APKY/AMP: Hello. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer. What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve been touring and performing stand- up comedy for nearly twenty years. I’ve worked all over the U.S., Canada and The Bahamas. I’ve written crazy sayings and proverbs since the time I was a teenager. I tried to keep everything I wrote throughout the years and these silly sayings were among the musings I saved. After I had been doing stand-up comedy for several years I ran across all this material. I believed a lot of it was funny, but I was not sure if I could use it in my act. That’s when the idea of the books came up.
APKY/AMP: What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
APKY/AMP: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
APKY/AMP: What have you had published to-date?
APKY/AMP: Do you have any advice for other writers?
APKY/AMP: Why should we buy your book?
You should buy my books if you like to laugh. Especially if you like to THINK and LAUGH.
APKY/AMP: How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
I do about 99% of the marketing. I did do two promotional campaigns through my publisher that were a waste of time and money. I do just about all of it and I’m learning more and more every day. I’m also meeting neat people such as you folks.
APKY/AMP: Have you won or been shortlisted in any competitions and do you think they help with a writer’s success?
APKY/AMP: Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
I write a lot at the computer in my kitchen. I also write, in the car, in the shower ( in my head obviously) and in bed. Sometimes when I first wake up my mind just starts wondering and I got with it and make notes about what I was thinking.
APKY/AMP: Do you write under a pseudonym? If so why and do you think it makes a difference?
APKY/AMP: Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
I do not have an agent. I do believe they can be a big help if you get a good one. I have yet to explore all that having an agent would entail.
APKY/AMP: What are you working on at the moment / next?
I have an E book called “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Club” that is set to come out in August. It’s a collection of true to life stories that occurred while I was performing on the road for nearly twenty years. The book is pretty much done as far as the writing goes. There are some illustrations being added and I may slip in some more stuff before they are finished.
I also write for an online comedy magazine called “Amock”. I’m the only American on the staff right now as “Amock” is based in the UK. People can go to amock.net to check it out.
APKY/AMP: Do you manage to write every day?
I don’t write as much as I should because I’m doing other stuff like trying to book gigs, performing, promoting the first two books, doing interviews, and getting ready to start pushing this next book. I’ve got to turn in some articles for “Amock” soon as this month’s edition is out and the editor is pushing for submissions.
APKY/AMP: What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
I’m always coming in and out of it. I’ve learned that sometimes you can’t force it, but sometimes you need to work through it. Knowing when to keep pushing is the key. You have you work those writing muscles, but you’ve got to know when to rest. Yes, I know it sounds contradictory.
APKY/AMP: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and off you are with it?
I’m going over a story in my head for the magazine right now. I think I know where I’m going with it, but once I start writing it out I know some of it will change. I have to see how the flow is going once I get started.
APKY/AMP: Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
I’m always coming up with crazy names that are on the edge of believability. Gib Gerbner is a talk radio show host who can’t find the right format. Gert Pivpov is my reporter for the magazine for now. I love to sound the names out and these two have a similar sound and cadence to them. These are a small example, my crowning glory is Corg Pontell. He’s actually been on stage and introduced me. I use these names and a few others all over the place. Anyone who buys my fist two books will see two of these names, but I’ll not say where. They’ll have to find out.
APKY/AMP: Who is your first reader – who do you first show your work to?
Usually my Dad gets the first stab at it, then if it’s funny enough it goes in the next book.
APKY/AMP: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
I try to edit a little as I go, my step mother does a lot of my editing once I’ve got the story down.
APKY/AMP: Do you write on paper or do you prefer a computer?
I have no preference as I write on the go sometimes. It all gets to the computer at some point though.
APKY/AMP: What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
AMP: What do you like to read?
I like reading religious, SCI/FI, Horror, biographical, inspirational and action/adventure.
APKY/AMP: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks?
Aside from stand-up comedy, I’ve started doing some public speaking. I will have done my third speaking engagement by the time this interview is on line.
AMP: Where can we find out about you and your work?
My website is the best place to go, http://www.briantshirley.webs.com
Here’s my amazon author page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005ZTNU7Q
I’m also on twitter, facebook and pinterest, all those under Brian T Shirley
APKY/AMP: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Just that I wish you and your audience the best at whatever they try to accomplish and I think you for the opportunity to be here.
APKY/AMP: Thank you. I invite you to include an extract of your writing:
This is a short story entitled “Where is The Fat Doctor?” from my next book “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the club” .The book
About 15 years ago I was emceeing a show at The Comedy Zone in Charleston,SC. It was my home club where I started and I was just getting more stage time and I had about 7-10 minutes of decent material. The headliner that night was The Fat Doctor, whom I've since worked with several times over the years.
I went up and started the show with about 5 minutes of comedy then brought up the feature act, whose name escapes me. After his 30 minute routine, I went back up, did a few more bits, made some announcements, and then went into the headliners intro. At this point everything was fine, that is, until I said, “And put your hands together for 'The Fat Doctor' "! The problem was, the Fat Doctor was nowhere to be seen and he's not a small man. No big deal, I just said it again “Here he is, ' The Fat Doctor! “ No, here he wasn't! I looked towards the back of the room and saw the club owner Tony Kemp giving me the "Stretch" sign, meaning do more stage time until The Fat Doctor finally showed up. I'm not sure what I did until he got there several minutes later, but it worked.
After the show, Doc thanked me for covering his considerable ass and we had a laugh about it. I asked him what happened, why he was late, after all he stayed in the hotel the club was in. He said he had laid down to take a nap after his long drive to Charleston and had overslept. He was awakened by the phone ringing and the front desk clerk saying “Fat Doctor, the shows been going for over 45 minutes and you’re on." He told me his response was “Really, how am I doing?". Now how many people can crack a good line right out of a dead sleep? Doc, God bless you my friend where ever you are!
APKY/AMP: Thank you.