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An Interview with Brian Sluga

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Brian Sluga is a customer experience consultant, author, and avid bicyclist. Brian has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bradley University and in December 2023 received an MFA in creative writing at Lindenwood University.

When Brian is not daydreaming about his next book or article, you can find him cooking gourmet Italian cuisine, laughing at Progressive Insurance commercials and listening to 80s music.

Brian has self-published two Amazon books. Not Just My Poetry It’s Your Life, Too was published in 2019. His new book, From Now to The End of Time, is his second book.

Brian is currently working on a non-fiction cancer memoir manuscript called The Shriek I Do Remember. It is his real-life story of surviving testicular cancer at age twenty.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

During my thesis, getting my MFA a year ago I wrote some short essays about my testicular cancer survival. My thesis advisor had said, “These are good. You should consider a book.”

That led to me entering a couple online journals, getting published, and thus now writing a book on my real-life story of surviving testicular cancer at age 20.

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

It was very easy coming up with the title. When I awoke from my surgery and realized one of my testicles was removed, I grabbed the gurney bar and let a loud shriek out.

Describe your dream book cover.

My dream book cover would be very vivid with detail and images that would leave the potential reader wanting to buy the book.

What books are you reading (for research or comfort) as you continue the writing process?

I recently finished Just Kids by Patti Smith her memoir of her career and her relationship and inside the 60s and 70s of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel.

I am currently reading Me by Elton John, his very honest autobiography.

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

I worked for six and a half years in a large Catholic hospital. I was a pharmacy technician while studying for undergrad.

I worked sixteen and a half years in the corporate world for Caterpillar Inc as a buyer supply chain manager and all-around office worker.

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

I wrote sports stories in high school, newspaper, and college occasionally. I always liked writing short stories poetry.

I guess my favorites are Hemingway and Edgar Allan Poe, of course.

Where is your favorite place to write?

On my Italian leather couch with Alexa playing light jazz or 80s in the background.

Do you have any writing rituals?

For story ideas, I always, at 5 AM, look at all of my writing newsletters that I get daily. I scour them for a word, a sentence, something to give me meaning in life. Then I put them in my notes page on my iPhone. Several hours later, and after several dark roast coffees, I revisit them and transfer them to my computer.

That is a daily ritual that has never changed for years and years.

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

I want my readers to take away that anyone any mail can develop testicular cancer. I was healthy. I was running college cross country, and I found a lump. I had no idea what it was. I hadn’t even heard of it before. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. I want to as a survivor, tell my story and make a difference.

I was given a second chance, and I hope others will be too. My perfect reader would be someone whose son, godson, brother had caught it early or had it and knows the mental anguish, and the sometimes shame that is involved with testicular cancer.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.