Welcome to Brian W. Foster
Where are you from and where do you live now? From Louisiana and living near Los Angeles.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I’m a speculative fiction writer. My first novel is epic fantasy. My second, superhero. I also have plans for a scifi alien invasion series.
I deeply prefer character driven stories to plot driven ones. Everything that happens must flow from who the characters are.
Are your characters based on real people? When I started planning my debut novel over a decade ago, I figured, “Cool, I’ll use me and my three best friends as inspiration for the main characters.”
Bad idea. Horrendous.
Those influences still form some of the foundation of the characters, but the resemblance otherwise is pretty shallow.
Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…)
- Great characters. My writing is based on taking a character and putting him/her into an interesting situation and seeing what happens. I want to really put the reader inside the character’s head to experience the events. If the character falls flat, the story falls flat.
- Technically perfect. Good technique makes for a good reading experience. If the reader can’t comprehend the writing or is constantly disengaged by the words, you’ll lose that reader.
- Solid plot. A good writer can make it interesting to read about a character washing dishes, but an interesting plot makes it a lot easier to engage the reader without being an awesome writer.
- Great world-building. Frankly, other than maintaining some level of consistency, the world of my stories just doesn’t matter all that much compared to the other factors.
What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? A well-written book can put you inside a character’s head, giving you the opportunity to become that person, experience crazy events from that person’s eyes. Movies and video games cannot immerse me like a good book can. I strive for that immersion in my writing. Time and reader feedback will tell if I’m achieving it.
What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Clarity – If your reader doesn’t understand what the crap is going on, they’re not going to be engaged.
Conflict – If there’s no conflict, there’s no story. The reader is going to be bored.
Character – Events that make up your plot have no relevance outside that which is filtered through the emotional lens of your POV character.
What are your best and worst marketing tips? Do whatever it takes to build an email subscriber list. I offer free and exclusive content through mine, and you can sign up for it at http://eepurl.com/bvSmRP
Second best marketing tip is to concentrate on your writing. It’s better to spend your time producing your next book than trying to sell your last one.
I don’t really have a “worst” tip. Maybe spend tens of thousands of dollars on a TV ad? Though that seemed to work for James Patterson …
Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it?
Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy Book 2) by Pierce Brown. About 10% into the book, I thought, “Why did I buy this thing the day it came out?” About 25% in, I thought, “Oh. That’s why.” Fantastic book.
Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author?
Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, despite some flaws, is still my all-time favorite series from a traditionally published author.
I’d go with Jim Bernheimer for my favorite indie author for his self-published Confessions of a D-List Supervillain, though Robert Bevan is a close second for Critical Failures.
What are your views on authors offering free books? It works if you do it right. Make sure you know how to do it right before you do it, though.
Book links, website/blog and author links: