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interview with D. H. Brown
D. H. Brown
RR: Why did you start writing HONOR DUE, the first book in your Citizen Warrior Series?
D.H.: It's been a way for me to get out the internal thoughts. The world behind my eyes has always been larger than the physical world I live in. Rebecca, my wife, says I think Big Thoughts. I fell in love with the West End of Washington's Olympic Peninsula 26 years ago and always thought it would lend itself to some sort of mystery or thriller. Maybe it's a part of my desire to avoid crowds, however, living deep in the rainforest is a pleasure all of it's own. It also makes writing much easier.
RR: As HONOR DUE is listed as Mystery/Action/Thriller with a military flair, are women reading it?
D.H.: After my wife read the first draft of HONOR DUE she said she'd enjoyed it, even though it needed much more work. Then she asked if I wanted women to read it. At the time I typed 'The End,' I'd assumed I was writing only for a male audience, and you know what that makes me. I thought I'd got two strong women in the story, and wasn't that enough? When I asked her what she'd meant, we started talking about relationships and how they develop. I let that simmer awhile and then went to work on my next draft. Now I'm getting responses from women readers saying they liked both the action and the relationships. One woman reader wrote me to know if the Major was a real man and where she might reach him. Sadly I had to tell her he lived only in my head. How 'bout that!
RR: As a Viet Nam Veteran was it difficult for you to revisit this time of your life?
D.H.: Writing these books was suggested by my therapist and Psych Meds doctor who thought it would aid in my recovery. As I'm 100% disabled, some days, it's tough and all I want to do is bury myself in someone else's stories. Other days, it's as if a piece of shrapnel from a memory has worked its way up to the surface and just pops out. I believe that for most veterans war is not a subject matter we like to revisit. However, sometimes doing that can have a healing effect. So yeah, I think it's helped some.
RR: What feedback has there been from fellow Veterans?
D.H.: I've had one who hasn't read a book in 20 years, tell me it made him want to take up reading again. A bunch of my buds from CounterParts took a copy with them during hunting season last fall on Michigan's Upper Peninsula and could do nothing except rave how the one reading it stayed up all night and wasn't worth... well... you know, the next day for hunting. Reckon that about says it all.
RR: Do you plan your stories or do they come to you as write?
D.H.: Ideas come and I open a file and jot down notes. In time an outline takes form, mostly chronologically in nature. I do a lot of background and local research too. In the case of HONOR DUE there were other vets which added to the flavor of the book. Some things come wholly formed from something I've lived or a story I've heard. The main thing I do is character development. Days and sometimes weeks can go into getting to know a character, his/her life, moods, facial expressions, language, quirks and manners. I want to know their relationships and how they relate to others and their environment.
RR: Is there any of you in the Major?
D.H.: Sure, much of HONOR DUE is autobiographical in nature. Other characters reflect the many people I've known who've made an impression on me. I'd say that the central and essential parts of HONOR DUE come from my war years as a Logistics and Weapons Specialist. I rubbed shoulders with many fine and honorable men from all the combat arms in the course of my military service. I got to see a fair bit of Vietnam, albeit some I wish I hadn't, as an M-60 Gunner on road convoys. So you might say the Major's made up of parts of all that. Other parts come from my years as a guide in Alaska and living in the bush, as well as the many other lives I've had. I've lived a real varied and rich life and try to write from what I know to be authentic.
RR: What do you want readers to remember after reading HONOR DUE?
D.H.: That they take away a sense of the honor that Veterans have earned and that goes with them throughout their lives. And the values that men of war hold dear. It's been said that only the Warrior truly knows the reason wars should NOT be fought. I think the converse is also true: They recognize there are some things that cannot be tolerated.
RR: What other books are brewing?
D.H.: I'm deep into the second re-write of HONOR DEFENDED and finishing up the first draft of HONOR REDEEMED. Both, the continuing adventures and life of the Major and books in The Citizen Warrior Series. I've got two other projects, stand alone stories that I keep adding to from time to time as my health allows.
RR: Can you tell our readers where they can find out more about you and your writing?
D.H.: Just Google D. H. Brown and HONOR DUE. My wife tells me there are a fair number of hits available. My website is http://www.dhbrownbooks.com or http://www.myspace.com/dhbrownbooks. I post things to my blog occasionally at MySpace. The books are also listed on my publisher's website at http://www.bigriverpress.com
RR: Thanks, DH, for taking the time to let get to know you.
D.H.: Totally my pleasure. I appreciate what RebeccasReads does for independent authors and their marketing efforts.
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