Interview with Stephen Brown

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Primarily entertainment, and to unleash the power of the imagination! Sometimes (depending on the type of book) there may be something in particular I wish to express, an issue to hop up onto my soapbox about, but more often it is the sheer joy of creativity. The act of putting the imagery I have in my mind into words so that other people will be able to see and sense the same thing and be entertained by it. Brilliant.
What are you working on next?
Another fantasy novel based in the same world as The Greater Good, as well a couple of Sci-fi ideas, one of which is a space detective, across between James Bond and Judge Dredd! Not quite sure exactly how he's going to develop just yet. I might sneak out a few shorts with the main character to test the water as I crack on with the novel.
I do tend to have loads of projects on the go at any given time, until eventually I reach a critical point and have to dive into one of them exclusively until it is finished. But in between the major projects I find something completely different helps refresh my batteries - the two novellas 'Agilka' and 'The Night of the Fuath' are both good examples of this.
And then it's back to the grindstone...
Who are your favorite authors?
Douglas Adams, HP Lovecraft, Carlos Castaneda, Robert Rankin, Jamie Sams, Dan Abnett, Osho (not really an author, I know...), Kahlil Gibram, John Irving, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Philip K Dick and so very many more
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The Sun and the Sea, Love and Tea. Being alive - isn't that enough?
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Painting, photography, exploring the world with a (very small) backpack, being with my animals, talking toot with strangers and lounging on the beach or out in nature whenever possible
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I have been lucky enough to have lived all over the world (well, nearly!) - my childhood was spent in the Seychelles, Gambia, Vanuatu, Birmingham (?) and Lincoln in the UK, and I visited many, many more countries in the process (and afterwards). I think it has influenced my writing tremendously by giving me first hand experiences of so many different places, people & cultures, opening my eyes to so many different lives.
Also, given the freedom of my schooling, my thoughts and imagination were never boxed in or crushed in any way
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The sheer and hostile face of the traditional publishing industry.
It is so difficult even to get asked to send an example of your work to an agency, never mind a publisher. Still, 'hard' would be fine if only you could be sure you were on a level playing field, but unfortunately the publishing industry is rife with cheats and con-artists, so even if you do get accepted, you might find that the agencies who seem so interested are actually fake, and in the end start asking for money - an evolution of the Vanity Publishers. This has happened to me a couple of times.
A "no" is a no - and that's fine. Anything creative is subjective and you shouldn't take anything personally - but to be told "yes," to finally start dreaming and thinking you have maybe made it at last, only to find out months down the line it was all just a lie... That's a whole lot of work for nothing and so the possibility of publishing like this becomes much more attractive
What is your writing process?
I always have ten million ideas buzzing round my head, and whenever a new one pops in I try and write it down. Now I'm all computerised I put them in the files I think best suits them, but I still swap and change if I need to. Before I had thousands of scraps of paper here, there and everywhere. I still use paper and pens for planning, but do most of my work on the comp now. For Bread & McRoots I cut random pictures out of newspapers and magazines (anything I found interesting) and eventually tried to link them all together.
Sometimes a solid idea is already there, but more often than not I don't know quite where the story will go until it actually gets there. For my first three novels I wrote sequentially, starting at page one and going on till the end, but with these new ones I'm writing them a scene at a time from all over the story, and will stitch them together as the whole begins to take place. This helps tremendously if I find myself getting bogged down by a particular part of the story - I just move on to something else and come back to it fresh.
I guess I'll continue using different methods as and when I need to. It adds to the creative challenge!
How do you approach cover design?
As the story comes along I begin to get a clear picture in my mind of what I want, and I then sketch out as many of the ideas as I can. The end result is then tempered by numerous other factors, mainly the photos I have in my collection and my skill with photoshop!
For a couple of covers I have put two or three options on facebook and then asked my friends to vote. This gives a pretty good idea of how well a cover is perceived by 'the public' and also generates a bit of interest within my immediate circles
Describe your desk
The actual desk varies, as I write in all manner of places! Minimum requirements are: a pad of paper, my netbook and the latest plan of the book, usually covered with a madman's scribbles and annotations! For my fantasy stories I also have a map and a little notebook filled with background notes for the world in general.
Other than that, I like a bit of incense, sometimes some music and always, always solitude - personally I find it very difficult when somebody else is around. That's why just lately I have found myself comfortably sprawled on a couple of bales inside my hand-built haybarn, surrounded only by the cat, ducks, chickens and horses wandering about to and fro. And tea. Always, always tea
What do your fans mean to you?
As soon as I get one I'll let you know!
When somebody reads anything I've done I feel immensely flattered, and of course pleased to hear if they enjoyed it! I do love to hear from people and always welcome comments in whatever shape or form!
Published 2016-02-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Orange Blossom Mountain
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,800. Language: English. Published: February 21, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Inspirational, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Spiritual & metaphysical
Chaosheng zhe has been a monk for nearly forty years, but still he finds a long-lasting connection with the Tao frustratingly elusive. Finally, in the last days of winter, he sets out for the hermitage on Orange Blossom Mountain, hoping the seclusion will help him achieve his long sought after state of bliss. A short story.
Back Home Where I've Never Been
Series: Moments in Rhyme, Book 7. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 10,450. Language: British English. Published: December 31, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » U.K. Poetry, Fiction » Poetry » Biography
Sixty-odd more titles make up the seventh volume in the Moments in Rhyme series, making up roughly the first half of an extended journey through Sri Lanka, India and Nepal. At times comic and at others soul-searching, these titles mark the next stage in the poetic road-trip that is the author’s life. Rabindranath Tagore it is not - these poems are merely one man’s experiences captured in verse.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,570. Language: British English. Published: March 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
After a terrorist attack on a busy airport, a repentant suicide bomber is interviewed by an MI5 handler. All author proceeds from this short story will be donated to the Rode Kruis charity in Belgium.
On The Road Again
Series: Moments in Rhyme, Book 6. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 9,900. Language: British English. Published: March 9, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Poetry - single author, Fiction » Poetry » U.K. Poetry
The next installment in the poetic life of Stephen Brown, this sixth in the series contains the three short volumes: Moving Again, Four Floors Up and Two Cities. Roads contains the usual eclectic mix featuring titles such as: Flotsam, Empty House Blues, A Snail in Two Cities and Questions That Smells Bring to Mind. Who says poetry is dead?
Those Distant Shores
Series: Moments in Rhyme, Book 5. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 11,920. Language: British English. Published: March 5, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Poetry - single author, Fiction » Poetry » U.K. Poetry
Three more collections from the author upon his return from Australia, capturing roughly the next year of his life in verse. From Australia to Brighton, Holland to Belgium, Shores is a wonderful mixture of the melancholy and the ridiculous. With such titles as A Lovecraftian Ballad, Sufi Skinny Dipping and I Wonder If Gandhi Had a Dog, dip your toe in and pick a favourite.
Outback Dreaming
Series: Moments in Rhyme, Book 4. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 10,460. Language: British English. Published: March 3, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » U.K. Poetry, Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
The second period of the author’s time in Australia was spent mainly in the Rainforests and the Outback, away from the more established tourist haunts of the Queensland coast. From comedy to despair (and back again) with titles such as The Red Centre, Flip-flops in the Night, and Leopard Skin Sheets, Outback Dreaming is one man’s growth through his experiences on the road.
The Lizard of Oz
Series: Moments in Rhyme, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 9,010. Language: British English. Published: February 15, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Poetry - single author, Fiction » Poetry » U.K. Poetry
Chronicling the first half of the author’s trip round Australia, this collection captures the various frames of mind he found himself in, from upbeat and excitable (Maud, Fighting with Giants) to the more thoughtful and pensive (Dingo, Keep on Dancing). You might think there are no icebergs Down Under, but seen through the author’s eyes, you will realize that Lizard is merely the tip of one...
Series: Moments in Rhyme, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 4,690. Language: British English. Published: February 10, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Poetry - single author, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Less a collection, more a disparate group of individual poems all drawn together into one bubbling pot. From the ridiculous Bilgeby Sprite to the deeply introspective Waking Up, the poems in Mengeling offer a slightly more personal glimpse into the writer’s psyche.
Songs From A Wooden House
Series: Moments in Rhyme, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 4,780. Language: British English. Published: February 4, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » U.K. Poetry, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
A collection of more than forty poems providing light-hearted amusement and thought-provoking distractions for people in all walks of life. Titles such as The Tribulations of a Hungry Buddhist Spider and Desert Island Vegetables can be read anywhere at any time, and whether you prefer the utterly absurd or something deeper, there will be something in Songs for all but the blackest of souls...
The Night of the Fuath
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 37,670. Language: English. Published: February 2, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Occult, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
Professor Jeremy Saddleworth is immediately intrigued by an enigmatic tooth he is given - a shark’s tooth in the middle of the New Forest? That’s not possible. As he tries to discover its origins though, his life is shattered as events spiral out of control threatening his reputation, his sanity and the very lives of all those around him. Celtic horror under the light of a cold full moon A novella
Stalking the Shadows
Price: Free! Words: 30,390. Language: British English. Published: July 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
An assassination attempt is made on the Burghermeister of Werpenstad, leaving the city stunned and in shock. As the atrocities continue it is up to Vice-mayor Karl Kreigel to take the reins of the Stad, but can the rumours of inhuman monsters stalking the sewers be believed, or are they simply the fears of a frightened populace and the ravings of a madman? A fantasy novella.
The Greater Good
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 213,260. Language: British English. Published: July 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
An assassination attempt on the Burghermeister of Werpenstad sends Vice-mayor Karl Kreigel headlong into a desperate battle to save his Stad. Facing a heretical cult, an insidious, secretive race of rat-men and the violently deranged Jaegers of the Holy Order, he is beset from all sides in his attempts to stop the Stad from being torn apart. A dark and violent tale of murder, intrigue and betrayal
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 19,380. Language: British English. Published: April 27, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Horror » General
The definitive proof - we are not alone. In November 2014 the European Space Agency landed a scientific module on comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko to great acclaim. Barely two days later it was lost, due to power failure they said... Eighteen years on and the much criticized return mission is due to touch down, but just why did they go back? What secrets does comet 67P hold? A novella.
The Way of Ghee
Price: Free! Words: 9,390. Language: British English. Published: August 16, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Spiritual & metaphysical, Fiction » Inspirational
One man’s spiritual quest leads him to a mysterious guru high up in the Himalayas, a man who is rumoured to be able to show the way to Enlightenment - but only to those who are ready to embrace it. A short story.
Series: The Cripplesby Diaries, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 130,390. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Why would a gang of poachers rip the hearts out of one animal from every continent and take them all to Mexico? Geeza Vermies badly wants to find out and, teaming up with Elliot again, is right behind them! But stumbling into a plot to bring back the Aztec Gods wasn’t part of the plan – was it? And what on earth is Father Sadfael doing there? It’s all looking set to get messy, down Mexico way!
Series: The Cripplesby Diaries, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 93,260. Language: English. Published: June 18, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Somewhere in Africa an age-old demon is stirring, and if it is not stopped a wave of hate and destruction will engulf us all. Step forward Elliot and Geeza! In an epic plot, our heroes must contend with mystifying hieroglyphs, pumpkin-headed goons, hairy black caterpillars, aliens, sunburn and so much more! Can they save the World? And what’s all this about the pyramids being built by Scotsmen...?
Series: The Cripplesby Diaries, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 84,690. Language: English. Published: June 16, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
A man obsessed with Scotland, a Shamanic Detective and a monk displaced through time must all try to stop a madman from taking over the world. Chasing from London to Africa, Texas to Canada, can our heroes stop him in time to prevent a global financial meltdown? Stock market thugs, Kenyan car races, hallucinogenic trips, the SAS, and a talking moose all pull together to spin an amazing tale!