Today I’m welcoming SG Browne to the blog! Scott is the author of Fated, Breathers, and the brand new Lucky Bastard (out today!) He was nice enough to answer a few questions, so please give him a warm welcome!
Scott, you’re the author of Breathers and Fated, and Lucky Bastard is out today! What made you decide that you wanted to be a writer?
During my sophomore year in college I was reading THE TALISMAN by Stephen King and Peter Straub. While I’d read other novels that rank higher on my list of all-time favorites, THE TALISMAN was the first time I became so engrossed in the story unfolding within the pages that the world outside of the book ceased to exist. And I thought: I want to make other people feel like this.
Go back to when Breathers was published. How did you celebrate when you found out the book had sold?
I was driving down to Santa Cruz when I received a voice mail from my agent. After calling her back, I called my dad to share the good news and drove out to West Cliff Drive to check out the surfers at Steamer Lane. I lived in Santa Cruz for 13 years (which is where BREATHERS takes place) and that was always one of my favorite spots, so I just enjoyed being there, watching the surfers carve up the waves. Then I watched the sunset from the lighthouse. I still have the voice mail from my agent.
Can you tell us a little about Lucky Bastard?
It starts out on the roof of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco with the protagonist, Nick Monday, being held at knifepoint by an angry naked woman holding a carving knife. From there, Nick, a private detective born with the ability to steal other people’s luck, recounts how he ended up on the roof of the hotel. And who the naked woman is holding the knife. It takes place all in one day and is what I would call a mystery/noir/action/comedy/satire. Yeah, find that section in your local bookstore.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I have horrible writing habits. Some people have a beer or a glass of wine every night with dinner, while others are binge drinkers. I’m kind of a binge writer. I might go days without writing and then suddenly it’s nothing but shots of words and pints of sentences and bottles of chapters. I wouldn’t recommend it as a writing strategy, especially if you’re just starting out. This is not a habit to be emulated.
Your books are hard to fit into any one genre. If you had to create your own genre name that would fit your books, what would you call it?
Supernatural Social Satire. Except we need to fit dark comedy in there somewhere. Supernatural Dark Satire? Hmm…that doesn’t have the same ring to it. Let’s go with Supernatural Social Satire. It has the sibilant alliteration thing going on.
You mentioned a few authors that have influenced you in your bio, such as Stephen King and Christopher Moore. What are some of your favorite titles?
How about ten. In no particular order: THE BOOK THIEF (Markus Zusak), GEEK LOVE (Katherine Dunn), THE BIG SLEEP (Raymond Chandler), LULLABY (Chuck Palahniuk), LAMB (Christopher Moore), CAT’S CRADLE (Kurt Vonnegut), THE STAND (Stephen King), LORD OF THE FLIES (William Golding), KOCKROACH (Tyler Knox), and AMERICAN PSYCHO (Bret Easton Ellis).
What are you reading right now?
THIS DARK EARTH by John Hornor Jacobs. In spite of the fact that I wrote BREATHERS, I don’t tend to read a lot of zombie fiction, but this one is excellent. Smart, thoughtful, well-researched. And Jacobs is a terrific writer. Though you’ll have to wait until July to get your hands on a copy. It doesn’t pub until then.
Have you ever “faked” reading a book?
While I’ve never faked reading a book to look smart or educated or to impress someone, or faked as if I was reading a book while I secretly stalked someone, I did fake reading books for my American History class during my junior year in high school.
In order to get an A in the class, we had to do a report that required using outside sources and including footnotes and a bibliography. Although I was a straight A student, I always did just enough to get an A and was too lazy to do the research. So I wrote my report based on the classroom text, my notes, and my own writing ability and faked the footnotes from books I found at the library. Problem was, my teacher checked my sources and I got caught, so my report was nullified. He didn’t fail me, but I received my first ever academic B. And I learned a valuable lesson.
The next year, when a different teacher had the same requirements for a report using outside sources, rather than faking the footnotes from real books I never read, I simply faked the books. I figured if the books didn’t exist, he couldn’t check them for accuracy. I got an A.
What’s your favorite part of living in San Francisco?
San Francisco is a great walking city, so I rarely have to drive. I walk almost everywhere. And I have almost everything I need within five blocks of my apartment: bank, post office, grocery store, dry cleaner, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, bookstore. I guess that one should have come first.
How about your favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor?
Always a tough question. Their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is the best on the market, but I’ll have to go with Chubby Hubby. Great, now I’m craving it.
Is there any advice that you would give to a struggling writer?
To quote Jason Nesmith in GALAXY QUEST: Never give up. Never surrender.
Keep writing. Keep querying. It took me nearly twenty years until I became a published novelist with BREATHERS, which was actually my fourth novel. And BREATHERS took 15 months of querying agents and 82 rejections until the 83rd agent said yes. Two months later, I had a publishing contract.
Oh, and don’t listen to people who tell you what you should be writing. Instead, write something that matters to you. Something that makes you laugh or cry or sends chills down your spine. Something that resonates with you. Because if it doesn’t resonate with you, it’s not going to resonate with anyone else.
Do you have any other news of upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share with us (or anything at all!)?
I recently released an eBook of ten twisted tales, my first short story collection, titled SHOOTING MONKEYS IN A BARREL. It includes the stories that inspired BREATHERS and LUCKY BASTARD, as well as eight other tales, most of them new and never before published.
As for upcoming events, I’ll be appearing in a dozen or so cities from Los Angeles to Seattle over the next month promoting LUCKY BASTARD. If you’re interested in stopping by to say “hi,” you can check out my event schedule on my website!
About Lucky Bastard:
Meet Nick Monday: a private detective who’s more Columbo than Sam Spade, more Magnum P.I. than Philip Marlowe. As San Francisco’s infamous luck poacher, Nick doesn’t know whether his ability to swipe other people’s fortunes with a simple handshake is a blessing or a curse. Ever since his youth, Nick has swallowed more than a few bitter truths when it comes to wheeling and dealing in destinies. Because whether the highest bidders of Nick’s serendipitous booty are celebrities, yuppies, or douche bag vegans, the unsavory fact remains: luck is the most powerful, addictive, and dangerous drug of them all. And no amount of cappuccinos, Lucky Charms, or apple fritters can sweeten the notion that Nick might be exactly what his father once claimed—as ambitious as a fart. That is, until Tuesday Knight, the curvy brunette who also happens to be the mayor’s daughter, approaches Nick with an irresistible offer: $100,000 to retrieve her father’s stolen luck. Could this high-stakes deal let Nick do right? Or will kowtowing to another greedmonger’s demands simply fund Nick’s addiction to corporate coffee bars while his morality drains down the toilet? Before he downs his next mocha, Nick finds himself at the mercy of a Chinese mafia kingpin and with no choice but to scour the city for the purest kind of luck, a hunt more titillating than softcore porn. All he has to do to stay ahead of the game is remember that you can’t take something from someone without eventually paying like hell for it. . . .