Interview with MJ Brewer

How do you discover the ebooks you read?
While my bookcases are full of books ranging from How-to books to thrillers, I do occasionally indulge in an eBook here and there. The reality is that if I'm by an electronic device that doesn't require a television to work it, such as a DVD player, I'm writing. If someone I trust refers me to an electronic book, chances are pretty good I'll take a gander.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No. But the first story I've ever read was written by Else Holmelund Minarik, called "Little Bear." Before reading, however, I memorized about every Dr. Seuss book written beginning with "Hand, Hand, Fingers Thumb," which has a rhythm to it making it impossible to get out of my head -- thanks a lot.
What is your writing process?
An idea. If I don't have an idea, I don't have Jack. I get up to three ideas in a given night while I sleep. If they're good ideas, I jot them down but most of the time I don't. When I'm working on a particularly lengthy work or a screenplay, a lot of times a perplexing situation arrives that sleep resolves for me. I don't really sleep more than 5 or 6 hours unless I've had a particularly trying day.

With an idea, I create an outline ensuring all the parts are necessary to have all the essential triggering events, conflicts, and resolutions in their appropriate places. Writing aimlessly is nothing but a waste of time, including my own.

When the outline is complete, I write the first draft and let my brain take over, writing everything down, whether it makes sense or not. After all, I'm certainly not finished. After my first draft is complete, I refine the episodes of the story to make sure the whole thing makes sense.

The idea is complete and everything is almost ready to go but I need to align my characters. Two people never share the same voice and each is different. If I cannot cover their names and know who is speaking, it isn't right. So I fix the dialogue.

Lastly, I read through the entire piece. If I can read it without being bored silly after all the times it's been written, I may show it to other people or enter it in a contest. When the story is really great, I put it aside for a screenplay.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes. It was "Little Bear." I understood him because we had so much in common. I was learning to get dressed and so was he. When writing a piece, it must be a work others can relate to in one aspect or another. I've often heard people say they were going to write for themselves, and that's what journals and diaries are for. But if you expect people to buy into your idea, you must share a commonality.

"Little Bear" has a sense of wonder and Else Holmelund Minarik knew what she was doing when she wrote the book. (I'm unsure if I agree with writing solely in long-hand, though. My handwriting stinks!) As I said earlier, it enlightened me to realize people from everywhere can share thoughts and ideas by reading a singular book, bringing them together without actually meeting.
How do you approach cover design?
The cover for my version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a couple of photographs I took with my camera. One of the trees in the mountains and the other is my daughter munching on an apple outside the local library. My daughter is blond, however, so I needed a close-up shot. Still, I got the sun just right so her blue eyes blazed.

Using the computer, I combined the shots together and made the cover.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I always enjoy books and movies that entertain while educating. After all, if you can learn while having fun you'd be silly not to. My all time favorite is "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein. In fourth grade, my teacher Ms. Nelson read it to the class and I fell in love with the relationship the tree and the boy had of taking care of each other. That always leaves a warm glowing feeling. But as I grew and continued reading it, the story changed along with my outlook on life. I've purchased the book numerous times, as I'm nearly 50, and encourage everyone to read it and consider the meaning.

James Patterson is an incredible author and quick paced. With shorter chapters, I can break off to complete other tasks as needed.

Grimm's Fairy Tales are a great book to read that get the story juices flowing. These guys were a bit on the twisted side and if they weren't famous writers, I'd wager they would have been locked away for their twisted thinking.

The fourth book would need to be a draw. I have several books on writing, grammar, etc. I hold equally important.

The fifth book would need to be one of my own. I wrote a book a while back called "Hazards of Eris" but after realizing how awful it was, ‚ÄčI took it from Amazon's pages. Now this one will need to do until I get another one out. I'm thinking of a compilation.
What do you read for pleasure?
Cereal boxes. Okay, I'm just kidding. The act of reading itself is enjoyable for me. Knowing I can look at something and learn without any sounds at all, or any actions are amazing, don't you think?

I tend to always be in a state of self-improvement, so anything I can read that will help me understand situations more clearly is a book I can get behind. There are, of course, other things I really don't wish to understand. I'll leave those books alone.

Oh yeah, I like puzzle books; books to perform puzzles in as well as mysteries to discover are incredible for me.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a computer. My son used to have a Kindle Fire, but one day he was helping bring the groceries in and left it in the car. He hollered over his shoulder for his sister to grab it but she didn't. It snowed that evening and the cold ruined it. I don't use it anymore.

My cell phone is a piece of crap and I can barely call people on it, so don't even go there.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Obviously, I've used Smashwords, even though it was for a school assignment. I also used CreateSpace, a sub-entity of Amazon, and I've published a few works on my own through several websites and blogs, my own included.
Describe your desk
My desk is black oak with a beautiful cherry wood top. I have a hutch that matches it, but it's in storage with almost everything I own. But that's another story. Right now, I can barely see the red under this cluttered mess.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Ah ha! Saving the loaded question for last, eh? My parents moved a lot, and no my father wasn't military, just unsettled. I had a huge group of siblings, 9 by the time my father was finished divorcing and remarrying. We were always relocating. In fact, the longest I'd ever attended one school was two years. The only real friends I could have were the ones in my head. If I had an issue my "friend" couldn't resolve, I'd simply invent another. Thankfully, my friends never battled for my attention. That would be awkward.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest published book is the one on here, Snow White. It was a school project. The work was only supposed to be 5 - 10 pages long, but my mind refused to shut up once it got started.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love being able to write on my own schedule. Perhaps this is a new idea for me? Maybe I'll write more books on here. But I've seen a lot of indie books that are far below par, just as this one was, initially. I'll have to turn it over in my mind as to whether this is a viable option for me to continue with. We'll see.
What do your fans mean to you?
I don't really have any fans to speak of. If someone enjoys my work, I'd be pleased as punch to hear about it, but so far I haven't had to toss anyone out.
What are you working on next?
I keep telling myself I need to work on my screenplay Vermill!on Beach, every single morning. I'm so stressed with taking care of my kids but not having a steady income, writing is especially difficult for me. Sad, huh, considering how much I love it?
Published 2016-01-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs—a Reconstructed Tale from the Brothers Grimm
Price: Free! Words: 15,010. Language: English. Published: February 23, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fairy Tales
Everyone's heard the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but this version will leave the audience with more to consider. Can "happily ever after" be forever?