Follow the link above to read my interview with Patti Shene on her Over 50 Blog page. Enjoy learning a little more about me and tidbits about my Shiloh Mystery Series.
Follow the link above to read my interview with Patti Shene on her Over 50 Blog page. Enjoy learning a little more about me and tidbits about my Shiloh Mystery Series.
Why Introduce Wiley? When I began creating new characters in my Shiloh Mystery series, I already knew I wanted to expand the presence of Old Man Edwards the Barber mentioned in Sanctuary. In Testament, Mr. Edwards is identified as being the go-to person for scuttlebutt in Shiloh, especially for Theo Phillips, my main character. He has operated his Town Square three-chair barbershop his whole life. To have the presence needed in the story, Mr. Wiley Edwards is 83 years old in the story and still cutting hair and chewing the fat with all his customers. Hub and Marcellus are the two other barbers – a black father and a bi-racial son. Also, Cassie, Hub’s daughter, had eloped with Wiley’s grandson, Wilson Edwards, not long after they graduated high school. However, Cassie soon wanted more than Wilson could provide and deserted Wilson and their young son, Keith “Woogie” Edwards. Cassie’s path led to drugs and crime. Wilson struggled and ended up in trouble with the law himself trying to provide for Keith and occasionally bailing Cassie out of jail. In Testament, Keith, aka Woogie, is living with Marcellus and his son, Byron, “BoBo” under the watchful eye of Wiley and his wife, Malvinia.
So where did the very much Georgia name of Wiley come from? Well, in the above picture I am standing beside my father holding my oldest son along with my Poppa. Both share the family name Wiley Virgil Brown. Of course, my father earned the nickname Junior, which he preferred over the name Wiley. Both my father and grandfather have passed away, but I’m pretty sure old man Wiley Edwards in lil’ ol’ Shiloh shares a little of both of them in my story. If you read my About the Author in the back of Testament, you’ll learn a little more about my family’s roots in Georgia.
Available in Kindle and Paperback.
Please visit my webpage for my schedule of upcoming book events and the list of independent bookstores where you can purchase your very own copy of Testament, as well as Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories if you haven’t read it yet.
Or go to Amazon for either your Kindle or Paperback edition.
Below is a copy of my online interview with Jo Huddleston on her webpage.
There’s some exciting news about the release of Testament and Sanctuary that you may like to read. I promise it’ll be worth taking a moment to read through the interview.
TESTAMENT, AN UNEXPECTED RETURN
by T.M. Brown
|About T. M. Brown|
|T. M. Brown is a Southern boy at heart, although he’s lived and traveled in many states far removed from his beloved boyhood roots in Georgia and Florida. He returned to his Southern roots several years ago while his two sons were still in school and regularly traveled throughout the South before returning to college shortly after his youngest son graduated. In the last fifteen years he has preached, taught and coached in Alabama, Georgia and Florida until his wife and he moved outside of Atlanta and retired to write, travel, and spoil grandchildren.|
What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading your book(s)?
Life doesn’t always work out as we intend, but if we will only strive to do what is right and persevere, even if that course leads us into uncomfortable, even seemingly unjust circumstances, God will reveal his providential purpose. Doing right always trumps being right. In both of my books, time-lost Shiloh struggles with inevitable 21st-Century changes and challenges. But one thing remains a constant: selfishness and greed of mankind. The motive remains undeterred even when the methods and means progress with the times.
Ultimately, my stories are parables about real-life choices and consequences that eventually I desire my five grandkids to read as a legacy of love from their Poppy. I figure if I can connect with them, my reading audience certainly will as well.
How do people react when they find out you write?
Since I began writing novels late in life, most of my family and long-time friends scratched their heads and smiled. Some knew me during my three decades in the corporate business world, and others knew me after I went back to school and ultimately seminary. When they heard I decided to write Southern novels, especially mystery/suspense stories many were skeptical. They knew of my inspirational and devotional writing but were curious about my transition into publishing novels with a wide audience appeal. Frankly, so was I. But, I now am convinced that God brings us into uncomfortable places for his purposes. I definitely am not Moses, but I can understand his pushback when asked by God to serve as God’s voice to the people in Egypt. Of course, like Moses, God brought a partner along to help along the way. For me, a phenomenal writing coach and editor. She helped me to grasp the nuances of novel writing to bring my storytelling gift to life. Thanks to Kari Scare (KariLynnScare.com) the naysayers and skeptics became my most ardent supporters to promote my books.
Do you type or write by hand? Computer? Typewriter? Legal pad?
Yes, to the above! I doddle and scrawl out scenes, storylines, and character development ideas in a menagerie of spiral notebooks, legal pads, and even composition books. Armed with my scribbled notes and ideas, then I begin the arduous task of bringing the story to life, scene by scene banging away on my iMac keyboard. Okay, I confess to having progressed beyond the typewriter. Even while typing out my story, I maintain several three-ring binders chock-full of printed out photos, background research, and expanded character and setting profiles, all cluttered with sticky notes and paper-clipped items jutting out in every direction. Thankfully, I progressed to some author-friendly computer programs, such as Scrivner and Evernote too.
Vacation: Beach or Mountains? My wife and I love the beach, but a cabin in the mountains is our first choice.
Y’all or You Guys? Y’all!!!! In fact, all y’all works too. Biscuits or Dinner Roll? Biscuits!!!!
Spring, summer, winter or fall? Summer, but Fall’s a close second.
Laptop or Desktop? Desktop – love my iMac.
Mug or teacup? Mug! A big one.
Please tell us a little about your novel, Testament, An Unexpected Return (officially releases March 27, 2018).
In this sequel to Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories (which the author recommends reading first), Theo and Liddy are finally sinking deep roots into their new hometown of Shiloh. Friendships are blossoming as Liddy ponders an offer to become the new art teacher at Shiloh High while Theo sends off his manuscript for Jessie’s Story to be published. Life appears to be settling down, but ominous shadows from the town’s past herald more tragedy lies ahead in little old Shiloh.
“The testament of a man lies not in the magnitude of possessions and property left to his heirs, but the reach of his legacy long after his death.” Theo Phillips
On March 22-24, 2018, the Kindle eBook edition of both of Mike’s books will be FREE on Amazon. Links to grab your free eBook copies on those dates: http://amzn.to/2FQmvo1 for Sanctuary and http://amzn.to/2tR3M7g for Testament. Make a note of these dates and links to get your free copies.
Leave a question you’d like readers to answer.
Why do you think so many Southern authors and their stories resonate so well, breaching geographical and cultural boundaries?
(I hope you’ll take a moment to answer the above question as I will be addressing this question throughout my upcoming book tour for Testament and Sanctuary.)
‘Time crept while I stirred and tossed in futile attempts to capture any semblance of actual sleep. Capitulation arrived shortly after four when I poured a cup of coffee and sat down in the living room…Okay Lord, what are you trying to share with me?’ Theo Phillips, Main character Ch 20, pg. 169
When the author used the descriptor, ‘a couple of southern minutes’, I knew I was in for a treat as main characters Theo Phillips and his wife Liddy started retirement in their new hometown of Shiloh, Georgia.
The town residents began introducing themselves as soon as the Phillips arrived, inherently southern by nature, Christian in their beliefs and warm with human spirit. At first, I thought there were too many people appearing one after the other and lost track of who they all were. But as they became familiar, I realized there would be no point in delaying introductions as they were all part of the Phillips’ daily life in a small town. Only a writer with personal experience in a small town could define so many characters so intricately, and so Mike Brown has.
Shiloh experienced a set-back three years earlier with the burning of its Victorian courthouse and county seat, as well as the loss of their beloved football coach and mentor of their children, Jessie Masterson. As Theo and Liddy settle in, they become aware that the fire left a blot upon the town’s spirit and affected many people including the mayor’s family.
Using his writing talents as a retired newspaper man, Theo begins to research Jessie’s story for the Shiloh Sentinel. As he progresses, he becomes aware of a connected story that may have resulted in the incarceration of an innocent man.
The tale gathers momentum as more citizens come forward with their secret truths, the weight of which has prevented them from moving ahead in life. Theo and Liddy realize they’ve been sent on a divine mission and with God’s guidance, they make themselves available where needed.
Thank-you for this inspiring, funny and heart-warming journey with Theo and Liddy as they accept the challenge presented them and become part of the town of Shiloh.
Why Did I Choose Shiloh for My Story’s Setting?
In Sanctuary, my premier Southern mystery, readers are introduced to the quaint, time-lost South Georgia town of Shiloh. The story begins as Theo and his wife Liddy desire to relocate and retire back to their country roots, after investing four decades of their lives in the shadows of Atlanta. According to the story, it is Liddy who discovers an advertisement for a quaint Craftsman home that convinced her Shiloh would be a perfect fit for them.
But, it’s what readers sense early on as they arrive in Shiloh that draws them into the story? First of all, Shiloh’s reputation paints a serene picture about this time-lost town, but like its namesake from biblical lore, reputation and present reality are subject to the whims and shortcomings of men.
Like the Shiloh of old, Sanctuary reveals this once proud town had lost its luster and position as the county seat decades earlier. Alexandria, like Jerusalem in biblical lore, surpassed Shiloh as the center of power and influence, leaving the proud people in Shiloh with their beautiful, antebellum courthouse on the town square a victim of progress. According to the story, Alexandria blossomed during the post-WWII boom and expansion in Georgia, while Shiloh stagnated and struggled, not much different from many real-life rural towns in South Georgia. Shiloh’s conciliation arrived as its beloved courthouse received a facelift and interior redesign to make it into a functioning city hall. However, the facelift and remodeling of the sesquicentenary courthouse left the edifice’s skeleton of 19th Century hewn timbers and ornate woodwork in tact. Decades later, their beloved historical courthouse would be razed to the ground and steal away the life of a town hero, who rescued others from the growing inferno.
Biblical Shiloh became the first seat of governance once Joshua and the nation of Israel completed their conquest of the Promised Land. The ark of the covenant and tabernacle that had traveled for forty years found a seemingly permanent resting place in Shiloh. Israel’s priests and judges (leaders) established Shiloh as the central seat in the Promised Land until Israel felt unsettled about the way Israel was governed, and desired to be like the other nations. Not long after Israel turned to the rule of king’s, rather than priests acting on God’s behalf, Shiloh fell victim to King David’s selection of Jerusalem as his site for his palace and the building of the new temple. A rival army burned and ransacked Shiloh not long before David ascended the throne as the second king of Israel. However, he turned his back on Shiloh and chose Jerusalem for his palace.
The name Shiloh to this day still paints a different picture than the historical reality which its namesakes have experienced. One of the bloodiest and decisive battles fought during the Civil War became known as the Battle of Shiloh, in Tennessee.
Even the Hebrew origin of the name Shiloh means “place of peace,” but as history revealed, “peace” requires the cooperation of men to live up to the expectation of maintaining peace in their community. Sanctuary and its sequel play on the dichotomy of Shiloh’s reputation and the reality of its present state as Theo and Liddy soon discover upon their arrival to Shiloh that there’s a rift in the tranquility of the community.
All good fiction has its roots deeply planted and nourished in the soil of truth and reality. The settings and characters in our novels do spring ex-nihilo (out of nothingness). Good novels blur the lines between what is fact and fiction allowing the reader to enjoy the totality of the story as though it is real. Nothing brings a smile quicker than to be asked where is Shiloh, I want to go there.
T. M. Brown
Sanctuary, An Legacy of Memories (2nd Edition, January 2018)
Newly retired publishing executive, Theo Phillips, and his wife, Liddy, decide to leave the shadows of Atlanta behind and return to their South Georgia roots in time-lost Shiloh. While making new friends, Theo’s interest in a memorial launches him smack dab in the middle of scandal and dark secrets. As Theo digs deeper into the mysterious fire that stole the town’s landmark courthouse and a town hero, he and Liddy’s retirement dreams take a turn that could unravel both them and the idyllic life they and many others look for in Shiloh.
Testament, An Unexpected Return (coming March 2018) – Cover release, February 9th.
The sequel picks up the story of little old Shiloh eight months later and significant changes have taken place in Shiloh. New faces from the town’s past emerge as Testament’s tale unfolds. The citizens in Shiloh understand they cannot change their pasts, but they realize their pasts can haunt them in the present in ways no one could predict. A subtle reminder that God orchestrates the course of history for all men, but he allows men to choose how they will come to terms with the events of history as they unfold. As the ending of the story states, “The testament of a man lies not in the magnitude of possessions and property left to his heirs, but the reach of his legacy long after his death.”
Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest (projected release 2019)
Mike, to all his friends, is a Southern boy at heart, although he’s lived and traveled in many states far removed from his beloved boyhood roots in Georgia and Florida. He returned to his Southern roots several years ago while his two sons were still in school and regularly traveled throughout the South before returning to college shortly after his youngest son graduated. In the last fifteen years he has preached, taught and coached in Alabama, Georgia and Florida until his wife and he moved outside of Atlanta and retired to write, travel, and spoil grandchildren.
Authorpreneurs Recognize the Why Motivates the What
Knowing the answers to the key Why questions grow your confidence as an Authorpreneur, which will help navigate you through critical choices all authors face. There are no shortcuts the necessary dedication, discipline, and determination to reach the desired destination you envisioned when you first began writing your book(s).
There are two aspects of the Why behind the writing you must become confident about, which will ultimately motivate the What behind your creative endeavor.
First, internal motivation – Why invest the time and resources to write, publish, and market your book(s)?
Authors often find the company of frustration, doubt, and fear as they struggle to create, shape, and perfect their manuscript. Trees moan as countless crunched and torn pages find their destiny in the cluttered graveyard, ergo the wastebasket. Doubt becomes the writer’s harshest critic. So, why endure the torturous, lonesome ordeal to overcome the self-induced obstacles and dead-ends? Why persist and suffer to only surrender your manuscript to the critical scrutiny of others? Why choose to invite the critique of others after all those weeks, months, even possibly years of self-flagellation?
The author’s journey is fraught with negativity, but beyond the naysaying, a ready-to-be-shared, worthy-for-primetime manuscript emerges and seeks the favorable eyes of an agent and publisher to get it transformed into a marketable book. More roadblocks spring up as hard-decisions arise to satisfy the fickleness of the market every book today faces. Book cover design, interior layout, additional book content, promotional media, etc. are all thrust upon the author, though all the while he or she trudges forward ever hoping to get their manuscript finally published. The final leg of the journey rests in the hands of an audience the author most likely will never know by name. Here the fate of the author’s motivation rests. Is the Why that first galvanized thoughts into words destined for public consumption unaltered and unshaken? If so, the external manifestation of the author’s motivation takes place with confidence.
Second, external motivation – Why will others invest time and resources to help write, publish, and market your book(s)?
With very few exceptions, authors cannot succeed without help along the journey. Sooner or later, others are needed to complete the quest of an author to transform a perceived idea into an audience-welcomed book. Consider all the different professionals, business people, and ultimately various members of the audience seeking to invest time and resources in the book.
An author’s team effort requires sharing with editors, agents, publishers, book reviewers, bookstore owners, book clubs, virtual and printed media, and ultimately the consumers or audience seeking to read the book.
What about your book will pique the curiosity of others? What is the takeaway that will captivate others to invest their time and resources? Ultimately, what about your book will cause someone to write a glowing review and recommendation to spur others to do the same?
Authropreneurs can spout without hesitation a concise reason that defines their Why that motivated them throughout their literary odyssey. They also can share the What that will galvanize others to want to read, review, and ultimately recommend their books to an ever-expanding audience.
Authorpreneurs are not modern Don Quixotes spurred on by overly idealistic, unrealistic, and impractical notions. Rather, they are modern King Arthurs surrounding themselves with gallant knights eager to promote Camelot to its inspired audience.
There’s a place for Don Quixotes in today’s world, but when you have a message to share in your book isn’t King Arthur’s Camelot approach more likely to achieve the outcome you first desired when you began writing?
Why not become a King or Queen Author and reconstruct the modern Camelot tale?
T. M. Brown