Posted by: mdmusingsie | May 21, 2013

Dan Brown at Dublin Writers Festival

Oddly, my first foray into the National Concert Hall in Dublin wasn’t for music, but to hear Dan Brown speak (author of many books including a little one you might have heard of called The DaVinci Code) as part of the Dublin Writers Festival. He was very interesting as well as entertaining. 

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No photos allowed during the event, but since it was my first time in the National Concert Hall I had to snap a photo

He wrote his first book at the age of 5!  Dictated it to his mother who placed the pages (all 5 of them, if I remember correctly) between cardboard covers; two-hole punched at the side edge to bind.  He still has that book – brought it with him and held it up for us to see. Sadly, he chose not to read it.

People may assume he was raised in a non-religious household, based on some of his writings, yet his mother was quite devoted to her religion and choir director at church. His father was a mathematician.  To prove his point about the polar opposites that made up his parentage and their associated devotion to their careers, he also brought as props a license plate from each of their cars.  His mother’s was the Latin Kyrie and his father’s Metric.  (For those who might be wondering, he didn’t just steal them off his parent’s cars for the trip to Dublin – most States in the US require that you get new license plates periodically as their reflective coatings deteriorate over time.  The conspiracy theorist in me believes it’s just a way for the States to make extra money by forcing you to pay for new plates every X years, but that’s another story.)

Despite the seeming dichotomy, he was encouraged to question anything and everything, and continues not only to do that himself, but suggests that we all open our minds and question sometimes blind faith in an effort to find the commonalities among us instead of focusing on the differences.

Science versus Religion can be used to describe the theme of some of his books like The DaVinci Code,  Angels and Demons, and even in his newly released Inferno, but it appears to stem from his own upbringing and questioning mind.

He is a confessed morning person, rising at 4:00 am to begin writing.  Admittedly, I have risen at 4:00 am to write on rare occasions, but that’s only after tossing and turning for several hours.  It generally does not result in my being awake the rest of the day, either. I write for an hour or two to get whatever is plaguing me off my mind, then seek refuge back under the covers to sleep again until nine or so.  I do some of my best writing late at night.

On the topic of books and their resulting movies he had this thought – ‘books become different things to different people.’  No two people will read a book and picture a character exactly the same in their mind or picture a scene in exactly the same way. Movies do much of that work for you, forcing a character to take on the same features for everyone who views the film. That’s one of the beauties of reading – creating your own motion picture inside your head. One that may drastically differ from what you eventually see on the silver screen.

During the Q&A period, my question was actually chosen from the many submitted (wish I had the kind of luck in the Lotto). Before you start ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’, it was a very simple, generic question as to what kind of advice he had for new writers (such as myself) in this challenging time in the publishing world. Some authors might dismiss the current craze of self e-publishing, but he seemed to be an advocate, claiming that it would be a proverbial feather in your cap to approach a publisher with some sound sales figures from your effort.  Doing some of their work for them by separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.  He didn’t mean huge numbers of sales like tens of thousands or millions, either. Even something in the neighborhood of a thousand e-book sales for your self-published work might be enough for a traditional publisher to take notice.

His philosophy and additional piece of advice for writers – write what you want to read.  That must mean I’m on the right track, as my fantasy novels contain bits of some of my favorite authors like Terry Goodkind, Morgan Llewellyn, George R.R. Martin, and yes, even Dan Brown in them, with a passing kinship to authors I’ve discovered after beginning my novels including Diana Gabaldon and Lynn Kurland.  Now if only I could find an agent or publisher…

 

 

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Responses

  1. Just found this entry. Thank you so much for posting this. I was just undergoing the travel-journal of my trip to Ireland with a 2nd edit and tried to remember the part, where I visited the National Concert Hall, when Dan Brown spoke. Thanks a lot for refreshing such good memories 🙂
    PS.: I sat about 4 rows behind you 😉


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