Guest Author Interview: Graeme Brown by Cassiel Knight

Graeme_3Due to the holiday and our schedule, my third installment of SEO will post next Wednesday. Today, we are lucky to have Graeme (pronounced Graham) Brown, a Champagne author whose book, The Pact, comes out from Champagne Book Group on June 3, 2013.

Graeme Brown is a Winnipeg writer, artist and student of mathematics.  Being a long-time fan of epic fantasy and suffering from an overactive imagination, he has been writing stories for more than twenty years.  He also enjoys running, yoga, and classical piano.

Please join me in welcoming Graeme to See Jane Publish!

Tell us about your publishing journey.

Back in 2007, I wrote my first full manuscript.  It took more than a year to type it up and then another year to have a good copy that I thought I could submit.  I went to the library and found a list of agents that I thought were suitable for my manuscript, then mailed relentlessly.  After my fourth rejection letter, I started to get discouraged.

Fortunately, that same year, I met a retired editor from New York who had a look at my manuscript and told me he saw potential in it – with a big BUT: it had to be edited if I wanted to have any hope of selling it.  He had a friend who is an agent in New York, which gave me incentive to change and change and change again.  We spent 9 months together, and by draft four, I was exhausted.  It felt like I was going in circles.

At the time, I heard about KeyCon.  I didn’t know what it was, but decided to see what it had to offer.  Not only did I meet my partner there, but I established a real sense of what it meant to network as a writer.  Later that year I turned to a new manuscript and started meeting in a writing group.  It was this group that changed my writing experience completely.  NaNoWriMo came last year and I was up to my head with math homework, and if it wasn’t for my writing group going about their projects, I might have put my writing aside.  Instead, I made a point to doing a little every day, then sending my second manuscript out to agents. 

Last spring I took a writing course offered at McNally Robinson.  It featured a local author who taught us about the structure of outlining and the craft of writing genre fiction.  The hardest advice he gave was to put aside those “big projects” and start with something small.  As a writer, you need a track record, and you need to master your craft, he said.  You don’t start juggling with twenty balls.  You start with three.

Next morning, during my early morning walk to work, I was thinking about how I could write a small story.  That’s when I met Robin and Will Lesterall.  I didn’t know them by name, of course, all I knew was that there was a story about two boys who lived next to a mountain full of monsters, and that they were going to lose everything dear to them.  Over the next month, I applied everything I learned about outlining and approached the story from the bottom up, building an outline then filling it in a bit at a time, profiling characters and settings, etc.  After all that, I started writing.

KeyCon came around again, and I remembered Ellen from Champagne Books from a workshop the previous year.  She did a workshop on query letter writing, and I took meticulous notes.  At the time, I was still hoping to get my bigger manuscript sold, but I had just finished writing my short story – The Pact.  I contacted her a couple weeks later and ended up submitting the manuscript in June.  It was the end of July when I received the email that changed my writing life, welcoming me to Champagne Books.

What’s the funniest thing to happen to you along your road to publication and what was the most exciting?th

I have to say the funnies (and most embarrassing) was when my editor took me out to dinner to discuss my manuscript, and, after one too many martinis, began spouting obscenities.  I was shocked, but determined to get my book in shape, so I tolerated it.  I’m not going to repeat what his words were – but let’s just say every time I recite this one to friends we’re all reduced to incredulous laughter!

The most exciting would definitely be when I got the email from Ellen welcoming me on board.  My heart skipped a beat.  It was my second last day working at Starbucks, and couldn’t have been better timing.

What has been the most challenging thing related to publishing you’ve had to deal with on your journey?

I think all the rejection and lack of feedback.  Prior to going to KeyCon and learning to network, I really felt frustrated as a writer, constantly chasing my tail.  I clung on to a monster manuscript full of all sorts of problems and was too afraid to change them.  It took a lot of work to let go of that sense that all the energy I’d put into writing a book-sized story couldn’t be reproduced.

Who is your favorite author, and what are you currently reading?

George R.R. Martin.  And I’m still reading his Song of Ice and Fire series, because I am a very slow reader.  Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson are next up, and I eagerly anticipate the final Wheel of Time Book – which I should be ready for as soon as it’s released.

If The Pact was made into a movie, who would play the role of your hero and heroine?

This is a tough one, as I am not that clued up on child actors.  I’m not sure who would be a good match for Will or Robin, but so long as Will is black-haired, plump and shy, and Robin is cocksure and handsome, and has forever the hint of a smirk, I’ll be satisfied.  As for Ham Lesterall, (SPOILER ALERT) I think Sean Bean would be a great choice, as he always seems to be the hero who gets killed, except he’d have to get some makeup to make him look 60.  Heck, by the time we’re talking about The Pact being made into anything, he might be 60, so perhaps this will work!

You can find Graeme online at:  




Will Lesterall has grown up in the safety of his father’s castle, where tales of the outside world ruled by warring kings and creatures of nightmare have never seemed a threat.

Yet on the night celebrating the two hundredth year of the sacred Pact that has kept Fort Lesterall safe, a secret intrigue ripens, and in the course of a few hours Will is confronted with a choice greater than he can comprehend.

Join an unlikely hero as destiny pulls him into the middle of an ancient conflict between fallen gods and ambitious women, one that demands blood, both holy and wicked, and the power of an ancient fire bound in steel.

As swords clash below a watching wood, hope and betrayal war as fiercely as fear and valor, and whether he lives of dies, Will Lesterall will never be the same.


cafepress_iphone_4_slider_cases_stellar_nightglowNote from Cassie:

I took the liberty of posting some of Graeme’s artwork from his site here. Aren’t these gorgeous? I see a iPhone case I must now go and order. <grin> Take a few minutes and check out his beautiful designs and the nifty and useful things you can get them on. Now, off to shop!

Posted on December 27, 2012, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. What a fun interview. It’s always fun to see how someone got their start. And as J.A. liked the running part of you I like the Classical piano part. Clair de Lune being my favorite. The Pact sounds like a interesting read, best of success.


  2. It is always a joy to see an author succeed. Thank you for sharing.


  3. A runner! I knew I liked you 🙂 Wow, great interview, I see that I have been pronouncing your name wrong in my head. Sorry about that! Best of luck to you, although you don’t need it, you make your own luck through hard work and natural talent. See you around the Champagne loop.


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