T. M. “Mike” Brown Q&A Interview

T. M. “MIKE” BROWN Q&A – The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA


T. M. “Mike” Brown’s 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 and back 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, Connie, and he moved to Newnan just south of Atlanta and retired to write, travel, and spoil grandchildren. Mike is an active member of the Atlanta Writers Club, Georgia Writers Association, Chattahoochee Valley Writers Conference, and American Christian Fiction Writers. Selected as presenting fiction author at the 2017 Decatur Book Festival, 2017 Milton Literary Festival, and 2018 Dahlonega Literary Festival. Nominated for First Novel category of the prestigious 54th Annual Georgia Author of the Year hosted by the Georgia Writers Association. Finalist for Best Suspense Novel of 2017 by Interviews and Reviews. Sanctuary featured as a “Must Read” in the May/June issue of Southern Writers Magazine, 2017.

LET’S BEGIN THE Q&A!

WHERE DID SANCTUARY START IN YOUR HEAD?

The initial seed of thought got planted the Fall of 2013. My wife suggested I write a story that would contain life lessons for my grandkids. She knew they would not likely sort through all my inspirational and devotional archives. With my wife’s blessing, I retired in January 2014 to devote my full-time resources and time to write such a novel. The story that ultimately became Sanctuary I finished the Summer of 2016 and published April 2017. It went through rigorous changes until it came together thanks to a great writing coach who continues to serve as my editor. She helped me grow the story from the simple notion that a beloved coach died saving others in a horrific courthouse fire. Creating the fictional, time-lost South Georgia town of Shiloh and all the believable, yet colorful characters took months, but now Shiloh and its citizens are all very real to my wife and me. Getting intimately familiar with each citizen, street and building in little old Shiloh allowed the story to unfold. Sanctuary began with an “if, then” premise and I merely wrote each scene that followed. The hardest part of the creative process involved the editing after each draft.

The title, Sanctuary, was suggested by one of the Beta readers, and my wife came up with the subtitle, A Legacy of Memories, which got tacked on the updated 2nd Edition to connect with the new sequel, Testament, An Unexpected Return. Of course, Shiloh’s citizens are lobbying for the third in the Shiloh Mystery Series, Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest which I plan to publishin 2019.

WHAT DOES YOUR NORMAL WRITING DAY LOOK LIKE?

My wife cleared out the back bedroom for my writing and then kept herself preoccupied during the day running errands, taking care of her mother, and volunteering at the Cancer Treatment Center. Being retired allowed me to devote a minimum of four to six hours a day, five days a week to crafting my novel. There were days my wife still laughs about when she’d knock on my door and ask when I would be getting home from Shiloh because dinner was on the table. I’d smile and say, “give me five minutes,” but I’d end up eating another cold meal an hour later. At least three times a week my wife and I would share a long three-mile walk together. I’d use the hour of fresh air to talk about where I was in the story, and she’d help me with various plot and scene details. No doubt she played a huge role in formulating the airtight facts that came out in the storylines in Sanctuary and Testament. We both wanted realistic, entertaining, and believable stories for the readers to get caught up in reading.

After I finished Testament, we remodeled much of the house, and my writing desk got relocated to a more spacious area of our home that included larger windows, next to the kitchen. Before I moved, someone could bang on the front door, and I’d not hear anything.

Now I am more cognizant of activity in and around the house, and with the kitchen more accessible I can refill my coffee cup or grab an apple or handful of peanuts without disrupting my thoughts.

WAS THE SETTING OF SANCTUARY PERSONAL?

Absolutely! Shiloh did not spring ex-nihilo (out of nothing). For over thirty years business trips took me in and out towns throughout the South. And, after I went back to school to finish some degree work and seminary, I taught, coached, and preached in Lower Alabama, Northern Florida, and South Georgia for ten years. My wife and I experienced firsthand family-centric,
small-town life in the Deep South before we settled outside of Atlanta to retire near family.

Ironically, we ended up buying a home outside of historic Newnan, just beyond the shadows of Atlanta.

The other influence on the selection of Shiloh being in Georgia was my father’s family heritage. Although my grandfather relocated the family to Miami at the end of the Depression, my father’s relatives resided in and around Atlanta for at least three generations. However, only when my father passed did my father’s youngest brother tell me about my father’s travails as a young boy separated from his family out of necessity until my grandfather found work in Miami. I named the wily old barber in Testament Wiley to honor my father and grandfather. A name they both carried.

WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW?

When not reading novels by author-friends, I attempt to shrink my to-be-read stack on my nightstand. At the moment, I am enjoying Camino Island by John Grisham. My stack also usually includes titles by Nicolas Sparks, Charles Martin, David Baldacci and Terry Kay, among others.

IF YOU WERE TO GIVE YOUR BOOK A PARTNER, LIKE A SIGNIFICANT OTHER THAT IT WOULD BALANCE WITH, WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU PAIR WITH IT?

Though I do not claim to be on the same plain or even stratosphere for that matter as John Grisham, either Ford County and The Last Juror would be the likely first choice.

WHO DID YOU HAVE THE MOST FUN WRITING, THEO OR LIDDY?

Got to say, Liddy. I tried to make all my female characters to portray unique, believable, and desirable qualities, while also causing a chuckle once in a while by their antics in the story. I learned to listen intently to my wife and my editor when it came to writing scenes featuring my female characters. Of course, after 47 years together, it’d be hard not to give Liddy some of Connie’s traits and quirks.

 Available March 27, 2018

That concludes the Q&A!

Mike Brown, or T.M Brown, was incredibly helpful during the interview process. He was so nice and so respectful in his replies and responses to my questions!

He will be at The Bookshelf on Sunday, March 31st (2018) from 2-4PM.

You can also check out our Facebook events by clicking the Facebook icon to the right and then going to our Upcoming Events!

I hope everyone enjoyed the Q&A and hope to see you at the store on the 31st to participate in fun, author meet&greet, and Sanctuary book talk! (The sequel to Sanctuary, Testament, An Unexpected Return launched today and he will have plenty of copies of both books on hand.)

-Zoe
March 27, 2018

https://www.bookshelfthomasville.com/blog/2018/3/5/mike-brown-qa

Testament Reviews

 

Testament is another outstanding novel by author T. M. Brown
on February 19, 2018
Testament is another outstanding novel by author T. M. Brown. It’s a page-turning mystery, with plenty of suspense. I have read this author’s previous novel Sanctuary and enjoyed it very much. But I like Testament even more. It has a more in-depth level of mystery and intrigue. Good plot twists that will keep you guessing until the end. The book revolves around people living in Shiloh, a small town in south Georgia. We met these characters in the previous book, although some new characters are also involved. If you enjoy reading mysteries, you will love Testament. A great read.
Book satisfaction and recommendation rating.

Why Did I Choose Shiloh for My Story’s Setting?

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
www.TMBrownAuthor.com

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.