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Friday, August 18, 2017
Interview with author Brian Connor
From Bud to Blow
Connor once convinced a police officer when he was 16 that he had to drive on
the front lawn of his elementary school for his own safety. And has been making
up stories ever since. Brian was born and raised in Chicago and graduated from
Indiana University in 2013. This is his first published story. For more info,
1. What really inspired you to write your
book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a
Traveling for my day job. That was my
inspiration. In all honesty. I was so extremely bored sitting in a hotel room
in San Antonio for 8 months straight every Monday through Friday, knowing I was
about to start going to Columbus for a couple months. So on a plane ride from
San Antonio to Chicago, I wrote the last two chapters of this book in the Notes
app on my phone. With the ending in place, I would go back to my hotel room
after work and just write. Hours and hours would pass of just writing, but I
realized I started looking forward to coming back to my hotel room to write instead
of dreading the boredom. Flash-forward 8-months in San Antonio, Columbus, and
New York hotel rooms, and it was finished.
2. What is it about and whom do you
believe is your targeted reader? It’s a story about how an innocent
college freshman can get lost in the peer pressures of college life. The book
follows the main character, Cory Carter, through the freshman year parties, to
joining the wrong fraternity just to make some friends, to hazing, and finally
to excessive binge drinking and party drugs. Instead of buying the weekly weed he
smokes, he decides to sell it himself. Instead of lying to his girlfriend, he
decides to break up with her. These decisions begin to add up until Cory finds
himself as the number one drug dealer in the state. This story is told from the
eyes of an 18-21 year old, written by a 25 year old who was in that same
fraternity, at that same school, just four years prior. So the #1 target reader
is college kids, incoming college students, and recently college graduates.
However, the more feedback I receive from readers, the more I realize the big
state school university experience has not changed much since the 80’s. So my
target reader has expanded to include former college graduates and even parents
with either college children or soon to be. Because while this book is very
heavily focused on college life, the effects of peer pressure are universal to
everyone, and this story can help teach people, through examples, on the
seriousness of it.
3. What do you hope will be the everlasting
thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long
after putting it down? Well first I hope they enjoyed it. So that would be
the primary everlasting thought. But I hope people look back on this book and
really think how crazy college life actually is. We put 30,000 18-22 year olds
in a small town and expect their behavior to mirror that of typical society.
Cory’s life illuminates the true behavior that is born from this atypical
society. Because again, the concept of college is 18-22 year olds making up the
majority of a town. Just read that sentence. The sheer thought of it is crazy!
Most Hollywood versions of college is, “Fraternity guy sets up huge party but
it gets out of control, but he falls in love with the shy girl during the
process”. But that is just BS and everyone knows it. The real story of college
is hazing, skipping classes, the drunken hook-ups, the black-outs, the drugs,
etc. And I hope this story hits home for a lot of readers.
4. What advice or words of wisdom do you
have for fellow writers? Well if they are “fellow” writers, then they are
probably more experienced then me already! But, I want to tell every writer to
keep writing about what you know. Because true and honest stories need to be
heard. My story is about peer pressures of college life. And I know this,
because it was my life too. It was easy being a yes-man. Booze, weed, cocaine,
molly, gambling. I’d do anything for a good time and remove any aspect of my
life that deterred from it. Convincing myself things were ok by pointing to
others that weren’t, without recognizing we were all escalating our negative
influences simultaneously. So if more
writers can write based off their experiences, then the world can have
authentic stories told from all walks of life instead of getting the Hollywood
versions of them.
5. What trends in the book world do you
see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? I am new to this
world, so you could either say I’m naïve or have a fresh perspective. But my
concern about the book publishing industry, is that it seems like money can buy
you a “better book”. Publicists, marketing campaigns, book reviewers, all of
these things can be bought. Which is no one’s fault, and is probably not even a
trend. It’s just something I noticed stepping into this world, and something
that seems to be off. Places like Goodreads/Amazon can help act as the IMDB of
books, but in order to get the book into readers hands, well, that takes money
6. What great challenges did you have in
writing your book?
The 25%-50% mark in the story. The beginning was easy, the ending was already written
on my phone, but filling in some of the character development parts was tough.
Not necessarily because of writers block or anything, but because at page 50 or
page 100, I had absolutely no clue how long this book was going to be! Should I
move faster, do I need to slow down, is this book going to be 150 pages or 500
pages?! That was for sure the greatest challenge.
7. If people can only buy one book this
month, why should it be yours? Because it’s the summer time, people will
be on the beach, on planes, at a pool, doing whatever they want to do to enjoy
the weather. This book is a quick read and doesn’t take a lot of intelligence
to read! It’s fast paced and there is a lot of rapid dialogue that keeps the
pages turning. So if you had to buy one book this month, breeze through From
Bud to Blow in one or two days in the sun sounds like a lovely time!