Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
I’m Dr. Wesley Britton and I’m 64 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I really have two home bases. I grew up in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania to two parents who were from the south. My Dad was from Texas, my Mom from Arkansas. I then lived in or near Dallas, TX for around 20 years before I moved back to Pennsylvania.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Well, I have a Master’s degree and doctorate in American literature I earned from the University of North Texas. My specialty was 19th century literature, especially the works of Mark Twain. I taught English for about 33 years in Texas, Oklahoma, and then Harrisburg, PA until I retired in 2015.
I’ve been married for just under 20 years to my wife, Betty Britton.
I carry the genetic eye disease, retinitis pigmentosa which means I’m blind. It is a progressive disease which means I lost my sight gradually from the mid-70s until around 1996 or so when I became completely blind.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
In terms of writing, the news is that I’m working on a series of short stories featuring characters I introduced in Return to Alpha, book six of the Beta-Earth Chronicles. To get folks interested in the new stories, we’re giving away one of them to everyone who signs up for the first issue of my newsletter:
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started when I was in graduate school, at least in terms of getting published. I’d tried my hand at writing fiction all my life, really, but not to any success. At UNT, I began pumping out the scholarly articles and essays expected of scholars and that lead to everything that has happened since.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always thought I’d be a writer, but always told myself I needed to wait until I had enough life experience to have something to say. I always knew I’d end up a teacher and writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Well, that was the non-fiction Spy Television which came out from Praeger Press in 2003. I’d been publishing articles, essays, reviews and poetry for decades—I wanted to write something long. I’ve always been a lover of the spy shows of the 1960s and had read a number of books devoted to specific shows. But no one had covered the entire genre. Well, I did.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Actually, I didn’t. The publisher was about to start a TV-genre based series with similar titles—Science Fiction Television, Detective Television, etc. I happened to be first.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Depends on what I’m writing—non-fiction or fiction—and to what audience—a specific readership or the general reader. For the Beta-Earth Chronicles, I invented a new style of storytelling to give each of the main characters their own voice. So the story is told with alternating perspectives like an oral history with a grammar I created to sound like it’s from a different earth, which it is. Oh yes, that was challenging to create and sustain over the series.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I’ve come to admit some of the experiences in the early chapters are based on things that happened to me. Most everything else, I hope, is realistic enough even though we’re on different earths with different cultures and different kinds of human interactions. I often say most of the characters created themselves—they came to me and I essentially channeled what I “daydreamed” into words.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Not anymore. I did lots of traveling when I was younger but can’t really say how much that factored into the Beta-Earth books. After all, I never left our earth to cross the multi-verse.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
At first, the publisher. Later on, we dumped those images and I hired an artist named Sharon Lippman to create new covers. Check them out at my website and blog!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think there are many. The main one, I suppose, is acceptance. Acceptance of other people’s ways and customs. Acceptance of other races, cultures, and ethnic backgrounds. Acceptance to the point of embracing other ways and bringing them into your family.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
That’s a tough one. As I write book reviews for BookPleasures.com, I read many books a month and tend to forget who wrote what and what I said about them.
But if you must have one author, I’ll say Samuel Marquis. He writes very detailed historical fiction, mostly set in World War II. He’s excellent at using research to make for very convincing stories. He surprised me with his last one, which was about Blackbeard the pirate. Not Marquis’s normal time period or setting.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Hmm, different groups at different times. I suppose the one I have the greatest fondness for remains all the TV, film, and literary spy buffs I came to know while working on my four spy books and my spywise.net website. So many cool people were participants in those projects in so many ways. What a wonderful community to be part of!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, in terms of how I spend a huge chunk of my time. No, if you mean making money. I spend much more on promoting and plugging my work than I’ll ever get back, at least financially. But the stories will keep coming—let’s hope.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’d always change things even after a book gets edited and published. Mostly small things, like pumping up a specific scene, cutting a specific scene, revisions like that.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Oh, so much. I like to think I improve with each book in terms of story-telling. The novella I’m currently working on is set in British Columbia 40 years from now set in a canyon housing survivors of the First nation in the Pacific Northwest after global warming and weaponized plagues have decimated humanity. That required a ton of reading and research as I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest, I’m not Native American, and world building a planet after those kinds of catastrophes took a lot of research to make everything detailed and believable. Oh my, I’m still learning.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I can’t really answer that. As I’m blind, I haven’t seen what any actor or actress looks like in decades.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write. Get off Facebook and Twitter and don’t get distracted by all the things that rob you of your writing time.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Mainly, thanks to those of you who’ve taken the time to spend some time on Beta-Earth. Thanks to those of you who’ve taken the time to say nice things about the books at Amazon or Goodreads or wherever.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading two books at the moment– #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women is giving me perspectives on how indigenous women feel about their lives. BEYOND THE BEATS: Rock & Roll’s Greatest Drummers Speak!is a collection of interviews by Jake Brown I’m reviewing for BookPleasures.com. No two books could be more different!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
That would be a long list. Monty Python, Mel Brooks, my wife, my grandson, memories of my past . . .
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Mark Twain. He had so many talents and levels in his life and creativity.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I used to play drums in a series of bands. Reading, writing, gardening.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
These days, mostly repeats like Boston Legal, M*A*S*H, Murphy Brown and Becker. Lots of the shows on music legends on Axcess TV like the Dan Rather interviews. Star Trek. Madame Secretary. I admit being behind the curve on recent films.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Seafood, Mexican food, the blues, classic rock. Blind folks don’t really have favorite colors.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Oh, that’s tough. Probably read more and wish I was writing.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Here lies Wes Britton who suffered and survived the slings and arrows of outrageous critics.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
The Beta-Earth Chronicles website is at:
My Amazon Author page is:
My BookLikes blog:
The Beta-Earth Chronicles Facebook page