Friday, March 6, 2009

More Brought To You By Nate Green

Nate has been kind enough to put up Part Two of our Q&A on his blog. Go there to find out more about me than you ever wanted to know.

On a side note, I'll have to post a pic of us standing next to each other sometime. People claim we bear a shocking resemblance to one another.


Rita Vetere said...

Part II was great, Brian! I was especially intrigued with the description of your work-in-progress, Face Blind. Sounds like another awesome read coming up. Keep us posted on it.

See you at the chat on Monday night--am looking forward to it.


Brian O'Rourke said...

Rita -

I'm looking forward to the chat as well! Always a lively time.

By the way, for anyone who doesn't know, Ancient Inheritance is Lyrical's number one mainstream bestseller!!! And it also became available Print On Demand on Monday. Check it out when you get a minute.

seanag said...

Just read both parts of the interview, Brian, and thought they were very good. I agree with you on so much of what you've said, whether on the whole feeling of not wanting to be limited either to a genre or to what readers have come to expect, to somehow wanting to straddle the great divide between literary and genre writers.

It's funny, because I think some of the very greatest writers, the ones who are now requirements in English classes actually started out more as genre writers. I'm thinking of Hugo, Dickens, Mark Twain, even Shakespeare. I do think that writing for the literati is probably the wrong tack. As is writing for the lowest common denominator. I believe that you should write for a body of readers that you assume are intelligent, but that a writer needs to add an element that causes them to invest in the book. That investment is important, whatever jaded people say. Otherwise, why should anybody bother with you?

Brian O'Rourke said...

I'm thinking of Hugo, Dickens, Mark Twain, even Shakespeare

You're absolutely right. It's strange to think of all these authors as "commercial" writers, but that's what they were first and foremost in their day.

I wish there had been a history of the novel class in college when I went. I would like to know where and when this schism between the literary and the commercial occurred, if such a time and a place can be settled upon by the scholars.

I also don't get the literary writer's apparent aversion toward a complicated, multi-layered plot. After all, I always thought of a writer as a "story-teller."

seanag said...

I think that storyteller lowers one's status a bit currently. But it's interesting to me, as I go through a kind of 'why write?' phase in my life, that what heartens me are these really great characters that have stayed with people forever. Just watched a cartoon version of 'Charlotte's Web' recently for instance, and thought, now I remember my teacher reading that to us in fourth grade or so, and here it is in another medium, making a mark and so on. But this wasn't Greek myth or anything, it was something that sprung up from one person's imagination. Adrian mentioned Fagin on his blog recently, and that's another character who sprang up, completely new in some sense. New and complicated. And for me, this is the greatest encouragement one can have to continue--because you never know when you might turn out to be a conduit for something larger than yourself, that the world would be lesser for without. It doesn't really matter if you're arrogant or humble in this regard--it's all about what comes through you.

Brian O'Rourke said...


Great point, and what a motivator to keep writing!

On a somewhat related note, I remember reading an anecdote about Alexandre Dumas's love for his creation, Porthos, the most flamboyant of the musketeers. Dumas recalled later that as he was writing the chapter about Porthos's death in The Man in the Iron Mask, he had to stop several times because he was balling his eyes out and could barely finishing writing the scene. The figure had not only grown so much in the public's mind but had also become one of the author's own best friends.

seanag said...

It is probably presumptuous to mention this following an anecdote about Dumas, but I remember writing a novel--unpublished and probably unpublishable--where I killed off the girl at the end. It wasn't a surprise--you know she's dead even at the beginning. I didn't cry over it, but I was moved by it in some way--it both did and didn't feel as though someone had really died. But I felt strangely as though I had to honor that moment or act or whatever. I remember walking over to a little park, where oddly, a bunch of school kids were playing Celtic music for a tiny crowd. I sat in the grass and ate an ice cream cone that I bought from a passing vendor. It felt somehow right.

Brian O'Rourke said...


Unpublished, yes, but unpublishable? Somehow I doubt that.

How long ago did you write it?

seanag said...

Oh, god, maybe six or seven years ago?

I actually lifted one of the chapters about the girl and got it published in a magazine called Zone 3. There are probably a couple other parts I could do this to as well.

I am not being falsely modest. When I say unpublishable, I mean that it's far too long, and that it really needs both massive revision and a really good and probably ruthless editor.

It's funny, though, that this comes up. I wrote this in the context of a writing group, and of the people in the group, only two other women who were also writing longer pieces ended up sticking it out with me. Much to the credit of the group, I think, we all did finish our novels, and I can say that the other two, though still needing work to get to final form, were really quite good, though quite different from each other. None of us were successful in getting an agent, though one of them also got a portion published in a literary magazine as a single story.

The reason I bring all this up is that this last week, a friend at work was going to have lunch with her brother who is a hospital chaplain, and when she started to explain that,I said, I knew what they did because a friend had written a mystery with one as the 'detective'. And she got excited about this and wanted to know the book. I had to tell her that it hadn't been published. And I felt sad about this. Because my friend created a great character. The only real problem with her book was that her mystery needed a few more plot twists. But she got discouraged at some rejection letters, and since she was really in a more retirement phase of life after a busy newspaper career, she didn't pursue it.

Maybe I should drop her a line and ask her if she's rested up enough now to pull it out the drawer or off her computer or whatever.

Brian O'Rourke said...


Your friend's character does make for a very interesting one. I think the mystery world could use a new take on "the detective." Why does it seem like every other one is a loner, malcontent, well-educated or well-read, ironic, etc?

I'm still trying to figure out this whole publisher/agent thing myself. It's especially tricky when they list the things they're not interested in and you get the sense they are or could be defining things differently than you or the rest of the world would.

So, when are you going to revisit your book? (hint, hint)

seanag said...

Hey, it's nice to see The Unearthed moving so briskly up Lyrical's Mainstream list. I'm about a hundred pages in and enjoying it very much. I'll give you more detailed feedback when I'm done.

Thanks for your interest in my taking a fresh look at my novel. I suppose that writing about it and the writing group at length here means that it is working its way up to the surface again. I suppose you might even say that it's been, well, unearthed.

I do think that I should write my friend with the chaplain detective and see if I can't give her a little nudge...

Brian O'Rourke said...


Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you're enjoying the book. Yeah, it's moved up the Mainstream list well, but hasn't cracked the overall list yet--it appears that the majority of Lyrical's readers buy their erotica. And even though it would help sales, I just can't bring myself to sell the book as erotic or romantic in any way because it's the farthest thing from either...unless someone is really disturbed.

I really do hope you take a look at your novel again. Because not too many people that set out to write one ever finish, which puts you pretty far ahead of the game.