Interview with Brave Author B. D. Lawrence

This week I’m interviewing Brave Author B. D. Lawrence. Welcome to the Brave Blog!

Sarah: We’ll start with a fun question. What’s your favorite genre to read?

B. D.: When I was young it was science fiction and fantasy. Read all of Tolkien’s books the first time as a teenager. Read a lot of Roger Zelazny. My all time favorite book is Dune. But, I as got older and as I got
into writing, I fell in love with crime fiction. My dad had a good friend named Ed Gorman, who was a crime fiction writer. I read a lot of his books, then branched out to Ed McBain, James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly. I’ve always been a big superhero fan and I think it’s because I like right triumphing over wrong. Justice. The crime fiction I like to read is all about justice and right winning.

Sarah: You already hinted at this, but why do you write in the genre you do? Did you always want to write in that genre?

B.D. : The novel idea that came to me was about revenge. A man loses his wife and child in a drive-by and he becomes a vigilante to exact justice. Vigilantes, justice, right over wrong is what drove me to write crime fiction. I’ve written short stories in many other genres. Science fiction – my first short story was in SF. Fantasy. Literary, Magical Realism. For me, the story drives the genre. I come up with story ideas and then decide what genre those fit into. I have a science fiction novel in progress. As well as an idea for a family drama. Eventually, I’ll get to them.

Sarah: So, with novels brewing in multiple genres, what is your author tagline? Why did you choose it?

B.D.: My tagline is “stories of justice, vengeance, and redemption”. I chose this for a couple reasons. First, all those three subjects fascinate me, especially when combined. Stories with all three are the best stories. The other reason I chose that tagline is because it doesn’t limit me to one genre. It will work if I branch out from crime fiction into other genres.

Sarah: How interesting. When did you know you wanted to be an author?

B.D.: In my mid-twenties I attended college to work on a masters degree in computer science. While sitting in class I started thinking about a how far would a normal person go to avenge the murder
of someone they loved. (Yes, it was a boring class). I then started thinking about writing a novel. No clue how to do that, but I’d read hundreds of novels, so how hard could it be, right? It was hard. I got involved in online writing groups where we’d critique each other’s work. Things progressed from there.

Sarah: Let’s talk about your writing process. Do you enjoy drafting or editing better? Why?

B.D.: From what I’ve gathered from many other writers, I’m a bit odd here. I like writing the first draft. But I love the second draft. I write a first draft pretty quickly. I don’t layer in a lot of detail. I even leave brackets of areas that need research. I get the action down. The dialog. The setting. And when I’m done with that first draft then I get to do the second draft. And that’s where my real writing comes from. The second draft is where I can cut the fluff. Flesh out the bare bones stuff. Craft the sentences. I enjoy that

Sarah: Do you enjoy writing in third person or first person better? Past or present tense?
B.D.: I’ll start with point of view. In general, the story drives the point of view. But, I love writing in first person. There’s a freedom in first person. I can be a narrator and write things that would not come out if not told directly by the main character. However, there are stories that demand third person because they demand either multiple points of view or they demand a more hands off, just show what’s going on approach. As for tense, I always write in past tense. I’ve only ever read one book written in present tense that was good. The Juror by George Dawes Green. Intense book. And to me that’s what present tense needs. It must be a constantly intense story otherwise present tense falls short and seems hokey.

Sarah: Which book of yours was your favorite to write? Why?

B.D.: This is a hard question because I’ve enjoyed them all. Killer Redemption appealed to me because I was able to write about an anti-hero. I took a man who by society’s standards is a bad man and wrote him through a journey of redemption. I was also able to show both sides of him more than many of my other characters. He’s a hitman who loves jazz, writes poems and falls intensely in love with a Christian woman. I enjoyed writing Coyote and a One-Armed Man more than the others in the One-Armed Detective series because of Darlene, a character who came out of nowhere. She’s a wayward seventeen-year-old that Lefty and Eileen take under their wing. She wasn’t even in my ideas for the story until she appeared. Now she and Lefty are a fun pair to write about. She’ll continue to make appearances in subsequent books. Finally, my newest book is a different private eye series and it’s in first person. I love writing first person, especially what I call first person sarcastic. I’m having fun with Jake Sledge.

Sarah: What is the biggest piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to write their first book?

B.D.: This is going to seem trite, but it’s so true. The best advice I can give a wannabe writer is to write. There are so many people that say they want to write a novel or a story or a memoir or something. And that’s all they do. They talk about how they want to write. In order to be a writer, you have to write.
Second piece of advice, join a writing group and get people to read what you write that can give you honest feedback. Friends and family will always love it. Find people who are objective.

Sarah: Great advice. Which of your characters is most like yourself? Which is most different?

B.D.: Both of my PI’s – Lefty Bruder and Jake Sledge, share many attitudes that I have. And both are similar to how I was before I became a Christian. And it’s that journey that makes them fun to write. Will they accept Jesus? Maybe. Not sure yet. Also, both are projections of what and how I would try to fight crime should I be in a position to do so.

Sarah: Sounds fun and interesting. Last question: what are you working on now?

B.D.: I have two projects going. One is the aforementioned private eye novel called Chilled to the Bone: A Jake Sledge Mystery. Jake is an ex-NFL football player, though he had a short career due to injury. Bobo Johnson is his partner, also an ex-NFL player, but a hall of famer. Jake is 6’5” about 260 and Bobo is 6’9” around 400 pounds. Often in PI novels, the PI is the moral center and has a sidekick that does the dirty work. I’ve reversed that. Bobo is the moral center. Jake likes doing the dirty work. Much of the conflict is Bobo keeping Jake in line and out of trouble. The second project is a collection of short stories and novellas set in a fictional town in Iowa. All of the stories are fictionalized true crimes. I’m finishing the second to last novella now. Then, I’ll do the last one and put it together as a collection called The Marble Hill Crime Blotter.

Sarah: Thanks for joining us on the Brave Blog. It was great to hear more about you and your work.

B.D. Lawrence has always loved reading fiction. Ironically, though, his worst subject in high school was English. One night, sitting in a master’s level computer programming class, daydreaming about vigilantes, he decided to give writing a try. Out of that came his first novel, which went nowhere. That was many years ago. During his writing journey he’s dabbled in several genres, including mystery, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. He currently is focusing on crime stories of justice, vengeance, and redemption. He hopes his Lefty Bruder private detective series will not only entertain lovers of P.I. fiction but will also help fight the scourge of human trafficking by raising awareness of the awful crime of sex trafficking. He also wants his books to bring hope to readers that may not know Jesus as Lord. Not all of his stories are Christian, but all his novels will be written from a Christian world view and present the Gospel in some form by some character or characters. You can find more about him and his books on his website: .

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