Sunday, April 29, 2012

Interview with Dougie Brimson

Tell us about you. 
I am an English author who served 18 years with the Royal Air Force. In 1994 I left the military and somehow ended up as a professional writer!

14 books and a multi-award winning Hollywood feature film later, I'm still not sure how it all happened or how I am getting away with it!

Tell us about your book.
I have written 14 books but my favourite is a novel called Billy's Log.

Set in the year 2000 it has been reviewed on numerous occasions as the male version of Bridget Jones Diary which is good news as BJD was the inspiration behind it!

In essence, it examines the subject of love and relationships from the perspective of an average looking 30 year old male who suddenly realises that he has been looking at life from completely the wrong perspective.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
I have a reputation as being something of a lad and a few years ago, someone lent me Bridget Jones Diary and ordered me to read it. I did and was quite simply horrified because it's little more than anti-male propaganda.

So in a fit of pique I put together an outline for a book which looked at relationships from the male perspective and the more I looked, the more I realised that when you get down to the bare bones, men and women want pretty much the same thing. Someone to come home to, someone to love and who loves them back and someone to cuddle up to in front of the TV.

BJD failed to make that simple truth which I hope is where Billy's Log comes in. 

What can readers expect when they open your book? Give us something that isn't on the book blurb.
Billy's Log is a book about the side of life as a male which is all too often ignored. The loneliness, the fear of rejection and above all, the need to love and be loved.

But it is all wrapped up in thought provoking humor and lot's of laughs.

Where do you get your ideas?
My ideas come from my life, simple as that. In truth, a huge part of Billy's Log is autobiographical and whenever I read it back it scares me how much of myself I put into that book. I think that's why I'm so proud of it.

When it comes to my other books, my ideas came from all kinds of things. The initial plot for my thriller The Crew came from a discussion with the legendary writer Lynda La Plante whilst the sequel, Top Dog, came from a short paragraph in a newspaper.

When it comes to non-fiction, the ideas usually come from my readers. I have a steady stream of emails asking me 'why don't you write a book about....' which is really nice.

Who is your greatest inspiration?
My late grandmother. She was a wonderful matriarchal figure who instilled in me the idea that if you have to believe in anything, believe in yourself. I know it sounds daft but I often ask her for advice whenever I'm struggling with anything and she always delivers.  

What are you reading right now?
I'm reading a brilliant book called Vulcan 607 which is a factional tale based around the bombing raids on Port Stanley during the Falklands War. It is an amazing read made all the more special by the fact that I was directly involved.

Who are your favorite authors? 
I tend not to read books just because they are written by a  specific author but instead, will read anything which appeals. I've recently read 'How to be a woman' by Caitlan Moran which is not only hilarious but proved once and for all the the majority of women are mad.

What is your current project?
I'm currently working on a comedy based around a small town soccer club in England. It's central theme is one of those 'what if?' conversations all sports fans have at one time or another. It's proving to be quite hilarious to write and I'm hoping that comes across on the page.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
I never set out to be a writer and so every book which makes it onto the market is an accomplishment in one way or another!

However, if I have to say one specific thing it is the response from my readership. There is nothing like the feeling of someone coming up to you in the street and telling you they loved your book. That may sound trite, but it beats anything else hands down.

Have you experienced any setbacks for your writing along the way? If so, will you share with us.
Oh god yes! At one point I was struggling so badly I even considered giving up altogether.

Many of my non-fiction books deal with issues relating to sporting culture and in particular, the issue of soccer hooliganism and although my readership has always been solid and supportive, I received a great deal of criticism from both the press and the authorities for some of the things I'd written and said. I was fine with that and so were my publishers who wanted me to write more and more. However, I had already begun to lose enthusiasm for non-fiction and having developed numerous ideas for fictional work, was keen to move into that genre. The problem was my publishers weren't receptive to that at all and so my enthusiasm simply evaporated.

Thankfully, whilst at my lowest ebb, I received an invitation to visit Russia and open the Moscow Book Fair of all things and whilst there, thanks almost entirely due to the reaction of the Russian public, I rediscovered my love of writing.

The rest is history.

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?
The best piece of advice I was ever given is that when writing a first draft, make sure you fully develop your characters before you start and don't do any editing until it's finished. Works for me!

As for advising others, the first thing I say to anyone who is even thinking about writing a book for publication is that is you can't take criticism, don't do it. Because no matter how good your work, at some point someone is going to be critical of it and that can really hurt.

After that, I'd advise anyone wanting to write to join a writing group. They're brilliant places and you can learn an awful lot not just about the craft of writing, but about the business. All vital stuff.

Are you a panster or a plotter?
Both! When I'm writing thrillers I develop a basic plot and then the first thing I write is the ending. I do that because to me, the ending is the most vital part of any book so it has to be huge. The rest of the book is all about getting the reader to that point so that's when I go into panster mode.

For comedy, it's all by the seat of my pants. I love writing like that!

Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author
1. : I've been invited to Buckingham Palace four times!
2. : I love stock car racing!
3. : My dream holiday is to ride a Harley along Route 66.
4. : I was almost certainly the first person in the West to know about the Chernobyl disaster.
5. : I have seen four planes crash.

Where to connect online
Twitter : @dougiebrimson
Other : ,http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/billys-log/id435420591?mt=11

What format does your book(s) come in? 
ebooks, paperback.

Where to buy your book