Friday, July 29, 2011

Dishing it up with Robert Browne

Today I’m thrilled to be dishing it up with thriller writer extraordinaire Robert Browne.

Robert is an AMPAS Nicholl Award-winning screenwriter who ran screaming from the movie industry and jumped into writing novels.

His first novel, KISS HER GOODBYE, was recently produced in Chicago as a pilot for a CBS Television series tentatively titled THE LINE, by Sony Pictures and Timberman/Beverly Productions, with a script written and directed by Michael Dinner.

Before the jump, he developed screenplays for Showtime, Viacom, Saban/Fox Kids, Krost-Chapin, and Marvel. He was also staff writer for Fox Kids’ Diabolik, and a contributing screenwriter for Spider-Man Unlimited.

Post jump, Rob has written four thrillers for St. Martin’s Press in the U.S., Macmillan in the UK, Droemer Knauer in Germany, with books also published in Russia, Bulgaria and the Netherlands.

His books KISS HER GOODBYE (2007) and WHISPER IN THE DARK (2008 UK/2009 US), are critically acclaimed. proclaimed, “This is a writer whose name will soon be a household word” and Publisher’s Weekly gave WHISPER IN THE DARK a starred review: “The deeply satisfying story moves at a furious pace, packed with unexpected and original clues and plot twists.”

His third novel, KILL HER AGAIN, was released by Macmillan UK in May of 2009 and July in the U.S.

DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN was released in May, 2010 and has been nominated for a 2011 ITW Thriller Award.

His new thriller, THE PARADISE PROPHECY, was released on July 21, 2011.

JET: Can you tell us about the Paradise Prophecy?

Rob: The Paradise Prophecy is a big, edge-of-your-seat supernatural thriller about dark angels trying to take over the world and the two screwed-up mortals trying to stop them. It spans the globe from Brazil to Los Angeles, London, Istanbul and back, is full of exciting set pieces that scream make-me-a-movie, and will hopefully have you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

JET: What drew you to writing thrillers?

Rob: I grew up reading and watching thrillers. When I was a kid I watched all the Warner Brothers crime thrillers on TV and read every thriller I could get my hands on, including the Richard Stark Parker series and William Goldman's Magic and Marathon Man. I consider Marathon Man to be one of the greatest thrillers ever written. Goldman is smart enough to know that thrillers aren't just about plot mechanics. They have to have heart or emotion, and there's plenty of that in Thomas "Babe" Levy's life.

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

Rob: Believing I could write a book. I became a "pro" through the publication of a short mystery story in EasyRiders magazine, believe it or not. Then I broke into the screenwriting world and wrote a ton of screenplays, never feeling I was quite ready to tackle my true love, novels. When I became disenchanted with Hollywood, I decided to finally try my hand at it and Kiss Her Goodbye was born. The irony, of course, is that despite my abandonment of Hollywood, they came calling a few years later, wanting to adapt the book for a TV series.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?

Rob: Well, besides getting the call telling me I'd sold Kiss Her Goodbye, it was standing on the set when they were filming the pilot and watching Dylan Walsh play a character I had created. Both of the worlds I loved had come together. It was quite a head trip.

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

ROB: I already mentioned Stark and Goldman, Stark being Donald Westlake, of course. I also loved his comedy mysteries. In fact, the first book of his I ever read was serialized in Playboy magazine, which I read when I was thirteen. I was also a huge fan of James Kirkwood and Newton Thornburg. Kirkwood wrote quirky slice of life stories and Thornburg wrote some of the most literate thrillers I'd ever read. Cutter and Bone is a masterpiece.

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

Rob: When I read Westlake's novel in Playboy. It was a revelation to me and I knew at that moment that I wanted to tell stories for a living. To be able to keep a person glued to the page the way he did me, was to my mind the greatest thing in the world.

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

Rob: One of my books is a thriller about reincarnation called Kill Her Again. The male lead is a hypnotherapist who reluctantly delves into past-life regression in order to understand the visions that are plaguing the woman at the center of the story. In order to understand the process, I went to a hypnotist who specialized in past-life regression and had her put me under. It was an interesting experience. Mostly it was me doing what I do best—making stuff up—but it was fun.

The most interesting thing I think I've uncovered was when I was doing research for The Paradise Prophecy. I had never heard of the Codex Gigas—or Devil's Bible—before and I thought the legend surrounding it was fascinating. The book is about the size of a packing trunk and was allegedly written in a single day after the monk assigned to write it made a pact with the devil. Obviously, it was a perfect fit for The Paradise Prophecy. In fact, the entire mystery centers around the book's seven missing pages. And that's real. I didn't make it up.

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

Rob: I'll have to go with The Paradise Prophecy for a couple of reasons. It's my latest, and you always have high hopes for your latest, and it also signals a change for me. Not so much a change of direction. My books are all supernatural to some degree. But the size and scope of this novel is much broader than usual. It has a pretty large cast of characters, and covers a lot of ground. Raymond Khoury called it an epic and I think that applies. It certainly felt like one as I was writing it.

JET: Any advice for the novices out there?

Rob: The best advice I can give a novice is the same advice any pro will give: read a lot and write a lot. Always have a book with you and always be working on a book. It's really the only way you can learn. But equally important, I think, is don't be impatient. Learning the craft takes a long time and a lot of trial and error. Don't rush it. Eventually you'll get there.

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?

Rob: Plastic. Only because of the handles.

JET: Steak or Tofu?

Rob: I have to make a choice? I love both.

JET: Beach or Mountains?

Rob: I grew up with the beach a few blocks away from me, but have never been a huge fan. I actually prefer mountains.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?

Rob: I lean toward rock-n-roll, but I've heard a few country songs I've loved. Just depends on my mood. My tastes are pretty eclectic.

JET: Paper or Digital?

Rob: Digital. I never print anything out.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?

Rob: Again, both. I love movies in general. So much so that I'll even watch direct to DVD fare. Some of it is very good. I think the only thing I don't love is torture porn. Watching people get skewered or skinned alive doesn't do a whole lot for me.

JET: Coffee or Tea?

Rob: Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.

JET: Salty or Sweet?

Rob: Oh, boy. Once again: both. But I lean toward sweet.

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

Rob: Unknown back shelf. Especially if they were written in the fifties and sixties.

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

Rob: Not the Mayan Prophecy, but The Paradise Prophecy, which is coming July 21, 2011. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

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

Rob: The sequel to The Paradise Prophecy, of course… Oh, wait, that may have been a spoiler.

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

And if you haven’t picked up any of his books yet – what in the name of heaven are you waiting for?

Until next time,



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