Bio: Marcus Brotherton is a journalist and professional writer known internationally for his books and literary collaborations with high-profile public figures, humanitarians, inspirational leaders, and military personnel. He has authored or coauthored more than 25 books.
Notable works include We Who Are Alive and Remain, a New York Times bestseller, A Company of Heroes, which ranked No. 1 in the country among World War II/Western Front books, and the widely-acclaimed Shifty’s War.
Marcus’ books have been praised by the Wall Street Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Entertainment Weekly, Associated Press, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and more. Critics have called Marcus’s books “…fascinating…” “…brilliantly arranged…” “…magical…” and “…refreshingly frank…”
He has been interviewed by the New York Times,
Post, BBC World Today, and The John Batchelor Show, and was
featured in the documentary film A
Company of Heroes, which aired on PBS stations around the country. Washington
Collaborative works include projects with Lt. Buck Compton (one of the original Band of Brothers), apologist Dr. Ravi Zacharias, NFL quarterback Colt McCoy, psychologist Dr. Nancy Heche, fashion journalist Lauren Scruggs, Austin Stone pastor Matt Carter, Bronze Star winner Colonel Susan Luz, Alabama restaurateur Martha Hawkins, humanitarian Susan Scott Krabacher, speaker Dr. Bruce Wilkinson, youth ministry expert Doug Fields, radio show host Steven Arterburn, First Place weight loss program CEO Carole Lewis, musician Tommy Walker, youth speaker Ryan Dobson, university chancellor Rev. Wayne Cordeiro, and more.
in 1968, Marcus earned a bachelor’s degree in biblical education and journalism
from Multnomah University
in Portland, Oregon,
and a master’s degree in practical theology and writing from Talbot Seminary at
in Los Angeles,
where he graduated with high honors.
Marcus lives with his wife and children in
Dear Readers, the featured book is Mr. Brotherton’s debut novel. I’m pleased to be able to introduce you to both him and the book.
Welcome, Marcus. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
A surprising amount.
Much of a novel’s story-world is imagined or observed, yet the biggest real part I write into my characters is the emotion, far much more than the actions they take.
If a character is feeling angry, frustrated, happy, sad, or whatever, I imagine a time in my life when I’ve felt something similar, as deeply as life has allowed.
Then I weave my own emotions and responses into whatever the character is going through. By the time a book is finished, it can be a real rollercoaster.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Right out of college, my wife and I both worked in youth ministry at a church. Quirkiness abounds when you’re working with students. For a while I had a long 1970s mustache that I quite seriously thought was the epitome of cool.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
In high school I wrote short stories for fun. Sometimes I showed them to my English teacher, sometimes to friends. Sometimes I just kept them for myself.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I read everything: fiction and nonfiction, novels, memoirs, biographies, you name it.
I love to study classic, time-proven novels and learn what makes them tick. Catcher in the Rye, I’ve read probably 10 times. Same with The Old Man and the Sea.
My favorite modern authors include Cormac McCarthy, Elmore Leonard, David Benioff, Laura Hillenbrand, and Patrick DeWitt.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
My wife and kids are great for keeping me down to earth. It’s one thing to go to a book signing event and have someone sincerely tell me that they loved my book and stayed up all night to read it.
It’s quite another thing to come home, make a piece of toast for my 6 year old, and have him tell me through missing teeth that he had a good day on his class’s field trip to the pumpkin patch.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I keep a log of intriguing names every time I hear them. Names pop out from anywhere.
A few months ago I was working on an editorial project in
Los Angeles and drove far
out of the city to see up close a particular town an author was describing to
me. In this town was a bee farm named “ Honey Lane,” which I thought was just
Somewhere along the line, I’m going to name a character
Honey Lane. You
heard it here first.
I called a bank in another town to take care of some business for my elderly father-in-law. The woman I talked to was Sabra Valentine. (I did ask her permission.) I’m planning to use it in one of my books. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I love the novel I’ve just completed.
Prior to that, I’m definitely proud of the nonfiction oral history projects I’ve done with WWII veterans. By bringing their stories to life, it feels as though I’ve helped preserve important history.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Just some friendly mutt. I’d belong to some suburban family somewhere, and they’d take me to the beach on their summer vacations. I’d stick my head out the window of their station wagon on the drive to the coast so I could take in all the exotic wonder of the world with my tongue hanging out free and wild.
What is your favorite food?
I love a good cheesecake.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Finding the time.
As an established author, I can usually write a proposal document and a few chapters of a book and have a publisher consider it based only on those.
But since I switched genres with this book, it meant that I needed to write the entire manuscript on speculation before a publisher would consider it for a contract.
So I outlined the book extensively and wrote the first three chapters just to see if the story and tone were working. I sent it to my agent to get his opinion. After that, I sat on the book for about two years until a slot opened up in my schedule.
That “free” spot coincided with the birth of our third child. I’d budgeted three weeks off work to help my wife around the home. For the first day or so I went to the pharmacy, did dishes, and a few loads of laundry, that type of thing. I thought our new baby was fabulous, of course, but given the nature of a new baby, there’s only so much a father can do until the child grows up a bit.
So I talked with my wife and I said, “Sweetie, anything you need me to do for you, I’ll do. But in the meantime, I can either sit around on the couch watching reruns of Matlock or go write the rest of my novel.”
She happily urged me to go write. And I did. A lot of adrenaline flows around the birth of a new child, and no one in our family was sleeping much anyway, so I pounded the book out over the next three weeks. It was a crazy pace. Long, long days. Massive word counts. That type of thing.
After three weeks, I finished the novel and went back to my regular projects, then edited the book slowly over the next few months.
Tell us about the featured book.
Feast For Thieves is about an elite incorrigible paratrooper who returns home from war, turns his life around, and falls into a job as preacher in a backwoods
Picture Jan Karon’s Mitford series, except just a bit grittier. Or Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River, except told in a neo-Western genre.
Please give us the first page of the book.
When it came to robbing the bank, we wasn’t polished or nothing. We just set the old truck’s hand brake and jigged out the side while the motor was still running, shrugged off the rain while throwing sacks over our heads to hide our faces, and bustled straight up the middle with our rifles aimed forward. Shoot, I never would have hurt nobody innocent. I just needed money real bad, like anyone does if he’s spent time in the clink and nobody will give him a job once he gets out.
Right through the front door, Crazy Ake walloped the guard over the back of the head and he went down like a sack of peas thrown on a stock house pallet, which I felt sorry about, but not much blood was coming out, so I ran to the counter and stuck my rifle up in the clerk’s skinny face so the man could see I wasn’t fooling. We was only carrying one sack to fill—mine—so as one partner could be more of the muscle if folks decided to fight back. Besides, it was a big sack, and the clerk stuffed it full while Crazy Ake strode back and forth up on there on the countertop yelling about how he was the fires of hell and was pouring down wrath on the town.
All that yelling may not have been simple scare tactics with Crazy Ake. He was foaming around the edges of his mouth where the sack was cut for an air hole, and cursing a blue streak, and he looked genuinely like his finger might twitch tight against the trigger and blow some man’s head away if aggravated enough.
Wow! I can’t wait to read the book. How can readers find you on the Internet?www.marcusbrotherton.com
Thank you, Marcus, for sharing a bit of your life and your new novel with us. I know my readers will want to get a copy.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Feast for Thieves - Christianbook.com
Feast for Thieves: A Rowdy Slater Novel - Amazon
Feast for Thieves: A Rowdy Slater Novel - Kindle
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