Interview: Dr. Laurence B. Brown – author of The Eighth Scroll

Hi all!

One of the books in my queue to read and review is The Eighth Scroll by Dr. Laurence B. Brown. Though I haven’t had a chance to dive in, it’s been described as a thriller in the vein of The DaVinci Code from Dan Brown, so I’m definitely curious to check it out.

In the meantime, I was granted permission to post an interview with Dr. Brown to get a bit of insight into his thought and writing processes…

Q: One of my favorite things about your novel is that you write great action scenes. What would you say is the key to writing a great action scene?

You have to write an action scene as if you are living it. The most important trick is to show the scene, not tell it. Telling the scene (i.e., narration, like this: “Jack turned to Jill, who pointed her gun directly at him.” *yawn*) kills action, whereas showing the scene (i.e., painting a word picture: “Jack turned to give Jill the good news, and stared straight down the barrel of her gun. Her eyelids were squeezed shut and her face turned away. His heart first skipped a beat, then pumped hammer-blows into his brain.) turns the written page into a movie in the audience’s mind. Remember to tickle all five of the audiences’ senses, always throw in some unexpected twists, and never let the scene end the way the audience might expect it to end.

Q: Your story could easily be described as a page turner. What would you say you did consciously to achieve this?

To me, writing a page-turner is all about dramatic pacing. If the pace of the novel is too fast in the beginning, you lose your ability to ramp up the action toward the end. You have to hook the audience with each scene, end each chapter with a cliff-hanger, build tension throughout the book and bring it to a head-spinning, knee-buckling climax at the end. To enrich the story I interweave multiple subplots, each with its own dramatic pace. Then I bring all of these subplots to a crashing crescendo so each page of the ending brings a new shock or surprising satisfaction. It’s kind of like having multiple . . . uh . . . donut holes. Yeah, donut holes, each of a different and shockingly good flavor *smiles and waves* “Hey, kiddies, you all like Dunkin Donut’s, don’t you?” *whispers aside to the older members of the audience* “You know what I’m really talking about, right?”

In any case, you’ll see what I mean. And by the way, although I joke, one of the things I take pride in is writing clean. In the words of one reviewer, “My congratulations to Dr. Brown for writing an exciting and thought-provoking book that is suitable for the entire family. The book contained no obscene language and no scenes that could be considered “adult situations.”

Q: Your “modern period” takes place in 1987. Why did you choose that period instead of the 21st Century?

The “modern period” begins in 1987, but follows the characters through their adventure into present day. If I had started in the 21st Century, the timeline would have been too compressed to be workable.

Q: Where can we get a copy of your book?

You can find The Eighth Scroll for sale on Amazon by clicking HERE.

A big thank you goes out to Dr. Brown and to Jeff Rivera, Editor-in-Chief at the Gatekeeper’s Post for hooking me up with the book and the interview.

I’m looking forward to checking out The Eighth Scroll this summer!!

–Fitz

p.s. Check out this book and other thrillers below!

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Book Review: Bardisms: Shakespeare for All Occasions by Barry Edelstein

Hey all…

Some days I find it entertaining to think that William Shakespeare‘s influence on the English language was so profound, he has been credited for contributing between 1,500 and 8,000 words to the language. These may not have been new words, but his are often the earliest cited examples of those words appearing in written works.

So let’s compare that against the backdrop of today, in a culture of Tweets, texts, instant messages, and e-mails, we use a fraction of the English language. I don’t even want to consider how butchered and mangled Shakespeare’s plays would be after going through the wringer that is our technologically limited writing today.

As such, when Barry Edelstein‘s book Bardisms: Shakespeare for All Occasions was released way back in April 2009, I definitely wanted to check it out and see how the Bard might provide inspiration for any number of occasions for which I am out of wit. I was not disappointed. And somehow I bet Shakespeare would be pleased with how his works would be quoted and reused for a huge variety of topics and events.

Edelstein was the perfect person to undertake pulling such a resource together, as he has directed more than half the plays of the Bard at theaters all around New York City and the U.S. He’s also taught Shakespeare at the Juliard School, the Graduate Acting Program at NYU, the Public Theater‘s Shakespeare Lab, and in lectures and master classes around the U.S. and beyond. He definitely knows the Bard more intimately than most of those living today.

Pick a topic, any topic, and Edelstein most likely will have a suggestion for a quote or passage and how you might use it.

For example, are you ever at a loss for words when dealing with a loved one? Choose your desired effect… Othello would say “I Really Love You” as “If it were now to die / ‘Twere now to be most happy, for I fear / My soul hath her content so absolute / That not another comfort like to this / Succeeds in unknown fate.” – Othello, 2.1.186-89. Basically this boils down to those few magical moments when the stars align and everything is perfect.

Or perhaps you mean so say “I Love You”, but, as Edelstein says, it’s a bit twisted – “You superb little devil! I’ll be damned, but I love you. And when I don’t, it will be the end of the world.” In Othello’s words again, it becomes “Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul / But I do love thee, and when I love thee not, / Chaos is come again.” – Othello, 3.3.91-93.

Another great section is on apologies… I’m always saying “I’m sorry” for something or another, but rarely say it as graciously as Hamlet… “Give me your pardon, sir. I’ve done you wrong; / But pardon’t as you are a gentleman.” – Hamlet, 5.2.163-64

Everything from family and childhood, lovers and war, mid-life, old-age, and death… It’s all here. Even if you don’t use the suggestions, it’s a learning experience to simply read these quotes and put them into a different perspective.

If you ever have to give toasts or speeches, or are simply at a loss for words, pick up a copy of Barry Edelstein’s Bardisms: Shakespeare for All Occasions. It will sit beautifully next to a thesaurus and dictionary as an indispensable reference. Look for it at your favorite bookstore!

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up this book and many others at Amazon below!

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