Internationally published author, Brad Isham, finds a great sense of balance and fulfillment through writing. He and his wife enthusiastically share in the adventures of travel and the outdoors. He recently won a Pinnacle Award for Best Adventure Novel 2012 from the NABE for his novel, The Sound Of The String, An African Bush Country Adventure. He is a member of the Mason Dixon Outdoor Writers Association and has written for several outdoor magazines including Africa’s Bowhunter, The African Hunting Gazette, Traditional Bowhunter Magazine, The Virginia Sportsman, The Professional Bowhunter’s Society, and Traditional Archer’s World. Isham is taken by traditional archery, uniting archaic instruments of the past with the present moment.
What inspires you to write?
What inspires me to write is people from all walks of life and backgrounds, their interrelationships, and their perspectives. I truly believe as I wrote for my email signature: There are boundless benefits to the perspectives of others. Every one has a story, good or bad, and we can learn from the bad as well as the good. My stories are compilations of events, tragedies, triumphs, love, and loss that make life what it is, beautiful. There is no normal life, there’s just life. Most of my writings are fiction based upon fact. I have met wonderful people and have found that often times it is the more likely to be unrecognized that have the most interesting tales. Those are the tales I enjoy telling.
Tell us about your writing process.
I often find thoughts and inspirations throughout daily life, scratch out notes on anything near by, record them into a digital recorder, or email them to myself. Music, conversations, memories, all play into my writing. I try not to be to complicated and write simply like old Hemingway’s “Iceberg Theory”, eighty percent can be left below the surface. Readers are smart, you don’t have to tell them everything. They want to make the story their own as they read. I have a more modern, spiritual twist to my writing though as I love authors like Dan Millman, Paulo Cohelo, and Don Miguel Ruiz. I am a very eclectic reader. My writing process is very simple, when inspired I write, when not I don’t, I leave it and find more inspiration and then come back. When I am on something I think is good I stay with it hammering out as much as I can in the way of thoughts and emotions even if the writing is no good. Then I come back to it, edit and rewrite it into something I like.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I mainly feel them. I meditate with them and grow them in my mind. “What will Lucas do when he finds out Gordon lied to him?” “How will they react when they find out the subterfuge they have plotted against each other?” Most of my characters are based upon real people, interesting people, who I know or have heard stories about at least so I just continue the relationship in my mind and heart. Even if they are complete fictional characters, I love them like friends. It makes the stories more evocative. Evoking emotion, good or bad, is my goal.
What advice would you give other writers?
Just write. There is so much analytical, overburdened stuff that people say you need to do. Just write, don’t overcomplicate it, just get your thoughts out first while you are having them. You can always polish them into pretty prose later.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
The Sound Of The String is a book between many genres. I had a hard time getting the outdoors industry to look at it because it is fiction (or faction). The other publishers were reluctant because it was outdoors related. I never got rejections, just not the enthusiasm I had hoped for so I decided to go it alone and self publish. I was so happily surprised that women loved the novel, I received emails from couples who read it together and people from all walks of life. There is a backdrop of hunting camps in the African bush and a protagonist that hunts mindfully and with great care for the animals he pursues. He builds his own longbows and hunts simply on foot with close interaction to his prey, I think people get a perspective of the chase not often known these days and can understand and respect Gordon Bradford. The main themes are the interrelationships of the people of the bush camps. White, black, wealthy, and poor the people have special bonds. There are very good and very bad subjects in the book, but it will immerse the reader into a true to life look into Africa, its land, people, and animals. I even have some etherial connections between Gordon Bradford and some of the bushveld inhabitants and some very adult anthropomorphism. Having said all of this, it was a tough sell, until people started reading it. That is why I self published. The Sound Of The String has since received a five star rating on amazon.com and won a Pinnacle Award for Best Adventure Novel 2012 from the NABE.
The only advice I can give to new authors about self publishing is that it is a big ocean and you are but krill. Be prepared to swim on your own, you will be your only support.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think there will be so many self published books in the future it may make your head spin. This may be good, it may water down the market more and leave so much competition that it will be hard to be seen. Imagine amazon.com with ten times the titles it has now.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
Adventure, outdoors, spiritual, faction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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