Interview with B. K. Brain, author of Squaring the Circle
04 Mar 2019
What can you tell us about your new release, Squaring the Circle?
Squaring the Circle is a technothriller, inspired by science-bending novels like Prey and Jurassic Park. It tells the stories of three primary characters:
The first is Eddie, a schizophrenic nineteen-year-old girl who encounters a new hallucination while shopping at a local bookstore. The Nothingman, a mysterious shadow that only she can see, has come with an odd question: What is her purpose?
The second is Doctor Sam Jacobson. He and his colleague, Leon Stakovsky, have created an advanced computer that utilizes quantum particles, Gravitons, to manipulate reality. They have no choice but to move the machine to a secret laboratory in rural Pennsylvania. A shadowy government agency sets out to find the scientists and their research materials at any cost.
The third is David Sandoval, producer of a once-popular science program. His show will come to an end after the current season. An exclusive offer from Dr. Jacobson, a researcher desperate to go public with an amazing cutting-edge technology, may be enough to change the network’s decision.
So that’s the basic setup of my book. As I’m sure readers will assume, when the three storylines collide things go very, very badly for everyone involved.
It was my goal to grab hold of the reader on page one and never let go, compelling him or her to turn pages by way of thrills, chills, humor and horror.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I’ve already mentioned Michael Crichton’s books; his stories have influenced me for quite some time, as does the fiction of Stephen King, Christopher Moore, Kurt Vonnegut, Neil Gaiman, and many, many others.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
That is a difficult question. I’ll mention five books here, because you asked, just so you know my favorites are always changing, depending on memory and current disposition. Each of these is special to me for different reasons.
The Stand, for its roster of intertwined and opposing characters. Jurassic Park, for all the speculative wonder and horrific consequence. Flowers for Algernon, for its narrative genius and heartbreaking conclusion. 1984, for its terrible visions of what could become all too real. And finally, Angels and Demons, for it’s beautifully-constructed ticking clock scenario.
I’m by no means suggesting these are the best books ever written, but each, in its own way, has taught me something I hold very dear — How to be a better writer.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
Since this is purely hypothetical, my guest would be Kurt Vonnegut. I’d ask him to talk about writing for as long as he wanted. Then, I’d listen with a huge grin on my face.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
The pure, unhindered creation. My characters and worlds are mine alone. The situations, conflicts, and horrors are all controlled by me. The blank sheet is my playground and I am a cruel and nasty deity. I love it.
What is a typical day like for you?
I wake up, make coffee, go straight to my office, to my computer. From there it’s email, facebook, then word processor, in that order. I try to write as much as I can each day, although I do not adhere to any specific word count goals. Midafternoon to evening is for research, social media, and reading.
What scene in Squaring the Circle was your favorite to write?
There’s a scene where Sam uses his new technology to kill a man on a sidewalk by increasing the gravity below his feet. It is awful, gruesome, shocking. It reveals both character and consequence, ramping up tension as it thrusts the narrative pace. Don’t judge me. I just said I was a cruel and nasty deity.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
I try to be unique in everything I write. I strive to give the reader an experience they’ve never encountered before. Whether it be word choice, sentence construction, plot device, or otherwise, I want to leave them with a feeling that they’ve just seen something totally new, something they wouldn’t have found anywhere else.
I’ll leave it to others to decide if I’ve been successful.
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