Thursday, June 23, 2011

Author Interview: Brian Farrey

Things That May Interest You (or possibly not):
  1. When I want to relax, I put Kate Rusby on my iPod. I own all her albums.
  2. I’m a lifelong DOCTOR WHO fan, including “classic” WHO and the recent reboot of the show. I can hold my own in a WHO trivia contest.
  3. I was once a TV addict and watched more daily TV than is probably healthy. Now, I’m down to only a couple hours a week, if that much.
  4. As a result of #3, there was a time when I could tell you the synopsis of any episode of GILLIGAN’S ISLAND based on the opening ten seconds of video (even if it’s just an opening shot of the lagoon). I haven’t tested this skill lately to make sure it holds true but I suspect it does. The jury’s still out on whether or not I should be proud of this fact.
  5. I love to cook. I bake a lot but I also like to experiment with main courses and whenever possible, I use homemade pasta over store bought.
  6. I love to bike. I once took a solo bike trip around Scotland, starting in Edinburgh, going to Glasgow, then Gourock, ferry to Dunoon, then Portavadie, ferry to Tarbert, up to Oban, over to Fort William, then on to Fort Augustus along the Great Glen Way, then on to Inverness and a train back to Edinburgh. Amazing experience.
  7. I also sorta love Scotland. Actually, all things British. But Scotland has a special place in my heart.
  8. I was born in the middle of a terrible thunderstorm, complete with tornadoes and power outages. To this day, every year on my birthday, no matter where I am, it rains. It’s not always a storm. It doesn’t even necessarily rain all day. But I can rely on the fact that at some point during my birthday, it will rain.
  9. I’m just gonna come clean. I’m slightly more than a “lifelong DOCTOR WHO fan.” It’s a borderline obsession. Please don’t get me started.
*Fun facts taken from Brian's website
What were your first thoughts when you saw the cover for With or Without You?
You want to know the funny thing?  I had never considered windows.  They’re so central to the book’s imagery but when Pulse asked me for cover ideas, the thought of windows never crossed my mind.  The suggestions I made were incredibly bad.  I think a lot of writers try to visualize what their cover would look like but I could never get a clear picture in my mind for this book. So when I saw the cover, I thought, “Perfect.”
I love when book covers are perfect for a story. When they not only look fantastic, but relate completely and that's what this one does. I ADORE it!
The book tackles a very - sorry, but I have to use the word – a controversial issue of gay teens chasing after HIV as a sort of status symbol, but I never felt like that was the driving force of the plot. Evan growing up, growing into himself, and deciding who he was felt much more important to me. Did Evan and the other characters come to you first or were they built around the Chasers?
Evan came first. The Chasers, the HIV angle…. None of that was anywhere in my imagination when I wrote the first few chapters of the book.  When I wrote this book, I was in an MFA program and learning about my artistic process. The book came of an experiment to start writing without any idea where I was going.  The very first draft was full of happy accidents.  I would get stuck as to where to go, then I’d write something—anything—to keep going and suddenly the story went off in a new direction.  The introduction of the Chasers was me going “What if….” when I got stuck. A lot of material from that first draft got cut but the Chasers stayed.  At one point, I thought the book would be all about them. Then Erik came along and that story took pole position in my mind.
It's kind of crazy how some stories veer off and take on a life of their own. I'm happy that Erik showed up though, because I love him, want to hug him, and think he helps to make Evan a better person :)
Both Evan and Erik have very artistic natures. Are you painter or sculptor yourself? If not, where did the artistry come from in the book?
I have zero—no, quite possibly less than zero—skill when it comes to visual arts. Can’t draw, can’t paint, can’t sculpt.  I spoke to several artist friends to get their perspective and had them read bits to see if they felt real from a visual artist perspective.
Haha, well those artist friends must have been very helpful. I'm lacking in all kinds of visual arts skill as well, so I knew nothing prior to reading With or Without You. I wish I knew more artistically skilled people like Evan because I would love for someone to paint me a window pane.

If you could live in one book for a day, what would it be?
I really love the imagination of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next books. That world can be incredibly dangerous but, man, it also seems like a ton of fun.
I've never read this, but I've been wanting to read Shades of Grey. I guess I'll have to check out the Thursday Next series too now.
I don’t watch Doctor Who (I bought the dvds and will start soon!) but since you do, who is your favorite Doctor? Any particular reason why?
Would you ask a mother which is her favorite child?  OK, that’s a bad correlation because I didn’t create DOCTOR WHO so I don’t have to choose between my children. But it’s still difficult. Fact is, I love all the Doctors.  A lot.  The closest I can come to an answer for you is this: WHO fans tend to agree that you always remember your first Doctor. And my first Doctor was Peter Davison (the fifth Doctor).  He was flying the TARDIS at a very critical point in my adolescent development so I tend to look back on his adventures very fondly.
It's like picking a favorite child? Wow, I really do need to get started on my dvds if it incites that kind of devotion! 
The song “Hard” by Gregory Douglass pops up a few times throughout the book. Were there other songs that played into your writing? Did you create a playlist for the book?
I don’t listen to music as I write but I’ll often listen to it when I’m getting ready to write. TEETER, the Gregory Douglass album on which “Hard” appears, was my music of choice while writing WITH OR WITHOUT YOU.  The two are always linked in my head. (I thought about suggesting “Hard” as the title of the book but I knew my publisher would never go for it.)
I LOVE "Hard." I hadn't heard of it until I read the book, then looked it up, and haven't been able to stop listening to it. I can see how Teeter fits with the book too. It has the right feel for everything.

What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you?
When I was eleven, my aunt’s dog bit my upper lip off. Well, not completely off. It was hanging there.  Took a plastic surgeon to put me back together again. He did a great job. I only have the tiniest scar to show for it.
I've had some crazy answers from authors on this question before, but this one is pretty high up there. I was attacked by a dog when I was little, but not to the point that I needed any sort of plastic surgery. Yay for the plastic surgeon who put you back together! Wonderful job, indeed.
And the most important question last: What is your favorite kind of cookie?
If you’re talking store-bought, it’s a tie between Nutter Butter and Double Stuff Golden Oreos. If you’re talking homebaked, it’s gotta be chocolate drop cookies from my mom’s recipe.  Personally, I make a mean chocolate chip that a friend’s father once dubbed “boyfriend-gettin’ cookies.” 
I want to hug your friend's father. "Boyfriend-gettin' cookies" is awesome! Those must bee some out-of-this-world chocolate chip cookies.

For more on With or Without You, you can read my review and check back tomorrow for a giveaway!

Find Brian Farrey online:

Buy it online:


Chey said...

I love this interview! Cookies, Doctor Who, raining every year on his birthday, biking around Europe...what's not to love? Perfect! He seems like someone I'd love to be friends with.

Thanks for sharing this! :)

Vivien said...

Awesome interview. Who doesn't love a guy who can cook? I definitely do!!

Shooting Stars Mag said... I want cookies. That's crazy about the dog though. I think I'd be terrified of all dogs from then on out! sheesh!!


Candace said...

What an awesome interview! He sounds like an incredible person and I can't wait to read his book!

Holly said...

Great interview! I am a huge Doctor Who fan too, that can probably be called an obsession. Even the soundtracks are awesome!

Holly said...

Happy Blogoversary and thanks for the giveaway!

Milayna_LoveJB said...

He sounds cool

Nicole said...

I love the things that happen on the days we are born, there was a thunderstorm when he was, my mother hit a squirrel when I was (not exactly good, but it is the only thing my mother has ever hit). Great interview!

Hoot said...

Thank you for the author interview. Those are my favorite reviews / posts.

Bere said...

Awesome interview! Brian sounds like so much fun and super cool. I love the fun facts you posted at the beginning. I admit that now I'm curious about Doctor Who. I think I will be doing some research soon, hehe. And how scary what happened with the dog. I would be terrified! =O

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