Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I’m Brian D. Campbell, author of the Ben Gilsum Mystery Series. The first part of the series is called “The Third King: Coronation,” which is a character driven mystery novel. We learn a great deal about Ben Gilsum, what it’s like to work as an Intelligence Analyst for a government subcontractor, and a fictitious secret society known as the Brothers of Herrad. I’ve also added several bits of historical reference throughout the novel, as well as some Freemason legend, because it fits the story and I happen to love early American history as well as secret societies. The Third King: Coronation is available on Amazon in paperback or eBook format, and on Barnes and Noble in Nook format.
Part two, “Guardian Angel: True Calling,” is written and we’re looking at a release sometime before the end of 2019. Guardian Angel: True Calling is more action packed, still with plenty of good American History references. We also get to learn more about some of the original characters, as well as a few new characters not introduced in part one.
I’m also working on a novella about the life, and death of Edgar Allan Poe. That’s just in outline form and I’m doing research currently. I’m really excited about this one, but the release date is currently unknown.
You can learn more about me and all my projects by checking out my website: https://redcliffpress.wordpress.com/.
What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
I must confess, much of what we learn about Ben Gilsum in The Third King: Coronation is based on actual experiences of mine. I’ll also admit, I’d like to be more like Ben in many ways. Particularly, I’m not nearly as quick witted as Ben, and the historical references he offers in casual conversation take me hours to research and confirm.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
I’ve always loved to read and write. In high school I read Shakespeare or Poe for fun, along with a list of all the Romantic Poets. I’ve written hundreds of poems, which I never attempted to publish, but would on occasion share with friends. It wasn’t until much later in my life that I decided to tackle writing a novel. Once I started doing research for The Third King: Coronation, I was hooked. I fell in love with the characters, and after a visit to Alexandria, Virginia, I fell in love with the setting of my first novel. Writing about Ben Gilsum and the rest of the cast of characters has become a passion.
How do you deal with creative block?
For me creative block is more a lack of motivation. Once I get started, thankfully, the creativity comes and I have trouble taking a break. I can get wrapped up in a story pretty easily and turn the rest of the world off. I’m also addicted to research, so when I’m feeling too lazy to write, I’m reading about topics in my work. I like to know street names, business names, what they look like, what they smell like, who goes there, how long it takes to walk or drive or take the Metro. I’m a perfectionist and I hope the attention to detail is apparent in my work.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
My biggest issue when I started was keeping the timeline. Writing my first novel took two years, and in the beginning I wasn’t writing every day. It became difficult to keep up with the timeline. I’ve learned to do that manually on my outline, and update it as I write.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
Make sure your title and cover relate as much as possible to the contents of your work. People who may actually enjoy your genre see the cover and read the title first. If those two items are not representative of your work, even if your work is the exact type of story a reader loves, the reader won’t bother to look inside. This is critical advice, in my opinion.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
Great question. When I first started, bad reviews and negative feedback hurt, a lot. But then I learned to consider them as advice, and try to apply them to my next project as much as possible. Especially if the advice and reviews were coming from a person with more experience or training than me. The best advice I could give a new writer, and you’ll hear this from plenty of writers, is to not reply negatively to bad reviews. It’s tempting, really tempting, but don’t do it. It will never help you and it could have a negative impact on a potential reader. I have mission statement on my website, and one of my favorite bullet points is; “There is no such thing as a bad review.” I try, very hard, to remember that.
How has your creation process improved over time?
I’m writing much faster, cleaner, and with more confidence. When I started writing I had no formal training. I was timid, and it showed in my work. I’ve learned a great deal by listening to those with more experience and training. There is no such thing as a bad review. Use it as a tool to get better.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
A friend of mine who writes told me, just after I released my first novel, “You’re going to be someone’s favorite author. And that’s going to feel amazing.” Of course I never believed that to be true, until someone told me that at a signing. Never stop writing. You’re going to be someone’s favorite author.
The most surprising thing to me was the fact that there are at least three other authors in my home town. It’s amazing how many of us there are out there, and how good the quality of local books are. Find them, and give them a try!
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
When I started writing The Third King: Coronation, to be honest, my goal was to complete the book. I wanted the satisfaction of actually finishing a novel. Today, it’s much more than that, and I get a great deal of satisfaction pleasing my readers. The support and feedback has been incredibly rewarding.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
For me, it’s a big part of my work. I’ve cried with my characters more than a few times, and I still tear up when reading a few scenes in the Ben Gilsum Mystery Series. At first, it was because there was a great deal of personal experience in my work, but today it’s just the emotion I feel while writing a deeply sad, or angry scene.
What are your plans for future books?
I’m going to release part two of the Ben Gilsum Mystery Series, Guardian Angel: True Calling, this year, and then get to work on part three sometime in 2020. In the meantime, I’d like to get started on my novella about Edgar Allan Poe. I’m excited about this one, and it’s going to be a quick project for me. I’m loving the outline, and enjoying the research.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
Like most writers, I’m an introvert. It’s extreme in my case, but I tend to come to life at book shows and signings. As long as I have something that excites me to talk about, I can ramble on forever. Otherwise, I’m a wallflower in crowds, and the most you’ll get from me there is a smile and quiet “Hello.”
Here is a link, again, to my website and also my book on Amazon.