Monday’s Friend: Brent Archer
My guest today is erotica writer Brent Archer. Welcome, Brent!
SJT: When did you first know you were destined to be a writer?
BA: I’ve loved writing since I was in grade school. I drew and wrote a cartoon strip in fourth grade, wrote a short story about the same time, composed poetry in middle and high school, and wrote a story for a Young Writer’s conference in high school. I worked to become an actor during and after college, but I wrote plays and screen plays throughout college when not writing papers. I never tried to sell any of it, but it always gave me a lot of pleasure. After some dismal days in the accounting world, in 2012 I was down visiting my grandmother in Arkansas, and one of my writer cousins told me she knew I could write and why not try romance writing. So I found a submission board and wrote a short story called Dear Bryan published with Ravenous Romance about a former boyfriend of mine and how I’d like to think his summer in England actually went during our senior year at university. I sent it in and was shocked to get notified it was accepted. How many authors get their first effort published?! So I was definitely hooked at that point, and I haven’t regretted a moment of this journey so far. My cousins were trying to figure out how I’d done it. It took them 3 and 4 years to get their work published intitally.
SJT: Who would you cite as your influences?
BA: I grew up reading Madeleine L’Engle and Clive Cussler novels. I have a deep appreciation for believable science fiction and the ocean, and like to find ways of putting water in my books, whether it be ocean beaches or river banks. Madeleine L’Engle also turned me on to stories about time and space travel. Because of her I became an avid Doctor Who fan!
SJT: What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?
BA: I’ve been very lucky to be able to ask my romance writer cousins many questions as situations come up. The biggest piece of advice is don’t be afraid of your editor. They are there to strengthen your story, but if you don’t agree with the edit, be willing to say hey, the reason I wrote it that way was this. It is a collaborative process, and most editors are not my-way-or-the-highway kind of folks.
SJT: When it comes to your writing projects, would you describe yourself as a meticulous planner, or a ‘seat-of-the-pantser’?
BA: Oh my goodness, I’m mostly a panster. I might start out with a plot outline, but something will come to mind as I’m writing and change the whole direction of the story. I also tend to write the end first and work my way backwards. It is a bizarre way to write, and I find the filling in the middle is not easy. My current three book series started out as a short story about a blind date. Then I got the idea the main character might be in trouble and the whole series took off from there.
SJT: Tell us about your latest release.
BA: This spring I’ll have my first novel release thanks to Muse It Hot. It is called The Bastard’s Key, and it is book one of the three-book The Golden Scepter Series. My hero Heath Firestone becomes targeted for death by an assassin who is out to annihilate his entire family. Fortunately his blind date set up by his co-worker Violet turns out to be Anton Barrett, international crime fighter. It comes out in the course of the book Heath is descended from a bastard son of the Hapsburg royal family, and his line inherited large portions of the crown jewels hidden by his ancestors. He skirts death many times, barely escaping from an exploding train, missed by a sniper’s bullet, escapes from an avalanche, and that’s only the first part of the story. His journey takes him from Seattle to Paris, then on the Orient Express to Salzburg and on to Vienna before he really knows what’s going on. The final clue is unlocked by the key his mother game him and told him to guard with his life.
SJT: Judging by your education, you have an interest in history. Are there any particular eras or historic periods that fascinate you, and has this influenced your writing?
I love the Victoria and Edwardian Periods in British history. The concept of a “Grand Tour” undertaken by many of the British blue bloods during that period definitely influences my writing. My favorite of the short stories I’ve written was for Rob Rosen’s Men of the Manor anthology with Cleis Press. The story is Seducing the Footman, and I have plans to continue their story. I’ve also studied a bit of Viking history and will have short story coming out likely next year with Cleis Press set in Viking times set on the Orkney Islands.
SJT: I understand that there are three romance writers amongst your group of five first cousins. Why do you think there are so many romance writers in this generation of your family?
BA: Honestly, I think it’s in our genes. Our great grandmother was extremely talented: master storyteller, singer, letter writer, artist, amazing cook, and musician. Many of our cousins have some sort of talent, but our grandmother, who is also a master storyteller like her mother, had three of her five grandchildren as writers. The girls, Delilah Devlin and Elle James, got me started in romance writing. When I told Elle I’d gotten my first story published, she smiled and said, “Welcome to the dark side!”
SJT: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I am an actor, singer, and dancer, and I love being on stage. So far of all the roles I’ve had, my favorite by far was being Snoopy in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. I also enjoy genealogical research and gardening, but my number one passion hands down is world travel. I love to visit new places and soak in the culture around me. I post my travels on my Twitter account @brentarcherwrit.
SJT: Since my amateur sleuth is an actress, singer and dancer, I may well be coming to you with research questions at some point in the future! What’s next for you, writing-wise?
BA: I have three novels plotted out just waiting for me to finish up with The Golden Scepter series, and I’m nearly finished with the last story. The first of the new ideas is a continuation of my Muse It Hot short story Halfway Out of the Dark, but it is set at the end of WWIII and its immediate aftermath. The second is a period piece based on a story my grandmother told me about her home town in rural Montana. It is a bit of a murder mystery / wild western set about 1910. And the third is a piece inspired by a ramshackle Victorian house in Alameda, California. My happy couple is going to buy the house, but discover that home rehabilitation will strain their relationship and we’ll see if they can stay together long enough to finish the house.
Brent Archer was born in Spokane, Washington, and lived there most of his adolescent life. At 18, he left for Seattle to attend the University of Washington for Electrical Engineering. Quickly, it became apparent that he hated his science classes, and so he switched his major to International Studies with a minor in history. After graduation, he got several accounting jobs as he pursued an acting career in musical theater and dance. Once thirty hit, however, he decided to focus on numbers, getting a certificate in accounting, and became the Financial Controller of a non-profit arts and music organization.
Though writing most of his life, he never thought to submit his work for publication. In 2012, he visited his cousin Delilah Devlin in Arkansas and she prodded him to write a story and submit it. So, he did and it sold right away. With the encouragement of Delilah, his other writing cousin Elle James, and his husband, Brent left his stressful job and embarked on a writing career. He’s loving the journey, finding inspiration and a story everywhere he goes, whether it be the local coffee shop, driving through the U.S., or riding the train exploring the world.
He is published with Ravenous Romance, House of Erotica, Cleis Press, and Muse It Hot.