Wednesday, August 17, 2011

INTERVIEW: Robert Browne (author of The Paradise Prophecy)

The Paradise ProphecyGood morning, all! Stopping by for a quick chat today is Robert Browne, here to promote his latest work, The Paradise Prophecy.

Robert is an AMPAS Nicholl Award-winning screenwriter who ran screaming from the movie industry and jumped into writing novels. His first novel, Kiss Her Goodbye, was recently produced in Chicago as a pilot for a CBS Television series tentatively titled THE LINE, by Sony Pictures and Timberman/Beverly Productions, with a script written and directed by Michael Dinner. His books Kiss Her Goodbye and Whisper in the Dark are critically acclaimed, with proclaiming, “This is a writer whose name will soon be a household word” and Publisher’s Weekly giving Whisper in the Dark a starred review: “The deeply satisfying story moves at a furious pace, packed with unexpected and original clues and plot twists.”  

Before we get into Robert's interview, let's take a quick look at The Paradise Prophecy:

The Myth
When God cast the archangel Satan into Hell, ending the War in Heaven, peace prevailed on Earth. Until the fallen angels took revenge in the Garden of Eden. Ever since, mankind has been in a struggle between good and evil, paradise and apocalypse: the fall of Rome, The Crusades, World Wars, nuclear proliferation, the Middle East Crisis... The War in Heaven never really ended-it just changed venues. For millennia, God's angels have been fighting Satan's demons on Earth, all in hopes of bringing about Satan's greatest ambition, the Apocalypse.

The Reality
Satan has never been closer to his goal than right now.
Agent Bernadette Callahan is a talented investigator at a shadowy government organization known only as Section, on the trail of a serial killer with nearly supernatural abilities. Sebastian "Batty" LaLaurie is a religious historian who knows far too much about the other side- and that hard-earned knowledge is exactly what Callahan needs. This unlikely duo pair up for a race across the globe, decoding clues left in ancient texts from the Bible to Paradise Lost and beyond. In the process they stumble upon a vast conspiracy-one beyond the scope of mankind's darkest imagination.

Without further ado, please welcome Robert Browne!


♥ For those who may be new to your writing, and who haven't yet checked out your latest release, please tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up reading Stephen King and those old Gold Medal page turners and that's what I like to write. Supernatural thrillers that, hopefully, grab hold of you and keep you reading into the night. The latest, THE PARADISE PROPHECY, is big and bold and spans the globe as a couple of seriously screwed-up mortals try to prevent the Devil's disciples from destroying the world.

♥ The journey from 'aspiring' to 'accomplished' can be a long one, even in the era of small presses and digital publishing. When did you begin writing, and how did you feel when you first saw your work in print?

I started fooling around with writing when I was in my teens, got serious for a short while about writing for television, but never knew what to do with all the spec scripts I wrote. Then I realized what I really wanted to do was be a rock and roll star—hey, sound familiar?—so I got away from writing for quite a while. I picked it up again in my early thirties, wrote my first feature length screenplay and managed to win a screenwriting competition put on by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. The next thing I knew I was riding the Hollywood roller coaster, sold the script to Showtime and was thrilled that one of my stories was finally going to make it to the screen.

Unfortunately, the producers were all fired and the script went into turnaround and was never produced. I spent the next several years playing the game until I finally decided to sit down and write a novel. I had always wanted to be a novelist but didn't know if I had it in me. Fortunately, I did, and that first novel, called KISS HER GOODBYE, sold a few months later. The phone call from my agent telling me we had a deal was probably the best call I've ever received.

♥ Did you deliberately choose a genre because there's something specific that draws you to it, something you feel it offers that other genres don't, or was it just 'right' for the story you wanted to tell?

I write what I like to read. The problem, when I first sold KISS HER GOODBYE, was that there weren't too many people crossing crime thrillers with supernatural stuff, so my publisher told me they weren't sure how they were going to market it. Had I written it a couple years later, I would have been part of the whole paranormal/urban fantasy boom, but I guess I was a little ahead of my time. But to my mind I was simply doing what movies and television have done for years. Crossing genres was no big deal.

♥ How does your past influence your writing? Are you conscious of relating the story to your own experiences?

Everything that happens in my life influences what I write. Every book of mine you read, there are little details that come straight from my own world. It's not only fun to do this, but it allows me to keep the work grounded in reality—something that's very important when you're dealing with the paranormal.

♥ Do you have a schedule or a routine to your writing? Is there a time and place that you must write, or do you let the words flow as they demand?

I'm usually up at six, cruising the web, checking email, then by seven I start writing right here at my desk. I try to write at least 1,500 words a day, and that might take me a few hours or well into the night. Of course, the closer I get to deadline, the more I'm able to produce.

♥ Do you have a soundtrack to your writing, a particular style of music or other background noise that keeps you in the mood, or do you require quiet solitude?

My soundtrack is a fan. To save energy, I recorded the sound of a fan, put it on a loop and listen to that as I work. Yeah, I know, I'm strange. But I find the white noise helps me focus. I call it my "back to the womb" method of writing.

♥ For some authors, it's coming up with a title, and for others it's writing that first paragraph - what do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing?

That first line is hardest part for me. I've always been a first line guy and I can't really start a book without finding it. It's my way into the story, and sets the rhythm and tone while grabbing the reader's attention, and until I've got it, I'm stuck.

♥ Is there a favourite quote or scene from your work that you feel particularly fond of? Something that reminds you of why writing is important to you?

This goes back to those first lines. My favorite comes from my first book: It all started when the pregnant girl went crazy. That line is so full of WTF? that I just love it.

But there's also a scene I'm very proud of in THE PARADISE PROPHECY. It's a scene at the end when the main character, Sebastian LaLaurie, is faced with a very difficult choice. And I think what he does is both unexpected and absolutely right. When I wrote that scene, I had tears in my eyes.

♥ When you're not writing (or reading), what are some of the hobbies and passions that keep you happy?

As I said earlier, I wanted to be a rock star when I was young, so, of course, I'm a musician. I write and play keyboards and guitar and will sometimes scare the animals by singing out loud. When I've had a particularly difficult day, there's nothing better than sitting down with one of my guitars and letting it all out.

♥ Is there a particular author who has influenced or inspired your writing? Somebody who either made you want to write in the first place, or who refreshes your literary batteries?

There are many that I love, but three that truly inspire me: Donald Westlake, William Goldman and Stephen King. Westlake wrote just about every style of writing you can think of, including wonderful crime thrillers under the name Richard Stark. Goldman wrote many wonderful books before he left it all for screenwriting, and I think MARATHON MAN is one of the greatest thrillers ever written. Then, of course, Stephen King is one of our greatest American authors who writes character like no one else. Any time I want to be inspired and feel slightly inadequate at the same time, I merely have to pick up one of their books.

♥ When writing, do you ever consider how a reader or reviewer will react, or do you write solely for your own satisfaction?

The only reader I worry about is me. I'm a reader first, so I write to satisfy that part of me. I figure if I enjoy it while I'm writing it, other readers will enjoy it when they're reading it.

♥ What is the strangest or most surprising reaction to your work that you've ever encountered?

This isn't really a strange reaction, but a slightly unexpected one. A reader told me that THE PARADISE PROPHECY scared her so much that she had trouble sleeping. Now, I'm always hoping the work is strong enough to get that kind of reaction, but when I read it it's difficult for me to get scared or get my head around the fact that others find it scary. Exciting? Sure. Suspenseful? Yep. But scary is one I wasn't expecting. And don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that it affects people so viscerally.

♥ Just for fun, who would you single out as your number one celebrity crush, and what would you like most to do with/to them?

Oh, Lord. You'll get me in trouble with my wife. Honestly, I'm not sure if I have any real celebrity crushes. But I would love to sit down for drinks with the favorite authors I mentioned (if only Westlake were still alive), and just talk shop. That would be amazing.

♥ If your book were being made into a movie, and you had total control over the production, who would you cast for the leading roles?

Well, I've been lucky in that regard. KISS HER GOODBYE was produced as a television pilot for CBS, so that was fun. And the THE PARADISE PROPHECY is currently in development with Temple Hill Productions (Twilight, etc.), so hopefully we'll be talking about real casting decisions sometime in the near future. I think I'd probably want to cast Matthew McConaughey as Sebastian, especially after seeing him in Lincoln Lawyer and maybe Milla Jovovich or Jessica Biel as Callahan.

♥ If you could live a day in the world of someone else's story, whose would you choose, and why?

I think it would be a hoot to hang out in Harry Dresden's world for a day, as dangerous as it might be. Butcher does a tremendous job with that world and I think inhabiting it would be scary and fun.

♥ Is there a particular theme or message you're expecting readers to take away from your work?

I think the theme of THE PARADISE PROPHECY is ultimately one of hope. That no matter how terrible things might seem, mankind will make the right choices and things will be okay. I know the cynics out there are groaning right now, but I'm an optimist at heart.

♥ What can we look forward to from you next? Is there a project on the horizon that you're really excited about?

I'm always working on one idea or another, but I'm not done with Callahan and Batty just yet. I'd like to explore their world for a few books and see what happens to them. THE PARADISE PROPHECY is only the beginning.


Thanks so much to Robert for stopping by! I'll be reviewing The Paradise Prophecy later this month, so please be sure to stop back and find out all the glorious details.

In the meantime, you can learn more about Robert at and read an excerpt of the novel at the Penguin website. You can also check out a pair of trailers for the book here:

If you've already have a chance to give Robert a read, or are looking forward to your first taste, please let us know in the comments section below.

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