Interview – Kyle Brown, co-author of Dumb Waiters: The Awakening
Self-Publisher’s Showcase: Today we are joined by Kyle Brown, co-author of the literary fantasy Dumb Waiters: The Awakening. Welcome to the Showcase Lounge, Kyle.
Kyle Brown: Hello, indie supporters. I feel blessed to have this opportunity to be interviewed here.
SPS: For any of our readers that haven’t come across your work previously, can you take a moment to tell us all a little about yourself and where your love of writing came from?
KB: I’m a SoCal son, infamous in my hometown. A fifth-generation cemetery guy – my family owning and operating since 1882 – now, one of the few privately-owned cemeteries left in California. I’ve always wanted to be a storyteller – constantly wanting to create.
To be fair, it’s my dad’s fault. He took me to Disney’s Jungle Book theatrical rerelease so many years ago and it was beyond apparent that show was my only option. I was given a chance to flourish in fifth-grade, ordered to write an anti-drug story. Mine was on Max and Bob meeting on Open House Night to smoke cigarettes at the swing-set. The teacher and some fellow students encouraged me to volunteer-read it to the class who promptly sent me to an assembly-sharing in front of kids, faculty and the police department; and they loved what I did, sending me on an ego trip that no ten-year-old should ever experience and I love them for it. Hammered home what I need to do with my life.
SPS: When it’s time to write, do you have any perfect writing conditions? Can you write anytime, anyplace?
KB: No. I need things to be perfect – quiet, right balance of energy and patience – and I need the doors opened to Ogma, the god of poetry.
SPS: How did your writing partnership with Bailey (co-writer Bailey Johnson) come about, and how does it work?
KB: We met in Atlanta, part of an MLM experience – very handy business to have looked into, at least on surface value. eCommerce. He seemed like a good guy and we kept in touch and a month-and-a-half later I stumbled into one of those creative surges and presented him with an idea. He contributed a lot to what would become Dumb Waiters, helping me to define the scope of this large thing that appeared in my mind one Sunday night.
When I’m in my mood, the characters go with me and tell me their story, they show me things and take me on weird conscious assaults. The partnership: I took whatever Bailey wrote and let the characters speak, grabbing hold of what sparks in them. It’s a way to take a major principle of the book and apply it in the real world.
It’s a relationship. Bailey, myself, the audience: it’s the characters, it’s their story. I’m just the guy who yearns to tell it. And I yearn to tell it. I get sad when I’m not able to produce or talk about producing.
SPS: Would you say that your styles are very similar or do you both bring something different to the writing?
KB: Both! Bailey’s got some amazing talent and even though he only contributed a few pages to the first episode, I gave him top billing ’cause they’re some beautiful paragraphs (and the combo sounds better when his name is read-off first). He’s a beautiful guy – a little shy about his gift – still was able to take some of what he wrote for other titles. I’ve gone through my ceremony and art thrives.
We both bring something different to writing in general. There’s a real need to be unique and inventive in this business. I wake up and do this job every day – every one of those days it’s never a struggle to keep the passion – it can be a struggle to advance the craft or find the poetry.
I’ve done business with people, all remarks have been positive. I find it hard to talk about the specifics of the style, my thoughts on the first book change every day, I’m always tempted to hop online and edit a scene or have fun with it. It’s appealing and a lot of fun to know that there are people out there with different versions of the same story – handmade in the USA.
SPS: The story you have chosen for your debut is a very unique one. Can you tell us about Dumb Waiters: The Awakening?
KB: An epic poem of deception, popcorn entertainment, a challenging piece of fun homage fiction (searchin for truth). As a fan of art and artists and life and freedom-oriented ideas, Dumb Waiters is a love letter to many people, places and things. It’s difficult to talk about, short of the synopsis, which is also used by me as the reader’s tool or reference guide, should one think I’ve gone too far. It’s a book for interpretation, arthouse if you want it: to have fun.
SPS: Tell us about some of the major characters involved, and do you have a favorite?
KB: Chris Lujan, a young playwright, studying at a liberal arts school in Chester, Virginia, ’til the love of his life disappears in mental anguish – walkin’ through a bog, the warnin’ o’ silence – artist Anne Cooper, actress Rachel Handpicks, budding producing personality Jake Konstantine – all lovers, all eternally young, all trapped in a nightmare.
Their lives are seized by an angel hiding in Cathar Clouds – art itself being disdained, as Bailey once said. And no, I do not have a favorite character, but thank you for asking. I love each and every one of ’em and I know the audience can relax and find something with them, too.
SPS: Was there anything in particular that gave you both the inspiration for The Awakening?
KB: Everything – name it – everything: war, famine, cliché, a lifelong desire to do this, lots of growing and work to be decent. There was also some famous title inspiration, both from published fiction and Burbank. Not to mention the ladies (giddy smile).
SPS: What sort of reader would you say it would appeal to?
KB: Anyone. It’s perfect for lunch-time or a fun read before read… Dumb Waiters and The Coagula Series can appeal to One Direction fans, assuming their parents don’t mind them reading literature with some adult themes and language. It’s personal. I’m a human being. I get it. I know how to tell a story. I’m living through the economic repression with you. I am not a rich man and I see the stress in all of our eyes. I know how hard it is to even ask people to read one of my books for free or to ask them to take a few minutes to read the latest minisode/chapter/excerpt on my site or GoodReads.
I hope to appeal to people who go home and wanna read a good book. I write to reach anyone who may need a glimmer of hope or intellectual liberal propaganda. The nature of the busy, sad life; the magick of Bailey/Kyle fiction and the great secret of life is that you can step out of yourself, first step into yourself (smile), and on a lunch break or late in the evening with a healthy smoothie, I hope that you pick up a copy of my work and have a conversation with me, deep in the throes of sleuths and dark peace. I’m not a normal guy, but occasionally you’ll catch me at the grocery store wearing a jersey, buying survival items, talking to people, looking and listening for inspiration.
No matter what you do, you’re held to one of twelve basic plots or perceptions – though, not in my books – I believe we’ve managed to escape that restriction, but we’re still bound by our own filter of personal taste. The Coagula books are a chance for juxtaposition, the melting pot – the old playwrights, authentic shamelessness – I write to show you what a real magickian can do. Literature utopia is possible. I live it, even with the occasional dental trip or discouraging disappointments. The story comes to me in spurt scenes, which gives you a chance to enjoy it in the hustle break or engage it whole in one sitting. It is a strange thrill and can appeal to anyone. It won’t appeal to everyone, but it can appeal to anyone that you may know.
SPS: What sort of thoughts and feelings would you like the book to evoke?
KB: I do not care to even imagine what could happen with one person or the world entire. Naturally, I go to work believing and hoping that these stories can brighten up someone’s day.
SPS: How challenging did you find combining together the stories of so many characters?
KB: No challenge. It comes to me one word at a time and it’s at least usually clear who’s narrating – and you’ll see that how the chapters are broken up; very much a collection of vignettes, one distinct clothesline/MacGuffin holding it all together.
SPS: Was the plan always to make The Awakening the first book in a series, or did you set out just looking to write a standalone piece?
KB: Always a series. That first night, struck by the same story from two different sides, I saw in an instant how these sensations fit together, what was possible. The process of getting it perfect on paper, though– (dramatic pause) It’s an incredible story. I never cease to shock myself whenever I take a look back at Dumb Waiters 1. The way my work can be interpreted – these lives and this bundle of events – the happy accidents, the ice feak.
SPS: How pleased have you been with the reaction so far from readers and reviewers?
KB: I am grateful for the two fine ladies who were kind enough to give me 5 stars and write a few nice words. People who have not bought a copy have at least taken a look at the handful of samples floating in cyberspace and have been polite to say some nice things or comment on its humour.
I’m an entertainer. If I didn’t have to eat, I would do this for free.
These books take a long time, to carve out the much-needed mental clarity/get through the snobbery and moral shouting, to get the right words out. I really hope that I can throw myself into the middle of this madness and stop y’all for a moment because I have something to offer – if only a mad dash down a spooky alley filled with smiles – and that’s why I love one reviewer’s word for Dumb Waiters, “whimsical.” It’s a kooky discussion of a serious subject that affects us all. I’m not afraid of any word or sentiment. I have the power to scare you with Parnassian glitter.
SPS: How far do you plan to take the series?
KB: ’Til I’m no longer a material person on this side of the multiverse. I hope that I can leave this earthly shackle, go to Tara and see what I got wrong – and then I can’t help but hope to share Chris Lujan’s Coagula story with the inhabitants there. There’s potential.
SPS: Focusing on your cover for a moment. How did it come about, did you have any say in the design at all?
KB: I just write books, voice my concerns and communicate with the world and get to decide what’s on my sandwich. Short of that, I have absolutely no say in anything at all. Consider myself blessed to know at least one amazing talented artist, my girlfriend, and I love her with all my heart.
SPS: What we can we expect next from the pen of Kyle Brown?
KB: I’ve got a paperback on Lulu, Catena, a collection of stories (available as separate downloads for Kindle); I am now writing Dumb Waiters, Episode II: Jerusalem for a hardcover release this fall, I’ve been releasing a ghost story (search Under The Oak Tree Kyle Brown on search engine of your choice) a chapter at a time, am always typing stuff up for my website, got many more unfinished novels/documents/handwritten pages with no desire to quit or slow down – short of taking my sweet Leonard Cohen time to craft a novel or a poem for you to ________ (insert your own verb, I dare not offer suggestions).
SPS: Was the Self-Published/Indie-Published route always your preferred route for your work?
KB: God no, and I can’t voice my opposition. I just wanna work in this marketplace. I take plenty of stabs at the close-mindedness on both sides. When I write, it’s my art – it’s me – it may be these monsters that function somewhere. Every day, I open the path to determination and make my dreams come true. I have that power. My imagination has the power to lend itself to many market branches. It’s proving it to a giant of mass of people in one sitting – after writing more books – and I love this. I love doing this. I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world.
SPS: Has the experience so far been all that you thought it would be?
KB: No, of course not, but I love it!
SPS: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to get into writing, what would it be?
KB: Do it, just do it, as long as you give the characters their rightful chance.
SPS: Before we bring this interview to a close, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
KB: My mentor, Paul; a thousand Thank Yous to my family; Robert Louis Stevenson, wherever you are; Augusta Fern, awesome rocker; Ann Simpson, Edmonds, Regina Puckett, Coleman Weeks, Xao Thao, good accomplices; check out their work, too. Hand Me Down Evil by Allison James, available for Kindle, worth a buy for sure.
I love SPShowcase. You guys post and stand up for the little guys without fail and have a wonderful, beautiful site here. Thank you.
Most important, Alyanna, I love you! I’m nothing without you, babe.
For those of you watching at home: I’m in the doghouse right now and it means a lot to be able to do this and have another way of communicating with you.
SPS: Thank you for joining us today Kyle, and good luck in the future.
KB: I’m humbled. Thank you.
SPS: For more information on Kyle Brown and his work, please do visit his Author page here.