Tucson author Graham Brown will readily admit he’s delusional. He’s also a big fan of escapism and wants to tell us all about the end of the world.
We like this guy.
Despite his need to fill us in on doomsday, we won’t find Philadelphia transplant Brown preaching the apocalypse with a megaphone and Chicken Little sign on the corner of Broadway.
We’ll instead find his twisted version of it, as if the thought of an apocalypse is not twisted enough, in his series of books.
“Black Sun,” the second in the series following “Black Rain,” hits bookshelves Aug. 31 (today!).
Brown is inviting us to celebrate with a 5:30 p.m. book signing at Clue’s Unlimited, 3146 E. Fort Lowell Rd
While he didn’t promise not to bring a megaphone to the event, he did promise the event is free – and that books are still an economical way to make the great escape.
“(Paperbacks are) only $7.99,” he said in an e-mail interview, “barely any more expensive than a combo meal at McDonald’s, but they’re lower in cholesterol and contain no sodium whatsoever. And they will give you days of enjoyment as opposed to 20 minutes or so – depending, of course, on how fast you eat and/or read.”
So we’re filled in on doomsday and escaping – now let’s get to delusional part.
Key to success
Delusion, says the 41-year-old jack-of-all-trades turned author, is the No. 1 factor in success.
We told you we liked this guy.
“You need to live the dream, but you also need to live the delusion,” are words he first advised a group of writers at a California conference and still lives by today. “For me I lived in this delusion the whole time, I always felt like success was right around the corner.
“If you think success is 10 years off, it’s really easy to procrastinate.”
Not that delusion doesn’t come with blood, sweat, typos – and some really crummy first drafts.
Sure, Brown’s second book in his series is out and he’s already inked a deal with Random House for his third. But he had also been pounding his computer keyboard full-time for nearly a decade to fulfill his dream – all without a regular paycheck.
“I did the whole thing backwards – I quit my day job before I had even finished my final draft,” he said. “I would not recommend it. I’d saved up what I thought was enough money to last five years. It lasted two.”
To pursue writing, Brown abandoned all other jobs, which ranged from basic construction to airlines and rent-a-car companies. He also gave up the thought of a career based on his aeronautical science degree from Prescott’s Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and his law degree from Arizona State College of Law in Tempe, which led him to a gig as an attorney with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
But none of that will go to naught as all things eventually come up somewhere in a writing career.
“I’d say being an attorney taught me the most and made me the most disgusted all at the same time,” he said. “You just see the best and the worst of humanity in that situation, all of which I’m going to pour out in my John Grisham like legal thriller one of these days.”
True life horrors, like working as an attorney, can lead to some awesome stories, Brown says, but we’ll never find him penning any biographies or history books.
“I’m all about escapism,” he reminds us. “So I probably wouldn’t write any kind of true crime stories or anything like that. I want people reading my books to forget the real world and go on an adventure, with its own suspense and mystery, not be reminded of the dangers that we all face every day.”
More escapism is on his list with some science fiction he’s working on, which includes a screenplay and graphic novel.
“Inspiration comes from everywhere,” he says. “People you meet, situations you hear about. Dreams. Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night and think: ‘That was the greatest idea ever.’ You write it down and then fall back to sleep and then in the morning you get up and look at your notes and they say something like: ‘What if toast did not turn brown?’ That’s obviously not the subject of my next novel. On the other hand, sometimes it’s an idea so great you feel like it was sent to you from above.”
His take on Tucson
Brown first came to Arizona for college, where he met his now-wife and strong supporter Tracey.
“We hated each other and naturally ended up together after awhile.”
He first came to love Arizona after a visit back East. “I went back home to Philadelphia for Christmas break and realized right away I was spending the rest of my life out West if at all possible.”
It took a bit longer for him to warm up to Tucson, where he’s lived for the past five years.
“I did not like it when I first moved here but now think it is one of the greatest places on Earth,” he said.
He is especially fond of the people, the weather and the airport. Yes, the airport.
“Every time someone goes out of their way to help me – which occurs often – I think ‘This never happened anywhere else,’” he says. (Good thing he’s not a cat hit in the intersection.)
The weather needs no comment and the airport, well, Brown says he is overjoyed he still has time to grab a soda before a flight after going through security.
“You can’t do that in other cities. Don’t tell the TSA, OK?”
Advice to other writers
In addition to not quitting our day jobs before inking a book deal – or expecting our savings to last five years – Brown has a few other tidbits for success.
“Write as fast as you can, learn as much as you can, and keep re-writing,” he advises. “It’s like training camp in the NFL – it sucks but you won’t believe the difference in you skill level when you look back.”
He also reminds us to keep success in the forefront of our minds.
“I really did believe I would get here,” he admits. “It’s all part of that delusion thing. There’s a great line in the U2 song ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind.’ It says ‘You’re packing a bag for a place that has to believed to be seen.’ Whatever you are trying to do in life, you have to believe it first before you’ll ever see it.”
Black Sun (Random House, 2010)
“Black Sun,” Graham’s second book and the sequel to “Black Rain,” comes out on August 31. Both books feature main characters Danielle Laidlaw – a government operative forced to take over a mission she wants nothing to do with, Professor Michael McCarter, a university scholar reeling from the death of his wife and a mercenary named Hawker, who once worked for the CIA, ruined his life and – at least initially – thinks he is willing to do anything they ask to get back in their good graces.
“Black Sun” follows Hawker, Danielle and McCarter as they race to stop an apocalypse associated with the Mayan prophecy of 2012.
“I know it’s not the first 2012 book on the market, but I think we’ve managed to take most of what people expect out of a 2012 book and turn it upside down. Our tag line is: 2012 – forget everything you think you know.”Source: www.authorgrahambrown.com
Throw out those myths about “little old ladies” and “little old men” content doing nothing other than sitting around crocheting toilet paper covers and playing checkers.
Tucson grandma Eula Slauson proves growing older doesn’t mean growing stale – and romance never grows old.
Although the feisty femme is over 70, she recently penned two sizzling yet humorous romance novels and a book of poignant poetry. And she’s nowhere near finished yet.
Her first romance novel, “Love at First Flight, ” is the story of two Tucson real estate brokers – a man and woman, of course – who accidentally get stuck sharing a hotel room at an out-of-town convention.
Her second novel, “Seeds of Passion,” portrays a small town romance during the 1950s and 60s.
Her “Memoirs of a Woman: A Portrait in Poetry” includes poems “inspired by a lifetime of emotions in the Catskill Mountains,” some of which have received the International Library of Poetry’s Editor Choice awards.
A write-up in The Roxbury says Saluson has “taken the vulgarity out of love stories and replaced it with a tender touch of humor.”
Definitely needed more details on that one.
“I started to type the word ‘Johnson” in reference to the bulge in Harley’s jeans,” she said, “then I thought, ‘NO, I am sick and tired of reading about men’s Johnsons and the vulgar names used for women.’”
So Slauson created “Miss Kitty” and “Jolly Roger” – and if you want to learn more about those two you’ll just have to pick up a copy of “Love at First Flight.”
The only critics so far have been her grandchildren. She has four adult grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, the latter being too young for the romance novels.
“My grandchildren were shocked when they read ‘Love at First Flight.’ They didn’t seem to want to believe that people never stop thinking or feeling until they are dead,” Slauson said.
“There is no cutoff date where people are supposed to stop thinking about love, romance, sex or lust. They need to take a trip to a senior facility and see the gleam in an old man’s eye who is in his 90s and looking at a new lady just being admitted who is probably nearly as old as he is.
“Unless we get what my father used to refer to laughing at 94, a disease he called ‘Oldtimers,’ our minds stay the same as when we were 20, 30 or older.”
Not only is she a gifted writer with a grand sense of humor, but she is also not afraid to be herself.
“I don’t believe in normal. I believe in just being one’s self is right if it’s right for you. I admire those who dare to break the mold and don’t even realize they are doing it.”
Divorced twice, she’s had her own share of romances – and love – and can tell us about the difference.
“Romance is a state of mind, love is a state of the heart,” she explained. “Romance is usually inspired by lust whereas love is inspired by friendship.”
Her second marriage, especially, gave her a large dose of both romance and love – shattered by shots of reality. The two were married just three months after they met.
“That lasted 15 years and the romance was always there. Unfortunately, so was the alcohol.”
But Slauson won’t let anything jade her romantic mind, heart and spirit.
“(I’ve been) burned twice and now go into friendships with the rose colored glasses buried under two divorces,” she said. “But romance is everywhere if you want it to be. I’m still a romantic at heart and I believe most people are no matter how many times they get disillusioned.”
Although she’s only dated one person since she moved to Tucson 13 years ago, Slauson rates Tucson as a great place to date.
“I think it’s all the warm weather and ability to go and do whatever you want, whenever you want with whomever you want….It’s a very spontaneous lifestyle.”
She also rates growing older as a wonderful experience – her 2005 retirement finally gave her time to pursue her literary career – as long as folks stay active.
“I believe the secret (to growing older) is to exercise the mind and imagination the same as the rest of our bodies.
“I enjoy a beautiful sunrise or sunset, the smell of flowers and enjoy nothing more than to see two elderly people holding hands as they stroll along a pathway lined with trees or two young people looking into each other’s eyes with all the emotions of their soul showing.”
And even her grandkids are coming around.
“My grandchildren may act shocked at what I write,” she said, “but they still tell their friends, ‘That’s my grandma.’”
Learn more about Eula Slauson at www.eulaslausonauthor.net
P.S. Fellows, she’s single!
Relationship advice from Tucson romance writer Eula Slauson:
If you meet one person in your life that includes friendship, romance and lust then stop looking.
Does Eula rock or what? Even her name is cool.
What do you think the secret is to growing older beautifully?
What’s the secret to love and romance?
Do you have any crocheted toilet paper covers?