# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I’m S.G. Browne and I write dark comedy and social satire mixed with a heavy dose of the supernatural or the fantastic. Most bookstores don’t tend to have a section for that, so I end up being categorized all over the place. My stories range from zombies to luck poachers to superheroes, although in my books the zombies are the heroes and the superheroes aren’t exactly super. I’ve written five novels (Breathers, Fated, Lucky Bastard, Big Egos, and Less Than Hero), one novella (the heartwarming holiday tale I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus), and two short story collections (Shooting Monkeys in a Barrel and the recently released Lost Creatures).
# What is your most recent book about?
Lost Creatures is a collection of fourteen tales of downtrodden luck poachers, lovelorn chemical elements, obsolete villains, disillusioned children, trademarked teenagers, underachieving adults, outcast reindeer, domesticated centaurs, victimized zombies, and time-traveling alcoholics—many of them lost and searching for answers. Some of them find what they’re looking for, while one or two discover that childhood dreams can come true. The stories are a blend of fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, and dark comedy.
# What inspires/inspired your creativity?
I get my ideas from all sorts of places. Conversations, song lyrics, news stories, movie sub-plots, random thoughts. But nothing inspires my creativity like reading a good book or watching a good movie. Also listening to a great album or visiting an art gallery. In short, other artists help to feed my creativity.
# How do you deal with creative block?
This relates to my previous answer. If I’m having trouble with a story, or with my writing in general, I’ll pick up a book or a collection of stories that I’ve read before that I love and read a few chapters or a story or two in order to reignite my creativity. There’s nothing like immersing myself in good writing to break through a creative block.
# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Forcing your characters to do something they don’t want to do. Or forcing a story to go somewhere it doesn’t want to go. Those are two ways you can find yourself creatively blocked. Sometimes, even if you have an idea in your head of where you want your story to go or what your characters should be doing, it may not be the right idea. If might have been when you started out, but sometimes the story and characters evolve and you have to evolve with them. Otherwise they’ll just stop what they’re doing and look at you and say, “Yeah, I’m not doing that. Try again.”
# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
Titles are a very personal thing. Some people need them to start a story or a book while others can wait until they’ve finished to come up with their title. So choose something that you’re happy with and that you won’t second guess. But make sure you check Amazon to see if there are other books with similar titles before you finalize anything. Otherwise your supernatural social satire could end up being lumped in with a bunch of romance novels.
As for covers, if you have an agent and are going the traditional publishing route, you won’t get a whole lot of say in your covers. But if you’re self-publishing, my advice is to have some kind of a concept of your cover art, then find a cover artist who is familiar with how to create cover art for self-publishing templates, tell them your idea, and then let the artist know you’re open to other ideas so that they can do what they do. More often than not, I’ve been ecstatic with the result, which has been nothing like what I originally imagined.
# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
The law of bad reviews holds that 1 bad review will cancel out the euphoria of 10 good reviews. At least that’s how it used to be for me. A single bad review would put me into a foul mood. But the longer I’ve been around, the less bad reviews matter, especially if they’re in the minority. Not everyone is going to love what you write. So you’re going to get bad reviews. The best advice is to not read those reviews. You’re not going to learn anything positive from them.
# How has your creation process improved over time?
I’m not sure I’d say that it’s improved over time. It’s just…become different. I used to journal every day and make sure I sat down at exactly the same time each morning to write for 2-3 hours before going to my day job (when I’ve had a day job). I tried to hit at least 500 words during that time and tried to make the words as close to polished as possible, so my output wasn’t as great for the hours I put in. Now it’s more of an “any port in a storm” mentality, where I will write whenever I have the opportunity and try to maximize the time I have to create as much content as possible. I figure I can always fix it later, so I tend to get more words written in a shorter amount of time.
# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I know that there are writers who write mainly to satisfy their readers and who preach that strategy as the only way to be a successful writer. I’m not one of those writers. I write stories that I would enjoy reading and hope that my readers will come along for the ride and enjoy the stories with me. I don’t want to tailor my story to specifically appeal to my readers, because then I’m not being true to the story. If I were to write a romantic comedy, the two love interests wouldn’t end up together at the end because that’s what everyone expects. I don’t want to do what everyone expects. I want to do something different, even if that means some readers aren’t going to be happy about it.
# What role do emotions play in creativity?
Since I write dark comedy, if my emotions are low or negative—if I’m unhappy or frustrated or disappointed about something happening in my life outside of writing—I have a difficult time writing because the dark overwhelms the comedy. So I try to regain my emotional balance in order to help balance my creativity.
# What are your plans for future books?
I have a fairly solid idea for a sequel to Lucky Bastard. I also have a Middle Grade series idea based on the mythology I created for Lucky Bastard that I’m working on. In non-Lucky Bastard ideas, there’s a humorous post-apocalyptic YA novel and a sequel to The Maiden Poodle, my self-published fairy tale about anthropomorphic cats and dogs. Plus a series of novellas about a private investigator in San Francisco. Now all I have to do is find the time to write them.
# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
· If I had a theme song play whenever I entered a room, it would either be “Bullwinkle Part II” by The Centurions or “I’m Your Boogie Man” by KC & the Sunshine Band.
· Some of my favorite words are ineffable, apocryphal, blimp, and dude.
· All of my cats have been named after literary or film characters.
· I love ice cream and root beer but I don’t like root beer floats.
· I was once handcuffed naked to an anchor.