Bryan Young is a self confessed geek dad and Star Wars fanatic (aren’t we all? – ed) but he also happens to be a cracking author.
We reviewed his book Operation Montauk last week here, and liked it so much we just had to get chatting with him. We send our man Michael McCaffrey on the job and the tow got on famously…
FTN: This can’t be a coincidence.. This is my second interview, and the second with the editor of a successful website/ author. Is my editor planning something? Who knows.. Firstly, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Bryan. Or is that Friend of the Legion Young? Being as big a Star wars fan as you are, do you occasionally insist on the title?
BY: First, thank you for taking the time to ask me questions. And no, I don’t quite insist on being called a Friend of the Legion. I’m very grateful that the 501st would have me in their ranks for any reason, and that they inducted me for my writing about Star Wars is a great honor. The 501st guys I interact with are some of the best guys in fandom and I’ll let them call me anything they want.
In place of the boring standard “who is your inspiration” question and all that, is there anything pressing you’d like to let the readers of Following the Nerd know?
I would like the readers of Following the Nerd to know that they should always support their favorite writers, musicians, and artists any way they can. Buy a book or a CD, review it on line, pass the word around. I’m not just advocating this for me here, but anyone who does something creative needs all the help they can get, and if you like what they do, you’re in the best position to do something about it. Be passionate about things and share that enthusiasm.
If you don’t like it, simply ignore it. Don’t waste energy hating things.
Also, I want them to know they must follow me on twitter. @swankmotron.
FTN: I have to confess, this is the first of your books I’ve read, but it seems to be a very different area to Lost at the Con and your documentaries. What made you jump from gonzo journalism and social commentary to the awesome combination of Dinosaurs and Nazi-Hunters?
BY: There are a few reasons for the jump that seem apparent to me, but my reading audience might not understand it quite yet. I really love storytelling in every medium and fashion, whether it’s journalism (like the documentaries or some of the stuff I’ve done at Huffington Post), fictional journalism (like Lost at the Con), my short stories, or anything else I’ve done. I’m in love with telling stories. It’s the only thing I know how to do and it’s the only thing I love doing. Every time I sit down to work on a project, it’s because it’s a story I want–need–to tell. I’ve written dozens of screenplays and each in a different genre from the last. My books are very much the same way. The first I wrote (that’s not been published) is literary fiction, very dramatic, much like Catcher in the Rye. Then I wrote Lost at the Con, a fictional comedy examining geek culture. Then I wrote a science-fiction pulp adventure. The book I wrote after that (not yet published) was a science fiction western. Then I wrote a children’s book about the history of Presidential Assassination (and attempts) that’s currently with an artist getting illustrated. The book I’m working on now is sort of a steampunk A Farewell to Arms. I’m all over the place because my interests are all over the place and you can tell stories anywhere. It makes things more fun.
As for Operation: Montauk in specific, I was looking at my oeuvre, if you will, and didn’t see anything I wanted to hand my son to read. Lost at the Con is decidedly not appropriate, the documentaries too dry, and so on. I wanted something to make he and I happy at the same time. I’d been reading to him as a bedtime story the John Carter books and I absolutely adore that breathless pulp style. I’d had the idea for time travel and how it works in my head for a while, and when I started combining those two interests with all of the things my son and I like seeing in stories and movies, (like Nazis, Dinosaurs, World War II soldiers, scientists, monkeys, and what-have-you) I was off and running.
FTN: So; you’re a website editor, author, movie producer/ writer/director. World renowned Star wars expert, as well as a published comic writer, and contributor to the Huffington post. Simple question, how?! It’s a little crazy, you’d have to agree.
BY: It is. I rarely give people the whole resume when I’m talking to them for fear they won’t believe me. And I keep adding to my plate, too. I’m doing a regular monthly column on the official Star Wars blog now, I’m writing and publishing more material than I’ve ever done before, and I still manage to find time to play with my kids and see movies, without either of which I’d probably die.
FTN: As a person who review books and movies yourself, how terrifying is it putting something you’ve created out there?
BY: To some degree, it is. There’s a vulnerability to taking something so personal as your writing and putting it out into the world to be judged, and it’s hard not to get caught up in that. But when you get a bad review, I think there are only two correct responses. The first is to say, “Well, the book (or whatever) wasn’t for that person. It didn’t match their taste.” The second is to take that review and mull over it for something that will show you how to improve the next time, so next time they might like the thing you’ve got.
I suppose a third, equally valid, option is to ignore reviews good or bad altogether and know that the person you wrote the piece for in the first place enjoyed it. After that, everything else is gravy.
FTN: Many thanks Bryan and may the Force be with you, always…