Hall of Information Interviews: Brooklynn Dean

The exploration of unique voices in storytelling is back for another Hall of Information Interview. On this occasion we are joined by author Brooklynn Dean who has mastered depth and symbolism in her unique books. From magical realism to rock and roll, you’ll find a lot more in her words than just a story.

Q1.  Let’s talk about your unique writing style. Most stories have nowhere near as much depth or inner meaning as ‘The Word of the Rock God’. Part of that depth is a moral story which centres around the themes of good versus evil, temptation and even purity. This is merged with the life of a touring rock band. What influenced you to find and write this story?  

“Wow, I feel very complimented by this question! Thank you for saying so.”


Honestly, I’ve always been interested in Christianity generally and Catholicism specifically as a theological topic of study. I find the lore of the Bible so interesting— the spiritual rules/regulations, the various creatures, the way angels are meant to interact or not interact with humans, angels mutating into demons when they disobey, etc. so when I write magical realism, divine creatures are always my go-to.” 


One night I was driving home from a concert, listening to Palaye Royale, and their song “How Do You Do?” shuffled on. The first line “good morning, how do you do? I’ve been up all night looking for you.” struck me, and I began visualizing a scene in which a stranger might sit down before a person and say these words. Who would this stranger be? Why would she have been searching out this person.

Having just seen a show, I imagined that person as a rock star. I couldn’t see the stranger who had been stalking him as just a regular old fan of his band, though, and my interests in mythology and Christianity quickly crafted this woman into a demonic figure. But then, why would a demon want him? Well, for his platform, of course, and to use to corrupt as many souls as possible, but why him? What’s so special about his platform? I won’t say here because I don’t want to give away spoilers, but the concepts of morality and good and evil have simply always been intriguing to me. And I love shy, sweet innocent men. I don’t think they get enough credit in media; often they’re relegated to being the butt of a joke or a sidekick, and that doesn’t fly with me.


Given that my stalker-character was demonic, it just seemed to me that Max’s innocence should’ve stemmed from his faith.
I really don’t feel like I create the characters as much as I discover them. They exist somewhere separate from me, even though that place is inside my mind, and I feel like I sit down with them and let them tell me their stories.

“One thing that seemed as important to Max as it is to me is the concept of fate and destiny. I imagine we all have a certainty destiny laid out for us, but I vehemently believe that our free will allows us to step outside of what’s been written in the stars for us if we decide to. It was important for me to express that in the text.”

I very much believe that also, we all have the ability to change the stars. It’s very interesting to see how you constructed the story, it kind of makes even more sense now. For anyone who hasn’t read ‘The Word of the Rock God’ I highly recommend it – here’s my recent review.

Q2. Are there similar themes in your other works? Please tell us more about them?    

“A theme I touch on in The Word of the Rock God that I really delve into in Amethyst, 2288, and in my brand new work, Deification, is celebrity and idolization. In Rock God, Max wonders why people are his fans— do they dig into the messages of his songs and lyrics and admire him for what he’s saying, or do they simply see him as a modern deity? Do they admire him because he’s elevated above them on a stage? Does what he say matters or is it simply that he’s got a microphone in which to say it? I think we live in a society that raises us to believe we aren’t good enough (mostly for monetary gain by the major corporations of the world), and when you couple this almost-brainwashing insecurity with the loss of God (or any other deity) it creates a hole that can only be filled with the admiration of another person.”

“I think we enjoy loving each other and praising each other and feeling camaraderie— humans are social animals!— but if we feel inferior while praising someone else, we start to see them as superior to us. Celebrities have very much become modern gods, in my opinion. That’s why Amethyst’s tagline “you’re not god, but your my god” exists as it does. Our main character is extremely pessimistic and nihilistic, so when she sees someone creative and beautiful, she can’t believe he’s human. She immediately puts him on a pedestal instead of focusing on her own creative energy and becoming the god of her own life herself.”

In 2288, this idea of hero-worship is extended to a dystopian state wherein creatives are classified as Elite and everyone is simply The Citizenship.”

These stories sound awesome. Most books have nowhere near that much depth (including mine)…

Q3. Tell us about your newest release ‘Deification’?  

“Deification is most certainly an exploration of Christian creatures. As I’ve said, angels and demons and the anti-Christ are all such intriguing concepts to me. I love the idea of a great End of Days where these creatures mingle with humans on earth, where earth as we know it, is gone.”

“But my main character stemmed from a reading of A Clockwork Orange where I paused to ask myself why isn’t the evil gang leader-murderer ever a woman? Just as I enjoy giving shy guys a spotlight, I very much enjoy giving bold, unsympathetic, selfish women a place to exist too. So Torrence stepped forth from my subconscious and said, “Hey, I’ve got a tale for you. Here’s my life story.””

“I almost always find myself relating to the male character in movies which feature both male and female leads, so I try to write men and women the way I’d relate to them. It’s not the traditional view of gender norms, but I’m writing for the people who don’t see themselves in those traditional roles.” 

OUT NOW!

Q4. I’ve seen on social media you mention reading the work of Anne Rice, do you have any book recommendations from authors you follow and what genres you enjoy?  

“I absolutely adore Anne Rice, yes. Since so much of my answers feature idolization and worship, I’ll be the first to admit that she is my god. No doubt about it.”

“I absolutely would recommend your work, Lee, and have done so to quite a few people! I also enjoy the work of Jeremy Megargee and Gillian Dowell, two fellow indie writers whose works deserve attention.”

Genre-wise, literary fiction is my go-to. I love purple prose, flowery language, sentences that last for paragraphs (shocker considering the length of my answers, huh?) I think everyone should sit down with a book that explores the inner-workings of the characters minds as much as it does the action of the plot. Reading a stranger’s work can become very personal when you realize how deeply the two of you can connect over whatever innately human emotion or thought or concern a fictional character is going through.

Thank you for mentioning my work and of course recommending it. Much like you I’m all about proper sentences and the characters!

Q5. Moving away from writing and books briefly, what other interests do you have?  

“Music is extremely important to me. You’ve read Rock God so I’m sure you might’ve imagined that already. I love how deeply connected, much in the way of books and writing, music and lyrics can make you feel to people you’ve never met before. I can’t tell you how many dear friends I’ve made at concerts— oh, hey, we both like Ice Nine Kills and you drove 3 hours to be here and I drove 2 and a half, and we know nothing else about each other but for the next hour we are going to drink and sing and laugh and enjoy our shared experience here. That’s beautiful. I think because of concerts, music offers a connection other art forms aren’t necessarily able to.”

“Outside of music, I love comic cons. I’m a total nerd. Give me conventions, give me horror movies, give me cosplay. I love it all.”

“And of course, I’m obsessed with cats.” 

Beautiful indeed. Nothing beats live entertainment and the energy of a crowd.

Q6. Tea, coffee, beer or wine?

“Tough choice as I love three of the four. We can definitely get rid of beer. Reluctantly I’ll give up tea. I do love wine, but I’m not sure I’d survive without coffee. If I have to choose between the two, I’ll take the coffee. But this question is evil. Haha.”

Q7. Are you a morning person or a night owl?  

“Absolute night owl! I hate mornings.” 

Q8.   You have quite an impressive social media following. What’s your strategy when it comes to social media and does it play a part in selling books?

“I can’t say I have any real strategy. I’ll post or tweet something I think is hilarious or artistic and see a much smaller response than something I was hesitant to post at all will get. I think a big thing for me is my ability to talk to anyone as if they’re my best friend. I know a lot of writers and readers are introverted, so me saying GO TALK TO EVERYONE isn’t exactly helpful. But I really think “be yourself” is an overused cliche for a reason. When you’re fully accepting of who you are and what you like and what you think, it’s very easy for other people who enjoy those same things to find you. I’m not sure if it plays into my book sales. I have friends who buy everything I’ve ever created, and I’ve become friends with people because they’ve read my books and reached out to let me know. I like to think I’m logical and intelligent, but truly I just kind of float through life on gut feelings and meditation, and it works out pretty well for me! I know some people probably cringe at the aloofness of that ramble. I’m kind of a hippy that way.”

Excellent advice and outlook. I’m kind of just winging it on social media…

You can catch Brooklynn over on the Tweet machine here…

Q9. What projects are you currently working on and what can we expect to see next from Brooklynn Dean?  

“I’m revisiting an old manuscript I wrote back in 2016-2017ish. It features my trademark shy guy and assertive woman pairing. It’s paranormal. A thriller of sorts, I suppose, though I’d like to try my hand at something romantic.”

Sounds awesome, looking forward to it!

Q10. Finally, a question that I ask all interviewees. If there is one sentence of advice you would give someone with dreams of becoming a writer, what would you say?  

Writing is an art form and you know your story better than anyone, so don’t let people force their own “rules” on you.” 

 

Great advice! Thank you Brooklynn Dean for taking the time to share an insight into your unique world of story telling.

Brooklynn’s next book ‘Deification’ is out now and available here. You can also find her backlist via Amazon here.

Hall of Information Interviews: Marc Cavella

The exploration of unique voices in story telling has returned with another Hall of Information Interview. Fellow author and story-teller Marc Cavella shares an insight into his world, from writing all the way to the niche but ever so interesting subject of politics in pro wrestling.

Q1. Let’s jump right in and start with writing. Where did story telling begin for Marc Cavella?

The first thing I really remember sharing with a bigger group was a class assignment that I wrote in sixth grade. We had to write a fake advertisement for a product we’d created. I ended up writing an ad about a machine that administered corporal punishment to children so parents wouldn’t feel guilty about doing it themselves, and it got a huge laugh from the class. (Bear in mind that we were sixth graders.) I remember that even our teacher was crying with laughter (and yet she still only gave it a B+). That’s probably when I first learned that something I wrote could have a cool effect on people.

Q2. Your latest book draws influence from an interesting subject– the politics of professional wrestling. This is a unique basis for a story and one I found highly enjoyable as fan of wrestling and reader. Please tell us more about ‘The Ballad of Ricky Risotto’ and what influenced the story?

“I’ve always been a huge fan of pro wrestling. I used to watch every show I could find when I was a kid—WCCW on ESPN when I would come home from school in the afternoons, WCW and NWA on the weekends, and all the old WWF shows like Superstars, Main Event, and Shotgun Saturday Night. So I’ve pretty much been watching wrestling for as long as I can remember—and I was an especially big mark for guys like Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, The Four Horseman, and the von Erichs.

At the same time, I’ve always been the kind of person who wanted to learn about the history of the things I liked. So as I got older and the “business” became more exposed via the internet, and later, social media, I started to dig a little deeper into wrestling’s past: The people who ran those old regional promotions like Jim Crockett and Verne Gagne, how the old territories worked and competed with each other, and how the business itself had evolved from the carnival circuits that ran shows around the country at the turn of the century.

So all of that together really served to influence the story and let me combine a bunch of different aspects into one piece. I enjoyed the opportunity to write it.”

Interesting, as a kid and teen I was drawn to watching wrestling, it made for great entertainment and escapism. Today much like you I enjoy the political element just as much.

Q3. I think we can agree the more prolific days of pro wrestling are behind us but that won’t stop us from looking back. Are there any moments or stand out personas that you have been drawn to over the years? What names would consider to be all-time greats that would perhaps make up a ‘Mount Rushmore’ of the industry?

Man, that’s a great question. I was always a big fan of tag-team wrestling. The Hart Foundation was definitely my favorite, even though I couldn’t stand Jimmy Hart when I was a kid. (I have a great appreciation for him now, though.) I also loved teams like Legion of Doom and Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard.

Stand-out moments for me will always include The Ultimate Warrior vs. The Honky Tonk Man at SummerSlam in 1988. I loved The Ultimate Warrior as a kid and when I heard that music and Gorilla Monsoon’s famous call of the match, I yelled so loud that my mother came in to the living room to see if I was okay. Watching The Undertaker toss Mick Foley off the top of the cage at Hell in a Cell is something I’ll always remember, too. I was watching that show with some friends, and I remember looking around the room and seeing everyone’s faces just absolutely frozen in shock and surprise. I didn’t think he’d survived that fall, and then he goes on to get thrown through the top of the cage and down onto the mat. Insane.

As far as my wrestling Mt. Rushmore goes, the first name that comes to mind is Ric Flair, obviously, seeing as he was the biggest draw of an entire era and he was the total prototype for what a modern wrestler should be—fantastic at all aspects of technical wrestling, but one of the best promos of all time and a masterful storyteller. Bret Hart is always going to be up there for me, too. I read something recently that said he’d never injured an opponent in the ring, and yet his offense still looked stiff and believable. I think you’d have to put Hulk Hogan on there, as unpopular as he is with a large segment of the wrestling community, simply because of how big a star he was and how he helped to raise the industry’s profile so much during the 80’s boom. And as much as I want to say Andre the Giant or The Fabulous Moolah (as controversial as she is), I think you can make a case that Chris Jericho belongs up there as well, given that he’s had long runs as the top guy in multiple promotions working a variety of different styles for about twenty-five years now.

Great memories and moments. Of course I agree with all the names mentioned, that hell in a cell match is something I always use introduce those who have never watched wrestling before, it normally hooks them in…

Q4. And just briefly what’s your take on the current wrestling industry?

“The current generation is probably the most athletically talented, but I just can’t get into it like I used to. I think it’s gotten too bland for my tastes, to be honest. I don’t need a steady diet of chair shots and barbed wire, but once WWF became a publicly traded company, the corporatization really kicked in and it became very milquetoast to me as a whole. There are still some wrestlers who do great work both in the ring and on the mic, though.

Q5. Let’s talk books. Do you have any other works currently available and what can we expect next in terms of writing from Marc Cavella?

My first novel, “Tabernacle”, is available on Amazon and all other major outlets. “Tabernacle” tells the story of Edward Jones, an incredibly successful salesman who sells a product that none of his clients actually wants. I like to describe it as sort of a genre mash-up—it’s a dark comedy, but it’s also literary fiction with some suspense, noir, and neo-Western elements to it as well. It’s gotten some very nice reviews so far and I’m always glad when people tell me they enjoyed it. John Cena and Alexa Bliss make very brief cameos in it, so it has some ties to the wrestling world as well.

I’m currently working on some sequels. “Place the Flowers” follows Edward Jones as he eases into family life (sort of), but not without his own gritty twist to it. And I’m working “The Man from Coronado,” which focuses on Lance Sacramento, one of the wrestlers who appears in “The Ballad of Ricky Risotto.” I’m hoping to make a trilogy out of those wrestling-based novellas and release them as a paperback anthology in the summer of 2021.

Sounds like you have some awesome projects lined up for next year.

Here’s my recent review of ‘The Ballad of Ricky Risotto’

Check out Marc’s Amazon page here

Q6. What interests do you have outside of writing?

I love reading, certainly. I’m also a huge history buff, as mentioned previously, and that extends to lots of different topics beyond wrestling and sports. I’m very interested in military history—I love going to the national battlefield parks we have here in America, especially the ones dedicated to the U.S. Civil War—and I’m lucky enough to live in an area that has a lot of Revolutionary War battlefields and museums, too, so I try to go to those whenever I can. I also enjoy poker and other card games as well and spent way too much time in casinos when I was in my mid-twenties.

Q7. Tea, Coffee, beer or wine?

Coffee, personally. But even that’s a rarity. I tried to get into wine for a while but I don’t think my palate is sophisticated enough.

Excellent choice, my problem is I like all 4…

Q8. Do you have a favourite movie or go-to television series? Feel free to name a few and why?

My favorite movies are Goodfellas and Rocky. (I’ll argue to this day that the original Rocky is completely underrated, even though it won Best Picture.) They’re just very well-written stories about people who are on the edges of society, and I’m always a sucker for stories like that. Back to School starring Rodney Dangerfield is one of my favorite movies of all time as well and one that I quote way too often, as is Back to the Future. I also think Predator is a fantastic movie. People look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that, but it’s actually an excellent sci-fi/suspense movie. As far as TV shows, I’ll go with my staples: Seinfeld and Frasier.

Great movies! Especially Goodfellas and Back to the Future although all you have mentioned are from an awesome era in cinema. I find myself quoting Predator a lot these days and Frasier of course is my go-to sitcom!

Q9. A hot topic over on Twitter these days, do you have any must read book recommendations?

I’ll always recommend “The Sun Also Rises”—Hemingway at his best. And Robert Graysmith’s “Zodiac” is one of the scariest nonfiction books of all time. If you dislike either sleeping or feeling safe, you should definitely read it.

Both excellent choices – the Zodiac film is a hidden gem also!

Q10. And lastly, a question I ask all interviewees. If there is one sentence of advice you give to someone with dreams of becoming a writer, what would you say?

“It’s going to be an incredibly challenging, difficult, and unpredictable road, but you can definitely succeed at it if you never give up.”

Wonderful advice and a great interview. Thank you Marc Cavella for taking the time to give us an insight into your world.

You can find Marc over on the Tweet machine and check out his awesome site where you can find out more.

And so the bell rings on another Hall of Information Interview. Thank you for joining us. See you in the next one!