In conversation with... S.G. Browne

Hello Scott! First of all, thank you for agreeing to join us on Book After Book! You have two published novels so far, Breathers and Fated. What does it mean to you to be a published writer?

A: It means I get the opportunity to share my sense of humour and stories with others and hopefully make them laugh. It also means I’ve been able to be my own boss for the past three years, which is nice. Though I’m thinking I need a raise.

Breathers follows Andy while he adjusts to his new existence as a zombie. Where did your interest in the undead stem from?

A: I saw Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead on TV when I was 12-years-old. This was before cable and videos, so they edited out the eating of human flesh and the naked zombie. But it was still a highlight of my limited horror film exposure at the time. The film had this mystery and intrigue built up around it and from that point on I was a zombie fan. Though I’m not obsessed with them. I have other interests, too.

Our screens have recently been stormed by zombies, vampires and the like. Is Andy going to make his cinema or television debut soon?

A: I hope so. The film rights for Breathers were optioned by Fox Searchlight Pictures a couple of years ago, but even though the script has been written the film is spinning its wheels in development waiting for a director. So we’ll see what happens.

In Fated, instead, we meet Fabio, who works as Fate and gets in trouble for getting involved with Sara, a human. Destiny and Death are among the other characters of this quirky comedy. How did the idea for this novel come to you?

A: I was sitting in a shopping mall watching people walk past and wondering what they would be doing in 20 years. So I got out my journal and wrote a scene about a character who doesn’t wonder about these people but instead knows what they’ll be doing in the future because he’s Fate. I didn’t do anything with the idea until more than two years later, when I was trying to figure out what to write a few months after I’d finished Breathers. The scene in the shopping mall ended up being the genesis for the first chapter. The rest of it just kind of flowed out of that.

Due to the popularity of social networking websites, it seems that interacting with readers – be it via a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a blog etc. – is becoming increasingly important. How do you cope with these new demands on authors and do you think that they somehow disrupt your writing schedule?

A: While social networking sites can be beneficial when used properly, they are definitely a time suck from writing and disruptive as hell. As a writer, you have to try to limit your time on Facebook, Twitter, etc., to an hour or two each day, otherwise it’s easy to get sucked into a black hole of status updates and 140 character replies. Striking the right balance isn’t easy. Sometimes when I’m involved in a project I completely forget to blog or interact with readers on the social networking sites. Other times, you just have to unplug. After all, we weren’t wired to communicate electronically.

What one fundamental piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: Write something that matters to you and that affects you on some emotional level. Something that makes you laugh or makes you 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.

And lastly, is there anything that you would like to share that I haven’t asked?

A: Well, since you mentioned it… my next novel, Lucky Bastard, is due out in April 2012. It’s a dark comedy and social satire about a private investigator who was born with the ability to steal luck and what happens when he has to deal with the karmic consequences of his genetic opportunism.

Thank you for your time!

Thank you, Silvia.

Well, I don't know about you but I'm already looking forward to April 2012! In the meantime, why don't you fill in this form for a chance to win a bundle of S.G. Browne's novels? Thanks to the generosity of Little, Brown, three lucky UK readers will win a copy of both Breathers and Fated. The competition will close on the 28th November at 1pm.


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