Interview with Brian Paone
with Virginia Carraway Stark and StarkLight Press
Hugo Award nominated musical/rock fiction author, Brian Paone, was born and raised in the Salem, Massachusetts area. His love of writing began through the medium of short stories at the young age of twelve. After almost twenty years of consistently writing short stories for only his friends and family to read, Brian’s first full-length novel, a personal memoir about his friendship with a drug addicted rock-star titled, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts, was published in 2007. Brian’s second novel, Welcome to Parkview, was published in 2010 and is a macabre journey through a cerebral-horror landscape. Brian’s latest novel, a time-travel romance titled, Yours Truly, 2095, was published in 2015 and follows a man who wakes up trapped in the future, to discover he’s been the victim of a time-travel conspiracy by a woman who is not what she appears to be. Along with his three novels, Brian has two published short stories: “Outside of Heaven,” which is featured in the anthology, A Matter of Words, and “The Whaler’s Dues,” which is featured in the anthology, A Journey of Words. Brian is married to a US Navy nurse and has four children. He is also police officer and has been working in law enforcement since 2002. Brian has ideas for enough future novels where he should be able to continue publishing books well past retirement. When Brian isn’t writing, he is playing or recording music with his band. He is also a self-proclaimed roller coaster junkie, and his favorite color is burnt-orange. For more information on all his books and music, visit www.BrianPaone.com
You can listen to ‘Outside of Heaven’ for free, simply by clicking this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGB_3naL1N4
(NOTE: Chris isn’t part of the group anymore so I took that part out) Brian Paone is dedicated to helping other authors to realize their dreams and runs the Facebook Page ‘Fiction Writing.’ If you’re interested in an online community that is supportive and fun ask to join the Fiction Writing group to share your work, get feedback, get tips and learn from other’s success and failures check it out here:
All 3 of Brian’s published novels are available in paperback, eBook, and audiobook.
Thanks for joining us at StarkLight Press today, Brian!
I guess my first question is ‘author and musician’? Those are two difficult skills in one Brian shaped package! What sort of musician are you and do you multi-task in this sphere?
- I have been in recording/touring bands for 19 years now. I have been in a total of 4 bands, and my 7th album is coming out at the end of the summer this year. I am the singer & keyboard player for all 4 of my bands.
- Drop Kick Jesus has 2 albums: “Splatterguts” (1998) & “Depress The Heart” (2001), and we sound like a cross between Slayer and Slipknot.
- The Grave Machine has 1 album: “The Grave Machine” (2004), and we sound like a cross between Ministry and Neurosis.
- Transpose has 2 albums: “A Delicate Impact” (2007) & “Retribution” (2011) and we sound like a cross between Deftones and Thursday.
- Yellow #1 has 2 albums: “Bottle of Rain” (1997) & “Thanks for the Nostalgia” (that’s the album that’s coming out later this year, 2016) and we sound like a cross between Nine Inch Nails and Digital Underground.
How do you find time to write as well as being a Police Officer? Do you work full time as an Officer?
- I worked fulltime as an officer from July, 2002 until October, 2011, when I then went to part-time, and have been ever since. I wrote and published my first 2 novels, Dreams are Unfinished Thoughts and Welcome to Parkview while working fulltime, writing on days off and some nights staying up until the morning writing. But I was working part-time when I wrote Yours Truly, 2095.
Was it ever a decision between the three careers of Police Officer, Author and Musician?
- There was never a decision because I was able to sustain all three; working fulltime as an officer, playing concerts and mini-tours with my band on the weekends, and writing at night or my days off during weekdays. I somehow found a way to make it all work. However, because music is my number one love, if a genie was to grant me fame and success in one career of my choice, I would pick music and my band without even blinking an eye.
How do you find that the three jobs nourish and grow the other careers? Do you take a lot of the lessons learned as one of them and apply those lessons to the others?
- To be honest, I leave my policing career 100% out of my writing and music career. However, if anything, it’s my writing and music career that consistently blend and integrate with each other. My band Transpose’s 2011 album, “Retribution,” is a concept album that is a short story I wrote. Instead of trying to publish the story, we took the story (dialogue and all) and wrote our album around the story. So every night, when we play that album night, it’s me really just singing the words to my own short story. I even made a movie to go along with the album that I published on YouTube:
What is the most important thing that you’ve learned as a writer?
- You can’t rely on family and friends to all buy your book. If you want anyone to read your work, you must promote, promote, promote… and then promote again.
Would you say that is the same answer for what the most import thing you’ve learned in life is?
- Most important thing I’ve learned in life is, when there is a bump in the road, or an instrument doesn’t work on stage, or a plot idea isn’t panning out, you just … keep … moving forward.
If you could pick one song to describe your career as a writer, what song would you pick and why?
- “A Small Victory” by Faith No More
When you were a kid did you say: I’m going to be a writer and a cop and a musician or did these careers grow with you?
- Yup. That’s EXACTLY what I said. I started obsessing over Pink Floyd when I was just 6 years old and wanted to be a musician. I saw a girl get beat up in 5th grade and then wanted to be a cop so I could help people. And I read Stephen King and started writing my own fiction in 7th grade and wanted to be an author.
Of your jobs, do you have a favorite? Do you have a dream that you could quit two or one and focus on a narrower field or do you like things just the way they are?
- I am very happy with my careers so far. I have achieved some milestones and accomplishments in both music and writing that other’s try their whole life to reach. My band has played a sold-out show at CBGBs in NYC (the most famous club in North America), I have toured and opened for many of my musical idols. I have 3 published novels that keep surprising me in their sales and positive reviews.
What’s your most treasured ‘incident’ as a writer with a reader?
- Last year I had a fan email me to tell me that my first novel, Dreams are Unfinished Thoughts, is his favorite book of all time, and convinced him to not commit suicide and get help for his addictions. He asked if I wouldn’t mind Skyping with him so he could thank me “in person.” I agreed, and then found out … he lived in Russia!!!
What is the worst moment you’ve ever had as an author?
- Thunderstorm. Auto-save turned off. Writing Dreams are Unfinished Thoughts. Wrote for about 10 hours straight. Lights flickered. Power went out. Lost about 20,000 words. POOF.
If you were suddenly confronted with an alien ship landing in your backyard would the aliens be friendly or fierce? What would you do next?
- Hopefully they would taste like chicken.
How would you describe your life? Is it generally easy, hard or somewhere in-between?
- My life is pretty easy. As a part-time officer, I only have to work the street about 14 shifts over the span of 3 months. Other than that, I am in my office Monday – Friday either writing a new story or novel, editing other author’s work, or creating music for my band. I do have 3 children (with a 4th due in August) so when they come home from school, it’s like tornado alley in my house.
When do you do the most writing?
- Weekdays between 0700 – 1500, and after the kids go to bed at night (if I’m not working on new music with my band).
What’s your worst distraction from writing and how do you fight it?
- The Fiction Writing Facebook group that I admin. I can’t fight it. I have to be there. Ha!
What is the one thing you would tell yourself as a young writer if you could go back in time and give young you advice?
- DO NOT approve that first editor that was hired to edit Welcome to Parkview! Go straight to the second editor that was hired after the first one was fired… that’s almost a year of your life you’ll never get back.
Is this the same advice you tell young writers when you mentor them now?
- I tell them to at least GET an editor. Do not self-edit your own work, and DO NOT self-publish anything that hasn’t been professionally edit yet.
What’s something new and exciting that you would like to share with everyone?
- I have begun outlining my 4th book, tentatively untitled. It’s going to be a comedic-military novel, almost in the style of the film Mr. Mom with Michael Keaton. This will be about the true adventures I had when my wife, who is an Officer in the Navy, left me alone with our two toddlers when she got deployed for 8 months to Djibouti, Africa, and the learning curve and craziness that ensued during those months. I’m hoping to have a 2017 release schedule for that.
Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
- Best advice I ever received: Don’t write while drinking!
- Worst advice I ever received: Don’t write while drinking!