Welcome, everyone to Part One of the Confessions interview with the author, and enigma that is, The Behrg.
We first came across Mr Behrg’s writing about a year ago, when we read one of his short stories and we were instantly hooked on his writing.
Hopefully by the end of this interview we will have been able to get you all clued up on the man and the myth and given you some sort of taster that will make you want to immediately go out and buy his stuff.
In Part one, tonight, The Behrg answers a load of questions about himself, his writing and his life in general.
In Part Two, tomorrow night, the questions are all about his Creation Series and he answers some questions from one our newest reviewers, Kimberly, who is also a huge fan of his. He will also tackle The Ten Confessions.
Nothing left to say at this point other than go grab some nibbles and a drink and sit back, and most of all……enjoy!
CoaR – So tell everyone a bit about yourself. Who is The Behrg and what is he all about?
TB – First off, thanks Nev for the opportunity for doing this interview. Love what you’re doing with the Confessions site and your overwhelming support for authors!
CoaR – *blushes*
TB – The Behrg is the pseudonym I use for most of my writing. Quite pretentious, I know, especially for a guy whose wife HATES when people use catch phrases as a middle name, like Randy The Coach Chandler, or other such nonsense, though there’s definitely more to the name than that.
As an author, I lean towards dark fiction, psychological thrillers, suspense, horror; stories that leave you wounded, but that also hopefully cause you to rethink your reality. To ask questions. To redefine what’s important in your life, or consider the world from a slightly different angle.
CoaR – I’m intrigued as to why you use that name to write. It obviously isn’t your real name so is it to keep that side of things secret or just to add a bit of mystique?
TB – Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Writing as The Behrg is a way of opening more of my personal life to my readers than writing under my real name. Behrg is the name my closest friends and family call me by. Like most nicknames, it has its own story, but in a way, it’s become much more than that, morphing into my creative alter-ego, I suppose. Though I still don’t have a mask or cape…
As I drew closer to publishing my first book I made the conscious decision to reveal a part of my life few people have access to, rather than tossing out a name people wouldn’t have known anyway. For those who aren’t comfortable calling me Behrg, however, you’re welcome to call me Brandon.
CoaR – So, you have had a very interesting life so far; a child actor, budding rock star and now writing. How did you get involved in all of that?
TB – I’m pretty accident prone; few things I get involved in are by design.
Actually, I was fortunate to work in the entertainment industry for over ten years as an actor growing up. I worked on shows like Dynasty, Highway to Heaven, and did a lot of commercial work and sit-coms. A rock-climbing injury (shattered femur bone – go big or go home) put a halt on my acting career but led to me picking up the guitar and running down that path for a while. At one point, I had a production contract with a band I was playing with; we were put up in Hollywood Hills and on the cusp of supposedly making it. Creative differences (and a crappy contract) were the shattered femur bone that put a halt there, though I continue to play to this day.
The arts have always been a passion, in one form or another, in my life.
CoaR – Why writing? Why eventually decide on that as a career?
TB – Writing has always been at the center of who I am. As a kid when my friends would say they wanted to be astronauts or basketball players when they grew up, I thought they were crazy – who wouldn’t want to be a writer? To tell stories for a living; to live hundreds of lives; to share the creative vision and stories only you can tell?
As life settled around me, I spent years writing screenplays and studying everything I could about the form and story in general, and yet never considered tackling a novel. A brother of mine sort of challenged me to try my hand at prose, and I haven’t looked back once since jumping in.
CoaR – Take us through your process for a story. How do you start it and follow it through to the final product?
TB – For me a story begins with the spark of an idea. It’s got to be something that grabs hold of me, something new or an original take I’ve never seen before, but ultimately something that excites me. An idea I would willingly pay to go see on the big-screen.
I’ll spend however long I need letting the idea sort of stew, but I’m one of those writers who couldn’t outline if my life depended on it. For me, the process of organizing a creative work in the beginning stages just sucks the life out of what I’m trying to create. I’ll typically know the beginning and a few points I want to hit along the way, but I’ve never known how a single one of my stories will end when starting.
Part of the process is really letting the characters drive the story organically, seeing what they do and how they react. Letting them breathe. It’s far from a perfect process, but I love going through the same discovery as a reader, not knowing how things will end and then finding it (after much revising) all tie together. There’s beauty in the chaos of creation.
CoaR – How do you keep track of your ideas? Do you carry a notebook with you everywhere or write stuff on the back of your hand?
TB – I use a web app, Evernotes, to keep track of story ideas or research for projects I’m working on. It syncs across all my devices so I can jot a quick note on my phone or save articles that interest me to research later.
CoaR – Is there any video evidence of you as the rock star so we can all have a look?
TB – Oh, man.…. now you’re really asking for a confession! A lot of false starts and great memories (that sound better in memory than actuality, trust me). If it was anyone else asking I’d tell them to take a hike, but here’s a little evidence you can use against me at a future date, just don’t expect anything grand:
CoaR – Child actor, rocker, writer, living in southern California with your family. I have to ask. Where did it all go wrong? ☺
TB – Ha! It’s all the white space between the answers, my friend. Tragedies and triumphs and all the stages between, but I’m very blessed to have an amazing and supportive wife and family who put up with all my creative endeavors. They’re the glue that keep me from, quite literally, falling apart.
CoaR – Can you tell us if any of the characters in your books are based on people you have come across in your life or maybe even yourself?
TB – Part of the joy of writing is being able to put on someone else’s shoes and see through their eyes, yet certainly there are pieces of the author sprinkled throughout all of their creations. I strive not to let my own views or thoughts limit what my characters might do or say, but really let them take the reins.
I will say that my debut novel, Housebroken, was spawned by an awkward door-to-door salesman that gave me the creeps. For days, I felt like he had been there to scope out our house rather than try to sell something, and that idea was the basis, though loosely, for what Housebroken became.
CoaR – Who would be the authors you would give the credit of being your influences and who do you just not “get”?
TB – I definitely grew up on Stephen King and, still to this day, find his narrative style one of the easiest to attune to when reading, but I also drew heavily upon Science Fiction and Fantasy authors. Frank Herbert’s Dune Series; Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time; Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and The Worthing Saga. When it comes to crime fiction I love Michael Connelly’s work; Michael Crichton, as well, is an author whose work I’ve devoured and who blurs the lines of genres extremely well.
When it comes to deciding to be an author, watching Blake Crouch’s success, from independent author to the rock-star he’s become, was a dramatic part of me deciding I could do this. I’m a huge fan of his work, and remember, not that long ago, realizing he was about my age and yet had written however many novels he had written at that time. Here I was, a closet writer who always claimed that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up, and yet I wasn’t doing it. It was a big turning point in my life as far as focusing my efforts on something consistently. My novel, Housebroken, was the result of those concerted efforts.
As far as authors I don’t “get,” I do struggle with books that don’t have a strong plot. I’m all about character-driven stories, but put those characters in dire circumstances so we can see what they do, don’t just follow them around while they’re picking daisies.
CoaR – What’s the most difficult part of writing for you?
TB – That’s a trick question, because writing itself is inherently difficult and yet one of the most difficult parts of my life is when I’m NOT writing, when the day job and life in general get so busy that the writing gets shoved to the side.
That being said, with every novel or story I’ve worked on, there comes a point where you’re absolutely lost, wandering in a forest and hopelessly wondering if you’ll ever find your way through. Sometimes it takes weeks, other times months, but for me it’s a matter of going back over what’s been written and finding where I pushed the story instead of letting it naturally emerge. Eventually I’ll discover where things went wrong, the false notes that don’t ring true, and the characters will take back over instead of the author, letting the story resume. But those days when you’re wandering can be brutal.
CoaR – What would your ultimate wish be with your writing?
TB – Obviously, the long-term goal is to fully support my family off of my writing, to live by what you love to do. One day I’m sure I’ll jump back to screenwriting as well. I’ve got some ideas that are better suited for screen than prose. For now, I just love being able to share the worlds that are drawn from somewhere deep inside, and making connections one reader at a time.
CoaR – What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
TB – I love playing games with my kids; we’ve been on a Harry Potter kick lately, playing a deck-building strategy game together every Sunday which has been a blast. Guitar is still a huge release for me as well, and I’m playing with a couple groups at the moment. That, and getting out into nature, which I ashamedly don’t do enough of.
CoaR – What’s coming in the future from The Behrg?
TB – A lot, actually, starting with audiobooks. This is a space I’m excited to be jumping into, as I’m an avid listener myself. We’ll see the final book in The Creation Series this year, but I’ve also got several other projects, some completed, others not, that I’m extremely excited about.
Well, unfortunately, that is the end of Part One of the interview.
Please remember to come back tomorrow night when the questions will all be about The Creation Series and The Behrg takes on some questions from Kimberly and confesses all!
Thanks again for visiting Confessions of a Reviewer!