Interview with J. Bradley Burt

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I enjoy the freedom to do whatever I want in the first-draft stages---creating credible characters, inventing dialogue, describing events, inventing plausible story-lines. But even more, I enjoy being able to go back later to change things, reconstruct situations, alter outcomes. I don't regard myself as a control freak, but it is gratifying to have the power to shape the world I've created in each story---almost like going back in time to change what originally happened.
What is your writing process?
I write essays, short stories, and episodes for my novels as they occur to me---sometimes in the middle of the night. Later, when the frenzy of first-draft has abated, I refine them to see where, or even if, they might fit.
I often lose myself for hours on end in the process, even to the point of missing lunch or dinner. I'm amazed when I discover that four or five hours might have passed before I paused for breath, so to speak.
Writing is an alternate universe, and I a peripatetic wayfarer.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend a lot of time reading---more, perhaps, than writing. I'm also quite active in golf, tennis, cycling, swimming, and various other physical pursuits.
What did you set out to do when you began your first novel?
I hoped to accomplish four things. Number one was to finish it; although I had been writing short stories, essays, and poetry for a long while, I had never attempted a novel.
I wanted to create convincing characters in whom readers might invest---little knowing at the time that I would become so attached to the two protagonists that a series would follow. They became as friends, and I, rather than creating their story, began to feel I was simply recording it as it unfolded.
I wanted to craft a story that would prove impossible for readers to resist. And I wanted to tell that story mainly through dialogue among the characters---although a narrative telling of certain events was certainly necessary.
What books have you published, and where can they be found?
There are three novels: "By Precept and Example"; "Until He Killed Her"; and "Lockdown".
There are two books of collected stories: "On Top of the Grass: Tales of a Snowbird in Florida"; and "It Matters to Me: Tales of a Young Father".
They can be found, in print or e-book formats, at these websites:
What are you working on next?
I'm currently in rewrites for two works---a fourth novel in the Maggie Keiller/Derek Sloan crime thriller series, titled "First, Do No Harm"; and a third book of tales, titled "The Passing Parade: Tales of a Bemused Bystander".
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Titled "The Leaving", it was included in two of my published collections of tales, and told of the conflicting joy and sadness associated with the realization that our daughters were growing up, eventually to leave us. It was predicated on the credo my wife and I adopted in their upbringing---hug them close, then let them go. The hugging was easy, of course; the letting-go not so much.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are several, including John D. MacDonald, James Lee Burke, Elmore Leonard, and John Sandford---all of whom write in my preferred genre. I also enjoy authors from different genres---Bill Bryson, Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, J. R. R. Tolkien, Winston Churchill, to name a few.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I browse the libraries to which I belong, peruse book reviews in literary magazines and periodicals, and search websites of my favorite authors.
Published 2015-07-14.
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