Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brain Storm

Please Welcome Edward T. Keller author of Brain Storm a Young Adult novel released today by Rogue Phoenix Press.

Q: What or who inspired you to start writing? 
A: A combination of authors whom I wanted to be like, and authors whom I thought I can totally do better than. Same as everyone else in the business, I’d say.

Q: How did you come up with ideas for your books? 
A: Power-walking with music blaring in my ears, or lolling on the sofa, or having a coffee and staring into nothing. Specifically Brain Storm formed itself while I was taking a bath right after a 1950’s sci-fi flick marathon.

Q: As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans? 
A: Get better and better and better. Then, when I’m fifty - bam! - I’ll suddenly become the new Tolstoy.

Q: Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing? 
A: I’ve tried Authonomy, and it sucked – it’s based on a warped economy of making alliances in order to accumulate points which allow you to reach the top and be seen by ‘real editors’. A system geared to destroy any incentive of really helping the other grow as a writer. A cunning ploy by HarperCollins to divert the flow of crap from their slush piles and into an arena where the wannabies can fight it out among themselves. I very much recommend either finding 1-2 writing buddies with whom to grow together, or work with teenagers, like in the Young Writers Society – because they don’t pull punches and don’t sugarcoat. 

Q: When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step? 
A: I submitted my work from the very start. It’s just that it took me two years of writing to make it publishable. Ah, I remember writing my first short stories and being convinced that they are Hugo, Nebula, and Nobel material rolled into one. Those were the days.

Q: What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing) 
A: Worst advice in writing was ‘show don’t tell’, ‘don’t head-hop’, ‘don’t use passive sentences’. Best advice was ‘study the masters’. Best advice concerning publishing comes from lurking in the Absolute Write Water Cooler. Taken with generous pinches of salt.

Q: Do you outline your books or just start writing? 
A: I always outline anything bigger than a short story. Of course, it’s very rare when more than 40% of the initial outline survives.

Q: Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you've gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books? 
A: Smoking. My considerable experience, nay – mastery of the practice, has been invaluable. Also coffee drinking. 

Q: Do you have an all time favorite book? 
A: I do indeed – An Alien Heat by Michael Moorcock

Q: Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book? 
A: I’ve just finished a sci-fi end of the world epic, on the strength of which I’ll try to ensnare an agent. I’ll probably use a pen name different from both Edward Keller and Harry Kane, in order to seem like a ‘promising newcomer’.

Q: Who is your favorite actor and actress?
A: Roger Moore and Sigourney Weaver. 

Q: What is your favorite reality show?
A: Come the revolution all reality shows will be lined up against the wall.


Twins Alex and Sasha are in the small town of Maple Junction and their summer vacation quickly turns into a summer nightmare. Everyone is being controlled by an unknown sinister force. A primitive sinister force. On the streets it’s back to the Stone Age. Calling for help is not an option. The only allies are a group of small children. The twins can trust no adult, not even their own father, and at times--not even themselves. But someone must stop the madness.

The raindrops hit the windows of the cafe in waves of different strength. One minute it was a drizzle, then almost a downpour, then a drizzle again. Hundreds of tiny, short-lived streams ran down the windowpane, paths intersecting, merging upon meeting into slightly fatter raindrop rivers...
What Alex thought he was doing was monitoring the situation outside through the window. What he in fact had been doing for the last minute or two was floating in a thoughtless trance, lulled by the irregular patter of the rain and the shifting streams that blurred his view.
Sasha and the other kids had gone to the toilet, escorting each other just to feel safer. So they almost missed a development of the highest importance. Luckily he wasn’t that hypnotized by the rain.
He blinked, rubbed his eyes and pressed his face to the cool glass to see better. Yes, something definitely was up. He could see many figures lurching through the streets.
Alex opened his mouth to shout to the others but his common sense overruled this impulse. What if the zombies outside heard him and tried to break in? All they had to do was break the glass. Instead he jumped up and ran to the mall’s toilets, his footsteps echoing in the empty corridor.
His sister and the two boys were already outside, waiting for Li-Hua, who was washing her hands. Sasha saw his urgent expression. “What’s wrong, bro?”
“I don’t know,” he panted, “but I saw lots of the zombies walking on the street, all in one direction...”
“I don’t know. We have to check it out.”
Huddled together, uncertain glances exchanged and unuttered fears written on their faces, they opened the mall’s door cautiously. Immediately the sounds of the rain become much louder. Many people were walking slowly in the downpour. A man was passing just ten yards from the mall.
Alex saw the man look at them and held his breath, but the man didn’t change his course, he only brushed them with a vacant gaze. All of the townsfolk looked far too preoccupied with their own zombie thing to pay attention to a bunch of scared kids.
“They aren’t going to the plaza this time,” said Sasha.
“I think they’re going out of town now,” said Nash. “This is Patriot Road - it leads right out of town.”
Alex thought about the possible options. What could they do? Trail the zombies to wherever they were going? Walk behind them in the rain, miserable and wet, without knowing where they would end up? Suddenly he grinned. “I’ve got it! We’ll follow them in Dad’s car.”
Sasha looked at him with doubt. “Can you drive?”
“Sure I can,” he said, “Sam showed me back in Detroit. It’s real easy. I remember everything.”
“Hm,” said Sasha with more doubt.
“Okay!” Alvin agreed more enthusiastically, “let’s go then!”
“You all wait here,” said Alex, “it’ll be faster if I just run back home and return with the car.”
“You remember where the keys are?” asked Sasha.
“Of course,” he waved the question away, “always on the TV.”
“If anything, we’ll call you,” said Sasha pointing at the bulge on her pants pocket where her phone was.
“Okay!” said Alex. Then he took a deep breath, and ran out into the rain. It took him only three or four minutes of running to get to his house but by this time he was thoroughly wet all the same. He ran into the hall, grabbed the keys off the TV, then went into the bathroom and wiped his face with a towel.
He went for the door, then stopped, turned back, and ran up the stairs to his room. He yanked open the closet door and scooped up his whole heap of long sleeve shirts and thin pullovers. With this stash of warmer clothes pressed to his body, he went into the garage and unlocked the car.
He threw the clothes on the back seat, slammed the door, got into the driver’s seat, and said, “Oh boy.” The dashboard suddenly looked much more complicated than he remembered it.
He grabbed the steering wheel with both hands, squeezed his eyes shut, opened them again and put the key into the ignition. But he didn’t turn it just yet.
He breathed out and looked around. Right, the handbrake will go up. Then I press the clutch, put the car into first gear... He checked whether it was in reverse, it wasn’t. Good. So I put it into first gear, slowly start releasing the clutch, shift to second gear, and off we go.
He turned the ignition and the car came to life. The dashboard lit up, the seat sent a train of tiny vibrations up his spine. He pressed the gas too hard, the engine roared with frightening intensity and he let up a bit to make the roar go down, and released the clutch. The car jerked forward, he panicked, let go of the clutch altogether and the car died.
Cussing under his breath, Alex turned the ignition again, and allowed the car to move forward. This time he didn’t lose control and drove, in choppy, abrupt bursts, up the driveway and onto the street. He spun the wheel and laughed and shifted to second gear. The rain flicked at his face through the rolled down window.

Edward T. Keller 

Ted Keller used to be a journalist, metal lead guitar, and a pretty wild one. Now he's a husband, a dad, and a story teller. Back as a kid he would swallow books whole, without chewing. Now he's returning the favor. Eat up.

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