Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Interview + Giveaway with Brian Springer, author of Highway to Vengeance

I'm delighted to be joined today by  Brian Springer, the author of the badass action thriller,  Highway to Vengeance. Brian's book is a fact-paced and action-packed thrill ride, perfect for a hot summer evening with a cuppa coffee! (although, trust me when I say, you won't really need any caffeine to keep you wide awake and reading long past your usual bed time!).

Guys, please give a warm welcome to Brian!

E: Evie
B: Brian Springer

E: Welcome to Bookish Brian! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
B: Thanks for having me Evie! Well, I’m 37 years old and I’ve been writing seriously for about 13 years now. I had an agent with a big New York agency for three of them but after he was unable to find a home for any of my books I decided to strike out on my own and enter the fray of self-publishing. I’ve been married for going on twelve years now to a wonderful gal named Kimberley and we have a 10-year old daughter and an 8-year old boy. In my earlier days I played baseball at the University of San Diego. I eventually earned my business degree and later my MBA from USD. Right after college I played one season of professional baseball in Spain, and have also done time in the finance and retail management industries.
E: Who or what inspired you to write Highway to Vengeance?
B: A few things. First of all, I’ve always been fascinated with Navy SEALS, and specifically their training program, BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) and the rigors these warriors must go through just to become a SEAL. I had the fortune of knowing someone who got injured at the tail-end of the training program that was willing to fill me in on a bunch of the details and I thought it would make a great backstory for a character. That’s how Thomas Highway came to be.  The storyline specific to Highway to Vengeance just grew naturally from there. I’ve always built my novels around the main character, and the plot is basically a way to explain in actions and dialogue all that a specific character is capable of. In the case of HTV, I wanted to show not only what a SEAL was capable of physically, but mentally as well (passing BUD/S training is, believe it or not, more mental than physical) and a revenge story where everyone and everything was lined up against him seemed the best way to do this. Many of the set pieces were built around actual BUD/S training phases, so as to highlight the training. And the BUD/S interludes throughout the book often foreshadow what is about to happen in the storyline. So to make a long story short (if that’s even possible at this point) I started with the character of Thomas Highway, ex-SEAL, and then built a plot around the specifics of BUD/S training. After that it was just a matter of adding the dialogue and action, and you know, writing the thing.
E: Do you mind telling us how long did it take for you to write it?
B: Highway to Vengeance was actual a very difficult book for me to write. It was conceived of by me and my agent right after an earlier book came really, really close to selling to a couple of major publishers. It was a very deliberate attempt to take what worked from my earlier book and tweak what didn’t work to make it more appealing to a major publisher. So the whole time I was writing it, I had this little voice in my head questioning every single word I was putting down on the paper, trying to figure out if my agent would approve of this line, or if an editor would want this to happen, or if it was too lowbrow, or too simple, or too complicated. Needless to say, it was not a good experience and a very ineffective way to write a book. So it actually took me about 18 months to get it finished the first time around. And then my agent didn’t like it at all and didn’t think he could sell it, which made sense, because at the time it was a very forced, flat story. After I parted ways with my agent, I turned it into a screenplay (which took about 3 months) and then from there I completely re-wrote the novel, turning switching it up from a third-person POV to a first-person POV. So all in all it took me about 2 years to get it where I wanted it to be.
E: Which of your characters do you feel is most like you?
B: I can’t really say that anyone in HTV is very much like me. If forced to choose, I would say Thomas Highway is, but I’m not nearly the badass he is. If I was in his situation I would want to do all the things he does in this book but would never consider actually doing them, mostly because I don’t have a fraction of the training or a fraction of his abilities. But if I was an ex-Navy SEAL, and if my wife was murdered right in front of my eyes, then I have no doubt I would take the same path to revenge as Highway did
E: What advice would you give to writers who are interested in writing Action Thrillers?
B: Read, read, read. There are so many action thrillers out there that you need to find a way to differentiate yourself, and the only way to know how to do this is to read a lot within the genre. And write, all the time.  Always work on your craft. Don’t be afraid to rewrite and edit the hell out of your books. Too many wanna-be writers out there write one draft and call it a day. It is important to hone each book, trimming the fat and cutting unnecessary words, especially in the action thriller genre.
E: Where is your favorite place for writing? Do you have any special writing rituals?
B: I really can only write at my desk. While one of the allures of being a writer is that you can do your work from anywhere, if I’m not comfortable I can’t get going, and I’m usually only comfortable at my desk. As for rituals, I don’t really have any hard and fast one. I definitely prefer to write at night—late nights, often until 3:30AM—and I generally listen to some kind of music (post-metal, usually, non-catchy with growled lyrics or no lyrics at all) but this isn’t always the case. But most of the time I wait until the family goes to sleep, then grab a Mountain Dew, throw on my headphones, create a four-hour playlist, and start typing away.
E: What genres do you like to read in your free time?
B: I don’t really read genres. In fact, I pretty much despise the idea of them, even though I get why they’re necessary. I mostly just stick to specific authors, regardless of the genre, and some of my favorite authors write across genres, or don’t write works that fit into a specific one. My current list of must-read authors is pretty small: Dan Simmons, George RR Martin, Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, and George Pelecanos. In my formative years I gobbled up everything I could get my hands on by Steven King and Clive Barker but no so much anymore. I also love Joe Haldeman, Thomas Harris, Cormac McCarthy, Neil Gaiman. But it’s all about the author, not the genre. If someone suggests an author to me I’ll give them a shot, regardless of genre.
E: Which of your favorite books would you recommend everybody to read?
BAbsolutely anything by Dan Simmons. But if I was forced to pick one it would probably be Carrion Comfort. 1984 by George Orwell. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. The Road by Cormac McCarthy. A Game of Thrones (and the corresponding Song of Ice and Fire series) by George RR Martin. And probably The Shining by Stephen King. I think all these books could be enjoyed by anyone no matter what genre they prefer.
E: What’s next in line for you, are you working on a new book now?
B: Actually, I just released another action thriller called Blood Money about a vigilante-for-hire that rescues a female biologist from a government safe house in order to help get her latest discovery, a cure for AIDS, out into the public. It’s similar to Highway to Vengeance but written in a third-person POV and actually has a hint of romance in it. It’s a little more accessible than HTV and features a strong female character. I’m also about halfway done with a supernatural thriller called Darkness Unbound about a young man that picks up a 15-year old hitchhiker with extra-sensory mental abilities who is on the run from the government as well as some far more unsavory characters who hope to use her abilities for their own means. Also in the works is another supernatural thriller about a man with lethal physical abilities that remembers nothing of his past and whose only identifying feature is a tattoo on the back of his neck written in an ancient, strange script. Sort of a Bourne Identity/Dark Tower/Highlander mash-up written like a hard-boiled crime thriller. I started out writing supernatural thrillers and only switched to action thrillers on the advice of my agent. Now that I’m on my own, I’m back to writing what I love the most, supernatural/dark fantasy novels written from in the style of a modern thriller. Oh, and I also just released a nasty little first-person serial killer story under a pseudonym—it’s far different than my action thrillers and I didn’t want to create any false impressions under my real name. But you’ll have to seek that one out on your own if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
E: If you could have a dinner with three people/characters (real, imaginary, famous or not, even dead!) who would you choose?
B: Oh man, talk about a tough one! For sure Jesus of Nazareth (or Jesus Christ, depending on what you believe) just to see for myself what he was all about. Second, probably Dan Simmons. Even though I’ve talked to him for extended lengths a few times before, I always come away inspired and ready to write my ass off. And third, probably Les Claypool, bassist and lead singer of Primus, my absolute favorite band, just because I’ve been fascinated with him ever since I was a kid.
E:  Tell us five random facts about yourself.
My middle name is Egan.
I’m really a much nicer guy than I seem to be.
I love Mountain Dew.
I’m a scratch golfer.
I used to drink way too much beer in—I’m talking 15-18 beers a day 6 days a week for 3 months at a time during my summer baseball days up in Santa Barbara playing for the Foresters.
Random Questions:

- white or dark chocolate? Dark, for sure.
- coffee or tea? Neither. Mountain Dew, Gatorade and water only.
- favorite fictional character? Roland Deschain (OMG!!! Totally with you on that one! -Evie)
- favorite movie? Tie between No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood
- favorite song? Jerry was a Race Car Driver by Primus.
- favorite TV show? Tie between The Wire, The Shield, and Breaking Bad followed closely by The Sopranos.
- Spring or Autumn Neither. Summer all the way.
- ebook or printed copy?  Printed, no doubt.

Brian, thank you so much for joining us today!  
I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing your next books!

I hope you guys enjoyed the interview, for more information about Brian Springer and his books, please visit his website: Brian Springer or/and read my review of: Highway to Vengeance.

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Giveaway Time! 
Brian Springer kindly provided us with an ebook copy of his thrilling book!

Open to everyone
Ends: Thursday, August 25th

*Mandatory entry: be a GFC follower of my blog and leave a comment with your email address.
*Extra entries: 
+1 Follow me on Twitter @SeoEvie
+5 Follow Brian on Twitter @brianspringer13

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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Shae Carcar said...

I love dark chocolate too!

majoy said...

Wow!! Another great giveaway Evie...
you really rock your readers...


Bethie said...

Thanks for the awesome giveaway.

I follow on GFC

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Darlene said...

Please enter me in the draw!

I'm following you on GFC (Darlene), and my email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Darlene said...

+1 following you on Twitter (@DarleneBookNook)

My email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Darlene said...

+5 following Brian on Twitter (@DarleneBookNook)

My email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Destiny said...

I follow you on Twitter an am a GFC Follower (Destiny)
+5 following Brian on Twitter (@DestinyLies)

JaZziE said...

Please enter me!!
Name: Jessica

I've entered all the extra entries..
Twitter: @jessically

Thank You!!

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