It presently has a 4.4 rating on Amazon and 3.9 on Goodreads. I enjoy writing character-driven stories, most often featuring a flawed or broken protagonist. I will be publishing two more titles in 2017—one by August and another by December.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been writing in some capacity or another. As a kid, I spent a lot of time writing, often turning my favorite movies or video games into short stories. When I was 14, I won a national creative writing contest in Canada, although I have no idea if the story was any good. My drive to write largely went on the backburner in my twenties, since I was faced with real world challenges—working, paying bills, career, and all that. I spent some time doing freelance writing work, too. Last fall, I dove back into writing fiction, and decided to pursue it full-time for the foreseeable future.
Tell us about your book, and the story behind writing it.
The Fifteenth of June is a story about a young man, Drew Thomson, who lost his mother under tragic circumstances as a child. He never learned to fill that void or how to cope. The story picks up with Drew as an adult, an alcoholic with social disorders, who has wandered through life making one bad decision after another. He soon learns that his father is terminally ill, and it forces him to reevaluate his choices and how he’s living.
The story behind the story is pretty simple. I was sitting at home one night, having a beer, and I imagined a young man doing the same—except he was on his seventh or eighth beer, sitting in a rundown apartment, his laptop before him, staring into the night sky, and clearly depressed. I began asking myself, “Why is he this way? What’s wrong? What happened?” I began jotting down my ideas, and that became the basis of The Fifteenth of June.
What’s the biggest challenge about being a writer?
As a self-published author, I’ll say that my biggest challenge is balancing my time between writing and marketing. Writing the first novel was easy—it was all I had to do. Now I am splitting my time writing my second novel and building an audience for the first. I find that the new time constraints are stifling to creativity at points, and I need to pause and come back to my work later.
Do you have a specific writing space?
I have a home office set up in a sunroom of sorts. It’s full of windows and my desk faces the street. Great for lighting and distractions alike!
What’s your number one piece of writing advice?
Write, and write often. It sounds obvious, but it surprises me to learn how many “authors” started writing a novel ten years ago and never finished it. Write the stories you want to write—worry about commercial viability later. If you aren’t passionate about what you’re writing, you’ll never get it done. You’ll also never find out how good it might have been.
What books do you currently have on your bedside table?
I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett and I’m almost through 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Also on my bedside table is Worst. Person. Ever. by Douglas Coupland, which I finished last month.
Who have been your biggest writing influences and why?
As I mentioned, I’m a big fan of antiheroes, flawed protagonists, dark humor, and man versus self-stories. Some of the greats that come to mind in those categories are Douglas Coupland, Mordecai Richler, and Nelly Arcan—all three of whom happen to be Canadian.
How do you market your writing?
I’m still figuring that part out as I go. I’m big on freebies, because a single-title author has to plan for the future. The best chance I have of marketing upcoming titles is to allow readers to fall in love with what I’ve already written. So I’ve been big on doing giveaways via KDP and Goodreads. I’ve also donated my debut novel to libraries and independent bookstores, which helped me get some local press. I’ve networked with library administrators—I have six author appearances coming up this year—and book clubs that might wish to read my work. Keeping active on my blog and social media has helped, not to mention the odd pay-per-click campaign on Facebook and Amazon.
Lastly, something fun. What’s something our readers might not know about you?
I have a giant head. Not in the sense that I’m arrogant—although I can be sometimes—but in the sense that my head discriminates against hats. That’s fun, right? My standard author bio aside, readers might also not know that I take weekly boxing lessons. I wouldn’t describe myself as much of a fighter, but I know how to throw a decent hook.
By Brent Jones
Twenty-eight-year-old Drew Thomson is haunted by a troubled past. After struggling for years with alcoholism and antisocial behavior, he ends a stable relationship with his girlfriend and finds himself without a home, job, or purpose.
Just as he learns that his father is terminally ill, he meets a stranger who offers him a flicker of hope for a better future. But is he ready to bury the past?
Rich with dark humor and a keen insight into the human condition, this debut fictional release from author Brent Jones delves into life’s most pressing trials—destructive relationships, love, loss, and pursuing happiness.