Today, I'd like to welcome Author Jean Brown. She'll talk about her book, Black Days, book 1 in the Faulkner's Curse series.
Jean: Thanks! I'm glad to be here.
Tell us what Black Days is about and what genre it would be classified.
Jean: Black Days crosses into many genres but would be considered a psychological suspense/thriller with a twist of paranormal. Robert Faulkner has four grown children who hold him responsible for Billy, their younger brother, and their mother’s death. Robert has lived his life intoxicated as he was unable to deal with his problems. Alcohol kept him numb, blocking all the pain from his troubled childhood and made it easier for him to pretend not to care. But then he collapses on the street and wakes in the hospital guilt stricken with a conscience. While on his mission to right his wrongs with his children whom all have some serious issues of their own, Robert discovers he has the ability to heal with the touch of his hands while at an appointment with internal medicine. Reconnecting with his children will be the biggest challenge of his life as he is getting closer to death and running out of time. Life becomes even more complicated as he is forced to accept the truth about the legends of his family’s bloodline being cursed.
Sound like an extremely involving book. What was your process like for writing Black Days and how long did it take to finish it?
Jean: Black Days started off as a short story in 2000 but kept growing. It was about twelve pages long but always felt unfinished to me. So I kept adding to it until it became a full length novel. It still didn’t feel “completed” to me, so that’s what influenced me to write the series. I finished the first draft in 2010 and before I started editing and rewriting, I was already writing the second book, Rending Skies/2012.
Can you explain what “Faulkner’s Curse” is about?
Jean: The Curse or supposed curse, however a reader may want to perceive it in book 1, is mythic to have started over two hundred years ago when Tristan Faulkner cheated Indians out of their land where an Indian Burial Mound existed. Tristan was also said to be responsible for the death of a great Indian Chief as the curse of the Faulkner bloodline began.
Sounds kind of Stephen King like, doesn't it? While you were growing up, was reading and writing a part of your life? Who were your earliest influences?
Jean: I grew up with a father whom, in my opinion, was a master story teller. His tales of myths and legends were a large part of my life. My father loved to tell stories about Indian Burial Mounds, ghost stories and tales of all genres, often times making them up as he went along or adding to old stories always keeping the sagas interesting and keeping me on the edge of my seat. He never wrote his stories as they only existed in his mind and the minds of the people he shared them with. Writing and reading was a big part of my life since my earliest memories. You could say writing was my imaginary friend. I kept a notebook at hand, always writing short stories, and found myself up late at night in the middle of an interesting book.
From the beginning when Black Days was a short story, was it your intention to make it an emotional character study?
Jean: I did plan Robert’s guilt as an emotional base to the story. As the story grew, I realized that the characters emotions were the driving force, so I used the force to move the plot along.
Why did you choose to write this series at this time in your life?
Jean: I suppose it’s because I have the time. I’ve written short stories throughout the years, but now that my children are older, I’m able to dedicate more time to writing. It’s never too late, right?
Exactly. Do you have a specific theme throughout the series?
Jean: My series are all about the characters emotions. I’ve written two screenplays and really enjoyed doing so, but I miss getting into the characters heads as you are limited in screenplays. Also, I’m an animal lover and advocate, so every story I write typically has an animal character. Ruby, a 120 pound German Shepard plays a large roll throughout the series. In Rending Skies/2012, Eve Faulkner is also an advocate for animals.
Sound interesting. Always good to have some strong subplots to keep the series going. What is some of the feedback you’re getting from the readers?
Jean: I’ve had readers tell me that the ending of Black Days really shocked them. Some readers say that the book holds their attention with the twists and turns in the plot. The most surprising comments is that Black Days was an inspirational book. I had never thought about it in that way, so when I asked the reader why he thought it was inspirational he said, “in all ways that matter, family”. My favorite comment is when someone tells me they couldn’t put the book down until the end of the story. I get so excited when I hear those words that I can’t sleep.
Ha, ha, that's so true. Causing a reader to lose sleep is our biggest accomplishment, right? Where did the inspiration come from for the series?
Jean: I’ve always been intrigued by why people do what they do according to the early influences in their life, whether it makes them happy, sad or leaves them feeling guilty. I witnessed someone I loved, in their final days, feeling so guilty knowing they didn’t have time to make amends, and this guilt was the most powerful emotion I’ve witnessed. It affected me so deeply that I used it somewhat as guide to live my life by.
What do you hope readers will get from Black Days?
Jean: Mainly, my hope is to entertain the readers by forging an emotional relationship between the readers and the characters as I tell a fast passed story (events take place in ten hours). If I’ve done my job correctly, the readers will care enough to follow me through the series.
Sounds good to me. What's next?
Jean: Rending Skies/2012, book 2 in the Faulkner’s Curse series, has just released. I’m currently working on book 3 in the series.
Jean Brown lives in the Piedmont area of North Carolina with her husband Michael, daughter Asia, and all her furry friends. In her spare time, Jean fosters and rescues animals in need. She also enjoys spending time on the lake. She is currently working on book three in the Faulkner's Curse series. Jean invites you to take a journey with her to the cursed Durga Lake where evil resides beneath the surface of the breathtaking landscape.
Find out more about Black Days at Amazon.
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