... A. J. Brown
1. Tell me about your book, Cory’s Way, and where you got your inspiration for it?
Cory’s Way is about a little boy whose father leaves him and his mom in the middle of the night. When this happens his mom is forced to move them from the comforts of the life they had lived before good old Dad left. This also forces his mom to get a job where she works a lot of hours and Cory is left alone when not at school. He gets bullied and chased and meets an old homeless man who becomes like a father figure to him. There’s also the issue of children being kidnapped in and around the state. Though that is a secondary part of the story it is a vital part. It’s not quite a coming of age story and there are a few darker moments in it.
The story was inspired by my daughter and a homeless man she felt compassion for when she made a card for him and I gave it to him. He was such a nice man and it led to, what I believe, is a great book for all ages.
2. Why did you want to write this book?
Cory’s Way has so much of me in it. There are things from my childhood in the book. There are places I knew in the book. There are feelings and fears that I had. And, honestly, it was something that wanted to be written. It’s very personal for me.
3. How do you feel about public appearances?
I like them. I’ve only done a couple of them. One went well and the other one went okay, but it was fun and I met a lot of folks, who in turn, became fans of my work.
Do you do them often?
Just the two so far, but I have three coming up in the next few months and I can’t wait. I love the anticipation of it and talking to the readers, and not just about the stories, but about lives as well. Selling books is always a plus, as well.
4. A duck walks into a bar, what does he order?
A beer and quackers.
5. Is there one area of your writing that you’ve always wanted to improve upon?
Marketing. I hate it. I’ve been working harder at it, but sometimes all I want to do is sit at my desk and write—that is the fun part.
6. What in your opinion are the key ingredients in maintaining a good relationship with your readers?
Being accessible. That doesn’t mean let folks you don’t know into your home, but when a reader contacts you personally, respond to them. Engage readers in conversations on social media. And don’t be a jerk. Readers are the most important people to an author, and whether or not folks understand it or not, you’re not just selling your books, but you are selling yourself. If readers don’t like you, the person, then there is a good chance they aren’t going to buy your books, no matter how great they are.
7. Are you still learning who you are?
Always. I think everyone changes from day to day, either in moodiness or in events that happen in their lives. I think we learn more and more about ourselves when we set out to accomplish something or when we fail or deal with hard times. It’s who comes through on the other side of those good and bad times that we are in that particular moment. Does that make sense?
8. If you could spend the day with any character from fiction who would it be?
Willie Wonka. Seriously. Willie Wonka.
9. Which of the four seasons do you like the most?
Autumn. I love the falls season. Leaves changing, the temperatures are cool, not cold, Halloween, football. I just love that time of year.
10. Why did you choose to be a writer?
I didn’t choose to be a writer. I think it chose me. I hated serious writing throughout school, though I did write jokes and parody songs. I didn’t start writing until I had a recurring nightmare that was more terrifying each time I had it. Then I was told of a writer who once had the same issue—recurring nightmares and not sleeping because of them. He was told to write the nightmare when he had it again. And he did. Long story short, after writing the nightmare twice, the second time with the feelings behind it, he no longer had the nightmare. So, I gave it a try and wrote the short story, Chuckie. I never had the nightmare again, but I realized that I actually enjoyed the process of creating the two main characters. I’ve been writing ever since.
11. What does love feel like to you?
It feels like my wife, Cate. I can’t explain it. She’s just…she’s perfect for me.
12. What was the last book you read without skipping through anything?
Jan Hull’s Ceres Exley.
13. Who was your first crush?
The first crush that I remember was a girl named Sandy Robertson and I was in fifth grade. She was beautiful with her brown eyes and brown hair and that beautiful smile. I crushed on her for three years.
14. If you got a (new) tattoo what would it be of?
A blue block M bleeding maize blood—I’m a huge University of Michigan fan.
15. If you had to give up one of your favourite things forever in exchange for a multimillion book deal, what would it be?
I wouldn’t and I’ll tell you why. This may sound corny, but I’ve always believed my abilities should be what makes my stories good. I’ve always believed that if my work can’t stand on its own two feet, then it doesn’t need to be out there. Sure, I wouldn’t mind a hand up every once in a while, but I’ve worked hard for everything I have ever had. I don’t want this to be any different. I know people who have had things handed to them and they’ve taken it for granted. I don’t want to take for granted how hard I have worked to get the handful of readers I have, and the ones I hope to have in the future. So if giving up something I enjoy was the only way to get a multimillion dollar book deal, then I wouldn’t do it, because in my eyes, I wouldn’t have earned it. It would have been given to me, and at a cost as well.
After his father leaves in the middle of the night, Cory Maddox and his mom, Gina, are forced to start over. Left alone while Gina tries to work her way out of debt, Cory deals with life as the new kid in school with no friends. Fleeing from the school bullies, Cory ends up under an overpass where an old homeless man lives. After being saved from the bullies, Cory and the homeless man, Mr. Washington, become friends.
But things don’t get any easier for Cory. Children are disappearing from around the state, and the bullies haven’t forgotten his escape the first time they went after him. And there is something wrong with Mr. Washington…something terribly wrong.
Accompanied by his only two friends and the unlikeliest of allies, Cory sets out to keep a promise to the ailing homeless man. Will Cory and his friends find a way to keep the promise, or will the journey prove too difficult for them?
Read an extract here
About A. J.
A.J. Brown is a story teller who pens emotionally charged/character driven stories that often include a touch of the dark paranormal. His work has received such honors as a Pushcart nomination, and editor's choice for Issue #12 of Necrotic Tissue. Above all else, A.J. is a husband and father of two beautiful children who not only support his creative endeavors, but also provide inspiration (sometimes in unexpected ways).
Facebook: www.facebook.com/typeajnegative.com (or) A.J. Brown
Blog: Type AJ Negative www.typeajnegative.com