Friday, February 19, 2010
The Talented Mr. Porter!
Before I begin I want everyone to feast their eyes on Brian's books! Fantastic!
Firstly I want to say how delighted I am to interview Brian L Porter!
Brian not only is a talented author, he is a devoted husband and father and committed animal lover. He was recently voted The Preditors & Editors ‘Best Author, 2009’ in their annual Readers Poll. Under a pseudonym he also won the ‘Best Children’s book’ and ‘Best Artwork’ Awards, and his thriller Legacy of the Ripper achieved 5th place in the Thriller category, surely an incredible performance by anyone’s standards.
How many dogs have you rescued?
Well, Carole, we currently share our home with 12 rescued dogs. In the past we’ve had others and two or three didn’t work out as we’d hoped and we had to sadly re-home them Usually, those instances are rare and caused simply by a particular dog finding it hard to adjust to and live with a fairly large pack of dogs.
Your book, or should I say, Tilly’s book, Tilly's Tale published by
4RV publishing company is so poignant and moving. Please tell us for those who don’t know what the book is about and what it means to you.
Tilly’s Tale is probably the most special book I’ve written because it tells the true story of Tilly, the little dog who shares my office and even has her own blog at http://tillyrescuedog.blogspot.com/
The book is told in Tilly’s own words, as though she herself is speaking to the reader. Tilly is a very special little dog.
She was unwanted, unkempt and barely recognizable as a dog when we first found her. Her story is a canine tale of a triumph against the odds. From being a 'scruffy mutt' in a rescue sanctuary she has become a star at agility and search and rescue work and is 'pack leader' to our family of rescued dogs.
I hope her story will go some way towards raising awareness of the plight of abandoned, abused and neglected dogs around the world and also the wonderful work performed by those who staff the various rescue centers and dog sanctuaries who care for them and help to find them loving caring homes.
I was very proud when Tilly’s Tale won the ‘Best Children’s Book’ and the ‘Best Artwork’ Awards in the recent Preditors & Editors readers Awards for books published in 2009. I have to thank the hugely talented Mandy Hedrick for her wonderful illustrations in Tilly’s Tale. She has captured the ‘essence’ of Tilly perfectly.
And there are others to follow, beginning with Dylan’s Tale I believe. Please tell us about that!
Dylan is our Bedlington Terrier who also had a very hard start to his life. He’d been abused, beaten, hit, and generally mistreated throughout his puppyhood and was just 11 months old when he came to live with us, almost five years ago. The change in him has been tremendous and he is now a happy and contented dog.
Like Tilly’s Tale, Dylan’s Tale will be related to the reader in Dylan’s own words and I hope that it will achieve something like the success of Tilly’s book.
Now for the writing side, Mr. Porter: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
To be honest, Carole, I don’t know. I’ve always written poetry and had quite a lot published and then my wife saw an advert in our library for a short story contest and she encouraged me to enter it even though I’d never written a story in my life. I didn’t win , but I so enjoyed writing the story that I began writing short stories regularly and I was so lucky because every one I wrote and sent off was published in one form or another by a number of different publishers.
It then became a matter of logical progression I suppose, to move on to full length novel writing and the first of those books, A Study in Red – The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper did so well, that I sort of never looked back.
Speaking of A Study in Red, I understand the book won an award recently?
Yes, Carole. It won The Preditors & Editors ‘Best Thriller Novel Award’ in 2008, and I’m very proud of that. The reviewers at CK2S Kwips & Kritiques also gave it ‘Recommended Read’ status, which they also awarded to the sequel, Legacy of the Ripper.
Where do you get your ideas from?
Er, this could be embarrassing, but I get a lot of my best ideas while I’m shaving, honestly. I can be standing staring at myself in the mirror and all of a sudden an idea hits me, and it’s not just a vague idea, but the full storyline for a book. Oh yes, I also often get ideas while out walking the dogs!
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love to be out walking with the dogs, and of course, I spend a lot of time researching for my books as I always try and make the novels as ‘factual’ as possible in terms of events and procedures. Apart from that there doesn’t seem to be much time left over for anything else.
What does your family think of your writing?
The children love Tilly’s Tale of course and the whole Dog Tales series. They have of course read all of the manuscripts I’ve completed so far which are currently with the publisher, 4RV Publishing.
They also love Alistair the Alligator my latest children’s release, also from 4RV, and aimed at much younger children. This book is in full colour and is illustrated by the talented Amanda Sorensen.
My wife, although she doesn’t usually read dark psychological thrillers, reads all my books as they are written chapter by chapter and is my fiercest critic. She is always honest with me about my work and the fact that she manages to read my books from start to finish and actually enjoy them says a lot to me.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Without a doubt the most surprising aspect is that people actually like reading my books. I still find it hard to believe that people enjoy sitting down to read a novel I’ve written, perhaps with their feet upon the sofa, or in bed last thing at night. That makes me feel very humble and very proud at the same time.
How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
I think the total, including my children’s books is around 17 books now, of which it would be hard to pick a favourite. If you pinned me down I would have to say that of my children’s books, Tilly’s Tale is without doubt the one that means the most to me on a personal level and the emotions contained within the book are as genuine as it is possible to imagine.
Of my thrillers, I think I’d have confess to a soft spot for A Study in Red - The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper as it was the book that started the whole process of successful publication for me.
For plot alone however it would be hard for me to separate my two latest releases, Purple Death and Pestilence, both of which are packed full of twists and turns and surprises for the reader. By the way, my dear wife has a preference for Glastonbury, due to appear in the near future from 4RV Publishing, and I have to admit, it also ranks high on my list too.
Do you have any suggestions to help writers become better writers? If so, what are they?
Oh, Carole, that’s a question and a half, and I’m sure one I’m not really qualified to answer. Perhaps the best advice I can give is to believe in yourself and your work, be prepared to accept rejection as an everyday ‘occupational hazard’ and not to lose faith in your abilities.
Having said that, there are a lot of people out there who have been trying for years to have a book published, without success, and I think there is a time when all of us have to realise that perhaps a particular book or story is not quite as good as we, the authors, believe them to be.
It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that as the author, we simply ‘know’ a piece of work is great, but we can be wrong. Finally I have to mention research. I can’t stress how important it is to research the background to any story as thoroughly as possible.
Most of my novels for example have a connection to ‘real’ events in the past, and every one of those events has to be researched in detail so that I don’t get caught out by someone saying, “Ah, but it didn’t happen like that in real life.” I know my books are novels, but as I nearly always mingle fact and fiction together to weave my storylines together, I need to try and make the reader believe in all of it, not just the ‘factual’ so by researching the subject first I’m then able to create a plausible fiction to sit side by side with the facts, if you see what I mean.
What do you think makes a good story?
For me, it has to have a believable plot, one that can draw the reader into the story so that they feel as though they are taking part in the action themselves. The characters should be strong and very ‘human’ and not cardboard cut-outs.
I always try to produce characters that readers can identify with in some way. Also, and this is of course a personal thing because of the type of books I write, I love to ‘misdirect’ the reader so that they fully believe they have ‘solved’ the mystery only for the truth to be revealed at the end as something completely different. I think my readers love the element of surprise that comes from that ‘twist in the tale’.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I always wanted to grow up to be in the Royal Air Force. Luckily, I achieved that ambition!
And now for your books!
The Ripper Trilogy:
A Study in Red - The Secret Journal of the Ripper Double Dragon Publishing
Legacy of the Ripper Double Dragon Publishing
Requiem for the Ripper (Coming Summer 2010 from Double Dragon Publishing)
Pestilence Double Dragon Publishing
Purple Death Moongypsy Press
Kiss of Life (Vampire Thriller) Mythica Publishing
Coming in Feb/March 2010. Please see http://www.mythicapublishing.com/
The Voice of Anton Bouchard Mythica Publishing
Murder, Mayhem and Mexico Eternal Press
Dracula Doesn’t Live Here Anymore Eternal Press
The Nemesis Cell (Currently in e-book from Stonehedge Publishing but coming soon in paperback from Mythica Publishing)
Avenue of the Dead (Also in e-book from Stonehedge Publishing and coming soon in paperback from 4RV Publishing)
Glastonbury 4RV Publishing
(Coming in paperback in Feb/March 2010)
A Binary Convergence (With Graeme S Houston) A sci-fi short story e-book collection from Stonehedge Publishing
Tilly’s Tale 4RV Publishing
Alistair the Alligator 4RV Publishing
Arcadia 22 Heavy – Mayday Mythica Publishing
And there are films in the works! Please tell us about those.
Just before Christmas, 2009, I received an email from a movie company, (I thought it was a joke at first, truly), asking about the Movie/TV rights to my novel A Study in Red – The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper.
After they’d convinced me they were genuine, and after I’d done some research on them myself, we entered into negotiations and on Christmas Day we signed the agreement that would see Thunderball Films (L.A.) produce the movie version of the book.
They have since signed a collaborative deal with Masterplan Films (UK), and the joint venture is now progressing with the screenplay almost completed. Soon afterwards the CEO of Thunderball Films asked to see some of my other work and he loved my books so much that he offered me a deal that would see Thunderball Films turn a number of my novels into either TV or Movie adaptations.
So, at some time in the future you may just see TV or movie adaptations of Pestilence, Purple Death, Legacy of the Ripper, Avenue of the Dead, Glastonbury, Kiss of Life, The Nemesis Cell, and The Voice of Anton Bouchard.
Thanks so much for coming along and talking to me Brian.
You’re welcome, Carole, any time!