Aside from his novels, Brian is a dedicated dog rescuer and shares his home with 12 rescued dogs. Using the pseudonym of Harry Porter, he has written a series of books designed to appeal to young and old alike under the collective title Harry Porter's Dog Tales. The first of these, the heart warming Tilly's Tale was released in November 2009, and the series is written in the hope of raising awareness of the extent of dog neglect and abuse in the world. His other childrens and young adult works include Arcadia 22Heavy -- Mayday and Alistair the Alligator.
In his third and final literary incarnation Brian is also an accomplished poet, writing under the name of Juan Pablo Jalisco and it was as Juan Pablo that he also won the Best Poet of 2008 Award in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll for that year.
Brian is the Mystery/ Thriller Consultant Editor to Mythica Publishing (UK) and a Science fiction Conceptual Consultant to Stonehedge Publishing, (USA) and is a member of The American Authors Association, The Military Writers Society of America, and The Whitechapel Society 1888, for whom he was the sole judge of their 2009 Short Story Contest.
Whew! Brian, welcome and tell us what books came along at just the right time to influence your reading and writing.
As a young man I was enthralled by the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The air of mystery and suspense that pervaded every Sherlock Holmes tale stayed in my mind for ever and was certainly the major influence on my own writing. I also enjoy the works of Tess Gerritsen and Jeffery Deaver, both of whom were personally encouraging during the writing of A Study in Red. In their own individual way, each of these authors is a master of their craft and also serve to inspire and influence my style of thriller writing.
Oh, I love Gerritsen and Deaver as well. I'm looking forward to meeting Jeffrey at Killer Nashville later this year. Briefly tell us about your latest book.
With pleasure. Purple Death is published by Moongypsy Press and available from the publisher at http://moongypsypress.com/porter.php or from Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Purple-Death-Brian-L-Porter/dp/1449954154/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264973790&sr=1-5 The book has already received some great reviews and I’m very pleased with its performance so far. Here's a synopsis:
Tranquil suburban Richmond-on-Thames, home to such landmarks as Hampton Court Palace and Kew Gardens becomes the setting for a series of shocking and particularly gruesome murders that leads Detective Inspector Sean Connor and his team into a labyrinthine investigation in which all roads lead towards a thirty year old unsolved murder. The victims, all apparently unconnected to each other, are being dispatched by the use of a singularly unique poison, previously more closely associated with the notorious medieval Borgia family.
As the murders begin to multiply at an alarming rate Connor finds clues hard to come by, and every lead takes him down yet another blind alley as the killer seems to be one step ahead of the police at every turn. Together, he and his assistant Sergeant Lucy Clay must piece together the shreds of evidence that will lead them to the mysterious "Chocolate Woman" and in turn to the brain behind the horrific murders that soon come to be known as "The Purple Death."
This latest thriller from the pen of Brian L Porter has also been signed by Thunderball Films of Los Angeles for adaptation for the screen in movie or TV format, as part of an agreement that will see a number of the author's novels similarly adapted. For more details, please see Thunderball Films.
Congratulations on the outstanding success. More than one movie in the works? That's fabulous!
What’s the hook for Purple Death?
A long held grudge, a femme fatale…a date with Purple Death!
Do you think your writing has improved since your first attempt? In what way?
Yes I do. I’ve worked with some great editors and publishers who have encouraged me to develop my own style and to learn how to show deeper emotions and add ‘flesh’ to my characters so that they now come across as far more ‘complete’ and hopefully, those characters now engage with the readers to a greater extent than in some of my earlier works. For example, in my other new release Pestilence from Double Dragon Publishing I think I’ve created perhaps the most ‘solid’ collection of characters so far portrayed in one of my books. It’s a multi-facetted thriller containing a wide range of very different characters, but I’d like to think that each one is believable and has a human quality that readers can easily identify with.
Were any of your books more challenging to write than the others? If so, why?
Although each book has presented its own particular challenge, Purple Death perhaps gave me the biggest ‘headache’ in terms of the research required. I needed to find a virtually unidentifiable poison, for my serial killer to use, and found it very hard to elicit the information I required from my usual sources of such types of information, the police! Perhaps, understandably, they were reluctant to divulge such information to an author, especially one who is not exactly a household name (yet). Eventually, various internet searches led me to a chemist in Hong Kong of all places who was pleased to help me and we eventually settled on a poison that has resulted in only two known victims surviving ingestion of it in the last hundred years. He was also able to give me detailed descriptions of the effects of the poison, enabling me to write what I hope readers find to be quite harrowing accounts of the demise of my serial killer’s victims in the book.
The Jack the Ripper books, A Study in Red, Legacy of the Ripper and soon to be published Requiem for the Ripper also required mountains of research, all of which I thoroughly enjoy, luckily, as of course, the mingling of fact and fiction has to appear to be seamless in order for the books to work and be believable. Pestilence required a lot of research into the 1950s and the Cold War era, and for The Nemesis Cell I had to do a great deal of medical research and study in order to create a believable plotline. Each of these challenges was very different and for me, these periods of research can provide as much fun as the actual writing of the book itself.
What are your protagonist’s strengths? Flaws?
I try to make each of my characters as believable as possible. Therefore, if I create a pathological serial killer, I also try to show that such individuals can also appear to have a ‘normal’ side, a family, children, perhaps, and that, outside of the evil they may wreak on others, they are in fact, as human as the rest of us. Likewise, if I use a police investigator, he or she may also be shown to be not just a ‘good guy’ but may also have flaws in their personality that lead them to have personal or professional problems within the context of the storyline. They are not just ‘cardboard’ stereotypes; simply there to carry out procedures, they too, are shown to be as human and as fallible as the rest of us.
Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
It may sound incredible, but, when I get the idea for a new book, it tends to come to me as a ‘whole’, from start to finish. The story just ‘appears in my mind and stays there from the day I write the first word until the final page is typed and the book is ready for proofing and editing. Very occasionally, I may change certain aspects of the story during the actual writing, but the essence of the storyline never changes from conception to final chapter.
How do you promote yourself online and off?
Apart from my main website at http://www.freewebs.com/brianlp/ each of my books usually has its own dedicated website too. I also make great use of the networking sites available from the Ning network and more recently, the Spruz network. Altogether, I have over 100 pages on such sites which enable me to reach a large number of people with news of my work and also to make lots of new friends and useful contacts. I also promote my children’s and dog rescue books, written under my Harry Porter pseudonym, through my site at http://harry-porter.webs.com/ and through the personal ‘dog blog’ of my lead rescue dog, Tilly, at http://tillyrescuedog.blogspot.com/
Where do you write? When? What do you have around you?
I write at home, any time, day or night, whenever the mood takes me, and I’m surrounded by books on Jack the Ripper, other research volumes, and photos of my dogs.
After hours of intense writing, how do you unwind?
Usually by taking a few of my 14 rescued dogs for a walk, or, if late at night, by watching one of my all time favorite movies, often for the umpteenth time.
What are your current projects?
I’ve just finished checking and agreeing the edits for the final part of my Ripper trilogy. The manuscript of Requiem for the Ripper has now been returned to Double Dragon Publishing and, after the cover has been designed the book should appear very soon. I’m also busy editing for Moongyspy Press, who will also be releasing the paperback version of my novel, The Nemesis Cell very soon. I’d like to ask everyone to also watch out for the release of my adventure thriller, Glastonbury from 4RV Publishing in the coming months.
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
By visiting my aforementioned websites at http://www.freewebs.com/brianlp or http://harry-porter.webs.com/ or http://tillyrescuedog.blogspot.com/
My page at Moongypsy Press might also be interesting to your readers. They can find it at http://moongypsypress.com/porter.php In addition. Amazon.com have a full page of my books listed at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&sort=relevancerank&search-alias=books&field-author=Brian%20L.%20Porter
Brian, it has been delightful to have you from across the pond. Continued success and do let me know when the Ripper movie is out. Can't wait to see it!