Author Interview

Interview with author of A Murder Country, Brandon Daily!

A Murder Country

Brandon Daily

Purchase (September 2014)

Publisher: Knox Robinson Publishing

Blurb

Set in the Appalachian backwoods and small towns of the late nineteenth century, A Murder Country tells the story of three men: Josiah Fuller, a seventeen year old who sets out to find the murderer of his parents and avenge their deaths; William Corvin, a man with a violent past who returns home with a new bride and a desire to live a peaceful life running his family’s coal mining operation; and the Rider, the mysterious man who murdered Josiah’s parents and who believes himself to be appointed by God to collect the souls of sinners.
These three men move along on their own individual paths, their stories at times intersecting with one another, continually searching for an understanding of the violent world in which they each live. These three men are ultimately forced to confront the repercussions of their actions and beliefs, both on themselves and the people who surround them. Each man comes to realize the strong and often violent consequences that arise from seemingly insignificant decisions and actions.
A Murder Country examines the constant struggle between man and nature and nature and faith as each character is forced to truly find his own place within the primal nature of the world. The novel examines the tension between nature and man as well as the power and fragility of belief and conviction within humans.

Interview:

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!

My name is Brandon Daily. I am twenty seven years old and married to the girl of my dreams, Amanda. I was born and raised in Southern California (Palmdale and Corona, CA). In 2012, my wife and I moved to Central Georgia (we live in Macon, GA now), where I accepted a high school English Literature teaching job. I have worked retail, substitute taught, and been an English Adjunct Professor at a university, as well as a freelance editor. I have been writing seriously for about six years.

 Tell us about your book? How did it get started?

My novel, A Murder Country, being published next year (2014) by Knox Robinson Publishing is set in the late 19th century in Appalachia. It tells the story of three different and separate men: Josiah Fuller, a seventeen year old who sets out to find the murderer of his parents and avenge their deaths; William Corvin, a man with a violent past who returns home with a new bride and a desire to live a peaceful life running his family’s coal mining operation; and the Rider, the mysterious man who murdered Josiah’s parents and who believes himself to be appointed by God to collect the souls of sinners.

            These three men move along on their own individual paths, their stories at times intersecting with one another, continually searching for an understanding of the violent world in which they each live. These three men are ultimately forced to confront the repercussions of their actions and beliefs, both on themselves and the people who surround them. Each man comes to realize the strong and often violent consequences that arise from seemingly insignificant decisions and actions.
A Murder Country examines the constant struggle between man and nature and nature and faith as each character is forced to truly find his own place within the primal nature of the world. The novel examines the tension between nature and man as well as the power and fragility of belief and conviction within humans.

I began by writing short stories. I loved, and still do love, the format, the seemingly simple idea of writing a fully contained narrative in a short amount of space—it forces you to have to choose your direction and words carefully. I love that challenge. I have had several short stories and plays published online and in print magazines and journals. But I always wanted to be a novelist.

I began writing A Murder Country in 2008, just after I graduated from college. I ended up taking about two years off of writing it, though, going back to school and earning my M.A. in English Literature and working. I also was afraid that what I would write wouldn’t be nearly as good as what I had already written. I think that this is a constant fear for writers. Eventually, in early 2012, I realized that if I never finished the book, all those hours of writing and thinking about the book would be wasted, so I finished the novel, edited it through, had my wife read it, and sent it off to as many publishers as I could find.

How do you create your characters?

 

The characters in my story begin as emotions. What I mean by that is that I know what tone, what purpose I want with my story and I fashion characters that then can achieve that desired result. For instance, one major emotion I write about, fairly often, is regret. I think that regret is such a universal emotion; everyone regrets at least a few things (maybe they are small, if you are lucky, or maybe it is a major regret, something that you can’t quite rid yourself of, a decision, a choice). I then think of what kind of person would feel that regret and then the character sort of manifests itself from there.

I don’t particularly like to write just male characters (though A Murder Country has three main male characters, the book I’m working on now has several female central characters). Instead, I enjoy examining the ways that different people (men, women, young, old) react to situations. Almost every story I tell has a thematic question of: how does a person respond to some terrible event. The first story I ever wrote was about a character who comes across a man dying in a car crash—that event, that meeting is a catalyst for change in that first man’s life. I think that humans are resilient creatures, we can make it through anything, even when we don’t think we can, though that doesn’t mean that we will make it out unscathed—and that’s where the regret comes in.

What inspires and what got your started in writing?

 

I began writing in college, when I took an Intro to Creative Writing class with the most eccentric professor I’ve ever met, Helen Huntley; she opened my eyes to the fact that I have stories to tell, and that I could actually tell them.

My story inspiration comes from my thoughts and beliefs, really. It is not so much personal experience as it is personal questioning. I write about issues and people and actions that I cannot fully understand: violence, fervent and unquestioning belief in something, the destruction of nature at the hands of humans. These things worry me. I guess that I try to write about these things, hoping that my characters will answer the questions, shed light on the unknown. Even though these characters are merely aspects of myself, my subconscious, I truly feel that they can teach me and others things I/we may never have realized before.

 

Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)

 

I write just about anywhere that is quiet. I know some people who can write at a coffee shop or a park. But I don’t particularly write my best when I have something else that distracts me. Though I don’t have ADD, I suppose that I do have some form of Writer’s ADD.

I tend to find myself constantly switching from writing at my desk to writing on my bed, sitting crosslegged with the laptop in front of me; I think it’s the variation that I like. If you just sit still in one place, then your writing will become stagnant too.

I do like to put on music when I write, though it is always movie score music, something calming and relaxing (string and piano are the best music to write to). My favorite music to listen to when I write is any movie score from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis—The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is my favorite movie, and part of that is the soundtrack, so that CD is often put on repeat when I write

How do you get your ideas for writing?

 

My ideas come from hypotheticals. I think: how would a person respond to such and such. Then I let that marinate in my brain for a while (I usually don’t start writing a story until six, seven months after I come up with the idea). With A Murder Country, I was listening to the Eagles’ Desperado CD with my parents on a camping trip. I remember thinking that the story told in that “rock narrative” was amazing (little did I know that Ron Hansen had already written a book on that subject—luckily I took my story in another direction). One of the songs, “Outlaw Man,” has a line that goes: “In one hand I’ve a Bible, in the other I got a gun.” And I thought of that dichotomy, that juxtaposition of what each of those things stood for, the brilliance and simplicity of that image. So I let things spiral from there. Originally, the novel was going to be an action-ish story of revenge, but I realized that there was so much more that could be examined with the story, so that is where my fingers took me as I typed.

 

What do you like to read?

 

I really enjoy a wide variety of authors and their books. I tend to like reading authors in their entirety, rather than one book here and there from an author. My preference is definitely literary over pop fiction, though I do love a fun book. Dan Brown remains one of my favorite authors to read simply because his books are fun. I am actually halfway through Dante, his new book, now. However, my favorite books are those that push the lines, and they don’t apologize for it; these books force the reader to reexamine his or her world. Cormac McCarthy and Michael Ondaatje are my favorite authors simply because they convey, sometimes, horrible things in the most beautiful language. I fell in love with Steinbeck’s writing when I was in high school for that same reason. This fiction creates an entirely different reality, though as readers we aren’t necessarily aware of it at the time. That is what I want my fiction to do—to transport and, at the same time, force readers to reevaluate their perceptions and beliefs.

 

What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?

 

I would tell young writers not to give up or feel like they aren’t good enough. I gave up writing my book for two years because I was afraid the new things I wrote wouldn’t be able to compare with what was already written. And that was two years wasted. Also, I would say: get the story on paper and then edit it. I tended to edit my novel as I went, and after an hour of “writing” and working on my story, I would realize that I hadn’t written anything new. Lastly, I would say this: your story will never be perfect, and if you try to make it perfect by editing so much that your delete and backspace buttons break, then you are probably damaging your story more than helping it. Sometimes the un-finely-polished is the best.

 

Anything else you’d like to share?

 

I really don’t have much else to offer except to thank you for this opportunity. A Murder Country will be released by Knox Robinson Publishing sometime in 2014. You can visit www.knoxrobinsonpublishing.com for updates and to check out the other books being published by KRP. Also, I am on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrandonDaily38 and Facebook: www.Facebook.com/BrandonDaily38. I can be reached through these at any time. Thanks so much.

Denise Alicea
the authorDenise Alicea
This blog was created by Denise in September 2008 to blog about writing, book reviews, and technology. Slowly, but surely this blog expanded to what it has become now, a central for book reviews of all kinds interviews, contests, and of course promotional venue for authors, etc

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