The new cover for
Over the last few months, Variance Publishing has hosted on their blog a number of posts featuring their offerings and commentary by their authors, and they graciously invited me to contribute. Stanley Tremblay of Variance gave me permission to repost these here, and today’s post is the second of the three I contributed, an interview by Craig Alexander, author of The Nineveh Project, with yours truly.
Author on Author – Craig Alexander on Daniel Brenton
Here it is fans, the last week of “Author on Author.” I know, a round of awwws followed by boos and hisses. Don’t worry, another fun author-involved project will be coming your way soon, but let’s not detract from our project at hand where Craig Alexander pokes and prods into Daniel Brenton’s thoughts, life, and career.
Craig Alexander: Some of my favorite novels, like Red Moon, are collaborations. I’ve always wanted to know how that works. Can you give us any insight into the collaboration process?
Daniel Brenton: Craig, thank you for the kind words regarding Red Moon. I don’t think my experience is representative of all collaborations, of course, but I can certainly share it.
There was a long process with Red Moon. The first spark was in fact was a short story I wrote in junior high (and long since lost … probably for the best). In the early 1990s the memory of this story sparked in Dave the idea of a writing a screenplay, in part motivated by the success by the then-recent film Apollo 13. For those not familiar with Red Moon, a portion of the novel is set in 1968-1969 on the Russian side of the Moon race, and follows the story of Grigor Belinsky, the only Soviet cosmonaut to (secretly) make it to the Moon.
Dave and I wrote a screen treatment which, unfortunately, went nowhere. The best input he received on it was that, with the ’60s and the Cold War so far behind us, no one would care about Belinsky and his journey.
Dave didn’t want to give up on the story, and he revisited the idea after about a year with the intent of making it a novel, and devised two storylines set in 2019, involving a “return to the Moon” mission and the international intrigue behind it
So, to answer your question, mostly due to my circumstances I took a back seat to the effort. I did actually write about 20,000 words to the novel, of about 12,000 actually wound up in it, smoothed over a little to better fit with Dave’s style. (If you’ve read the story, my chapters follow Belinsky through his lift-off, his flight to the Moon, and his long vigil there.) Beyond this, I helped develop the character of Mirya, Belinksy’s dissident wife, focusing on her religious and “mystical” side: I hit upon the idea of her experiencing an apparition of (what is now) the Russian Orthodox Saint, Xenia of St. Petersburg, an event that colors much of the 1960s narrative.
From my experience, our collaboration — which I certainly consider successful — was based on an agreement on who has final say on the vision of the book. Dave did, and I accepted that, partly because he had in fact picked up the ball and run with it, and partly because I trusted his instincts. I have a hard time picturing an effort to write a novel using a different paradigm.
CA: What’s next? Can we expect any more great reads from you in the future?