Interview with Brian Harrison

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I read the book, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," by Jonathan Safran Foer and I loved HOW the story was told, format wise. And I thought, I could do that.
I never read anything like that before and it was so hard for me to find more books like that that I ended up writing what I would want to read. The writing just spiraled out of control and it became an obsession to get the stories and characters out of my head. Now its therapeutic in a way I never dreamed and a passion that I will never stop.
I've always been creating something, even if it was composing music, and writing novels were just a natural progression.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Southwestern Michigan, in a little town called Dowagiac (if you can pronounce it, gold star for you).
I'm not so sure this influenced my writing any, but my job and education has. I am a grocery manager and after receiving my Bachelors in English from Andrews University, I learned priceless skills of research which definitely influence my writing, I enjoy blurring the lines of fact and fiction.
I will say, some of the students that I met in those classes probably have influenced me the most. I have gained many friends, motivators and inspirations that I have kept close today from those classes. And the competition of course between friends always keeps us as authors and creators improving.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Getting the puzzle pieces to match, when the story and things just write themselves. Then when certain things in my own life seem to just happen to be like a sign.
For example, I was looking for a gift and as I was about to order it, I realized it was made from the location my novel was set, and I didn't even intend on it. I always take tiny signs like that to mean that I'm on the right track, the story and characters are deeper then just on the paper and when the story influences my own life subconsciously/unconsciously like that I get really excited to share it and see how others react to it as well.
Starting off it was just to get my own thoughts and beliefs out there through the characters, but now I realize its viewing life from a different perspective. Without writing about the crazy characters that I do, I may not be as understanding about the world and people as I am today.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Usually working, I am a manager at a local grocery store which always keeps me on my toes.
Lately its been learning how to fly my quad (which are more publicly known as a drone). I also play pool, collect rubber ducks and am a connoisseur of Oreos.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember in grade school I wrote a mystery set on an unknown Hawaiian island (for whatever reason me and a friend learned Hawaiian, but we were the only two that spoke it and we ended up using it for code and calling our teacher combinations of all the curse words behind his back). But my teacher didn't like it because it was to was eight pages...single spaced...with hand drawn maps and illustrations. It was terrible, I will give him that. But I was one of the few students when told I was bad at something, I didn't just give up, I never quit and kept playing with story telling.
What is your writing process?
Each novel I write though I need to listen to a specific genre to write and I never know what that is until I find the right one. For one novel is was electronic dance music, one was Irish music, recently its been Phil Collins/Sting/Peter Gabriel music, which as a drummer was a real joy.
I can write anywhere anytime as long as I have the right music. Although, I have found that it is impossible for me to write while on vacation, as much as I try, I just can't do it. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.
How do you approach cover design?
I have a general idea of what I want. I try not to be to mainstream and most of my ideas I can't actually produce so I've found a former classmate and very good friend, Jeff McCullough that has done all my covers. He takes the story + my interpretation x his own creativity = impresses me every time. He has always created something better than I have imagined and hope to continue to design covers with him in the future.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Extremely Loud, Incredibly Close -- Jonathan Safran Foer
This was the book the inspired me to write. The book that made me go, "I could do that."

To Kill a Mockingbird -- Harper Lee
I read this every year, out of habit or respect. Its just the book everyone aspires to write.

Secrets of 'The Pit' -- Marc Hopkins
One of my best friends and guys who guided me through the fears of self-publishing. He too is an indie author and he's always been supportive as a writer and friend and deserves recognition for his work as well. So if you can go purchase one of his works!

Michael Collins: The Man Who Made Ireland -- Tim Pat Coogan
In college, I wrote what could only be described as an "experimental post-modern historical fiction" novel. It took me three years to write and this biography was more than valuable and not only was the basis of the work but caused me to fall in love with a place I have yet to visit. The greatest compliment came when my college advisor, Michael Collins (who is a distant relative of General Michael Collins that I wrote about) not only said I had everything right but, "How did you even get the smell of the pub? I been to that pub, and it really does smell like that!" From then on, I knew I would always write.

Finally my next favorite book is the next one I write...I mean come on, I have to have a shameless plug a little, right?!
What's the story behind your latest book?
My most recent book is "The Stair" its the second in a series that I'm writing.
It follows an architect, Paul Thomas Dial, that builds a home in Ava, Missouri and a death happens inside that he is convicted of. He is sent to Dr. Cylus Pine's criminal insane institution where he is put into group therapy with the remaining patients from the previous novel "PROGENY." Paul Dial begins to unnerve the patients and holds a secret of why he is really there, and its not because of a death.
Dr. Pine's history too begins to unravel.

I am actually not releasing the books in chronological order, which adds to the storytelling of when the reader knows things opposed to when the characters know things. To start the series in the middle and then have the reader learn things about the character and story in different times creates a whole different drama than I realized was possible. Not to mention, once read in chronological order, a new insight is also learned. I thought it'd be a challenge but not as difficult as it is! Its been fun though stretching the writer muscles.

It really came out of my a curiosity of a few things all at once, specifically architecture, origami, the great red wood forest and a very specific watch, which is mentioned in The Stair if you want to know which one.
Do you have a pen name?
Yeah my name is Durango McGavren, I don't know why I put a comma there and not a period but hey it means something right? Everything means something, some things mean nothing, but nothing is something too, right? I wish you'd speak up when you answer me, cause I can't hear you through the page, or maybe in this case, screen, hard to say turn the page of an eBook when you're just swiping your finger across but same meaning though, right? Anyways, that's why I wish audio books were a little more microphone and less speaker.
Ok that was clever. Gotta pat myself on the back on that one. But I gotta get back to work, this Brian Harrison fella is riding my last nerve to get him a new chapter on a work, but I don't know why, he's busy finishing up an interview, he gets all the fun stuff while I do all the grunt work.
Published 2015-09-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Vault
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 58,660. Language: American English. Published: February 7, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Coming of age
(4.20 from 5 reviews)
When billionaire philanthropist Sam Montgomery announces that he will not seek a bone marrow transplant from his estranged sister, journalist Leni Diamante sits down and soon discovers there is more than priceless artifacts within his personal impenetrable vault. What lies inside may be what saves or ends Sam's life; it all depends on if Sam can accept his past or not in time.
Mental Twistitution
Series: The Twistitution, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 49,680. Language: English. Published: May 15, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
In desperate need of money for his newly opened mental asylum, Dr. Cylus Pine begins work with a producer of a reality show to use his facility for the basis of a brand new show that airs for 24 hours. When things go horribly wrong, Dr. Pine begins to wonder if its scripted or not.
The Stair
Series: The Twistitution, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 53,360. Language: English. Published: September 22, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Literature » Literary
The sequel to PROGENY, Dr. Pine has a new guest, an architect. Paul Thomas Dial has a secret that doesn't only involve why he killed but who he's there to see.
Series: The Twistitution, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 56,000. Language: English. Published: September 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
Dr. Cylus Pine, an experimental psychologist takes in serial criminals to rehabilitate through group therapy.
Primetime - A Novel
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 84,840. Language: English. Published: April 13, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Coming of age
It explores the idea of celebrity through the viewpoint of a grocery manager in a small Midwestern town. Sam must deal with newfound celebrity after he is the lone survivor of a rare drive by shooting in little Waukaponeda, Michigan. He describes employees, customers, conversations and his own dealings with survivor’s guilt, to come to an understanding and an acceptance of what celebrity means.