My guest blogger today is author Brian Dennis Hartford.
As well as a published author of two novels, 2198, and Without, he also co-owns a publishing company.
Over to Brian...
So, here we are, lol. Two books later and beginning a third.
Never thought I’d be here, a published author, and co-owner of our own publishing company, Namri’d.
But then again, it makes sense. I’ve got this incredibly diverse background forged out of this unbelievably amazing upbringing with remarkable people.
In 1993, I took time out from Hawaii to make my move to Kalispell, Montana, where my mother’s side of the family resided after back packing half the Appalachian Trail. It was a dream of mine from when I visited there every summer as a kid. I had visions of that “Montana” lifestyle, it was an epic fail. The local pay sucked and still sucks in Montana. It was hard to nail down more than one or two jobs which you needed just to survive. One thing led to another and I found myself back in Hawaii, back doing security and working on people’s homes.
I met my wife and twin flame in 1998. I found her sitting at the end of the bar in one of Hawaii’s popular college bars, Hot Lava. I almost didn’t go that night, but fate intervened. It was a perfect match, and so here we are, 20 years later and living in the beautiful East Mountains of New Mexico, 30 minutes East of the very unique and vibrant Albuquerque.
There are a lot of things I’ve done in my 49 years on this world. Now I can add Published Author to the mix.
Around August of 2015, a couple of months after my mother died, a decision was made for me to leave my security job and finally finish the remodeling on our home which included end to end re-floor job. I had been working weekends for nearly 3 years straight, vacations were few and far between, our social life was in the gutter. By June 2016, the remodel was done and neither of us wanted to return to never seeing each other again.
So, what was I to do? Finally, Lee’Ann, my wife, all but ordered me to finish my first book “2198: A Memoir from the Second Revolution”. A project that I had been working on since about 2009. An on again off again project that was supposed to be a “How to” survival manual/novel but morphed into a strait up Para-Apocalyptic war novel concerning the next revolution in America. I had to do a total re-write, but a story slowly emerged and an end which began to form into the final conclusion (fate) for the main characters Ben and Lena Bradford in the book.
“2198” was a tough haul. I had never written a book before, let alone self publish one, hence Namri’d was formed. (the name of a moon in the universe of “WITHOUT”) Lee’Ann is the smartest cookie I know and with a PHD in Homeland Security begrudgingly took up the mantle of chief editor.
But we also had our lives back, found a social circle which has now become enormous and ever growing, the opposite of no life has turned into “Oh crap, another invite!” I had also found the time to flesh out both the second book to “2198, “Nova 2034”, and “WITHOUT”, my latest release, along with the preliminary of “WITHIN” a sort of sequel to “WITHOUT”.
I get called a man of leisure these days…but it’s anything from. And I find myself wondering how I got anything done when I look back to those 60-hour work weeks just 2 years ago. But I am finding being a full-time writer trying to sort through over four hundred pages of dribble isn’t that much easier.
So, “Well, talk about writing, your process!” I can almost hear it from you all. “WHAT DO YOU WRITE ABOUT?” Well, ok, here it is. First, the process. It starts with this idea that burns. There are voices whispering. And it starts also, with a bottle of wine and music, depending on the mood. And never before 10.00 pm, at first. And you sit there, a little drunk, and the voices come, low at first, as the words begin to appear upon the page. Scrambled word-images searching for a truth, some form like we once did when life crawled from the sea.
But soon, a character emerges, that one voice, and they begin to drone on, cryptically at times. But I put it out, down on paper. For me it all comes in a tidal wave. Fast and furious, intense images, the story the characters wish to tell. Other times, it is quiet, sensual sometimes, they love to flirt! Most nights, I go to bed around 2 or 3 am. Only, to lay there then get up because someone wants to say a little more. And this will go on until there is a beginning, middle and an end. The end more often finishes first. A backwards process, but its where I often begin.
By the end of a week or two, its done. A scrambled story of meandering tangents. Of silly things that have no need to be there. Half-researched facts that now need accuracy. I begin a more sane schedule. I write from about 10 am to 12pm. Take a nap. Then work from 3pm to 5pm. Make dinner. Around 8pm I start up again until 1 or 2 am. Repeat this as a 9-5 Job Monday through Friday. But I work anytime I have an idea, when the voices chose to speak.
By the end of six months, it’s pretty fleshed out, fairly clean. Now the voices are clear, precise and I begin to polish the story. I’ll take a week or so off. Drink at bars, go clubbing, or a vacation.
When I get back, I make my “facts” accurate, make the action as realistic as possible. Make sure the setting can be found on any map or through an internet search, mostly. I like realism of environment, real places, real things, it makes the story relateable. I want it to be as if it could have really happened with real people and real incidents. Both “2198” and “WITHOUT” can be researched, followed on a map.
Most of the entities are fictitious, but based on real life persons, or organizations. Which, by the way, my stories contain. Composites of real life people that I have worked or lived with.
Meanwhile, I post excerpts on Facebook, generate interest. I put the finishing touches on the cover artwork, and take the two or three options out to the bars and clubs to get people’s reactions. That usually narrows it down fast! Then, I spend hours agonizing over composition and a myriad of other details, and am practically forced at gun point to make major changes in the manuscript by Lee’Ann. Those last weeks are hell, we average 2 bottles of wine on a weeknight, and at least three on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
It’s a big celebration when we “launch” a book. It represents so many things. Hard work, dedication, and all that, yeah, but more importantly, it, the book, the story represents a voice. One that may have never been heard if it were not for me, for us. That is the reward, the publication of the voice, the whisper in the dark. That it may be heard by anyone who is willing to listen to its tale, its story. The warning.
And yes, we end with that. My work is about warnings. It is about the ugly truth of it all. That we are bound by one singular thing, Fate, regardless of our decisions, there is a bigger picture, a grand narrative of which we are all consigned. We can manipulate our lives to some degree. Take possession of our mortal fates, but it is our soul that is the real master of our being. It is our soul that has been given a particular path in all of this. What is the soul exactly, can any say? But it is the driver, it is the engine within the machine, even God has a soul, and it is owned by something far greater. Forever.
And this is what I really write about, our mortal choices, or mortal fates, for what is forever to us, our soul, anyways…
Connect with Brian Dennis Hartford online:
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Brian-Dennis-Hartford/e/B01N33VBHV/