Don Bruns interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Jun 2, 2016 1:05:52 PM
Don Bruns interview with David Alan Binder
A little about Don (from his website and it shows how persistence pays off): When renowned mystery novelist Sue Grafton read Don Bruns' book manuscript, she fired off eight pages of criticism, pointing out numerous structural problems, plot problems and character problems. Sometimes sarcastic, sometimes caustic, her comments stung the fledgling writer. After reading her remarks, Bruns told his wife Linda that he may as well give up on any attempt to get published. Two days later Grafton called him and asked if he was ready to shoot himself or her.
Grafton, the successful writer of the Alphabet murder series suggested that Bruns throw away the proposed book and using her suggestions and comments, attempt to write a new one. Bruns had purchased her critiquing services as part of a charity auction during a mystery convention in Tucson, Arizona in March 2000. Grafton agreed to read the second book for free. She told him she felt he had the makings of a good writer, but he needed to pay attention to details.
Nine months later Bruns finished the second book, Jamaica Blue, a mystery novel about the murders that seem to follow a Jamaican rock band. Grafton read the book in one sitting and called him the next day.
"It's good. It's really good. This is publishable," she told him.
"I was on the road when I took her call on my cell phone," Bruns said. "I almost had an accident."
In October, 2001, Grafton was featured guest at the national mystery convention, Bouchercon, held in Washington,D.C. During one of her presentations she announced in front of approximately 1000 people that someone should publish Jamaica Blue. Charles Spicer from St. Martin's Press stopped Bruns after Grafton's talk and asked for a copy. Ten minutes later Bruns handed it to him and he read the manuscript on the train back to New York. Contracts were signed in December of 2001. The book was released in late September, 2002 and Grafton's blurb appeared on the cover. "Don Bruns has staked out his turf. Sex, drugs, rock and roll and murder. What more could you want?"
More acclaim followed. Library Journal said "Well paced prose, unnerving, high-speed action, and lively subject matter. A solid debut." The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel claimed the book a success. "A pulsating, clever debut. Mixes the right beat of rock, suspense, and character that keeps you hanging on."
Bruns' second book, Barbados Heat, was released in 2003 by St. Martin's Press, along with the paperback version of Jamaica Blue and cassette and CD renditions. The writer has traveled to 15 states on book signing trips and was welcomed last November at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.
"It's a dream come true," says Bruns, "to be published and to have Sue Grafton as a mentor." What more could you want?
Bruns' books explore the seamy side of the music business, flipping the industry on its back and looking at the underbelly of power and corruption. Protagonist Mick Sever is a journalist who chronicles the history of rock and roll, and uncovers murder. "There's enough crime, corruption, drugs, and slimy people in the music business to keep Mick Sever busy for a long time," Bruns says.
Bruns himself is a road weary musician who made a meager living traveling and performing throughout the United States, working with acts like Ricky Nelson, the Platters, Ray Charles and Eric Carmen. He's released a CD of original songs called Last Flight Out. Two of the songs have been recorded by other artists.
1. Where are you currently living (at least the state or if outside US then Country)?
2. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
As a writer, you look at the world a little differently. Everything that happens to you, everyone you meet is fodder for your next book. Kind of scary actually.
3. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
I don't know if it's a quirk, but I find much of my book is dialogue. I listen to conversations and am taken with the ebb and flow, the rhythm of the talk.
4. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
I have the rights to a book called Barbados Heat, available on Amazon. Other than that, I've always used a traditional publisher. I've got a series with St. Martin's Press, two with Oceanview Publishing, and a new series that releases in October with Severn House in England.
5. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
Go to conferences. You meet agents, editors, big name authors. You can write a million letters and get constant rejections, or you can go to a conference and sit at a bar, talking about your work with a New York agent. I've found my agent, publishers, all at mystery writer conferences. My last publisher found me on Twitter, largely because I have 115,000 followers.
6. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
Go to conferences. Many writer conferences let you set up fifteen minute pitches with agents. I've known quite a few authors who've landed a book deal because they met the people at a conference.
7. How many books have you written?
8. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
I am a terrible teacher and don't really have tips for other writers. I'm not sure what I'm doing half the time.
9. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
The best you can do is tell a good story with memorable characters that you are passionate about. Hopefully that will resonate with the reader.
10. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
Book clubs, conferences, social networking and talks to libraries, writer's groups etc.
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(Just think of me as the poor man’s PBS or NPR, LOL!)
Please contact me at dalanbinder at gmail dot com or ab3ring at juno dot com
If you a published author or in a band with or without a book or an up and coming celebrity and want to garner following or get your message out there then I’d like to interview you and feature you and your book(s) or message on this web site in one of my blogs.
Of course, I’m always looking for authors to interview. If you know of one, send them to me, please.
Write Coach service (Donations accepted) - Contact me at dalanbinder at gmail dot com or ab3ring at juno dot com