Thursday, April 7, 2011

Interview of P.A. Brown

Tell us a little about your writing. What type of stories do you like to write? Any characters you like to write about? Any themes you find especially inspiring?

My contemporary stories usually involve gay police officers. I'm especially fond of the LAPD since I find them fascinating as a police force, probably written about more than any other and the fact that they are in Los Angeles, a city I lived in for 8 years and miss still. I think a number of my stories have themes that revolve around variations of families. I don't buy into the idea that a family can only be one man, one woman and children. For me the only thing important in a relationship to make it a family is love. There isn't enough of it the world and I don't think we should be telling one group or another that their kind of love is wrong. We need more of it, not less.

I'm especially appalled by those who claim to belong to a religion whose core tenant is love, but instead preach hate and tell outrageous lies to create fear and intolerance.

What is your favorite part of the writing process? What are your most dreaded tasks? Anything special you do to get through the tough parts?

I think I'd have to say my favorite part is the editing. I have the book finished and now I can hone it. It's like the first draft is a large piece of wood. It has some shape, it has a grain that can help mold it into something beautiful. The editing is the carving or sculpting. You start out with broad strokes then fine tune them for the finished product.

I do enjoy writing as well, but only if it's going well. When I hit a snag, it gets less likable. I don't call them blocks per se, I think it's more that I need to think about the story more. I've hit that snag because I'm not ready to write the part. So I wait and keep researching whatever I'm writing. For my crime novels I am very particular and will do everything I can to make my cops as real as their living counterparts. I have a number of crime and forensic related books and study them. Eventually the idea I need to finish the book.

What’s a typical day look like for you? What’s your writing schedule? When you’re not writing what are you doing?

I don't really have a firm schedule. Sometimes when I'm in the 'groove' and the writing is flowing, I will get up early and write for several hours, often late into the night. I will go a few days with no more than 3 or so hours a day. Most days I will probably write for around 5-6 hours. When I'm not writing, I enjoy movies, or documents on TV like th History channel, National Geographic, PBS and Discovery channels. Lately I've been watching a lot of old black and white and even silent movies since I've begun to write historical novels. I also enjoy visiting family.

What author is your work most like? What author would you like to be more like?

That's a tough one. Possibly T. Jefferson Parker and Stephen Jay Schwartz. Who would I like to be more like? Robert Crais would be one, and Michael Connelly.

Please tell us about your current projects and where we can purchase it. Where can we find you on the web?

Right now I've taken a break from contemporary gay crime novels and I'm focusing on mainstream historical fiction. I've finished one, a novel set in Prohibition Los Angeles, and with it I got my agent, Frank Weimann who is shopping it around now. I'm nearly finished historical number two, this one set in New York in the late 1880s. It's an interesting evolution, since book one involved an LAPD officer who was like many of the cops in those days – crooked, without morals, but the New York historical is the most mainstream literary novel I've written. It deals with Irish immigrants coming over and struggling to survive and make a home in this new world. While I'm writing this I've been doing some research on my own family history and have found a few things I didn't know that are really quite interesting.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write what you are passionate about and what you want to read. Don't write for money. If it comes, you're one of the lucky ones. And never stop reading. The more you read the better your own writing will become.

What book are you reading now?

Lately I haven't had time to read much fiction. It's all research material. Fortunately, I love doing research. Right now I'm reading Five Points: The 19th-Century New York City Neighborhood That Invented Tap Dance, Stole Elections, and Became the World's Most Notorious Slum

What is the one thing you most want to do that you haven’t yet?

Spend a week or two on a guest ranch, either in someplace like Alberta or in the Sonoran desert. Back when I was twenty-one I spent a week in Scottsdale and I went there to ride. I didn't know how to find dude ranches in those pre-Internet days so I just settled for a place near a large stable that took us out in the desert. The saguaro cactus and the red mountains are what draws me there. The landscape is stunning, and even more so from horseback.

Who is your favorite TV show? Why?

My favorite TV show is one I can't watch. Does that make sense? I fell in love with Southland when it played on network TV for one year. Then the network dropped it and it was picked up by the Turner Network. But my cable company doesn't offer Turner, so I have to wait for each season to come out on DVD. My favorite show that I can watch is Blue Bloods, followed by Castle.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Fudge. Maple or vanilla

If you could have one wish, what would it be?

To be thirty years younger, knowing what I know now.


This is an excerpt from BERMUDA HEAT my latest gay crime fiction novel. It's book 5 in the L.A. Series, featuring LAPD homicide detective David Eric Laine and his lover Chris Bellamere. In this one Chris and David go to Bermuda to find out the truth about David's father, who he was gold was dead.

Chapter One

Saturday, 9:20 am, Rigali Avenue, Atwater Village, Los Angeles

The brown Ford squealed when it failed to take the corner at sixty. Instead it threw up streamers of dust as it bounced onto a gravel verge into an empty parking lot. Martinez cursed as his partner, LAPD homicide detective David Eric Laine took the same path, their unmarked Crown Vic blowing out whatever shocks might have been left in the aged vehicle when they screeched onto the lot. Martinez reported their twenty and called for backup, then hung on as David maneuvered ever closer to the other car’s rusted out bumper.

David ignored everything but the Ford and the two Pinoy boys they’d been closing in on for days. Since somebody stomped a Temple Street Trese boy to death and put all the Asians on edge, ready to stomp back. David and Martinez were working with the local gang crew to try to stop it before it got bloody.

They’d spotted Sokun, the leader of the Pinoy’s at a liquor store on Brunswick five minutes ago, the chase had been on. David figured they would try and double back, make a break for Rigali. But then a whoop and a new cloud of dust announced their backup had arrived. A black and white roared in, lights and siren on full code three.

What Sokun did next startled David. Instead of braking and coming around, the brown piece of crap’s laboring engine roared, tires spat gravel and the car lunged forward. The fence protecting this section of concrete river was old and worn through years of neglect and abuse. Twisted by the elements and vandals, repaired repeatedlly, it inclined at a fifty degree angle, sagging as though tired of trying to hold out the world.

The Ford slammed into it at a good twenty miles per and snapped off the single metal pole pole, puncturing the radiator and killing the engine. There was a tortured shriek of metal on metal, sparks flew from underneath the battered vehicle. The engine rattled to a stop.

Both doors flew open. Sokun and his passenger bailed. The passenger, who David hadn’t been able to ID, headed north. Sokun scrambled over the battered remnants of fence and vanished over the lip of the cement trough.

“Oh, tell me he did not just do that,” David muttered.

Martinez growled what might have been a reply before he too was out the door and hot on the trail of the passenger, along with a young, female uni. David bolted after Sokun. The other uni followed.

David always figured he was in shape. He ran nearly every day with Sergeant, the Doberman he and Chris had adopted three years ago. Legs pumping, he slowed only long enough to clamber over the chain link and he was off, half skidding, half running down the angled concrete wall, avoiding chunks of broken wall, hot on Sokun’s ass.

If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be?

That's easy. A dragon. I've always loved them, especially since The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey.


Brenda said...

I'm like you, I love editing. Once the rough draft is finished I can then take my time and get deeper into the story and the characters.

P.A.Brown said...

Thanks for having me, Willa. It's a good thing I like editing, I just finished my 118,000 historical -- first draft, and I know it's got some major flaws. Guess what I'll be doing the next few weeks.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I love your LAPD stories. You have great insite into the male POV. Ah, I see you wrote something in my favorite time period--the 1920's. I am adjusting to your mainstream historical writing, Pat. Didn't know about that but I know it has to be great stuff and I'm looking forward to reading it. Tell that agent to get busy. LOL

Janice said...

Hi Pat,

It was nice getting to know you better and your story sounds awesome.


Michael said...

Hi Pat,

As per usual, I love your blurbs and excerpts.

The interview is great as well. I know I'll be starting to read your books very soon!

Much success!

S.Lira aka Michael M/Rawiya