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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Interview : Ryan Brown (Author of Play Dead)

Ryan Brown
Member of the Horror Writer's Association & the International Thriller Writer's Association

Read my review for Play Dead.

About the Author

Ryan Brown was born and raised in Texas.  He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in film studios.  From there he moved to New York to study theatre at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  All of his studying payed off, because within months he was cast a role of Bill Lewis on daytime CBS television show, Guiding Light, which he continued for three years.

He met his future wife while in New York, and they became married.  They moved to Los Angeles, where Ryan snagged the roll of Billy Abbot on CBS's, The Young and The Restless.  He also appeared on the hit television show, Law and Order : SVU, as well as two feature films for Lifetime Television.

After all of this he decided to try writing, and realized that he had a knack for this as well.  It took him two years to complete the manuscript for PLAY DEAD.

Ryan also has a passion for adventure.  He has zip-lined the forests of Costa Rica, climbed Mayan ruins in Belize, snorkeled Australia's Great Barrier Reef, swum with sharks off the coast of Bora Bora, ridden a bicycle across Alaska, flown over the Catskills in an open-cockpit bi-plane, and driven cattle through the mountains of Montana and Wyoming.  He also likes to travel to Italy, England, and Greece to spend his summers.

He is a devoted fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the Oklahoma Sooners.  He is the son of Michael Brown, an award-winning video producer, and Sandra Brown, a best-selling author.  He now lives in New York with his wife, six-year old son, and two rescued cats. 


I'm so thrilled that you emailed me back, and have agreed to this interview!  I do hope you have fun answering them.

1.  I 'strolled' on over to your website and have seen that you are quite an accomplished man!  You've succeeded in many ways throughout your life, but what are you most proud of?  Can you tell us why?

     At the risk of sounding cliché, I am most proud my family - my beautiful wife and six-year-old son.      Professionally, I am most proud of the publication of PLAY DEAD.  As it was such an investment in time and effort - with no guarantees at the end - I feel very blessed to see it published.

2.  Your both an accomplished actor, as well as author, but which do you consider to be the harder job?

     Acting and writing are both difficult, but they challenge similar muscles.  In the end they are both about developing interesting characters and bringing them to life in order to tell a believable story.  Writing might be harder because it is a much lonelier process.  When things aren’t coming easily, there’s no director, producer, or fellow actors to turn to for help.  For this reason, writing is also probably much more rewarding when (and if!) it finally does go right.

3.  Out of all the television shows you were featured on, which would you say was the most memorable experience for you?

     My work on Law and Order SVU was a lot of fun because I had the privilege of working with Chris Mallone and Connie Neilson, two actors I very much admire (in an episode featuring Jerry Lewis!).  I was also playing tennis in the episode, which happens to be one of my passions.  Law and Order is always a challenge because each episode is cast, shot, and cut extremely quickly.  As I was merely a guest, walking into a very well-oiled machine, I really felt I had to be on my game.

4.  I myself was born in New York, so I can appreciate the state a great deal.  At the moment I'm craving some real New York Style Cheesecake!  If you were forced to leave New York for the rest of your life (scary right?), which food would you miss the most?

     I’m a native Texan, so the food I miss daily living in New York is authentic Tex-Mex.  If forced to leave New York forever, I would definitely miss The Shake Shack, around the corner from our apartment.  Their burgers are second to none.

5.  You've spent a lot of your time traveling the world and doing exciting things, but is there something you haven't done yet that you want to do?  
     I’ve always wanted to go on safari in Africa (shooting pictures, not guns). 

6.  After reading Play Dead, I'm really interested in reading more work from you.  Do you have any other writing projects we should know about? 

     I am getting close to finishing my (as yet untitled) second novel, which will be released in the spring of 2011.  I have a short story called SUSPENDED coming out in an anthology called FIRST THRILLS (June 22, 2010), edited by Lee Child.  In October of 2010, I have a young adult thriller called JEEPERS PEEPERS appearing in an anthology called FEAR: 13 STORIES OF SUSPENSE AND HORROR, edited by R.L. Stein.

7.  Some people think that there truly is going to be an Apocalypse.  What we want to know is, when the dead start walking among the living, what's the first thing you plan on doing?

     If the dead start walking among the living, I think the first thing I’m going to do is call up Jerry Jones, have him get a few zombies into Dallas Cowboys uniforms.  If they’re anything like the zombies in my novel, they should be able to finally get another Super Bowl win for my beloved Cowboys.

8.  Of all the characters in Play Dead, which would you say you relate to the most, and why? 
     Of all the characters in PLAY DEAD, I think I’m most like Savannah, the heroine.  She’s a journalist, which makes her an observer – a trait common for all writers, I think – but she’s also willing to step in and take action when necessary.

9.  You've rescued and adopted two cats (this made me so happy to hear!), and in your book Black Mona is your strange neighborhood cat lady.  Is it safe to say that your more of a cat person rather than a dog person?  Can you tell us your cat's names? 

     I must say I married into the cat thing.  I was raised a dog lover, but my wife already had one of our cats when we met ten years ago.  That cat, Minnie, found abandoned on a subway car at five weeks old, is still with us.  Then last year my wife and son and I went out for groceries, and came across an ASPCA van parked along Broadway.  Needless to say, they fell in love with one cat in particular, and I caved.  So now we’ve added Batsi to the family.  Admittedly, I’m a convert, and have become a huge cat person.  The cats pretty much run the household.

10.  The cover of Play Dead is absolutely awesome!  I think they portrayed a zombie football player to utter perfection.  What are your takes on the cover, and did you have any other ideas?  

     I really love the PLAY DEAD cover.  I think the artwork is fantastic.  We tweaked it quite a bit over a number of months, and went through several versions to get it right.  As a first time writer without a name to rely on, I think it’s important to have a cover that will steer eyes toward the shelf.  Fingers crossed we have succeeded!

     Thanks so much for offering this interview.  It was a pleasure, and an honor, and I loved the questions.

I loved how this interview worked out, and Ryan has given us some wonderful answers!  Please feel free to comment, and don't forget to go out and get yourself a copy of Play Dead.


Anonymous said...

Great interview! He's cute!

Jenni @ Falling Off The Shelf said...

Insert Book Title - Thanks for stopping by! I had a lot of fun with this interview. He is a cutey too! My friend is in love with his author photo on the back of his book, lol.

Jenny Girl said...

Great intereview and what an adventurous life. Any animal lover is fine in my book. I will certainly check his book. Thanks for bringing him to my attention.

Jenni @ Falling Off The Shelf said...

Jenny Girl - I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It was a very fun interview.