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From Backlots to Bookshelves: An Interview with Brant Vickers, author of Culver City

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Brant Vickers started out as a caddy and then delivered flowers before going into the military, living in three foreign countries and seven states. He later found his true profession and vocation teaching students with special needs, some of the most endearing, sweet, loving people on the planet. He is the author of Chucky’s in Tucson and Fedor.

Brant lives in Arizona with his wife, Cheryl Ann, and their pampered cats. His favorite thing now is writing stories for young adults.

You can buy the book here.
Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

It was actually the easiest thing in the world. Along with a harsh matter-of-fact account of growing up in West Los Angeles, this story invokes a lost period in time that could have only happened in one place in the entire world: Culver City, California.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

It was wonderful and a dream come true.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I was one of those English majors who scoffed at the idea of writing. I sincerely thought, with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Harper Lee, Melville, and current writers like John Irving, what was I going to add to the canon? My friends and I snuck into the MGM Backlots during our childhood and I wanted to share that astonishing experience with my son. I had to do more with it than write down the bare facts, which were still pretty exciting, but felt the adding of a ghost story element would make it a more interesting tale. A lifelong friend was a comrade during those days and nights of exploring the many movie sets along with the teenage escapades, especially the exploration of unknown territories the Backlots opened up for us. I think the book was also for him. Fedor is loaded with some of my favorite authors and reading is still a lifelong pursuit.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

Delivering for Sada’s Flowers in Culver City is still one of the best jobs I ever had. I lived in several countries while in the US Army: Germany, UK, and South Korea for a total of nine years. I’m still trying to be a guitarist, though, without any natural talent!

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

To have a few reviews and people tell me they enjoyed the book and found it a well-written story. It’s a different story and I’m extremely pleased readers “got it” and seem to like the history along with the gritty realistic adventures of that time.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

It’s set in 1969, so that’s an easy choice of song. Although I would pick a few different ones from the era than what we hear in a million movies. I’d go a little obscure, say:

Long Black Veil –The Band

Graveyard Train – CCR

Had to Cry Today – Blind Faith

Midnight Rambler – The Rolling Stones

Maybe a little darker shade of music to fit the story’s ambiance.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I simply want young adults to live the adventure that the story takes them on. Adults for that matter also. The novel interweaves wild teenage adventures, magical realism, and important life situations that test the boys’ remarkably close friendship and eventually mean the difference between life and death.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

It’s slow going after the effort of Culver City and to see it run its course. I have another YA adventure formulating with a much different twist. A little time travel back to California’s past. I’m excited but have to let it percolate for a while.

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

Working with Atmosphere was truly a wonderful experience, with two types of editing, truthful critique, excellent suggestions, book cover art, and promotion. I couldn’t have asked for more. It’s well worth the cost and with the way the publishing world is today, it’s an excellent alternative to an almost impossible traditional publishing endeavor. Thank you.

You can buy the book here.
Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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