Sit down and join me as I have a chance to pick author P.A. (Pat) Brown’s brain, one of my most admired writers of gay mystery/suspense/thriller and crime novels.
Where do you live? City, town, island, country?
In reality I live in London, a small city in Canada. In my heart I live in Los Angeles. London is about the 10th largest city in Canada even though it only has a population of about 360,000 which tells you how low a population Canada has—about the same as the state of California. It’s a pretty parochial, staid place, although we do put on a good Gay Pride week every July complete with a good sized parade.
Writer’s rarely like to toot their own horn; seriously! What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
I think my greatest accomplishment is being willing to take great leaps on faith. Not having a clue where I’m going to end up. Leaving London, which back in the 70s was really white bread and moving to Los Angeles. I was only 22, which was probably the equivalent of a 15 year old in LA. I did outrageous things and by all rights shouldn’t have survived the experience. But I never thought anything of what I was doing at the time. At 40 I did the same thing, went back to school after being out since I was 18 and totally changed my career. When I was offered a job in Bermuda I took it without hesitation. Sold everything once again and left.
Without getting too personal, can you share a little about your home life?
It’s pretty darn boring these days. I spend my day writing or editing, watching TV – I’m a huge fan of The Walking Dead, Soutlhland (of course), Under the Dome, Restaurant Nightmares and Judge Judy. Plus documentaries and good stuff like that.
When I can afford it I love to travel. Right now Toronto is in my budget, but I’m so hoping to get back to LA again, if only for a couple of weeks.
What inspires and challenges you most in writing?
To keep it honest. Fiction is lies, but at its core the best of it is about truth. I tell the truth about people as I know it. My characters aren’t me, but each one carries a small part of me and sometimes that means bringing things up that aren’t exactly my best side.
You’ve probably answered this question a hundred times, but please indulge as our readers (and fellow writers) want to know: Do you fly by the seat of your pants when writing or plot out your storylines?
I can’t plot a hole in a donut. I’m hopeless. The couple of times I attempted even a vague outline I was off course instantly. I love my stories growing organically. I don’t know where they’re going and sometimes the characters surprise me and take me into a story I never meant to write. But it’s so much fun to explore the story landscape and see where it takes me.
How do you deal with the constant distractions such as blogs, FB, promo and real life (like that dreaded daytime job)?
I’m lucky in one respect, I don’t have a day job. I don’t do anywhere near as much promo as I’m told I’m supposed to. And frankly I’m not convinced overloading Facebook or Twitter with tons of promo ever sold anything. It’s been shown again and again that the only thing that really sells books is word of mouth. I have a couple of blogs and I write for my local writer’s society on their blog.
You have two running series currently; The L.A. series and Geography of Murder series. How do you sustain serialized, continuing characters to keep the plot and characters fresh, reader coming back for more?
I think I get inside my characters heads so well I know them. I know how they think and act. I’ve lived with one version or another of Chris and David for almost 13 years. Spider and Jason less so, but writing Geography of Murder was such an intense experience it ground them into me so I can’t forget either of them.
After your book(s) come out, have had you ever had to deal with homophobia, and if so, what form has it taken?
I’ve been very lucky. I’ve never had anyone email me or get in my face about my books or characters. Except for the online battles I pick in some of the news groups I’m in, I don’t face it very much.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate all the way. With fudge and chunks of dark chocolate and those little toffee bits you get out of crushed skor bars. If you give me vanilla you better at least have chocolate fudge sauce for it.
On behalf of the Facebook Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Group, thank you for giving us a little of your time today, answering questions fans of the genre really want to know.
Can you share with us a little about your current release and/or WIP?
My most recent novel is Latin Boyz. Unfortunately, I gave it a lousy title so I don’t think people know what sort of book it really is. It has romance in it, but it is by no means a romance. It has suspense and an LAPD cop in it, but it’s more than a crime novel. It’s more about a young Latino man tortured by the death of his mother in a drive by shooting that also left his sister mentally challenged. Gabe, the young man, is the sole provider for his sister and his old uncle and at only 21, he’s not ready for the responsibility.
The gang member who led the drive by used to be his best friend. When he comes back and tries to finish the job to stop Gabe from complaining to the cops all the time, Gabe calls the police again. This time he meets Alejandro, a patrol officer who is immediately attracted to Gabe. But Gabe can’t admit he’s gay so it’s up to Alejandro to show him it’s a good thing and keep Gabe and his sister safe from the gang.
It’s not a light hearted story and has some dark moments but it’s a book I’m very proud of since I really pushed myself on it.
I also have a novella coming out in November called The Dragons of Winter. It’s my first shapeshifter story since The Bear and came out of my love of dragons and science fiction. I wrote the story as a quasi-SF, set on a fully developed planet with an alien culture. There are people called frails some of whom can shift into dragon form. It was fun to write and hopefully just as much fun to read.
Find Author P.A. Brown here: