Grab yourself a cuppa, relax and enjoy this week’s Author Influences with N. M. Brown.
Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
The first children’s book I remember reading was The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I still find it magical and engaging even now. To me, that strange wardrobe serves very much like books. You open it in the ordinary world and then you vanish into somewhere extraordinary.
Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I honestly didn’t always attend class. I was always too much of a daydreamer to cope with school – tending to sneak off to slump on a beanbag in the school library. But when I did attend class – if reading or composing fiction was involved- I generally enjoyed it. I always found composition fairly effortless, and couldn’t understand how my classmates would often struggle to write stories. To me, being given the chance to create a story was always like being given an opportunity to slip out the confines of school for a while.
What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I like to read everything from crime fiction to magical realism. As a teenager I loved getting lost in Clive Barker’s worlds, but I grew to appreciate the rich storytelling of writers such as John Irving and Joyce Carol Oates. However, I generally enjoy most novels that featured an aspect of mystery, and this is reflected in my own writing. I think that a good story will hook the reader with an engaging character who has a discovery they want or need to make. That way, the reader can accompany them on their journey.
If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
Some type of Gothic Horror possibly. I like the freedom it presents to establish the everyday and then create another world below it.
Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
More than anyone else, Ray Bradbury inspired me to write. He was not only a clever writer, he also invested real affection and warmth in his writing. If my protagonist- Leighton Jones – elicits any love from the reader at all it is probably thanks to Ray.
Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
Not so much authors now as particular books. However, new titles by masters like John Irving and Bill Bryson still excite me, and although I don’t catch every novel he writes, I thought Stephen King’s Joyland was exceptional and pulled me back in time with both the style and content.
Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind it was practically dripping with description. It felt like such a rich evocation of place and time, that every time I read a few pages, I felt like I was somewhere else. If I could write something like that, I would be very proud of my work.
Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!).
The basic premise of The Girl on the Bus is based upon a genuine trip I once made. I was travelling from Inverness to Stirling by coach when I fell asleep, and awoke later to find that I and the few strangers on the bus were in the middle of a desolate landscape. Like most crime authors, I began to imagine countless scary possibilities – and the novel was born.
Thank you for taking part. N. M. Brown’s latest book The Girl on the Bus is out now and can be purchased HERE.
A retired detective and a young woman are about to face their worst fears.
Vicki Reiner is emotionally isolated and craves the fleeting happiness she experienced in the years prior to her college graduation. In an attempt to recapture this, she invites her old friend, Laurie, for a break at her deserted beachside home. However, despite booking an online bus ticket, her friend never shows up.
Unable to accept the bizarre circumstances of the disappearance, Vicki approaches the police who dismiss her concerns before enlisting the reluctant help of Leighton Jones – a newly retired detective who is haunted by the death of his teenage daughter.
Despite trying to remain detached from the case, Leighton is drawn to Vicki and her search for justice.
The unlikely pair face numerous obstacles but using a combination of methods they track down the answers across the dusty freeways of North America. Soon Vicki and Leighton will find themselves in grave danger.
Will they ever discover what happened to Laurie?
And can they both escape with their lives?
About N. M. Brown
Norman has enjoyed writing for more than two decades. He has always considered a combination of decent fiction and good coffee as providing the best way to unwind and slip out of ordinary life for a while.
Having grown up Central Scotland, he studied English at Stirling University, where he began penning poetry, drama scripts and short stories. However, his real commitment to writing resulted from spending a snowy winter attending a series of fireside writing workshops in Perth.
More recently, Norman’s love of crime fiction led him to create the weary detective Leighton Jones. Having based his debut novel around this character, Norman felt so intrigued by him that he decided to give Jones at least two more outings.
Aside from his family, Norman’s other passion is cooking, which may explain why culinary elements always seem to creep out of his kitchen and into his stories.
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