Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fated book review and blog tour

Welcome to the Penguin blog tour for S.G. Browne's new book "Fated." It is my pleasure to introduce the author himself.
Following the interview with S.G. Browne, you will find my review of his book.

1. Talk a little about your life outside of writing.

I’m a big fan of ice cream, particularly Ben & Jerry’s. I once ate three pints in a week. That’s when I realized I had a problem. As for my leisure time when I’m not eating ice cream, I bike and do tai chi and try to meditate on a regular basis. I also enjoy the theater, but I’m not so big on the ballet or the symphony. It’s my opinion that the symphony should end at the intermission. After that, I just fall asleep. I prefer movies and don’t watch much television since I overdosed on it as a kid, though I’m in the middle of Season 4 of Entourage on Netflix. And, of course, I love to read. I’m currently reading A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick.

2. Why did you take up writing?

The short answer: Because I couldn’t see myself wearing a coat and tie every day and commuting to work.

The long answer: In 1985, while a sophomore in college, I read The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub. I got so caught up in the adventure unfolding on the pages that the world outside of the book ceased to exist. And I thought: “I’d like to make someone feel this way.” In addition, over the next couple of years, I became involved in an annual stage competition at my college, The University of the Pacific. Band Frolic was a competition between all of the living groups (dormitories, fraternities, sororities) involving a 15-minute skit that included acting, singing and dancing. After three years of writing, directing, staging and choreographing the entry for my fraternity, I realized I wanted to be a writer. So after taking several writing classes, I moved to Hollywood after graduation to get involved in the entertainment industry. Eventually, I got out of there and moved to Santa Cruz so I would have more time to write.

3. How did you come up with the idea for “Fated?”

In July of 2004, I was sitting in a mall watching people walk past and wondering what they would be doing in 15 to 20 years. As I sat there, I started writing a scene from the POV of a main character who knows what the future holds for everyone because he’s Fate. Eventually, that would become the opening chapter for “Fated.” The concept and themes and other characters developed out of that initial chapter. Though I didn’t actually start writing the novel for another 2 ½ years.

One of the main ideas within “Fated” that helped to shape the novel was the separation of the concepts of Fate and Destiny. Most people think of them as the same thing. But Fate has a negative connotation (his fate was sealed; a fatal disease; a fate worse than death), while Destiny carries a more positive outlook (destiny smiled upon her; he was destined for greatness; it was her destiny). This led to creating the characters of both Fate and Destiny, with Fate being a disgruntled employee of the cosmos who deals with the majority of the human race fated for mediocrity and failure, while Destiny enjoys shepherding the rest who live up to their potential. And that, in turn, led to the introduction of other characters, such as Death, Karma, Lady Luck, Sloth, Gluttony and the rest of the Deadly Sins, among others. It was a lot of fun.

4. Who is your favorite character in the book?

I’ll have to go with Fate, who is also known as Fabio. I thoroughly enjoyed his voice and being able to share his perspective of human nature. True, as the narrator, he’s more in my head than the other characters, but as another writer once said: There’s a little of me in all of my characters, but none of my characters are me. I can’t recall who said it, but I don’t want to take credit for the quote.

But if I had to pick a favorite character other than Fate, that would probably be Destiny. She was a pleasure to write and developed into a nice, complicated character.

5. Is there anyone in your life who is especially supportive of your work?

I don’t think I can answer that question with just one person. Or even a couple of people. My parents and family have always been supportive of my writing and I have a group of friends I’ve known from high school and several from college who have been amazing advocates of my writing. And then there are all of the wonderful people who’ve read my book and promoted me on their websites and recommended my books to everyone they know. I couldn’t make a list without leaving somebody out. It would be impossible.

6. What’s next for you?

I’m finishing up edits on my next book, which is a dark comedy-mystery noir that takes place in the course of one day in San Francisco and involves a private detective who has an unusual relationship with luck.

And now for the review:

"Fated" by S.G. Browne

From the back of the book:

“Over the past few thousand years, Fabio has come to hate his job. As Fate, he’s in charge of assigning the fortunes and misfortunes that befall most of the human race – the eighty-three percent who keep screwing things up. And with the steady rise in population since the first Neanderthal set himself on fire, he can’t exactly take a vacation.
Fabio is frustrated with his endless parade of drug addicts and career politicians, and it doesn’t help watching Destiny guide her people to winning Nobel Peace Prizes and Super Bowl MVPs. To make matters worse, he has a five-hundred-year-old feud with Death, and his best friends are Sloth and Gluttony. And worst of all? He’s just fallen in love with a human being.”

This book has to be on my list of the biggest surprise reads of the year. When I first looked at the book, I wondered if it would be as good as other critics claimed.

Then I began reading it!

What a fun book. In it, we meet all the characters that influence our life and emotions … Anger, Envy, Greed, Temperance (who prefers to be called Tim), Lust, Prejudice and more, including the ones mentioned above.

The main character is Fabio, or Fate, hence the name of the book. He always seems to be in trouble with Jerry, which is short for Jehovah, and he’s literally become bored with his job. So, he takes it upon himself to help his humans make better choices on the paths through life. Unfortunately, he’s altering those same lives, often with dire consequences.

Then, he falls madly in love with a human, breaking the No. 1 rule: Don’t get involved. That leads to more rules being broken and more meetings with the Boss. Funny thing is, Fabio really believes there is a chance God won’t know what he’s doing, so he might just get away with it.

S.G. Browne has a wonderful imagination. He’s created characters that you have to appreciate and whether you like them or hate them, you have to smile.

Great dialogue. Wonderful personalities. Humorous events.

What more could you want?

1 comment:

Suko said...

I loved reading this interview, LuAnn. Your questions and the author's answers held my attention. Your concise review also indicates that I would probably enjoy the book as well.