Interview with A.L. Brown

Describe your desk
Chaos and a yellow grease-marker number.
Everything from fiction to textbooks, legos to hot wheels, notebooks to gadgets, fencing-pliers to throwing knives, my desk is almost as eccentric as me. The grease-mark number is because I got it at an auction. I love auctions.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Palm Pilot. I miss it.
But in modern times, I really like the Nook, but I honestly end up using either my iPhone or iPad
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
The middle of not-nearly-nowhere-enough is where I was raised. The southwestern, wind-blown plains inspire a certain type of lonely confidence and I think that comes through in some of my characters. I love writing about those souls who are just a little too uncivilized to fit in, but just enough to make them strong and capable in certain hard situations. The desert mentality and the desert landscape are fascinating and home to so many interesting and different kinds of characters, I just can't help but incorporate it into my stories.
What are you working on next?
I'm always working on several projects. I've got some horror, a mystery, and a speculative epic in the stewing stage, but as far as writing right now, I'm trying to finish the Josey Jackson novel.
Who are your favorite authors?
Frank Herbert always springs right to mind. "Dune" is still one of my favorite books of all time, and I've re-read it way more than any other book. I've also read everything else by Frank Herbert that I could find, so he's definitely a favorite.
Jack Williamson, Roger Zelazny, Robert Ludlum, Jim Butcher, Larry Correia, Clive Cussler, Vince Flynn, Rob Thurman,..the list is longer, but those are all people who I generally like to read across the board and definitely have had an influence on my own work.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Espresso.
What do your fans mean to you?
They are great, better than espresso. (And you all know how much I love my 'spresso.) Reading a review, good or bad, always perks me up when I'm down and when strangers come up to me and tell me that the read something of mine, it just makes my day.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Discovering the story and seeing just what the characters make of it, and those wonderful moments when the story surprises me.
When did you first start writing?
Well, I first realized it in college. That was when I really started writing and decided that a writer is what I needed to be. But since then, I've come across stories that I had written from a very young age. I honestly don't remember telling all those stories, but apparently, I was a writer long ago. I can say for sure though, that I have always been a storyteller. I remember coming up with stories to tell my little brother when we were kids.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Traveling, usually for a taekwondo tournament or a 3-gun match. I stay way too busy having fun. (I also have an awesome day job running a medical simulation center. Before you ask, yes, they hired me to oversee, and tinker with, a lab full of pseudo-robotic humanoid manikins. Horror ideas are not in short supply.)
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember the first story I remember writing and I'm pretty sure it was the first story I ever finished. You can read it here, it's called "Big Iron."
However, I have found artifacts of my younger youth that appear to be the starts of stories. I have zero recollections of writing before I started seriously a few years ago, but it appears that I was mistaken and that I have been a writer for a very long time. But hey, I forget stuff that I wrote yesterday. It's a hoot when I go to review where the book is at and I get to read it like it's the first time. Then I write stuff to forget for the next day.
What is your writing process?
Sit down, put fingers on keyboard, and bleed on the screen.

(Or, if that's not working, sit down, put pen (not a pencil) in hand, and bleed on the paper. Sometimes it just soaks it up better.)
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I really remember was something in a book of Aesop's Fables that my Mom/teacher made me read. I hated it and I hated reading and I refused to read. I don't remember why, but it certainly delayed my love of the written word.

I did eventually find books I liked, and then, well...devour seems like a bit of an understatement.
How do you approach cover design?
Wow, that's a big question. I probably start with an idea of the sort of cover I want. Abstract, photorealistic, people, place, thing? Do I want to support the title, contrast it? Hint at a character, a scene, or maybe an underlying theme? Are there colors that convey the mood I want? Eventually, I start messing around with images or themes I think might work, and I mess with it and tweak it until I have something that I think is appealing and appropriate.
What do you read for pleasure?
Unedited high-school essays!

She lied.

It would be easier to tell you what I don't read for fun. Straight up Romance? That's about the only thing I won't touch...
What are your five favorite books, and why?
You asked for it. Here it is:

“Dune” by Frank Herbert

If you ask me my favorite book, if you ask for a recommendation, if science fiction or epics come into the conversation, if I’m awake…then this is the book that is on my mind. It was the book that made me love science fiction. I can still remember how it happened. We were all at the ranch, staying in the less-than-amazing trailer-house there while we gathered and branded and weaned all the calves. A hundred miles from home…I ran out of the books I’d brought with me! So, I picked up the one my Dad was reading. We stole it back from each other for days, until we were through, and the rest is history. I think I’ve read it at least four times now…and I don’t make it a habit to reread. It’s never gotten old or less epic or less amazing. It’s one of those rare works that no matter how many times you’ve read it, it’s full of new stuff every time. It made me the science fiction fan that I am.


“A Wrinkle in Time” b Madeline L’Engle

Wormholes, time and space as a flexible construct, parallel dimensions, and hey, a young girl who was smart and adventurous? Count me in. This book is more than a little responsible for my teenage obsession with astrophysics, string theory, and all the theoretical physics I could get my hands on (literally, as in books, I read tons of them on the subject while I could have been in high-school.)


“The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog” by John R. Erikson

So, I learned to read, but I hated it. Apparently Aesop’s Fables was not my kind of thing. Then, thank goodness, my cousins told my Mom about these books. I got the first two adventures of this brave ranch detective and then my Mom, so pleased to see me enjoy reading, ordered me the rest of the (then 30-something) book series, in hardback. I devoured them, and its still one of my prized collections.

“The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas

As previously mentioned, I read a lot as a young’un, and so did my Dad, and my Mom the mathematician, had an all too accurate idea of how much money we spent on books… So, anytime i could bargain my way into getting her to buy me more books, I happily did so, even if it meant not getting the books i wanted (sci-fi) and settling for what she thought I should read. In one particular case, we were in a Barnes and Noble and there was a display of BN Edition Classics. I was told that I could have something off that rack. And I possibly argued for “two” off that rack… What I took home was my first Alexandre Dumas novel and “Little Women.” I’ve been a Dumas fan ever since.


“Lone Star Planet” by H. Beam Piper

In amongst the spoils of my library-book-sale deal of legend (Thirty boxes of mostly classic sff for $30, thank you auction bargaining skills), I found this and many other books, but this one tale, that I picked up one day, is still one of my favorite stories. –and I proceeded to happily scour the many boxes for more by Piper and I even more happily found them and read them.

“Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension” by Michio Kaku

If Madeline L’Engle got me started, then this book cinched the deal. Parallel Dimensions both as scientific theories and as settings for stories are still fascinate me. Even got my Mom to subscribe me to Scientific American, Discover, and Popular Science for years. (and yes I did read them cover to cover.) Sadly, I lost the extra time and energy I needed to read all that reference materiel all the time when I started college. So, I’m no longer up to date on the newest intricacies of theories of everything, but I’m getting back to it, even if I may never be as much of an expert as teenage me.

“The Gunslinger” by Stephen King

Back in the day, before eBooks were cool; before most people even knew that such a thing existed; back when I carried a Palm Pilot *moment of silence* I thought buying digital books was really cool. One of the first was Roland’s inaugural adventure. I remember reading the short online description where it described the novel as a cross between a Sergio Leone film and J.R.R. Tolkien. It occurred to me that if it was true, I had found

(Oops, that was seven. *unsympathetic shrug*)
Published 2014-12-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Adventures in Agriculture - Volume One
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 33,230. Language: English. Published: August 3, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Science and Nature » Agricultural science, Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Pets & livestock
Did you know that cows eat cake? The difference between varmints and critters? No? Find out the answer to these important questions and more than you’ve ever wanted to know about life on the farm inside this very book! Yes? Then you’ll find truth, memories, and humor in the stories by a fellow ag-adventurer. Farmers, ranchers, denizens of rural America, and city-folks alike can enjoy this co
Bad Blood
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,080. Language: English. Published: December 2, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Z-Day. The end of civilization. The beginning of an age where humanity is scattered, decimated, and engaged in nothing but survival in the face of the zombie hoards. In this post-apocalyptic wasteland, one family of gunslingers is having fun. A Z-Day story by A.L. Brown.
Fiery Red Mage - A Josey Jackson Adventure
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,080. Language: English. Published: October 7, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
Josey Jackson is what you might call a bounty hunter, or a mercenary, or some worse things if you're feeling lucky. But she wasn't always in the business. Once, she was just a kid---and then her life got crazy. Old men, young men, and some magical monsters will pit themselves against a young Josey Jackson. The question is, was it a good idea?
Six Ways of Dyin'
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,550. Language: English. Published: October 7, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Western, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(3.50)
The sheriff of a small town must pay for the life that he ruined many years ago. The past has returned and it will settle for nothing less than blood.
Big Iron
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,580. Language: English. Published: October 7, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Western, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(3.00)
The small, remote, New Mexican town of Paja Rita doesn't get many visitors. Till one day, a stranger rides into town---with a rather large hunk of iron on his hip.
Gone Green
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,740. Language: English. Published: September 18, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(5.00)
What does a blade-wielding, motorcycle-riding, zombie-killer want? Find out in this post-apocalyptic story of college professors, green brains, and sweet, fizzy soda pop!