Jen: Please help me welcome Brian Sandell to Book Talk today. Brian, will you share a short bio with us?
Brian: Jen, first of all I would like to say thank you so much for having me on your blog. My name is Brian Sandell. I am a young, twenty-two year old author. I have two works published, The Wager and The Christmas Rose. I enjoy driving with the top down, movies starring Nicholas Cage, a delicious caramel macchiato, sweater vests, and writing novels and stories.
Jen: Tell us about The Christmas Rose and where it’s available.
Brian: The Christmas Rose was published in January 2009. It was really poor timing on my part publishing a Christmas story in January. The Christmas Rose is a wonderful, inspirational account of a young woman’s journey in dealing with pain and tragedy in her life. The story is written from the point of view of the protagonist, Jasmine Reese. Jasmine is an ordinary woman I do believe that this story has lessons to learn, characters to fall in love in with, a mesmerizing plot, a surprise ending, and a just a glimpse of what a Christmas miracle is all about. My book is available on line at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can get you a signed copy at a discount price.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Brian: I was first published when I was 21, with a suspense/thriller novella titled, The Wager. I first began to realize my gift way back when I was eight. I was never an athletic/coordinated child. So instead of striking out all the time in baseball, or getting tackled and injured in football, my loving mother gave me a pen and paper and encouraged me to begin writing down thoughts, ideas, and stories. But, on a slightly more serious note I really began to realize my writing talent during high school English class.
Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Brian: Unpredictable, exciting, mesmerizing.
Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Brian: Jen, the amazing part about this question is you could ask 10,000 authors this question and there is likely a chance you could get 10,000 different answers. I begin with a basic idea for a plot, a lesson I want to convey, and a surprise ending and I usually go from there. So, my approach is more go with the flow. This can be a good and bad approach, good because it allows me to be spontaneous, have some fun, and just rock out as I prefer to say, but it can be bad because often I will forget what I wrote in previous days or I will make details inconsistent. So, going with the flow does have its ups and downs, and that is how I have come to write two published novels and hopefully two more on the way.
Jen: Do you have a specific time or place that you write?
Brian: I have a special crimson colored chair, where I frequently sit during my writing excursions. Usually, I am watching a ball game, movie, or episode of Seinfeld/The Office when I write. So, my writing is usually inspired at night, much more so than during the day.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Brian: Being a fiction book, I did a little research into the plot and character development. Being a newer writer, I probably should have done more research for my projects, but I am very satisfied with the two books that I was able to write.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Brian: The most challenging aspect of writing is by far editing. One of my biggest complaints with the English language is that there are far too many rules, commas, periods, and grammatical things to take care of. If I was making the rules I would just allow each book, to be one HUGE sentence. But, I don’t make the rules. One of the easiest parts is unfolding a story, developing characters, and keeping the reader excited. I have learned a lot about myself, enjoyed the process, and really grew as a person and writer throughout this experience.
Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Brian: The most rewarding aspect is finishing the story. It such a great feeling, to wrap everything up, allow the protagonist to find his true love, slay his enemy, and end happily ever after. I really do enjoy developing stories, plots, and endings that will keep people excited, entertained, and in the end allow the reader to learn a lesson or two about life.
Jen: Who has inspired you as an author?
Brian: The Wager was definitely inspired by Christopher Marlowe and Oscar Wilde. They are two fantastic writers who showed their readers that decisions have consequences, and when we choose to act out of selfish ambitions that no one benefits. The Reawakening was inspired by Charles Dickens, and I really wanted and desired to show the reader good, beneficial ways to deal with pain and tragedy in our lives. I am a huge fan of John Grisham and Ted Dekker. I will say this if they had John Grisham bobble head day at our local library, I would definitely attend.
Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one that you identify most with?
Brian: I would say Marvin Simon, from The Wager. Marvin is an ordinary, likeable guy, who wants to get along and fit in. I see myself being projected into him in many ways. I would probably make the same mistakes he makes along the way. I would probably say the same dumb lines he uses to try and get a date with a girl. Marvin is also someone who desires to be happy, and at times does things he regrets or will regret to get it. Granted Marvin and I aren’t exactly the same personality, I see myself many times in his character and personality.
Jen: If your book was made into a movie, which actors would you choose to play the hero and heroine?
Brian: Wow that is a great question. I have answered hundreds of questions about these two books and I can honestly say this is the first time I have heard that question. For, Marvin Simon, protagonist of The Wager, I would have Shia Labeouf if I wanted a younger, hunk all the girls could love. I would have George Clooney if I wanted a more mature, wise fatherly figure playing the lead. Jasmine Reese, the protagonist of The Christmas Rose, I would say either Anne Hathaway or Kate Hudson. I have LOTS of their movies, because not only do I believe they are talented actresses and pretty cute if you ask me. 😉 A more motherly role for Jasmine, I would have to say Julie Andrews. Anybody who can take a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down in Mary Poppins and prance through the meadows of Europe in the Sound of Music, can star in any movie of mine.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Brian: The most interesting comment for The Wager is, “It starts out like Leave it Beaver, and it ends like Left Behind.”
Jen: What’s next for you?
Brian: I have written two books which I would love for someone to buy/publish. So, if anyone reading this wants to publish a suspense/thriller or family relationship book let me know! I graduate college on May 16. I am going to be working at Antietam Recreation Summer Day Camp this summer in Hagerstown, MD. My next writing ventures are going to be in children’s literature and non-fiction.
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Brian: My website is: www.christianthrillernovels.com My email is: email@example.com. My Facebook group is: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=61487936073. My Twitter is: http://twitter.com/brianwrites15 Hopefully, that is enough spots!
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Brian: Laughter, entertainment, thrills, chills, tears, fears, and an ending that will blow your mind, if you like these things, why don’t you buy The Wager or The Christmas Rose. If you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I can get you a discounted, autographed copy!
Jen:. Thanks so much for being with us today and congratulations on your graduation! Readers, Brian is giving away a copy of The Wager to a random commenter today. Leave a comment or ask a question and you’ll be entered in the drawing. I’ll pick a winner tonight (Friday, May 15) around 8 pm PST.