Interview with Keith Brazil

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There are 2 answers to this:
First, the thrill of starting a new writing/artistic journey and trying to capture the essence of what it is that you wish to express. The sense of adventure as the characters, plot, principle idea or guiding emotion step forward to be listened to and the pieces of the puzzle (in any order!) start to arrive and the picture begins to reveal itself.
Secondly, after all the crafting/revising/editing processes are complete, bringing all the elements together into the final book with its enwrapping cover design. There is something very rewarding in seeing your words bound together and ready to send off into the world as a finished product.
Who are your favorite authors?
I don't really read now (other than non-fiction for research - Raj Patel is great for current analysis on world global issues and food justice) but in the past I enjoyed reading poetry (all kinds - but John Donne, Andrew Marvell, Rabbie Burns, the Romantics, E.E. Cummings, T.S. Eliot, Stevie Smith, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, spring to mind as being so innovative), I was a big fan of the English 18th Century novel (groundbreaking and some of the very best books were written then), Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde of course. I was really moved/impressed with Virginia Woolf and James Joyce (both revolutionary in terms of consciousness - life changing events). I enjoyed the writing of Truman Capote and Carson McCullers. I loved Jane Austin and the Brontes, a big fan of Tolkien and C.S Lewis. I am pulled to other cultures and esoteric/philosophy (the poetry of Rumi, the book The Secret Teachings of Mary Magdalene is incredibly beautiful, moving and heart expanding, Meher Baba, Mother Meera, Jane Roberts - Seth books, Alice Bailey, Madame Blavatsky, Tibetan tracts, and good books on the Tarot). I loved Plato & Andre Gide. On the fun side I enjoyed E S Gardener (Perry Mason) and Michael Innes (John Appleby). I love all kinds of fairy tales and children's books - Brothers Grimm, Lewis Caroll springs to mind, also P. L.Travers, Carlo Collidi etc (basically, any cartoon film classic you loved, go back and read the original books). I really enjoyed His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman and the Harry Potter books too. Phew!
What are you working on next?
Presently I am revising a short story about dancing/clubbing and a longer magical fairy tale I wrote a couple of years ago. Both are about aspects of joy - as is my book 'In Consideration Of Cats' which was written about the same time. The next new project is a children's book. Ssh!
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything - it is the readers who take the book and utilise it for their own onward journeying. Writing is one half of the story - reading and sharing the other. Otherwise the writer is left alone with a creative project, whilst it is the fans that make a book's success. Fans are a united circle of friends and their kindness and support mean so much to what is often a very isolated writing experience.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is so hard to answer - and these could change as there are so many life changing books I have read, but here goes:
The Narnia collection - magical escapism, but these stories helped me maintain and discover aspects of faith and belief as a child/teenager in its symbolic/medieval format.
The Lord of the Rings - epic, fantastic - a very detailed, complex and complete world. I did the trilogy as part of my 'A' level project - and I was fortunate enough to have a tutor who had been a student of both CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien (she also introduced me to the wonders of Jane Austen). She was inspirational as so many of my dance and english tutors have been. I owe everything to their encouragement.
Mrs Dalloway - beautifully crafted story. Reading Virginia Woolf changed my life - here was access to an interior world of feelings through a feminine perspective. (Orlando and her other work is also right up there, but it was Mrs Dalloway that inspired me to write a novel in response to reading that book)
The Wasteland - intriguing, intense, compressed, intelligent and challenging. I struggled with this at 'A' level with its allusions to philosophy/culture/myth that were way beyond my comprehension, but TS Eliot has been a guiding influence ever since despite the sense of my own ignorance it at first inspired.
Alice in Wonderland - great fun and a fantastical adventure. A great story to read to someone else or be read to. I spent one summer reading this out loud (taking in turns to read the next chapter) with a friend at University one summer on a break so many many years ago. It was such fun and an amazing memory.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I like getting up with the dawn light - the early morning moon/sun light on the garden, feeling the freshness of the weather of the day as I feed the cats, make a cup of tea and ponder on how the day might take shape (it rarely goes according to plan). If I'm mid writing project I drift to the computer (a glorified typewriter) and use the silence at the start of the day productively before the rest of the household are up and chaos descends.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Cooking, watching TV and walking.
What is your writing process?
I am a subconscious/emotional writer and rarely know what it is that will 'move me' to capture the moment, the expression, the idea that will start the next journey. As a poet I struggle with so many words required for a book, yet sometimes they pour out of me and my tapping, typing fingers can't keep up. Other times, I am left brushing out the strands of the plot like hair and I have to think about the knots I encounter - cut or comb? Sometimes I sit down to write something I have been considering plot wise and another tale entirely comes out. More intriguing is when characters step out of thin air and start talking and I am left trying to write down everything they say! I also take inspiration from those people and everyday things going on around me. My partner is a hugely inspirational source (as our cats) in that way. I am always 'on the lookout and listen' for interesting titbits. Music is always on somewhere in the house and is often part of the story strands I am trying to weave together.
How do you discover the books you read?
I somehow get lead to books that I need to read. It's an intuitive process (like following an energy ribbon toward something). Other than that it is a case of recommendations and fortuitous stumbling upon.
What do you read for pleasure?
Poetry and philosophy (I think the last non-fiction books were books on English magic, the history of the Knights Templar, the life of Merlin and some writings of Plato's - very influential on the writing of my book 'Popcorn. Parasites, Precious & Pearls'). I don't really read fiction these days (although I did enjoy breading the Harry Potter), but I am very inspired by music (pop and folk) and the lyrics of certain artists are hugely influential (Kate Bush - i'm a big fan - Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos spring to mind)
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Aged 14 two different art forms arrived. One was dancing, the other was writing poetry (which i wrote a lot of during my teens and still do, but poetry is very different from story writing). The first long book I started aged 21 (it took 3 years to write and will never be seen). When I was 27 I drifted into a 3 day trance and a year later had written a book... it might be published next year. That was a kind of a response to reading Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway (an exceptional masterpiece). But the early poetry was very haunting and mystical and still remembered.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My mother always used to listen to the radio and watch children's TV with me. Aged 5 I went to school and just devoured the library of Janet and John's and the Rainbow, Silver and Gold books. It was a magical experience - entering the worlds of imagination and adventure. Enid Blyton comes to mind too - the Magic Faraway Tree.
How do you approach cover design?
I have an idea which I discuss with my cover designer - and then it is a collaboration of what we can achieve on limited/no budget, favours and time constraints. I love visuals, illustrations, cover design etc so the art work is really important, but it also important to listen to other artist's input and talent and take direction from them as well.
When did you first start writing?
About age 14.
Published 2014-01-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Wilderness Diary
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 81,210. Language: English. Published: October 8, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical
The Wilderness Diary is the dream-diary of a magical adept who goes 'AWOL' after his father dies. Haunted by ravens, led on by snakes, he discovers a way to astrally time travel and steals metal artefacts causing past injury to love. Encountering historical characters, fantastic creatures and enlightened beings he makes the leap of faith to build a magical metal sculpture and rebuild his life.
The Land of Bliss
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 76,670. Language: English. Published: August 3, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fairy Tales
'The Land Of Bliss’ is a fairy tale set in a magical world where stories hold secrets, spells are made to be broken and people are not always what they seem. Meet the last of the Fairy Folk, the Family Rose and the Townspeople trapped in a curse. Their stories entwine through an enchanted doorknob, a resurrecting witch and a singing princess. The fate of fairy tales awaits them all.
An Alchemist's Wedding
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,870. Language: English. Published: October 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Spiritual & metaphysical
A novitiate Alchemist gives a wedding speech reflecting on the wonder of joy and the predicament of love.
The Chameleon's Last Dance
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 25,580. Language: English. Published: June 8, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Join the revellers in a bawdy ‘world of men’ as a somnambulist chameleon, a dancing bear and ten lords-a-leaping prance into a bag of glees and good tidings at the retro-Hustler’s Ball. Swirling through music, memories of childhood, places, teenage years, TV characters, and friends, past and present, can the chameleon trance-dance through fire and attain the state of ‘Mok’sha’?
Popcorn, Parasites, Precious & Pearls
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 70,000. Language: English. Published: December 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Spiritual & metaphysical
A metaphysical comedy of the vices! Explore elements of spiritual philosophy during the journey of a Soul’s perilous plunge. Discover the impurities and insecurities behind the Pearl, the Parasites, and the Pleasure of Man’s consuming vices. Four short stories: "Pure Madness", "Annual Review", "Mezcal - con gusano", and "The Cave of Mystery".
In Consideration of Cats
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 23,520. Language: British English. Published: November 1, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Pets & livestock, Nonfiction » Entertainment » Humor & satire
“Everybody wants to be a cat!” In Consideration of Cats is an essay and meditation on an aspect of joy and the wonderment of cats. A collection of notes, observations, insights and poems reflecting on the behaviour, nature and antics of cats and the healing that the world of our feline friends can bring us.