Dennis: How long have you been a writer and how did you get started?
Brian: I was initially inspired to become a writer after reading Call of the Wild by Jack London. His influence is reflected in my first publication, Astray which is based around a dog. I have since come to realize the importance of communication. Everything is written somewhere before the mechanisms are put in place such as acting, music, advertisement. Dialogue is the greatest tool toward world peace, and every gathering of leaders is preempted by evaluation and acquaintance of cultural perspectives typically found in text, whether historical or current indoctrinations. There is no downside to writing, and what many writers would agree to is that if a story within a person’s mind wants to be told, it will give you no rest until you have composed it. The characters are like needy children that demand attention, and insist upon being recognized. I consider myself a storyteller/stenographer just trying to keep up with describing the plot racing through my head, events unfolding. Sometimes it is like trying to hand a bottle of water to a race car driver maneuvering at high speed on the track at the Indy 500. I guess it is this kind of marriage with words that got me started, and keeps me going, and like it or not. These characters and their activities never take a day off, and insist you do not, either, like alimony to literature. Over time you become grateful for what can at first be perceived as annoyance. I am fortunate that so many ideas continue to occur to me. I pray they never stop.
Dennis: I noticed you write across multiple genres with some focus on American Indian folklore and culture. Please provide some information on your writing concerning this interesting topic.
Brian: Well, it may appear that way but really it is consistent in a fashion. Morality is a constant theme within my work. Astray, for example is what could result if genetic modification were used to perpetuate greed. That same perspective is demonstrated in the sequel Astray: The Tricksters Trademark as the government genetically alters humans to have wings. Intended to become the ultimate soldiers, the defiant gene pool has made them peaceful creatures, confounding the intentions of a manipulative government. As for the American Indian stories, they are deeply personal. My Grandfather was born when Sitting Bull still walked the earth. In those days many considered Indians to be less important than slaves, disposable. Indians were enslaved, of course but they were also often the victims of violent assaults. In the early twentieth century one would do well not to admit to Indigenous heritage, and try to blend in with society. My grandfather was Indian, but never divulged which nation. I think such imposed anonymity is what drove him to alcohol, and like many others like him. I feel I have a cultural obligation to write about Indians, as part of my own heritage, and as a means of demonstrating all Indians did not die with the death of Sitting Bull or Crazy Horse. It seems they are represented in the past tense, mostly, or as anti-government radicals associated with the incident at Wounded Knee, or American Indian Movement members, of which I proudly subscribe. But dialogue, again is the only way to resolve resentment, and past or future animosities. That is why I write about contemporary or even futuristic Indians. We are here today, will be here tomorrow and the ways of our Indian past may yet prove to be useful in the future. These are the ideologies I try to portray. I have lived on two different Indian reservations, The Penobscot, among the four nations referred to as The People of the Dawn on Indian Island in Maine, and among The Dine’, The Navajo in New Mexico. I was victorious in my snake dance cleansing ceremony. I never let the snake bite me…
Dennis: You have written a book titled Point Zero One. Please provide an overview of the book and what you want readers to get from reading the book?
Brian: Point Zero One is a significant piece of literature. The title is derived from a government statistic of the odds of dying from food poisoning here in this country. The book presents a scenario of terrorists attacking our agricultural system, and from seed to shelf. If things remain unchanged, this is a likely inevitability. This is among the greatest fears of Homeland Security and all other interactive agencies to include The FDA. It has been stated that this publication provides a road map, detailed instruction for terrorist groups to implement such a heinous attack. I say it represents a stern warning to any who might attempt such an activity. I say also it reflects areas in need of improvement in our food chain. I believe it is a mistake for people not to grow as many foods as they can, to rely exclusively on a system that is far more fragile than many realize. In the event of a disaster, it is too late for immediate resolution through first-hand methods. There may be no food from your crops for three months or more. That’s a hell of a diet plan! I remember throwing out almost everything in the produce department after hurricane Charlie in Florida. Additionally, all refrigerated, frozen and fresh items were discarded, and as they should be. But, it took time to replace those products. There were no generators at the time, and I remember two days of nothing but bananas in the produce department. No milk, no eggs in the store. It was a strange and scary sight to behold. In the event that the store itself had been destroyed it may have left a lot of people without food for an extensive amount of time. There are now backup generators in that store, and should be required in all grocery venues. Point Zero One addresses that, and also educates the reader about how not to be just a smart shopper, but a safe shopper. When Point Zero One was at last completed, I tried to categorize it in the extensive list of what kind of fiction category it fell into. Ultimately, my coauthor and I agreed it was in many ways unique. We determined it to be best described as Educational Fiction, a category that did not exist, until now. That is what it is, and it is presented as an educational tool through the actions and dialogue of the characters.
Dennis: Do you belong to any social networking sites?
Brian: I am currently on Facebook and Twitter (and who isn’t?), but I am also on Authors Den, and Writers Café, among others. I have done almost no networking on Twitter or Facebook yet, but I do intend to. I have been published since 04 but I deliberately did no marketing until this past early March, 2013 because I had issues with my former publisher for pricing my paperbacks at $24-$27.00 each, pricing them right out of the market. I discussed this concern with them and, since they were unwilling to yield, their thoughts being that I might buy my own work back from them at an ever fluctuating discount of somewhere between 30-50% off their very fictitious price. I boycotted my own work, and for seven years made a point to let them know Publish America would always remain on my writer beware list. So, contracts at last expired I am free to do as I wish with my work once again, lessons learned. A very strong conviction I retain is that literature should be affordable to all. A book can change a person’s life, as Jack London changed mine. Give it up for the kids, eh?
Dennis: I visited your website www.caucuspresss.com and found it full of excellent information concerning a healthy mind and body. Please tell us a little about your website and what information and services you offer:
Brian: Thanks for looking at it, and the compliment. The word caucus, commonly summoned in political discussions is actually an Indian word, Algonquin I believe. It means gathering of the wise, for counsel, or the elders, those with experience from which to draw decisions to conclusion. Caucuspress is a domain I could not have dared to imagine would be available this late in the dotcom debauchery, and yet it was not taken. After such a pleasant surprise we began designing it, keeping it simple but informative, and with extensive examples of the writing. Every business person or artist needs a website, and it is a specific persona that needs to be represented there. I try to have fun with it, make it something useful, a reflection of who you are, your interests and items such as recipes, growing your own food and even offering seeds for nothing or next to nothing. As an author, you may be more of a public figure than you are aware of. I have been approached by people that asked my name twice, and then asked if I wrote…?
I have many “Trophy” experiences, and I am always grateful when someone buys my book but when someone knows you from your work, it is welcome indeed. When this happens, whatever you may have been vexed with a moment earlier, an encounter resulting in an association of your writing will rinse any worry off your brow, kinda cool. Caucus Press also would like to help people learn to do the things we have learned and accomplished in all of our endeavors, and we welcome any input. The website should be helpful to any involved in it whether writers, readers, gardeners, cooks, or anybody. There is a lot of writing on there. But the mind is a muscle, just as the rest of the body, it benefits from exercise, deliberate controlled process that yields an intended result. Caucus Press will continue to grow, just as the wind captures the words.
Dennis: What suggestions do you have for other writers/authors?
Brian: Find your own expressions. Document your characters actions, and most importantly, their feelings, perspectives. Be a concerned journalist that befriends the very real people in your imagination. Follow their plight, their intentions both well intended and vile. Live their experience with a reverent humility. Draw from your experience. Let your mind wander into the realm of those new friends, those people that spoke to you while you slept, that drew your attention in a daydream, those to whom you should connect with every keystroke, grateful at last to spend time with people you know within your mind. They may be lovers. They may be anything, whether villain or hero, friend or foe. Let them introduce themselves, and sit in silent observation with an open mind, and without opinion. Let them be who they already are! Like everyone else, they are unique. Don’t contrive, rather observe and document. Let your characters breathe, let them live and associate with the reader and your characters will enjoy a long, productive and memorable life.
Dennis: What have you learned about the publishing industry that might help other authors or those who may want to be authors?
Brian: Be selective about a potential publisher. It took an abundance of time to write your book. That same level of determination needs to turn toward marketing, making people aware of your writing.
Dennis: What kind of marketing activities have worked for you that you might suggest to others?
Brian: Authors Den has pretty good exposure. Amazon, of course. Their KDP program has so far treated me right, and has increased sales. Booklocker is an awesome resource. Most importantly you must have an author site, a domain name owned website.
Dennis: Do you write articles? If yes, please provide some links where others can read what you have written?
Brian: In the past, I have been on a staff payroll as a writer in Florida, and was a contributor in a newspaper article I wrote as a freelance writer to a Rhode Island publication. It was just before the new millennium and I wrote an article titled Y2K Y not 2 worry. I have written many things over the years and before the internet existed. I write the text, get paid and leave the sentiment for retirement.
Dennis: Is there anything else you would like to add to include in this interview? Basically what would you want others to take away from this interview?
Brian: I appreciate the opportunity! In the words of Rocky Balboa, “Just keep on punchin, Apollo.”