Interview with Anton Brzezinski

How do you develop characters and a story?
I was extremely influenced by Japanese films and even anime. I was very impressed that their heroes and heroines think, hesitate, doubt, and have emotions. I love the USA, but while our cartoons are about animals hitting other animals with hammers, Japanese cartoons, even those for children are about feelings and honor. Sometimes a shot is just about how breathtaking the sunlight reflecting off a drop of dew is, or the way the light at sunset changes colors. And then come the swords and the monsters and it's hard core violence. I'm trying to create an epic fantasy with this kind of brutality tempered by beauty and sensitivity.
What have you wanted to do besides write?
Since I was a little boy I loved Swashbuckler movies. I watched all the old movies with Errol Flynn as a pirate or Robin Hood, and read the books they were based on like Captain from Castille by Raphael Sabatini. I wanted to be in the new films like The Three Musketeers and the Conan series, I grew up near Hollywood, so when I turned twenty I moved there, got an agent and tried to be an actor.
You were an actor?
I appeared in very few movies. I was a Mafia hit boy in the version of The Godson directed by William Rotsler. I had a small part in The Charles Bronson film "Street Fighter" set in 1930's New Orleans but I hammed it up so much in my shots they cut me out. I had a long part in a movie Called Cullen's Clown, a main part, so they paid for me to learn to jump on a horse, fall off it and do that neat thing where you're sitting on the horse when it lifts it's front hooves off the ground and stands up. But they never made the movie! I paled around with Edward G. Robinson's son and, yeah, I was an actor for a short time but I knew I wasn't going anywhere. I was getting more famous for artwork even then.
When did you first start writing?
I always wanted to write. When I was 9 I got a toy typewriter and wrote my first book. It was a vampire story and I remember the title, but it's too embarrassing to share. When I was twelve I started submitting stories to all the science fiction magazines, Astounding, Fantasy and Science fiction and Analog. They were rejected, but later an agent sold a story to Witchcraft and Sorcery Tales.
Artwork? What about the writing?
I started on the fast track to art success. I did a large psychedelic painting for a Peter Fonda movie, The Trip, went on a nationally syndicated TV talk show, the Joe Pyne, and defended my paintings. But I hooked up with an agent for Sci FI art who was actually a Literary agent then, he had all the big names in Science Fiction books.
I did a lot of science fiction covers for him, and at his home I met writers like Ray Bradbury. It reminded me that I'd wanted to write. I did a book, the agent sent it out, 'Starship Conquistador' but I never heard of it again. Later his agency aent out a cold-war spy novel intended to start a series. It got more pomising reject slips but I still didn't connect. All during the '80s and the '90s and into the new age I supported myself by selling art, because I was becoming well known and galleried and all that.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I get a real kick when a scene I'm making makes me feel so emotional I cry -- that's when one of my characters does something noble or a female character shows her strength. Other than that there are nice surprises, like when I get an email saying "You've been accepted into the premium catalog."
Why have you given up painting and now spend all your time writing?
Well, I want to establish this series. Write a stack of books exploring the world and build a fan base. Writing is very demanding, but painting the way I did was very physically demanding. I used oil paint and poisoned myself with colors like the Cadmiums. Those who know agree you can't get all the shades of yellow without it. For years I made myself sick with paints and varnishes and solvents, even being as careful as possible. Art had moved into this ridiculous phase full of cheap prints and cheap asian workshop work. I used to spend up to a hundred hours on a painting and never charged enough for it. I just can't give paintings away anymore. Writing I can do with a keyboard and it's fume free.
What are you working on next?
Next? I'd to write an Epic Adventure for children, say 10-14 years of age, set in the same Universe as my Archanea novels. Adventures among the Drifters, the hobbit like Gypsys who live in the forests, would be perfect for that. Look for it by the end of this year.
You must write very fast.
I published a full length book, Picasso's Secret, in July 2015, and started the Epic Adventure story.I finished three novels by Christmas, although the second and third books are still being copy edited. Book One is published it paper already. The Sword and the Raven. It's a thick book and I'm working on producing a special e-edition which will be in two parts, so I can get part one out on Smashwords soon.
What is your writing process?
I go to sleep thinking of a scene in the book, finding answers in that dreamy time just as I'm dropping off to sleep. I take a nap. When I start dreaming I'm writing sentences, I wake up, take vitamens, drink coffee and fire up the word processor.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I like a kindle reader. I use it on a mini Ipad.
Describe your desk
I have the monitor up near my head so I don't have to look down, and the Keyboard in my lap. On a table to my left is a cup of coffee and my mini Ipad for looking up references. To my right close and also below are a ton of reference books. Finally, my dog Suki at my feet and a black and white male cat with an eating disorder curled up to the right.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Riverside near Hollywood. Back then I had an enormous pepper tree, hundreds of years old, one one of our properties. It had a trunk as thick as a house and enormous limbs. There was a castle a man had built for his wife i used to sneak around and climb it. And we had Frank Miller's Mission Inn, a multi-million dollar hotel built like San Simeon which covered blocks and had towers and catacombs. it still stands. I used to love exploring those places. I still dream about them. As young teens my friend and I loved history, European history, with those kings and warriors. We bough swords, which were cheap antiques then, and we spent hours swordfighting with them instead of sticks. Violently, crazily. I have scars to prove it. That made me want to be in action movies and become an actor.
So your epic novels are based on fencing as a young adult?
Maybe the seed of it, I started traveling the world as a painter later, and didn't stay on the tour. I explored caves and ruins everywhere I went. Roman catacombs and the parts of the Roman forum the public doesn't get to see, I rode a horse in the desert outside Kabul in Afghanistan and had tea with Koochi nomads in a tent. I climbed down into a cave in Yucatan and almost couldn't get back up. I dug for and found Greek pottery at the base of the Acropolis, crossed the Near East with ten dollars and a pencil, did some amazing things in India and I can't tell you what all here. But the books with have the authenticity of sand and ruins and interaction with diverse cultures, if I can just find the right words.
What would you like to happen?
I'd like to develop a fan base that love the characters as much as I do.
Published 2016-01-12.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Sword and The Raven, Part One
Series: The Archanean Diary. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 56,160. Language: English. Published: January 15, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(4.33 from 3 reviews)
Ben Groferer reviewed "I got swept up in the whole Archanean world and I'm hooked". The first half of The Sword and the Raven, 265 pages. by Sci Fi artist Anton Brzezinski. It's about the planet Sarnhia and adventures in and around the Iron-walled city Archanea. Set in a sword and sorcery world with monsters where battles are fought with steel swords,
Ace of Swords: Stories from Archanea
Series: The Archanean Diary. Price: Free! Words: 23,630. Language: English. Published: January 8, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Original stories based on the Epic Adventure series "The Archanean Dairy" by noted Science Fiction artist Anton Brzezinski. Sensitive heroes and kick ass heroines fight their way with sword and magic across a richly detailed world. These stories take place before the first novel in the Archanean Diary Trilogy, and provide a back story to several important characters in The Sword and the Raven.