Creativity, Dedication, and a Unique Twist on the Vampire Story: How IADT Grad J.D. Brown Became an Author
January 8, 2013
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These days, the insane popularity of the undead has made it a challenge for aspiring authors to break into the competitive genre of vampire fiction. Entering the literary scene with her book "Dark Heirloom," author J.D. Brown – who attended IADT-Schaumburg and received a BFA degree in 2007 – took a new angle on the genre.
(Interested in winning a signed copy of Dark Heirloom? See the book giveaway contest at the end of the post.)
We got to chat with Brown - whose book was nominated for "Best Paranormal Fiction" in the 2012 Global Ebook Awards and 2013 EPIC Ebook Awards - about how her education and experiences at IADT helped transform her from a hopeful student to a confident published author with her own unique twist on vampire fiction.
Q: Over the past few years, the popularity of vampire mythology has exploded in literature, television, and film. What does Dark Heirloom contribute to the genre?
A: When I began my first novel, Dark Heirloom, I had one major goal for the story and that was to omit the humans—to tell nothing but the vampire’s side of the story. Let’s face it, you’re not reading or watching the paranormal genre for the average-Joe human characters. You’re looking for the larger-than-life thrills. I wanted to give my readers the satisfaction of getting up close and personal with my vampires and surpass all the puny human drama. I remained true to my goal all through the editing and publishing process, and readers have really responded to the finished product.
Q: How does creativity impact your work? Do you have any methods or techniques for brainstorming your ideas?
A: Creativity is indefinitely important to the fiction writer, as it is to any artist really. Luckily, being creative and coming up with ideas is pretty easy. But creativity is such a raw and wild medium to work with. It’s there one minute and gone the next, and it’s always subjective. Ideas are always underdeveloped and crappy at first. They need to be fleshed out and strengthened before you can apply them in a way that will benefit the artist.
I have a sort of support group that I chat with daily. Nothing formal, just a couple of authors who I know well and consider my close friends. We bounce ideas off each other and get each other’s gears moving in the right direction. Having a few buddies in the industry is a great way to relieve stress together while still keeping each other on track.
Q: Your love for mythology and the paranormal led you to become an author. How has the journey of pursuing a writing career changed your life?
A: To be honest, it’s changed my life in a bunch of small ways, but those changes add up. Every time I get a review or hear from a reader, I get an amazing sense of gratification that is unlike anything else I’ve ever felt. I know I’m doing what I was meant to do in this life and I wake up happy and grateful every morning because I get to do that job. Even when the workload is tough and I’m behind in my deadlines and hauling butt, at the end of the day there is nothing else I’d rather do.
Q: What’s the most important thing you learned in college? How did your college education influence your writing career?
A: I think the most important thing I learned in college, honestly, was to be more realistic about what I wanted in a career and—surprise!—it wasn’t fame or large amounts of money or world peace.
The truth is that most of us have to start at the bottom doing crappy gigs, working long hours for very little pay, making sacrifices, having doors slammed in our face, living off ramen soup, and slowly making our way to the top one tiny step at a time. I know that’s not the success story you all wanted to hear, but it’s the realistic one and it took me six years to figure out.
Q: You’re clearly passionate about your work. What advice do you have for college students about choosing and following the path that they’re interested in?
A: Don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because you like the hobby that you’ll like the career too. Art is always fun when you do it in your spare time whenever the muse happens to take you. But art is different when it’s a career. It’s demanding, hard, frustrating, and doesn’t always pay well. There are deadlines. There are clients and customers. Being your own boss, being creative on demand, choosing to finish a project on time so you can pay the rent instead of hanging out with your friends—that all requires a ton of self-discipline and it’s why a lot of very talented artists often fail. Choose the career you need to do. Choose the work that you can’t live without. Follow the field that you’re positive you will love even at three o’clock in the morning.
Q: What can you tell us about your upcoming book, Dark Liaison?
A: Dark Liaison releases in 2013 and is the sequel to Dark Heirloom. I can’t wait until it releases. I had a blast writing it and I think fans of D.H. will be pleasantly surprised. There’s more action, more romance, and more twists. I’m kind of sitting here wondering how I will top everything with book three! New readers can download the first ten chapters of Dark Heirloom (book 1) for free before purchasing the full book on my website.
Enter the Dark Heirloom Book Giveaway
Interested in reading Dark Heirloom? IADT is giving away three copies of J.D. Brown’s first book.
Only IADT students and alumni are eligible to enter this contest. To enter, please submit a comment below about how creativity impacts your work and make sure to include your full name, school location, program and whether you are a current student or alum. (Note that comments go through an approval process and so will not appear until the day after posting.) One entry per person. We’ll choose the winners based on which posts are most interesting/relevant/creative. If you are selected as a winner, we will notify you via your school email address. Submissions must be posted by 11:59 p.m. CT on Jan. 14 for contest consideration. Winners will be announced by Jan. 17. Sponsor reserves the right to terminate or alter this contest.