It is rare that you get to chat with someone whose work you routinely enjoy. I remember reading Brendan's book, Now the Hell Will Start, and then saying to myself if I ever did a podcast series here on WARN, I would love to talk with the author. I then reached out to Brendan. He was generous and said, "yes, I would love to chat." I then, later, quite self-satisfied, realized my coup. The universe is funny that way.
We had a great time. Brendan and I discussed his newest book The Skies Belong to Us, the previous Now the Hell Will Start about the World War 2 era manhunt for Herman Perry (which will be the basis of a new movie by Spike Lee), the craft of writing, how digitization is challenging all things (and creating new opportunities for authors), as well as the curious case of the master craftsman and "trap" builder Alfred Anaya. There is also an Easter Egg for ghetto nerds and fans of the TV show Punky Brewster.
I am so very appreciative of Brendan for agreeing to appear on the podcast series for We Are Respectable Negroes. This is a great conversation that I am sure you will appreciate, learn from, and enjoy.
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1:30 Introductions and the day-to-day process of writing
3:54 As a writer, does having children help your work and creative process?
6:51 What advice do you have for journeymen writers regarding a work regime? How do digital tools fit into your process?
8:40 How do digital techniques complicate archiving, and how scholars will look back upon knowledge-generating and the ways in which publics understand the process of writing? Do digital formats upset and disrupt a writer's legacy?
15:58 Is writing online as a freelancer a way of "paying dues" or is it exploitative?
20:52 Just because you are not on the team or published as an author does not mean you lack talent
22:13 How did the book Now the Hell Will Start become a book project?
28:17 Who is Herman Perry? Tell us about how this black G.I. is the "first hippie?"
31:27 There are so many stories out there, how easily is history forgotten?
32:57 How did Herman Perry's family respond to your project?
35:46 Tell us about sneaking into Burma
42:25 Now the Hell Will Start and Spike Lee
44:21 Teach us about how to translate a book into a screenplay. What did Spike Lee teach you?
51:34 Alfred Anaya, poor choices, and the War on Drugs
56:17 Tell us about your newest book The Skies Belong to Us
58:08 Another genesis of The Skies Belong to Us; the interracial couple who decide to high-jack a plane
63:00 Tell us about your favorite skyjacker and your website "Skyjacker of the Day"
65:25 Introducing "Skyjacker" trading cards
65:40 Where do you go from here?
67:57 When you see your book in the store how do you celebrate?
68:55 What was it like to be on the Punky Brewster TV show?
72:00 Being on the Colbert Report