Friday, June 3, 2011

Dishing it up with Brett Battles

Folks, I’m thrilled to have author Brett Battles dishing it up with us today. Brett has published eight thrillers since 2007, including The Cleaner and The Deceived. He was born and raised in southern California where his parents, avid readers, instilled the love of books in him early on.

Though he still makes California his home, he has traveled extensively to such destinations as Ho Chi Minh City, Berlin, Singapore, London, Paris, and Bangkok, all of which play parts in his current and upcoming Jonathan Quinn thrillers.

Welcome and thank you for hanging with us for a bit.

JET: Can you tell us about your latest thrillers Little Girl Gone and The Silenced?

Brett: The Silenced is the fourth in my Jonathan Quinn series. Quinn is a cleaner whose job it is to make bodies disappear. In this latest installment, the unthinkable happens. His past, a life he’s tried hard to bury, collides with his life in the secret world, and he has to do whatever he can to keep people he loves alive.

Little Girl Gone is the first book of my Logan Harper series. Unlike Quinn, Logan isn’t a professional working in the world of spies. He’s a former Army soldier who then worked for several years at a defense contractor training private troops before a horrible event caused him to quit. He now lives in his hometown, a small place on the California coast, working as a mechanic at his father’s auto garage. One morning he interrupts the attempted murder of his father’s friend, then is pulled into a search for the man’s missing granddaughter.

I also have a third thriller out right now called Sick. I’ll sum it up this way. Humanity is on the brink of extinction, and man is pulling the trigger. And a Middle School/Tween book called Here Comes Mr. Trouble about an unusual family that helps kids with a certain type of trouble.

JET: What drew you to writing thrillers?

Brett: They’ve always been a part of me. I’ve been a fan since I was a kid, reading Alistair MacLean and Jack Higgins. It was just a normal progression, I guess. I don’t think I realized I was even writing a thriller the first time I did it. I was just writing what was naturally coming out of me.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?

Brett: Getting a publisher to buy that first book. While The Cleaner was the first book I sold, it was the third I wrote, and I actually had a fourth done when I got the call. I think I sent out 100 queries each for the first two, and about seventy for The Cleaner. But I knew then that it was all about persistence. If one book didn’t sell, I immediately moved onto the next. I felt to do otherwise would have been to insure failure.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Brett: Getting that phone call from the publisher saying they wanted to buy The Cleaner. I was sitting at Starbucks, working on edits on that fourth book. I had to stop him in mid conversation and say, “Wait. Are you saying you want to buy my book?” Everything after he said yes, I forgot.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?

Brett: I couldn’t say it wasn’t just one. The sci-fi troika of Clarke, Asimov, and Heinlein were huge for me. Thriller-wise, Alistair MacLean. Later it was Ludlum, Graham Greene, Stephen King, and a rotating stack of other amazing authors.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?

Brett: Fifth grade. That’s not an exaggeration. I remember telling my friends that I was going to be a novelist. I loved stories even then, and I wanted to be the one to tell them. From that point on, I always knew it would be my future.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?

Brett: My most interesting research is location research. I love to travel, so I’ve made that a part of my work. Not sure what the craziest would be, but one of the coolest was taking the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. I was in the second class sleeper car. It was like one of those 40s movies with each berth covered by a curtain. Spent several hours in the restaurant car with some Irish and German backpackers, drinking beer and sharing stories. Oh, for crazy, I also spent two day on Khao San Road in Bangkok for Songkran, Thai New Year. It’s four days of INSANITY. Basically a 12 hour long water fight each day on a street as crowded as Disneyland on it’s busiest day with music and drinks and dancing and water, water, water. To say that I was constantly soaked would be an understatement. While I’ve worked the train ride into a story already, Songkran hasn’t made it yet, but it will.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?

Brett: Impossible to say. I love each of my books for different reasons. I guess The Cleaner will always have a special place because it was my first published work. I love my three latest – The Silenced, Little Girl Gone, and Sick – a lot! But I’m honestly happy with all of them.

JET: Any advice for the novices out there?

Brett: Write, write, write, everyday. Even if you write crap keep going. It’s through practice of the craft that you improve. One of the most important qualities for a writer: perseverance.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten. . . starting with: Paper or Plastic?

Brett: Paper

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Brett: Steak

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Brett: Yes

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Brett: Rock-n-Roll

JET: Paper or Digital?

Brett: Paper transitioning into Digital

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Brett: Silent Film Classics

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Brett: Tea

JET: Salty or Sweet?

Brett: Both

JET: Top 10 best seller or Unknown Back Shelf Find?

Brett: Back Shelf Find

JET: 2012 Mayan Prophecy Believer or Ain’t Gonna Happen?

Brett: Ain’t Gonna Happen, but it’s going to be amusing watching people go a little nuts as the date grows closer.

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?

Brett: In the middle of the follow up to Little Girl Gone. Then it’s on to the sequel to Sick. This fall I’ll be diving into the new Quinn…I’ve got them lined up back to back to back.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Brett Battles and his work at his website:

Join us next Friday when we dish it up with Ian Barker.

Until next week,




JETaylor said...

Thanks for swinging by today Brett - this was fun!

Brett Battles said...

Thanks for having me!