Today it's my pleasure to host an interview/giveaway with the author of Happy Birthday to Me, Brian Rowe! Without further ado my interview with Brian:
How did the concept of Cameron's story come about?
I got the idea for the core concept of Happy Birthday to Me years ago… I love "What if" stories, especially high concept films like Groundhog Day and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. One day I thought it'd be interesting to write a story about someone who mysteriously starts aging a whole year of his or her life with each passing day. When I decided to make the character a 17-year-old high school senior, everything just kind of clicked. And I simply had to write the story.
Is Cameron or any of the other characters based off anyone you
Many characters in my writing are influenced by people I know or have met, but most of the characters in Happy Birthday to Me are products of my imagination. I never worked with a basketball coach, I never got to know my high school librarian, my dad is the polar opposite of Cameron's egotistical father Stephen. Even Cameron's not really based on anyone I knew in high school. The character most based on someone is probably Wesley, who's sort of based on… who else... me!
I'm very excited that there will be a Birthday trilogy, so I'm wondering what will be in store for Cameron in the next book?
I have very exciting plans for the second and third installments of the Happy Birthday to Me trilogy. I didn't originally plan Happy Birthday to Me as a trilogy, but in the last few months I started thinking about what Cameron would be facing in his future, and suddenly the ideas for Parts II and III became instantly clear. There will still be lots of comedy and romance in Part II, but Part III is going to take the story in an entirely new direction, one that is truly epic! I'm writing Part II right now and I plan on having both books out by the end of 2011!
How has the whole author & blogosphere experience impacted you?
It's been an interesting few months, because for the majority of the last two years I've been writing a lot, and only writing. When I finally decided to self-publish Happy Birthday to Me in April, I had no idea the amount of work, both in preparing the book for publication, and in promoting the book through the blogosphere, would entail. But you know what? I love Happy Birthday to Me and believe in this project so much, I'll do just about anything if it means another ten people will pick it up and read it.
How old were you when you started reading?
Figured out you wanted to be an author?
I can't remember a time when I wasn't reading. Growing up my favorite thing in the world to do was read, and I would pour through anything I could get my hands on. I also started writing short stories in the third grade and just went berserk with writing for the next few years. My fifth grade teacher Mrs. Frodahl gave class assignments throughout the year to write short stories, and she always loved what I had to present. At the end of that year, she pulled me aside, and said, "One day Brian I want to see your name on a published novel… Don't let me down." Fifteen years later, I've published Happy Birthday to Me, and I dedicated the book to Mrs. Frodahl.
What is your all time favorite book and/or series?
I remember my obsession with reading from age five to ten or so started to dissipate in my middle school and high school years, but one book I read in the beginning of my sophomore year brought me right back to my love of literature. My sophomore year English teacher Mrs. Utter offered our class the chance to pick from a few books, and I went with Robert McCammon's 1991 novel Boy's Life. It's a book that changed my life, and it's still my favorite novel I've read eleven years later. The book has everything… A central mystery, memorable characters, coming-of-age, horror, romance, drama… Everything. I recommend it to everyone!
When you're writing is there something that you just have to have in order to write or someone that gives you motivation?
I'm the only one in my family and in my circle of friends who writes fiction, so writing is a particularly solitary experience for me. My motivation comes from my desire to tell stories, all kinds of stories, and particularly to create living, breathing characters. By the time I finish Part III of the Happy Birthday to Me trilogy, Cameron and Kimber and Liesel and Wesley are going to feel so real to me it's going to be hard to let them go. I love writing fiction and honestly can't imagine a time in my future when I won't be telling stories.
Finally thank you for your time, is there anything else you would like
I just wanted to thank you for the opportunity to be featured on your awesome blog, and I hope everyone out there takes a chance on my debut YA paranormal romance novel Happy Birthday to Me! I promise a fun, fast, entertaining read!
Thank you Brian for this lovely and interesting interview! Brian has also offered to give one lucky reader a copy of Happy Birthday to Me in MOBI, EPUB, or PDF formats. If you would like to enter just comment below with something about the book, author, or interview and be sure to include your email. I will select the winner May 28th, so comment away!