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?
Hi Fiona. I’m Brent Michael Kelley, I’m a Taurus, and I’m 40 years young.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m originally from a small town in northern Wisconsin called Bruce. These days I live in another small town in northern Wisconsin called Tomahawk. Love me some northern Wisconsin!
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Well, my wife and I have an amazing son who is just starting 2nd Grade. We have three dogs, one of which is named JP. JP is sitting on my lap under my shirt as I type this.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My most recent release is a collection of short stories called Doomsday Furnace. It’s got sci-fi stuff, dark fantasy stuff, horror stuff… It even has a story about my little buddy JP!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I was a very young man when I got a book called “My Jedi Journal.” It’s yellow, and it has Yoda on the cover. I created all these heroes and villains. I gave them each unique weapons. They had names like Squid Sid, Iron Bull, Megaman, and Bionic Brent. Yes, I borrowed heavily from comics, cartoons, and Nintendo. I still have it. It’s right next to my writing desk.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably when I started on the second Chuggie novel. The first one waswrittenhere-and-there for like a decade. The second one I started from scratch and stayed up very late. I think it took like ten months.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had a job I hated, so I’d go to the park for lunch every day and work on a story-poem about gnomes for my niece. When it was finished, I stumbled upon a small press out of the UK that was seeking children’s short story submissions. I sent it to them, and they accepted it. That gave me the bug. I had to try my hand at writing a novel. Luckily, I had a character named Chuggie who was bouncing around in my head for a long time. I had lots of drawings of him in various sketch books, and a ton of little story-snippets. When the gnome poem got published, I knew it was time to get Chuggie moving.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater is the first book I wrote. One of my all timefavorite movie titles is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I wanted Chuggie’s adventures to have titles like that. As it happens, in the first book Chuggie goes to a town called Stagwater. There is also a Desecration nearby.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I find it’s easier to wrap my head around characters if I use a real person as a jumping off point. Tom Waits, for example, is the basis for Chuggie. MillaJovovich was the inspiration for Fey Voletta. My friends and family members creep in, too.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I’m not able to travel as much as I would like, but whenever I do I tend to take lots of notes. I was lucky enough to go on a trip to South Africa in 2013. We were mostly in villages up north, near Botswana. Everywhere I looked there was something to inspire the story I was working on. The different plants, how people relate to animals, daily chores, local government. Everything was new and amazing.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
For the Chuggie books and Keep Away From Psycho Joe, Kate Jonez and I designed those covers together. For Cruce Roosters and Doomsday Furnace, the background art was done by the highly-talented Matt Wajek. I added the text elements, and Kate Jonez put on the finishing touches.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
If someone in power is exploiting people, they tend to meet a horrific end in my stories. If I have a message, it’s don’t be awful to people or animals.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My editor, Kate Jonez. She’s a fantastic editor who has always supported me, and she’s one of my very best friends in the world. She’s also a brilliant author. Everybody should check out her collection, Lady Bits!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’d love to be a full-time author. Just sitting in my treehouse clackin’ away on the keys, writing a bajillion stories and seeing just how crazy they can get. I’m not there yet, but that’s the dream.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I learned right away to make peace with the work once it’s published. We put together a pretty cool little collection, and I’m proud of it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned I really like writing short stories. I need to do more of that.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Only one man can play Chuggie, and that man’s name is Tom Waits.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
When you’re out and about, having a tiny notebook in your back pocket is mighty handy. When you’re driving, it’s awesome to have a voice recorder.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m actually reading three. I’m reading Four Corners by Ian Welke, an excellent novel set in the Southwest. I’m reading Lady Bits, which a super creepy short story collection by Kate Jonez. And I’m reading The Heart of Hell by Wayne Barlowe. That man has a powerful imagination, and every page is an alien, hellish surprise.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It had to do with Snoopy, I remember that much. I remember being very proud that I had finished an entire book by myself.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’d like to meet Wayne Barlowe. I think a conversation with him would be a masterclass on creating alien civilizations and creatures.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I study Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. For those who don’t know much about it, it’s a non-striking martial art. Grappling, choke holds, arm locks, and stuff like that. My son and I do that together, and it’s awesome to see him understanding and applying the techniques. He’s a very sweet and gentle kid, but he knows the proper way to choke his father.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
For TV shows, I really liked Stranger Things, Stan Against Evil, Peaky Blinders, Taboo, Legion, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. The Boys was awesome, and I can’t wait for season 2. Better Call Saul and Rick &Morty are brilliant.
For movies, the go-tos include The Goonies, Star Wars, Naked Lunch, Goodfellas, The Shining, Insidious, The Devil’s Rejects, or Friday the 13th Part 6. I’m looking forward to It 2 and 3 From Hell at the moment.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Corn Dogs are delicious. Bright Green makes me happy. Lately, music-wise, I’ve been listening to two bands: Tool and Heilung. Amazing!
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
A whole lot of paintings. I also see that in a future where I do write. Gotta get back to painting!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Here lies Brent Michael Kelley. It sure took a lot of lightning to kill him.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Folks can visit www.brentmichaelkelley.com to see what I’m up to. I have been pretty lax on updating it over the summer, but now that things are settling down again I’ve got some ideas for cool stuff I’d like to do there.
Amazon Authors page USA https://www.amazon.com/Brent-Michael-Kelley/e/B006EWR9PC/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Thanks so much, Fiona!