About Brad Whittington:
Brad Whittington, author of wacky novels and winner of awards, was born in Fort Worth, Texas on James Taylor’s eighth birthday and Jack Kerouac’s thirty-fourth birthday and is old enough to know better. He lives in Austin, Texas with The Woman.
Previously he has been known to inhabit Hawaii, Ohio, South Carolina, Arizona, and Colorado, annoying people as a janitor, math teacher, field hand, computer programmer, brickyard worker, editor, resident Gentile in a synagogue, IT Director, weed-cutter, and in a number of influential positions in other less notable professions.
Brad is greatly loved and admired by all right-thinking citizens and enjoys a complete absence of cats and dogs at home.
What inspires you to write?
Unfortunately, I have an incurable condition: I am a compulsive writer. I literally can’t stop myself from writing. If I go more than a week or so without writing something, I get fidgety and anxious. Fortunately, I have found readers that are compassionate enough to help me with my addiction to words.
It could be that I grew up an outsider, the kid that bounced from school to school as the family moved around the country, never setting down roots. It fashioned me into an observer, a nomad analyzing the prevailing culture of the moment.
However, no matter what it is that I write, I find myself drawn to two things. One is a sense of the absurd, the wacky way the world works. The other, seemingly opposite pole is a pervading sense of grace underlying the fabric of the universe. As I think about it, it seems that the connective tissue is paradox, the space between what is what what should be that moves the curmudgeon to curmudge. (If I can use that word.)
Tell us about your writing process.
I started writing fiction in 1981 and my process has transformed significantly in the last 35 years. I’ve always written with the instinct of a storyteller, but over time I’ve learned to incorporate certain techniques to develop a more compelling and cohesive story. The most recent, and profoundly effective and transforming approach that I’ve employed is John Truby’s Anatomy of Story. It forces me to do the up-front work of really understanding all the characters and their relationships to each other in deep, archetypal ways before setting pen to paper. I’ve used Truby’s method on my last several books, and have also used it to work with other writers to find greater to their stories, especially the early steps on characters. The end result has been remarkably improved in all cases.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I approach my characters as one would do at a cocktail party. With a fashionable drink in hand, I engage in small talk and gradually seduce them into revealing their innermost secrets. You have been warned. If you value your privacy, never talk to me at a cocktail party.
What advice would you give other writers?
My automatic advice to aspiring writers is to quit while you’re ahead. Dorothy Parker really said it best: “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”
This response sounds flippant, but in truth I think it is the best advice one could give a writer. The way I see it, if you can be talked out of writing, then you don’t want it bad enough. If you’re supposed to be writing, then you’ll write and nothing will stop you.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
After 20 years of writing fiction, I got a traditional publishing contract by accident in 2001. (Too long a story to tell here, but you can find the details on my blog.) In 2012 I decided to go indy and since have published six novels, all professionally edited with professional cover design. I chose the indy route because I don’t write the kind of stories that will make the business case for a big-five publisher to spent five or six figures producing and getting on shelves. What agent or editor is going to take on a novel about a Texas Hill-Country sheriff who hears voices coming from a muffin? Or a screwball buddy comedy about assisted suicide vacations? But these stories have found an audience and the business case makes sense when you don’t have a huge corporation to feed, only yourself.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
When people ask about the future of book publishing, they’re usually talking about the survival of the legacy publishing machine. I’m more concerned about the opportunity available to authors to get their stories out, and from that perspective, we are living in the best of all possible worlds. The genie is out of the bottle and you’ll never keep them down on the farm, now.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: literary, mystery, thriller, christian fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.