Brian Bennudriti has degrees in Physics and Business. He’s taken a nuclear reactor critical, piloted a destroyer, slept in the Omani desert, negotiated multi-million dollar acquisitions, run two companies, provided strategic and management consulting across the United States and traveled around the world in every hemisphere. He’s a plankowner on the aircraft carrier, USS Harry S Truman and has made a lifetime study of religious beliefs and mythology. Brian lives in Kansas City with his wife, two children, two dogs and a lizard. His first book, Tearing Down The Statues, was published in 2015.
For More Information
- Visit Brian Bennudriti’s website.
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About the Book:
Misling is a Recorder, having perfect memory and expected to help build a seamless record of history. That’s what the Salt Mystic taught us two thousand years ago when she came stumbling from the flats with her visions. Unfortunately he’s probably the worst Recorder ever. So when he meets a joker with an incredible secret, the two of them are soon on the run from swarming lunatics and towering assault troops in the heart of a city under siege.
As it has for three generations, the horrible Talgo family is the spark of this swelling world war; and their wily generals and scheming counselors clash their fleets in battles of shrieking steel-entrained tornados, cannonballs of lightning, and tanks the size of cities. But it’s the joker’s secret that is the most powerful weapon of all…a trigger set by the Salt Mystic herself in myth, to save the world from itself.
For More Information
- Tearing Down the Statues is available at Amazon.
- Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
- Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Would you call yourself a born writer?
Being a writer to me implies dedication to the craftmanship, studying the word choices, pacing, mood and syntax of its masters, and massive chunks of time alone honing the skills. No, I probably wasn’t born to that part of it. I’m the kid that wore his sweatband bracelets watching ‘Space Ghost’ or ‘Thundarr The Barbarian’ Saturday morning, living in the dreams that thrilled me. Taking the ‘Space 1999’ Eagle ship apart to use it for a force field generator instead was a way for me to plug and unplug, rewire and reshape things to better tell the story in my head I thought needed told. Somewhere I still have embarrassing notebooks overstuffed with short stories and novellas, scribbled in the margins with sketches and concepts because I’ve been at this a very long time. My dad keeps in a box two murder mystery stories I wrote him in pencil or crayon or whatever, which honestly were probably just reworked Scooby Doo episodes, but precious to him. That’s awesome that some of us grew up like me, shaping our thought-life as boundless and full and something that can strike out and shape the world around us because we nurtured dreams for so long. Is that a ‘yes’, then?
What was your inspiration for Tearing Down The Statues?
I was in the US Navy for a while; and particularly one summer and fall serving as assistant navigator on a Destroyer in the Persian Gulf. I’d been watching John Wayne westerns like ‘El Dorado’ and ‘Rio Bravo’ and ‘True Grit’ and reading the first three ‘Dune’ books. A couple of guys went with me out to go swimming in a rock gorge in the Omani desert; and a daydream popped into my head full of all those influences and God knows what else: a haggard guy in a Civil War-era uniform busting through saloon doors and everyone staring in fear at him, even though he was entirely unarmed. It got me thinking who this guy was, what history had put that look on his face, and most of all – what was everyone afraid of? I sort of figured it out later in the swimming pool of a hotel near Dubai called, ‘Al Bandar’ or something like that. That was the first image that turned ultimately into a complex novel full of the things I love in a book.
What themes do you like to explore in your writing?
This betrays just how much of a geek I really am; but back when hardbound encyclopedias were a thing, I would sit for hours and read through them. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, right? So stumbling across things like ‘Andorra’ in the Pyrenees or ‘kite fighting’ or cool holidays like lantern festivals took the place of traveling. I could picture it as well as being there and captured some of that with my net to place on the shelf should I ever need them. Probably the rest of my life, in my writing, reading or otherwise, I’ll be trying to recapture that sense of wonder and being there in fantastic places seeing those sorts of things.
I also travel some in my day job; and one thing that especially unnerves me is how disconnected our parenting is, and how unrestrained is our self-love. (Says the guy droning on in an interview about himself!) It is my opinion that we are born with a craving for spirituality no different from our need for food, water, sex and companionship, but that we routinely starve ourselves when we’re sold a bill of goods on how naïve and unnecessary it is. I’m not pushing any one approach here, just saying it’s there as a gap that drives people to desperate acts we have no business being shocked about. I believe tragedies like September 11th and the Boston Massacre bring out the best in a nation’s character; but that our core selflessness and integrity are perhaps only a generation or two away from dying out. In Tearing Down The Statues, I wanted to poke at the question of what happens to people in such a generation in tragedies at that level, so I built a world, filled it with people I love dearly, and mercilessly started tearing it apart.
How long did it take you to complete the novel?
The core ideas were there stewing a very long time; but it took almost seven years of earnest writing to get to the book as it is now. I made the classic mistake everyone warns against of plotting the novel up-front. Don’t do that. Please listen when they tell you not to do that. I even had a detailed outline of every chapter and bits of dialogue, revelations for each, even props I wanted in the background materials by chapter. I’d have been better off making paper airplanes of all that noise. When I felt the dialogue begin to pop and the characters start breathing, they had entirely different ideas about what they’d do next, thank you very much.
Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.
I rewrite as I go, and have to build momentum to get into new territory. That means I always begin in the morning after coffee when everyone’s gone to school or work for the day with the previous chapter or whatever’s done in the chapter I’m to meet in battle. Words have to change; and pacing may have been too fast in my zeal to get to the meat on the bone, so there’s always some editing happening before the blank page shows back up. I especially love the warmer weather months when I can take the laptop down to the lake and have something beautiful to look at when the smells and sights start to slip for me. I also tend to act out scenes myself and test out conversations to make sure they sound real or funny or threatening or whatever, so sometimes the door has to close at home with the dogs well stationed in the corner watching the madness. It’s incredibly rewarding for me when someone I’ve entirely dreamed up or patched together from grotesque or hilarious folks I’ve encountered whisper in my ear that they politely disagree with what I’m asking them to do next, or what to say.
What did you find most challenging about writing this book?
There are three main storylines in the novel that parallel and touch obliquely at first and finally collide, which brings with its architecture the need to pace them similarly. You can’t have a day pass or a week with one guy and the guy in the next chapter is still running for his life. Neither can one story fulfill itself and drop the curtain on the big mystery when the other guys are still digging up clues. I worked very hard to bring everything to a simmer together before jacking up the burner on everything at once.
What do you love most about being an author?
Great question. For me, it’s an incredible pride when I’m holding a physical copy of something I built from the ground up and had complete control over. Even the ebook thrilled me – I chuckled like a kid whose dad just farted when I saw my book on the Barnes & Noble website that first time. It’s an incredible amount of work; and the marketing part – just getting yourself noticed – can be tedious and draining. Still, what a fantastic way to make your mark on the world and say something only you can say!
Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?
I gave a very brief shot at submitting to a couple of publishers who specialize in science fiction, and a handful of literary agents. Universal advice was to stick with it; and there’s only so many times people can tell you how long J.K. Rowling submitted Harry Potter before you get it, that it’s part of the game. Agents say very nice things – all very nice people, the ones I dealt with, and especially flattering about writing style and whatnot. All dead ends, unfortunately, at least in my case. I read extensively the posts of people even with contracts who received precious little marketing or other support, who surrendered substantial chunks of profits for the privilege, before going out of print in no time at all. There is no judgement from me on those channels; and I believe the publishing business may yet figure itself out and crawl from the squalid swamp it’s in right now; but I said, ‘screw it’ and jumped off the cliff the other direction. I started Grailrunner Publishing for myself and maybe a small select group of fellow authors looking to leverage First World marvels like Print On Demand, collaborative audiobook services, social media marketing and Adobe’s Creative Cloud to make it happen for ourselves with control and profits in the right place. Happy call so far.
Where can we find you on the web?
Have a look at www.grailrunner.com where we’re keeping the art celebration for the novel and news about Tearing Down The Statues as well as news on an upcoming, mind-melting horror novel coming out this summer to be titled, The Line Of Them.
On Twitter, it’s @grailrunner. For Facebook, just look for my name. Send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d especially love to hear from anyone who feels like talking about pop culture or mythology…or good places to eat in airports…or
…why not just go get the book? www.amazon.com
She left tripwires in the stories we tell. Come meet one. Tearing Down The Statues