Shameless Self-Promotion Tour 2015

It’s been nearly two years since I first published The Villain’s Sidekick, and while I’d much rather be pushing the sequel by now, it’s been a bit more of an undertaking than I anticipated, so for purposes of trying to keep interest alive for the stuff that’s already out in the world, I’m throwing a little 2nd anniversary party for Villain’s. As such, for anyone out there who hasn’t read it, the Kindle Edition will be on sale for the mere pittance of .99c starting Friday Sept. 4th and continuing through Sept. 11.

As such, I did a little promotional interview with the e-reader targeted online publication, Book Reader Magazine and figured what the hell? Why not share it here and fill up some blogspace in the bargain?

http://bookreadermagazine.com/featured-author-stephen-t-brophy/

Featured Author Stephen T. Brophy

IMG_2501Featured Interview With Stephen T. Brophy

Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, which I ended up choosing as the setting for my first novella, The Villain’s Sidekick, even though I haven’t lived there in years. I left Texas after college and settled for a good long while in San Francisco, where I landed my first paid writing gig after many years working below my abilities in restaurants and cafes and the like. Once bitten, I couldn’t go back to those day jobs, so my girlfriend (now wife) and I relocated to Los Angeles a few years back. We now have a pretty amazing son and two wonderful, tragically aging dogs, a neurotic Lab mix and a pit bull/boxer.

At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I was born to two voracious readers, so the love of reading was instilled from about as early as I can remember. I actually had a little difficulty learning to read but once I got it, I took to it like a Great White shark to a helpless sea lion, and within very short order I was bored with kiddie lit and moving on to grown-up books. I remember reading “Jaws” when I was 8 years old (hence the shark reference) after being so enthralled by the movie. So, fittingly enough, when I started writing, my first book was entitled “Jaws,” and involved a shark who could walk on land (SNL had just started airing around that time, too, so dual influences at work). I wrote a lot of derivative stuff until I found my own “voice.” Which is really probably just a mash-up of all the authors and stories I’ve encountered and loved ever since.

Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
My favorite genres are science fiction (Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, John Brunner, Ramez Naam), crime fiction (James Ellroy, Jim Thompson, Charles Willeford, Elmore Leonard), and the literature of the dissolute (Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson, Don Delillo). They’ve all equally inspired what I do now. But the biggest influence over the last few years–and at my age maybe I should be embarrassed to admit this but I’m so not–has been a rekindled love of comics, from weird indies to straight up mainstream superhero fare. I’d read them off and on since adolescence, but when a friend introduced me to Sleeper by Ed Brubaker, and I went on to read his Captain America stuff, I became more immersed than I’d ever been. In fact, I’d been kind of stuck on a science fiction story I was telling and it was only when I got the inspiration that I could include superpowered characters and take it to a more interesting, liberating place. Since then, I’ve read a LOT of superhero prose fiction–basically comic books without the pictures, I guess, but so much more, too–like Austin Grossman’s “Soon I Will Be Invincible,” Jim Bernheimer’s “Confessions of a D-List Supervillain, Rafael Chandler’s “The Astounding Antagonists,” Blake Northcott’s “Arena Mode” series and on and on. It’s really a whole terrific genre just waiting to be discovered by the mainstream. And with the current popularity of superheroes in film, it seems just a matter of when.

Tell us a little about your latest book?
I’ve written two novellas featuring my alter-ego, Duke “HandCannon” LaRue, a supervillain’s henchman with a machine gun arm, a steel jaw, an ex-wife who used to do crimes with him before the birth of their adorable precocious daughter, and all the troubles that go with being a semi-reformed bad guy in a 12-step program who may be harboring a hero beneath his frightening exterior. He’s basically the distillation of all that Bukowski, Jim Thompson and William Gibson I mentioned up top. There’s The Villain’s Sidekick and it’s short prequel, The Eternity Conundrum, and I’m currently working on a full-length sequel, Citizen Skin. The sequel alternates POVs from chapter to chapter between HandCannon and his badass best friend Trista Brooks, also known as Nightguard. She’s a supporting character in Villain’s who steps large on the stage in the follow up.

Robin Williams

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My best Robin Williams memory comes from watching him perform live, from about ten feet away, at a tiny tiny club in the Mission District in San Francisco called The Mock Cafe. When I first started performing there, I think it sat about 11 people, and two of those seats had their view blocked by a support column. When Robin started dropping by to perform there on occasional Friday and Saturday nights, I think they’d expanded to hold about thirty, maybe forty if they broke the fire code. Anyway, my sketch group kind of accidentally ended up “opening” for him one night, meaning we did our little set and he then went up and erased all memory of us from the audience with forty five minutes of blistering improv’d stand-up. He was sweating like a beast within ten minutes. I had a friend in the front row who was a budding entomologist and had a multitude of gorgeous insect tattoos. Once he saw her, and her ink, his eyes lit up and he did about fifteen or twenty minutes on the life, thoughts and inner monologue of a bug.

Throughout his freewheeling set, whenever he started to lose the thread, he would return to my friend and use her as a springboard for further riffing. Backstage and out on the sidewalk between sets, he was warm and gracious and friendly and as many others have said, treated everyone like an equal. He obviously was energized by being in a place where real comedy was happening and up and comers (and never-quite-wases like me) were getting their feet wet. I remember riffing with him about the odd fact that Martha Stewart and P-Diddy were friends who hung out in the Hamptons together, and I made some crack about them making a gingerbread crackhouse together. He liked the line enough, I thought I saw the glimmer of the joke thief in his eye. I wouldn’t have minded, to be honest.

The first time I met him, outside that same club just a few weeks before, I was just drunk enough to think “When am I gonna be this close to Robin Williams again?” so I hit him up for a ride home. He found a very nice way to say no, because he had to pick up one of his kids and only had the “small car.” “Next time, I’ll bring the big one and we’ll all go!” he said. Then he tried to offer me 20 bucks for a cab but there was no way I was taking his money. I probably should have been embarrassed but he was just so goddamn sweet about the whole thing.

He did a lot of things over the years, between those days when me and my best grade school buddy would sit around listening to “Reality…What a Concept” and memorizing his bits, and the less illustrious film roles that we all couldn’t help but question and mock, but he was a truly funny man and a force to be reckoned with. I’m forever fortunate I got to see him work and sweat up close and bask in the glow just a little.