Inside the Literary Mind of Charlie Brooks

I think my writing style is breezy and defined by its slightly sarcastic sense of humor.

Charlie Brooks is the award-winning author of Greystone Valley, Reality Check, and Shadowslayers. He is a native of Vermont, where he got his start writing gaming articles in Dragon Magazine.

His short story “Fantasy as you Like It” won the 2006 Chaffin Award for Fiction, and his tale “Eight-Bit Heaven” won the New Millennium Writings Fiction Award.

In between writing novels, he practices juggling, magic tricks, and balloon animals. As of yet, only the magic tricks have made their way into his stories.

Today I am interviewing Charlie Brooks, whose latest novel is a coming of age story about Sarah, who is a teenage wizard. She learned her magic from her mom. But where did her mom learn it?

Charlie Brooks

Question: Tell me about your newest book and what was the inspiration behind your writing it?

Charlie: My newest book, Conquest of Greystone Valley, is a sequel to my 2013 novel Greystone Valley. I wrote the original novel as an attempt to tell a light-hearted fantasy story that would get young readers interested in the genre. This is a follow-up, but tells a slightly more personal and serious story. The inspiration behind the original was my wife Sarah, and the sequel is inspired by her and our two children.


Question: Why and when did you decide to become a writer?

Charlie: I’m a big fan of role-playing games, and in high school I read an editorial in Dragon Magazine that called for freelance submissions. I spent most of high school writing gaming articles and then slowly transitioned into fiction when I was in college.


Question: What book has been the greatest influence on you and your writing and why?

Charlie: In terms of what I want to accomplish with Greystone Valley, the biggest influence is Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain. I read those stories in elementary school, then again when I was almost thirty. They were great reads both times, and I hope that the Greystone Valley series can have that same kind of timelessness.


Question: Where do you find ideas for your books?

Charlie: A lot of my stories are just my attempt to take a familiar trope or concept and turn it on its side. My hope is to tell a story that feels familiar but which has something unique or quirky about it to set it apart from others.


Question: Where do you find ideas for your characters?

Charlie: A lot of my characters are inspired by people I know or by different aspects of my own personality. Others develop out of a need for a certain type of character to carry the plot forward.


Question: How would you describe your writing style?

Charlie: I think my writing style is breezy and defined by its slightly sarcastic sense of humor. I try to be more character-based than setting-based, so you’ll see more about the characters’ personalities than the world around them in most of my stories.


Question: What do you consider the most difficult part of writing a book?

Charlie: Picking it up again after I’ve finished the first draft. I’m always evolving as a writer, and looking back at something I wrote before I learned my newest tricks sometimes feels like I’m reading somebody else’s story.


Question: What are your current projects?

Charlie: I’m currently looking at publication options for a novel called Meddling Heroes, which is a mystery set in a world of superheroes where the world’s most dangerous supervillain serves as the detective. I’m also doing some work in the tabletop gaming field – my adventures Dark Deeds and The Sandstorm Prophecy are both designed for the Pathfinder role-playing game and come out this fall.

Please click HERE to read more about Conquest of Greystone Valley.

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