by my own work. Since I am vehemently opposed to outlines, I never really know where my story may go from one day to the next.
When did you know you were talented enough to make it in this industry?
TWB: I could be modest here, but anybody who knows me would know better so I will say that I’ve always felt talented enough to make it. I think you have to be confident in yourself to make it. That said, I feel there is a ton of talent out there being ignored. I am just starting to get lucky enough to gain a following that has allowed me the luxury of doing what I love. I’m not getting rich, but I am doing well enough to pay my rent.
If you could give any advice to someone wanting to become an author, what would that be?
TWB: Do it because you love it, not because you think you are going to get rich. And be ready for a lot of work. This isn’t a part-time gig. It drains your time and if you commit to it, it may cost you a lot more time than you realize. Also, you better have the fortitude to take negative criticism. Some of it can even be nasty. But don’t EVER engage a critic. You look like an amateur when you start arguing with critics or whining because not everybody loves your work. That is a part of the business and if you can’t handle it…quit now. Also, there is a balancing act when it comes to the social media that many struggle with and few find balance.
I have seen a disturbing trend in the industry where authors seem to be overly critical of each other’s work, to the point of being malicious. How do you feel when you come across these comments or reviews, and why do you think authors aren’t more supportive of each other?
TWB: Some of it may be based on jealousy. Every dog wants to rule the yard. I think there is a difference between critical and malicious. I get hit with criticism and accept it as part of the deal. When it gets nasty, I just ignore it. I won’t say that some of it doesn’t sting, but it is just something that happens. If I let it get to me, then that person wins and has power over me that I am not willing to give them. Also, when it comes down to it, I have a house full of people who love me. I have my Border Collie who thinks I am king of the world and I have a CD of one of the concerts my band played in where the crowd is going wild…if it gets really bad, I draw on those to make me feel better.
Where do you see your career going from here and what is your ultimate goal in this industry?
TWB: My career has just started taking off. I see it going up. As for my ultimate goal…a couple of NY Times Bestsellers and a movie adaptation of any of my books.