Author Interview - Brian L. Porter
I am happy to have Author Brian L. Porter as my interview guest this week.
Brian is an award winning and best-selling author who has numerous published works and writes under three names.
I have read one of Brian's mystery novels, A Mersey Killing, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I plan on reading more.
Read our interview below to learn a little more about Brian L. Porter.
About Writing/Books/Being an Author
1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you - in what way and what was the name of that book?
Yes, I was about eight years old when I received a copy of Biggles Goes to War, by Captain W.E. Johns, for Christmas and I was immediately hooked on the whole concept of the adventure story. I ended up asking my parents to buy me another Biggles book for my birthday in March and I gradually accumulated many of the Biggles stories. They had such an impact on me that I decided to join the RAF, (Royal Air Force) when I grew up, and that ambition stayed with me until I did indeed join the RAF at the age of seventeen.
2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?
Although I always loved the written word, it wasn’t until my later years, that I finally entered the world of the author. I’d suffered a mental breakdown and one of my nurses suggested writing poetry as therapy. I did just as she suggested and was surprised when people responded well to my poetry. I went on to write many poems and a friend suggested I should try and have them published. In the end I had over 200 poems published in various anthologies, and then, once again at a friend’s suggestion I tried my hand at short stories, having seen an advert for a short story contest at my local library. I didn’t win, but my story was highly commended, and I spent a couple of years writing short stories until the urge to become a ‘real’ author gripped me and I wrote my first novel, A Study in Red, The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper. After over twenty rejection letters from various publishers, I decided to try submitting the book to American and Canadian publishers, and I was delighted when the book was accepted within weeks, by Double Dragon Publishing in Canada, and I was on my way. That was about fifteen years ago, and I’ve really never looked back since that time, with over twenty Amazon bestsellers to my name so far, including four bestselling children’s and young adult books written under my Harry Porter pseudonym.
3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Clive Cussler, Tess Gerritsen, Alistair MacLean.
4. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?
I love the freedom of being able to work when I want to and create new characters and new worlds in my fiction. I hate it when I sometimes hit a brick wall in the middle of a book, and have to take a break from writing until my inspiration returns and I’m able to continue.
5. Where do your ideas come from?
For my mystery/thrillers, the ideas usually come from my own imagination. I’ve often thought of the idea for a new book while lying in the bath or while shaving. When that happens, I get the full story in my head and then begins the task of researching any details needed to make the book true to life and realistic.
For my Family of Rescue Dogs series, everything of course is real life, as they all are true stories.
6. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?
I’m a proficient dog trainer and oversee the training of our family of ten rescue dogs. I also used to be a pretty good bass guitarist and played in a number of groups as we called them in those days, when I was younger.
7. If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
8. When you create characters, are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?
In my Mersey Mystery series, the central characters are actually based on members of my own family, as I recall them from my younger days in Liverpool. In my other fiction mystery/thrillers the characters are all created from my imagination.
9. How do you come up with titles for your books?
They usually suggest themselves to me, based on the subject matter of the book.
10. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?
I’m currently working on Book 8 of my Mersey Mystery series, A Liverpool Lullaby (He Loves them to Death). A serial killer is loose on the streets of Liverpool. Women’s mutilated bodies are discovered in isolated places, their hearts surgically removed, a rose and a tape recorder left close to the body, with lullabies on them. Detective Inspector Andy Ross and his team from the Merseyside Police, Special Murder Investigation Team, are tasked with the job of apprehending the murderer, who is soon dubbed ‘The Doctor’. As the tension in the city rises, Ross and his team think they know who the killer is. The trouble is, nobody knows where he is or who his next victim might be.
I’ve also just started the 7th book in my bestselling Family of Rescue Dogs series, the life story of three siblings we adopted 7 years ago, as yet untitled.
11. Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?
I’ve won quite a few.
The Best Book We’ve Read all Year 2018 (A Mersey Maiden) from Readfree.ly
Best Mystery Novel, 2018 (A Mersey Maiden) from TCK Publishing
Best Mystery Novel, 2017 (Last Train to Lime Street) from TCK Publishing
Best Non fiction winner 2018 (Cassie’s Tale) Readfree.ly
Best Non fiction book, 2018 (Cassie’s Tale) Critters.org
Best Non fiction book, 2017 (Sheba: From Hell to Happiness) Critters/Preditors & Editors Readers Poll
Best Non fiction book, 2016 (Sasha) Preditors & Editors Readers Poll
Best Non fiction book, 2016 (Sasha) Readfree.ly
Best Mystery Novel, 2017 (A Very Mersey Murder) Readfree.ly
Best Mystery Novel, 2016 (A Mersey Mariner) Readfree.ly
Best Author 2009 Award, Preditors & Editors Readers Poll
Best Thriller Novel, 2008 (A Study in Red, The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper) Preditors & Editors Readers Poll
Best Poet, 2008, (as Juan Pablo Jalisco) Preditors & Editors Readers Poll
Best Thriller Novel, 2009 (Legacy of the Ripper) Preditors & Editors Readers Poll
Best Mystery Novel 2010 (Glastonbury) Preditors & Editors Readers Poll
Best Thriller Novel 2010 (Requiem for the Ripper) Preditors & Editors Readers Poll
A Little More Personal
12. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?
Pilot a jet fighter plane.
13. Have you ever experienced something weird you could not explain?
My wife and I were sitting watching TV one night when an ornament of an Edwardian Coach and Horses inexplicably and suddenly shot across the room, as if jet propelled. Spooky huh?
14. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?
15. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
Call me boring but I’ve never eaten anything that could be described as ‘strange’.
16. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?
I love Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor owned houses opposite each other, connected by a ‘love bridge’ that was sealed by iron gates at each end when they divorced and opened up again when they remarried. It’s also where I met a wonderful old man called Jesus who taught me all about the history and culture of his country and inspired me to create my alter-ego of Juan Pablo Jalisco, author of the bestselling romantic poetry collection, Of Aztecs and Conquistadors.
17. Can you tell us about one of your favourite childhood memories?
I loved visiting my grandparents’ home, where my Grandad had an orchard, and during the summer he’d take me round the orchard, explaining the different types of apples growing there. In those days, I had a tricycle with a ‘boot’ on the back, U.S. readers would call it a trunk I suppose. My grandad would climb his ladder, moving from tree to tree and then throw apples down to me, with which I’d fill the trike’s boot until it was full. I’d go home laden with fresh apples and I can still remember the beautiful, tasty apple pies, apple charlottes and apple crumbles my Mother would make with those fresh apples, fresher than any that could be bought in the shops. I still remember the smell of them as they baked in the oven and can almost taste the sweet apples and beautiful pastry my Mum used to make.
18. What makes you happy?
I love to see my wife’s smile. When she’s happy, so am I. With ten rescue dogs sharing our home, I also love to see them all happy, with their tails wagging and full of fun.
19. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?
Usually I’d be walking one or more of our dogs, or just playing with them, and training them. Of course, as I write their life stories in my Family of Rescue Dogs series, I suppose you could even call that writing related, too.
20. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?
During my time in the RAF I was once a member of the guard of honour for the Queen when she visited the Central Flying School, where I was stationed at the time, although I didn’t meet her of course. In my later life I met numerous British actors and comedians, including Eric Sykes, Roy Hudd OBE, Jimmy Edwards, Kevin Whately, and more.