Sunday, 16 April 2017

Fab Firsts - Q&A with Brian Paul Bach - Spring Reading Week

Fab Firsts is my new regular Sunday feature, that is going to be highlighting books that are firsts. When interviewing authors, it will be about their first book, as well as other firsts in their lives. When reviewing books for this feature, there will be a mix of debuts, first books in a series, the first time I read an author, and possibly other firsts depending on what I can think of!

If you are an author wanting to take part in Fab Firsts then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you.

I hope you enjoy this look at a variety of hopefully fabulous firsts, while making some sort of dent in my review and paperback TBRs which are my current main focus!

Brian Paul Bach is a writer, artist, filmmaker and photographer; he has worked across the entertainment business, in theatre, music and as an academic. He now lives in central Washington with his wife, Sandra, independent cat Condell, and faithful hound Hudson. His previous works include The Grand Trunk Road From the Front Seat, Calcutta’s Edifice: The Buildings of a Great City, and Busted Boom: The Bummer of Being a Boomer. Forward to Glory I: Tempering by Brian Paul Bach (published by Clink Street Publishing March, 2017, available to order from online outlets including Amazon and from all good bookstores. For more information, visit

1) Can you tell us a bit about your first book?

When my wife Sandy and I were traveling in India in the 1990s, the route that we took, from Calcutta in the southeast all the way up the border with Afghanistan in the northwest, was so thrilling that it was a natural for a travel book. The result was The Grand Trunk Road From the Front Seat, which appeared in 1993, and a revised and expanded edition in 2000. The journey is described in vivid detail, but in an appreciative and exploratory manner.

2) What was your original inspiration to become a writer, and to write your debut?

Because I’ve always been an artist, and later a photographer and filmmaker, writing has always been a natural addition to my creative pursuits. I was particularly moved to write the Grand Trunk Road  book because there was so little material on the subject. That’s why it was accepted so enthusiastically by the publisher.

3) How long did it take you to write your first book?

About five months, and it was pretty easy, because I was writing about recent experiences.

4) If you could do anything differently in retrospect, what would you change about your debut, or how you went about writing it?

I would have been a bit more assertive in working with the publishers to make the book better than it turned out to be, especially as far as editing and presentation were concerned.

5) Was your first book self or traditionally published, and how did you go about making that decision?

It was traditionally published by HarperCollins in India. I wrote a proposal to them from Bombay, and when in Delhi, I approached their offices in person. They had received my proposal and liked my offering. I signed a contract that very afternoon.

6) Do you have any tips for other first time authors?

If you can write, even just a bit, every day (or every other day, so as not to overdo it!), you’ll quickly learn for yourself what sort of system you can work into. One that works best for you. If you’re driven on a single project, and it’s going smoothly, keep it going, and you can refine it later, which is the best approach anyway. Also, you might try working on more than one project at a time, and try out different genres within fiction, nonfiction, essays, reviews, etc. Even if your writing is just for yourself, the important thing is to keep the momentum going, and concentrate on the writing itself. Allow yourself a bit of planning (or fantasizing) about what you want to have happen with your work, but ease off if it becomes a distraction. Good luck!

Tell us about your first…

7) Book you bought

‘The Golden Treasury of Myths and Legends’ by Anne Terry White. A treasury I treasured whenever I checked it out from the library in elementary school, especially the glorious illustrations by Alice and Martin Provensen. When on a family vacation in exotic Chicago, I was amazed to find a brand-new copy for sale in the Art Institute’s bookshop. My dad, an artist, art professor, and Art Institute alumni, was impressed by the illustrations and so, cheerfully handed over the purchase funds, which amazed me even more. One of the best four dollars I’ve ever spent.

8) Memory

Being dragged down the hall on a blanket by my three older brothers. We were all laughing hysterically.

9) Person you fell in love with

Hayley Mills – along with millions of others! Sandy came my way later on – fortunately!

10) Holiday you went on

British Columbia, Canada. Total excitement.

11) Prize you won

I have never won a prize, even though I am always eligible!

12) Album you purchased

The ‘Doctor Zhivago’ soundtrack album, which was a blissful revelation. Music by the great Maurice Jarre.

13) Sport you enjoyed participating in

Tetherball! Easy!

14) Embarrassing moment you can remember

Puffing on my first cigarette, at age five, in the crawlspace of a house under construction in our neighborhood, accompanied by my older brothers and friends, I declared: ‘Nice filter!’ It happened to be a filter-less Camel ‘straight’. The power of TV advertising! I was razzed, but with good humor, because my statement was more funny than stupid. I’m proud to say I’ve never become a smoker.

15) Pet

Our Springer Spaniel, Cricket, much beloved. For my first ten years, she was slightly older than I was.

16) Time you were in trouble

I was a good little boy (!)

17) ..choice of alternative career if you weren’t an author

Film director.

18) …time you had any independence

When still in elementary school, my dad let me explore downtown Seattle on my own.

19) …toy that you recall loving

An inflatable choo-choo-train locomotive that’s squeaky-deaky when squeezed. I still have it, though it’s currently uninflated.

20) … time you felt like an adult

When I was no longer carded when buying beer. (Just kidding.)

21) … time you realised you were good at something

My capabilities in drawing pictures were appreciated by others quite early on.

22) Dish you cooked

Cold oatmeal with milk. Uncooked, so I guess it doesn’t count.

23) … time you were really scared

When the foghorn blasted on the ferry from Seattle to Victoria BC. I started bawling. I was four.

24) ..time you bought or received flowers

I always picked ‘em for Mom – no need to buy ‘em!

Thank you for agreeing to take part in Fab Firsts. Although Brian may not be a film director I do have a post coming up on 25th April all about his love of film, to celebrate his new book Forward to Glory: The Tempering.

Forward to Glory: Tempering

Butterbugs is a nobody, a nothing. But that’s not why he’s compelled to drive to Hollywood and hurl himself upon the mercy of the cinematic capital. His only dream is to act. Without any plans, resources or friends, he throws caution to the wind and embarks on a journey to the City of Angels. The trials that result pose only one question: will Butterbugs remain a non-entity, or will his big dream come true?

Facing the movie monolith’s prospects alone, Butterbugs attempts to perform dramatic scenes in front of the homeless and amongst the inebriated. Living in his car, and with dwindling reserves, he searches for opportunities, takes on a hazardous scaffolding job, and makes desperate pleas to bankers for clemency. Isolation leads to alienation, from fringe existence to bare survival, all in a city which cradles high achievement and bottomless failure. Despite his rough start, Butterbugs is strangely attractive to other outcasts turned possible allies: Heatherette – a mysterious force for good whom he weirdly rejects, and who in turn, rejects him; Starling – the thief who tries to love him; ProwlerCat – who might indeed save him, though it is far too early to know for sure. At one of his bleakest moments, Butterbugs receives his first sign of hope that his dreams remain alive: a screen test and the chance to be an extra in a major production. But now, with his first opportunity in hand, nothing seems as it should, except his going forward.

Abundant with movie lore and invention, Forward to Glory I: Tempering by Brian Paul Bach is an ode to the cinema and the bewitching power of entertainment. 

Author Bio

Brian Paul Bach has been a worker in the theatre, an academic library, and the music business. He is a student of film and its lore, a casual dramatic performer and voice impressionist, an appreciator of theatre architecture and operation, and an architectural writer. Golden ages of film production, automotive design, and world architecture are of especial interest, as are music, social culture, and most things concerning the Indian subcontinent. As a youth he embraced teenage filmmaking, worked in fringe show business in Seattle, and later probed the filmic corners of Hollywood, London and India. From these pursuits he has adopted cinematic thinking as a built-in facet of everyday life. As a young person he ran his own neighborhood theatre, for which he produced acts and short movies. He has been immersed in performance arts and associated activities all his life. Writing has also been a constant, fiction and nonfiction.

Accompanying these efforts has been an ever-present production of drawings, paintings photographs, videos and designs that have added up to a very personal statement of style and expression.
Bach’s other published works, illustrated with his photos, drawings, and maps, include: THE GRAND TRUNK ROAD FROM THE FRONT SEAT, in two editions, 1993 and 2000 – the Author’s travels from Calcutta to the Afghan frontier; and CALCUTTA’S EDIFICE: THE BUILDINGS OF A GREAT CITY, 2006 – a major examination of the architecture and culture of the Bengali metropolis. The book was presented to two successive Chief Ministers of West Bengal state, at the 2006 and 2012 Calcutta Book Fairs, the latter attended by the Author. Bach has long observed his own generation’s behavior, its choices and its outlooks, resulting in BUSTED BOOM: THE BUMMER OF BEING A BOOMER.

He lives in Washington State with his wife Sandra, an accomplished ceramicist and chef, independent cat Condell, and faithful hound Hudson.

Amazon | Amazon UK | Bookfinder | Abebooks

Social Media

Main website, with blog | Goodreads author page | Facebook author page | Twitter | Recent interview on Back Porch Writer blog radio

Follow along with great bloggers and authors on the Spring Reads week

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