• Amy's Bookshelf Reviews

Featured Author: LM Brown


Q: In one sentence, tell me something that describes you as a person?

A: I cheated and asked my husband. While he was thinking I knew he’d say passionate, but that’s only one word. In a sentence-‘Passionately dedicated to my work and family.’

Q: How many books have you written? How many of those are published?

A: 8 books. 1 published. 1 forthcoming

Q: Do you have an upcoming release? If yes, tell me the title and impending release date.

A: Yes, it’s a linked short story collection set in Ireland titled ‘The Village’. I don’t have the release date yet.

Q: Tell me about how you come up with your titles for your stories. Do you create the title before or after you write the book, and does it ever change from the initial title?

A: Debris came because of the poem ‘Debris’ by Lola Ridge. It’s inside the front cover of the book and when I read it I thought that it was a perfect rendering of the tone and atmosphere of the book, ‘I love those spirits that men stand off and point at…’ When I looked up Lola Ridge, I discovered we were both born in Dublin and shared the same birthday, a hundred years apart, her family were miners as was my maternal grandfather in Arigna, and she moved to the States in her thirties. The similarities were uncanny.

Other titles come from words I’d written within the book, such as ‘After Joseph’ or the tone, ‘Hinterland.’

Q: Out of all your characters in all of your books, who/what (sometimes a setting can also be an important “character”) do you think is the most interesting and why?

A: In all my books? I think I will just concentrate on Debris otherwise it would be too hard. In Debris I loved Andre and Michelle but I would have to choose Erin above everyone. At first I conceived her to be more selfish and using Andre to get what she wanted, but the more I wrote the more I realized here was more to her than that. She’s a survivor.

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Q: If you could “create” your own genre of what you write, what would you call your books?

A: A friend recently said my books and short stories are character driven but with a good plot. I think character and writing is very important but so is the ability to turn a character on their head and surprise the reader with the outcome of the story. I definitely have found my style and it is suspense/or mystery, but it’s not genre fiction. Not long ago I might have said literary suspense, but I don’t know about the term ‘literary now, so psychological suspense, though that isn’t creating my own genre, is it? It’s so hard to put the way I write under a label, and to create a genre at this stage is near impossible. Haven’t they all been taken? Suspenseful plot twisting…, sounds like that game from the 90’s…I’d love to see what readers think after a few books are out.

Q: Without quoting your back cover synopsis, tell me about the last book you published.

A: It’s a coming of age story with a mystery. After the accident that killed his mother, Andre flees to his aunt’s house where he meets troubled teen Erin Mc Evoy and starts to investigate her mother’s disappearance. Its set in the 1980’s Ireland. While writing it I thought a lot about the difference gender makes, not only in the 80’s but now. Andre and Erin have similar tragedies but how Erin is perceived is different to Andre. Of course money has something to do with that, but there is more to it than social status. Being a girl made life a lot more difficult for Erin. I also wanted to address the fact that women are often put into their roles they don’t want. Michelle, Andre’s aunt is a great example of what I mean by this. She’s expected to take care of Andre, because she is a woman. She is a fighter and a strong character but it’s so hard to fight against this stereotype. A reviewer wrote ‘Debris is a novel that will resonate with anyone who has considered the dynamics of identity’. I really like that, because to me Debris is about identity; how we look to others for our self-awareness and how society shapes the way we behave.

Q: Tell me something about yourself that is separate from writing.

A: I believe in making the most of every minute of the day!

Q: Who is your favorite Author?

A: That’s tough, I will write Toni Morrison today, but I also love Margaret Atwood and George RR Martin and Michael Ondaatje, and so many others.

Q: What is the last book that you read? (Not counting anything you wrote)

A: Euphoria by Lilly King

Q: When writing, do you have a system or something you plan, or do you just write?

A: I used to try and figure out the story as I wrote, but with Debris I knew exactly what I was doing and that is why I was able to dole out information in bits and pieces and keep the reader guessing. I won’t start a story or novel now without mapping it out and knowing what I want to do. Even still, I might write something I hadn’t thought of. In my short story ‘The Empty Unit’ the crippled aunt came up and stayed there for a while before I realized she needed a story of her own, and hence the idea for ‘Hidden’.

Q: Why do you write?

A I have no choice. I have to write. There are too many stories out there not to. Short stories make me really look at the world. The novel is much more private and reclusive, but both are ways to understand the world and my take in it. I think I’d go mad if I didn’t write and I’d drive my family crazy too.

Q: Do you read your own work a lot? If so, what does it do for you?

A: Yes of course. It depends, with published short stories it’s a wonderful feeling because other people are reading, but there’s this niggling worry that I could have done that better. With Debris on hardcover it was great to read it, though I was nervous too. I am really fortunate that I have some great trusted readers who look at my work when it’s done. It’s hard to step back and see the whole picture when you’ve worked on it for so long, and I never send a story out now without getting it read first. Sometimes the reaction is ‘it’s great’, other times it’s ‘what the hell happened’, and then I go back and read it as the reader. I think its important to be able detach yourself from the story. I just finished revising my new novel ‘Patient 55’ and after so many months of it in a drawer, I figured something out about the book that was really important so there are times you read your own work and think “course, this is what I meant.”

Q: What is your favorite type of music? Is there one genre (or song, band etc...) that brings out your creativeness more than others?

A: Reggae I love, but jazz or classical if I was to play anything while working. I don’t usually though. Unless I am revising, I prefer silence.

Q: As an author, I find that the hardest thing to write (for me) is the synopsis that will be on the back cover or book’s description. When you write, what is the hardest line to write, the first line, the last line or the synopsis for the book?

A: Most of the time, I know exactly where I am headed with a story so the last line can often appear before I realize. The beginning I’ve never found too hard because I know I’m just setting the scene and can go back and change it. The synopsis is always hard because you have to get the whole feel of it in a paragraph, so I would agree with you.

Q: If you could sit down and have a coffee (or whatever beverage) with anyone, living or dead, from any era, any time, who would it be and why? (You can pick up to 3 persons).

A: Leonard Cohen

Q: What does it mean to be a “successful” writer?

A: People want to read your work.

Q: What do you want to accomplish, so when you look back at your life, you can say “I did that”?

A: I’d want to look at my three daughters and see they’ve grown from curios girls to courageous woman who know it’s possible to follow their dreams.

And of course, I want to write bestsellers and be in the New York Times.

Q: Any final thoughts that you want to give to your fans or even future authors?

A: Recently someone asked what the best thing about being a writer was and after thinking about it I realized its being read and enjoyed. I want to thank the readers for reading and hope that after Debris, they might become fans.

#brown

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