Tag Archive | Brian Rush

Author Interview – Brian Rush


So after writing a review of Brian Rush’s Goddess-Born: A Tale of Two Worlds, I interviewed the author to get a glimpse of his inspiration for writing. 

Bookworm:  “Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today.  Can you tell me what was your inspiration for Goddess-Born: A Tale of Two World?”

Brian Rush:  “Inspiration for a story can come from the strangest places. In the 1990s I played a video game called “Master of Magic.” It was a strategy game, much like the Sid Meier’s Civilization series but with magic instead of technology. One of the features of that game was that the game map was twofold; there were two worlds, one somewhat magical, the other highly magical, and several ways to get from one world to the other. The main way was by means of magical towers that were guarded by monsters. So you had to defeat the monsters and take possession of the towers, and then any units in the same square as the tower could move between the worlds.

So that actually was the beginning of the Tale of Two Worlds concept which began in
The Green Stone Tower. Other than the two worlds connected by magical towers, one of them
more magical than the other, there isn’t a lot of resemblance between the stories and the game,
but that was the starting point.

Goddess-Born itself began with nothing but the characters of Sonia and Malcolm
who had been set up in the final part of The Green Stone Tower as infants, plus of course the
background already developed in Tower. I started the story twenty-one years after the end of
Tower, with Sonia and Malcolm as young adults. Everything flowed from there. I had already set up the Kingdom of Grandlock as a modernizing monarchy with early-modern technology, so having the country go through a crisis of democratic revolution was a logical development.

Adding the distorting effects of magic and the subtle interference of the gods built the rest of the
plot, and the other characters suggested themselves in the course of developing it.”

Bookworm:  “Who was your favorite character you’ve ever written? Why?”

Brian Rush:  “That’s a hard one. I think I would have to say that my favorite character is Karla/Angéefrom the Star Mages trilogy. She’s one of the two viewpoint characters – the series is written in alternating first person, with half of it in her view and the other half in that of Correl/Falcon, who was Karla’s lover and Angée’s father. As to why, well, initially Karla is a Crystal Mage, one ofthe truly nasty sorcerers. Think Sith Lord with more power and more perverse depravity. She is callous, indifferent to the welfare of most of humanity, and quite deadly. And yet her ongoing love for Correl (who is a Star Mage, one of the idealistic wizards who are the Crystal’s flip side) lifts her out of her otherwise completely selfish approach to life.

After Karla becomes Angée through a process of self-sacrifice and reincarnation, a more
noble side of her personality comes out. And yet her memories and experience from being a
Crystal Mage continue to give her a hard edge and a ruthless streak in service to her new ideals. I
like her because of the contradictions and paradoxes in her personality. I always enjoyed entering into her mindset. I may even write more stories with her as the central character, although it won’t be real soon.”

Bookworm:  “Who are your favorite conventionally published authors?”

Brian Rush:  “My absolute favorite conventionally published author is without a doubt Neil Gaiman. I’ve read just about everything book-length that he’s written: Stardust, Neverwhere, American Gods, Anansi Boys. I love his style, the compassion he shows, his sense of irony and his ability to craft a story. I’ve sometimes wished I could write the way he does, but there’s no way that’s going to happen, which doesn’t mean I can’t learn to write as well. But he and I are radically different people and if I were to try to shape my writing to what he does I would ruin it.

There’s a pretty long list of others I’ve liked a lot, too, if not quite as well. Jim Butcher’s
Dresden Files” series is wonderful. On the surface it looks like yet another urban-fantasy
schlock thing with wizards and vampires and whatnot in a somewhat-shifted modern-day
world, but the character of Harry Dresden himself lifts it way above that level. And characters
and stories are what fiction of any kind is about, right? The rest is just trappings. I also like
Jacqueline Carey for the richness, sensuality, and passion of her writing. And the whole concept
of Blessed Elua just tickles the hell out of me.”

Bookworm:  “Do you have any advice to other authors who wish to self-publish?”

Brian Rush:  “Really at this point I can say two things.

First, there’s a learning curve to writing fiction whether you self-publish or go through
publishing houses. It just manifests a little differently. If you go through publishing houses,
you write books that are never accepted, piling up rejection slips from agents and then from
publishers, until you learn enough in the course of writing to create something that is accepted. If
you self-publish, you write books and publish them and they don’t find an audience because they
aren’t quite good enough to stand out, until you learn enough in the course of writing to create
something that does and that sells well.

No matter how you approach it, the only way to learn to write is to write. I look back on my earlier efforts now, like the Star Mages trilogy, and while that is by no means awful, I know I can do better now. If I were writing that trilogy today, it would be much better than it is, because I learned a lot in the course of writing it and The Green Stone Tower and Goddess-Born. There just aren’t any short-cuts and that has to be accepted. As the I Ching is fond of telling us, perseverance furthers.

The other thing I’d say is that you should not skimp on quality, ever. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a lot of money on editing, cover design, etc. but it does mean that if you don’t, you need to spend a lot of time. If you have any aesthetic sense you can learn to design your own covers, but you must work at doing so (unless you’re already a graphic designer, of course). You can do most (not all) of your own editing, too: the proofreading and style-editing parts, which are the tedious and time-consuming parts. You still need someone else who knows what they’re doing to read your work and tell you where it falls short, where something doesn’t ring true, where the pace is too slow or a character isn’t working, that sort of thing. An author is always too close to his or her work to see that kind of thing. But about 90 percent of editing in terms of time spent can be done by the author.

But the point here is that none of this will do itself. There are skill sets to acquire if you want to self-publish and don’t have a lot of money sitting around. Even when you have those skill sets, and any writer really should be able to proofread for example, using them can be tedious and time-consuming. Too bad. You have to. There’s just no excuse for publishing anything that isn’t as good as you can make it. If you’re self-publishing, you are responsible for all of that. You can’t blame the publisher for a typo or a bad cover because you are the publisher.

Treat your book like a work of art, because it is one, and make it as absolutely perfect as you are
able to before you hit that upload button and go live.

Bookworm:  “Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.”  

Readers can get more information about Brian from his author’s page located at http://brianrushwriter.wordpress.com/.  If you like what you read here, be sure to follow us on twitter @ErinEymard.

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Vanity Publishing

Wonderful insight on vanity publishing. A great tool for all would be authors!  Brian Rush does a great job of explaining the publishing world in a way easy to understand for the uninitiated.  Check out my review of his book Goddess-Born.

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Brian Rush

As if we didn’t have enough reasons already to loathe and despise the Big 6 publishing companies, now they’re dirtying their hands with vanity publishing scams, and to add insult to injury this foray into the even-darker side of the publishing world is being described in press releases as publishing companies getting into “self-publishing.” Both Penguin and Simon & Schuster have bought or partnered with a vanity publishing company to lure writers into giving them their money.

Despite the press releases saying they are, Penguin and Simon & Schuster are not getting into self-publishing. Vanity publishing is not self-publishing. The Big 6 publishers will never support self-publishing in any way; self-publishing (the real thing) dooms their control of distribution, on which their profits depend, and is their death sentence. But they don’t mind fleecing would-be authors that might otherwise genuinely self-publish their work. If this isn’t final proof of just…

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Goddess-Born by Brian Rush (Book Review)

Goddess-Born is the second book in Brian Rush‘s Tale of Two Worlds series.  The author’s website bills the book as a stand alone book in the series, which is true to a certain extent.  Though the book can be read without having read The Green Stone Tower, I would recommend picking it up as it certainly will make reading Goddess-Born a little easier to read.

Brian Rush’s Goddess-Born

In this book, the Kingdom of Grandlock is on the verge of both political and religious revolution. Goddess-Born follows the exploits of those individuals thrown into the middle the fray by both their own actions and the happenstance of their births.

First let me say that I ended up thoroughly enjoying this book.  I found the first couple of chapters trying but the story picked up in pace and intensity shortly afterwards.  I know people who say that they give a book ten pages [or insert other number of pages here] for a book to grab their attention before they give up.  I’m the type of reader who always finishes a book once started.  I’m reminded of when I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  I found it extremely dull and decided to skip a couple of the first chapters.  What I found was a wonderfully engaging and whimsical story that was a nice escape from the mundane reality of my everyday life.  This was much my same experience with Goddess-Born.  What I found in the remaining pages was an intriguing and engaging story that at times showed hints of greatness.

But make no mistake, this is not a children’s story.

The system of magic employed in this setting lends itself well to the story.  I notice a lot of authors tend to go to great lengths to explain how magic works in their setting.  I often feel that in a way this breaks the fourth wall by reminding the reader that they are in fact reading a book.  Brian Rush, however, does not fall into this trap.  He explains only enough to give the reader a quick understanding of it.  In doing this he succeeds in leaving magic mysterious and well….magical.  Unless the author is attempting an in-depth treatise on the mechanics of magic, as David Eddings does in the Belgariad and Mallorean, I always find it is best for the author to leave the actual details of magic up to the reader.

The writings of the character eventually known as Madame Foresight offer some of the most thought-provoking of the series (and definitely can be reflected in our own modern society).  Some of the best lines come her insights on the rule of the people in her pamphlet “Wisdom.”  On choosing a leader:

“If they are lucky, he proves to be a visionary who does great good.  If they are unlucky (and this is more common and likely), their lives become a nightmare for a time.”

On the wisdom of people:

“If the people should become wise, they would follow a wise leader.  But no generation has ever been wise.”

Once the revolution begins, the book takes the reader on a journey to social and political revolution starting from the very bowels of a movement.  Brian Rush does not shy away from the good and bad characteristics of all parties involved.  His rebels invoke both sympathy and outrage in the reader.  His aristocracy does not necessarily invoke hatred from the reader and instead sit in a grey murkiness of inaction.  The reader wants the revolution to succeed but not necessarily because of anything the nobles have done directly.  Instead, the reader wants to see the people rise up and take control of their destiny rather than be pawns to the fate they were born to.

One of the areas that I found the author failed was in his portrayal of the romantic interaction between the characters.  At times they were strained or seemed forced.  I think the book would benefit from cutting back on some of the romantic interludes and focusing instead on increasing the flow and structure of the ones that remain.

On the whole, I found this read pretty good.  Sure there were things that didn’t jive for me at times (like an excess of characters) but they only marginally affected my enjoyment of the story.  Once the tale took hold of me, it carried me on the shoulders of its revolution and didn’t release me until the mob had subsided.  It is one good edit away from a truly great story.

The Bookworm gives this book 3.5 Stars out of 5*.  

For more information about the series or the author, please visit Brian Rush’s Blog.

*NB* I’m adding the asterisk here as I plan on reading The Green Stone Tower and seeing if that ups my enjoyment of this tale.