Today I’m pleased to introduce William M Brandon III. He just released a new novel called SILENCE and was kind enough to spend some time trading emails with me.
What are three things you think everybody should know about you?
- I’m a Los Angeles ex-pat, having escaped to the simpler life in NE Georgia. My recent move w/ my Wife and our six-year-old son is the 56th time I’ve changed addresses in my life.
- I prefer to write on typewriters.
- I began SILENCE when I was 19 years old (I am currently 38)
What is one thing almost nobody knows?
I love the Peaches’ album “Teaches of Peaches”
56 moves is a lot. You’re probably pretty good at it by now.
Very good; prior to meeting my wife I had my worldly possessions down to three boxes and my typewriters. Less is always more in that regard.
Do you have plans to settle down there in Georgia?
We are definitely very settled. We plan to stay here until our little man graduates from school, then the Wife and I may skip the country for a little while.
Okay, I’m intrigued by the typewriters thing. Do you have one at home that you use to do the first draft or something?
I have several: a Burroughs (of adding Machine fame), a Olivetti Lettera 22,1923 Remington Portable, 1966 Smith-Corona, and an Olympia SM-4. The Olympia is the only fully functioning typer at present, although the Lettera is very close and so is the Smith-Corona. When I start a long project I like to start on a typewriter because it prohibits me from editing the hell out of everything I write. Using a typewriter helps me put together a body of work to edit, rather than editing to death a few pages and paragraphs which I inevitably do on a laptop. My first attempt at a novel (SILENCE) was written long hand on legal pads at first – my desktop typing was far slower than my printing. While I was taking the initial parts of SILENCE and putting them together, my company performed an office product purge and I took home a late 80s electric typewriter. I loved being able to produce sheets of writing rapidly, and I have a deep nostalgia for the use of typewriters as a means of collecting ideas and thoughts. However, when it comes to editing a 300 page manuscript, I’m a big advocate of the laptop!
Are there aftermarket parts available for those old typewriters, or do you have to search thrift and antique stores?
No sir, it’s all cannibalism now; weak machines have to be sacrificed to keep the strong ones going. For 70s/80s machines there is a dwindling supply of parts, but prior to that your best hope is to find a cheap typewriter on eBay, an antique store, or an estate sale and use it for spare parts. People also become creative, e.g. degradation of the piece of rubber surrounding the platen is a very common issue with antique typers. Industrial rubber isn’t manufactured on the level it once was, so collectors developed ways of stripping wires and taking their coating and applying it to typewriter platens…voila! The outland areas of Hollywood, like Burbank, and North Hollywood are excellent for typewriter shopping: all of the old movie props flow through the second-hand and antique stores and are usually in good enough condition. There is also a full typewriter repair and restoration shop in Glassell Park, California, but I haven’t found its equivalent in Georgia.
Any other hobbies besides writing and typewriters?
Have you been writing SILENCE on and off this whole time, or is it something that you just put away for a while and recently dug back out and finished up?
I stopped working on it in 2000, aside from correcting an occasional spelling or grammatical error, it remained untouched until last year. That made the project very interesting: since SILENCE I’ve written several novels, and a bevy of short stories, so my writing has changed, refined I hope. I decided to send the manuscript to my editor, Elise Portale, as unchanged as possible from the 2000 version. Elise did a superb job of challenging me to develop many underdeveloped parts of the plot and to further develop the characters. Making changes, edits and additions in my old “voice” was a lot of fun and less paradigm-shifting than I had feared. I consider the manuscript done now, prior to completing the novella for Black Hill Press it felt unfinished to say the least.
So give me the elevator pitch for SILENCE.
Plus, if you’re in the area, you can catch William doing book signings this month at Hendershot’s in Athens, Ga, on April 16th (http://hendershotscoffee.com/event/silence-by-william-bill-m-brandon-iii-book-signing-and-reading/) and at Book Soup in Los Angeles on May 16th (http://agentofdiscord.com/book-soup-los-angeles-may-16th/)
“Many a yarn has been woven around the quest for love. But that familiar tale starts to fray at the edges when young Dean O’Leary, a bank robber whose pinstripe suit is a better fit than the age in which he lives, packs up his cigarettes and his battered heart to start fresh in Las Vegas. With a voice and style that drag you in, Brandon sets up a character whose neurotic, mile-a-minute mind echoes the desire, anxiety, depression, and insanity found at every intersection on the road to love. From Dean’s ultimate highs to his rock-bottom lows (making a quick pit-stop at the surreal), Brandon will take you on an emotional walk in a desperate man’s wing-tip shoes—and you’ll be hooked from the very first step.”-Elise Portale