Hi and welcome to my blog, Barry. Please make yourself at home and grab a drink from my hunky cabana boys, Zeke and Jake. So tell us a little about yourself.
Thanks for having me, Raine! And thank you both, Zeke and Jake. Don’t be strangers.
Q: What genre do you write and for what publisher(s)?
A: I guess I’m all over the map. I write M/M Romance for MLR Press, gay fiction for Lethe Press, and mystery/historical mystery/revenge/horror for L&L Dreamspell.
Q: Tell us about your latest/upcoming release. What inspired it?
A: My latest release, Tinseltown, from MLR Press, is the tale of a quirky yet adorable film student, Micah Malone, as he tries to navigate through that ritual known as young adulthood. It was partly inspired by events from my own life, and partly from a series of “what ifs” running through my head.
Q: How do you build characters and their personalities and looks?
It’s an interesting process. It usually starts with the voices I hear. I then imagine the looks attached to those voices, and somehow from that I can picture the little gestures and the body language, the moods and temperament. It’s like watching Victor Frankenstein at work, but in a less creepy setting; although, I’m sure people might find the voices I hear a little unsettling.
Q: Tell me about some of your heroes/heroines:
A: I’m always drawn to a quirky hero, someone who’s crafty and unconventionally handsome. Take 1/3 Sherlock Holmes, 1/3 Lt. Mike Stone, and 1/3 Joseph Gordon-Levitt (in anything). And I like take-no-guff heroines: 1/3 Emma Peel, 1/3 Lauren Bacall (in anything), and 1/3 Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Q: What do you do when the muse decides to take a holiday or become really difficult? How do you try to coax them/she/it/he back to the drawing board?
A: I eat chocolate. My muse will always come out of hiding when chocolate is detected. Haha. But seriously, I usually jot down a string of sentence fragments, mix them up then put them together: John Jones/drove a Ferrari/into his mother-in-law’s florist shop.
Q: Do you have any specific things (or rituals) that help you to write or that inspire you?
A: Music will often spur my creative juices. Every time I listen to anything by Ralph Vaughn Williams, my mind paints a picture, almost as if a film were unfolding. The same with Gershwin, and even a pop tune from the 1980s or the latest from Linkin Park. If that stubborn muse stays hiding, I’ll turn to music.
Q: If the world was to end tomorrow, what three things would be on your bucket list?
A: Hm….Well, first I would swing though Africa, Vietnam & Thailand, and Antarctica. (Can all that count as one item?) Second, a journey into space. And third, have lunch with Meryl Streep.
Q: Are there any authors who have influenced your work?
A: My strongest influences have been Truman Capote, Thomas Mann, Willa Cather, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Edith Wharton, and e.e.cummings.
Q: What comes first for you: Setting? Storyline? Characters?
A: Character almost always comes first. People fascinate me. However, for my second novel, The Sulphur Cure, the setting came first: a haunting old health resort in my hometown of Dansville, New York. My brother and I explored the place throughout our childhood, and I just knew it had many stories to tell.
Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as your main characters?
A:Cate Blanchett would be perfect—perfect!—as Helen Sage-Brown in The Sulphur Cure. If I could pretty please choose a second book, I think Keir Gilchrist would be ideal as Micah in Tinseltown.
Q: What do you have coming next? Anything you want to tell us?
A: I have a linked short story collection coming out this year from Lethe Press. It all started with a story I wrote for my thesis class at Johns Hopkins. That story, “Shin-Kiba Park” found a home and received a Pushcart Prize nomination. I then wrote a piece, “Unfinished”, based on a character from that first story, and that, too, found a home. Next came “Nagasaki” which also would up with a home of its own and became a DANA Award finalist, and so I figured, let’s go all out and explore all of these characters. The result was Reunion.
The aforementioned The Sulphur Cure will be coming out in early 2012 from L&L Dreamspell. If you like decaying health resorts in New Hampshire, quirky family members still living in such a place, and an unemployed artist who lost a family fortune in the Great Depression and who is in search of his missing brother, you may just take a liking to it.
Q: If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
A: “Always watch out for the quiet ones.”
Q: What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?
A: A sense of humor is crucial. Even in the worst of times. That old adage–humor is the best medicine–really is true.
Q: Where can we find you on the web?
A: Usually I’m on IMDB or YouTube or—Oh! You mean:
Manic Readers: http://www.manicreaders.com/BarryBrennessel/
GLBT Bookshelf: http://bookworld.editme.com/Xemxi2535
ISBN 978-1-60820-356-7 (print)
ISBN 978-1-60820-357-4 (ebook)
Film student Micah Malone learns the hard way that when life sucks, you can’t just yell, “Cut! Let’s do another take!”
His grades are a box-office bomb. His friends create more drama than a soap opera. And his love life needs a laughtrack. While there’s no script to dictate what happens next, can Micah find the direction he needs? Life, after all, is no film school project. But it is great source material. The only source material.
Let the cameras roll. Micah’s quirky story has begun filming.