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Author Q&A

Tell us a bit about yourself!

M. Scott is a 66-year-old software developer, who in olden times spent six years not getting a Ph.D. in medieval literature. Before that, his only discernible accomplishment came when he played on the Reed College baseball team, which was routinely thumped by Bible colleges and small seminaries; M. Scott was twice the winning pitcher for Reed, which made him the only person to win a game over a fourteen-year span. This accomplishment is perhaps tempered by the fact that the Oregon school’s entire fourteen-game schedule had been rained out in at least one year.

He is the father of three game-playing sons, whose remarkable mother died in August 2017.

He lives in Oak Park, Illinois.


What is your new book about?

About making a name for yourself when everybody (not least, your “self”) suspects you aren’t quite good enough – but daydreams keep you moving on, one foot after the other, when not fleeing in terror.


What inspires you to write?

M. Scott learned that if you put a million monkeys on a million typewriters for a million years, you could reproduce the works of Shakespeare. M. Scott felt he was the equal of any ten monkeys.


What is your writing process?

Take an utterly brilliant idea, shape it and knead it for eight years and let it mature in the dark over thirty-two years (other than reading it to hyper-critical thirteen-year-old sons);  then poke it some more, and when it is just ready, realize it is not, and get major editorial help. (Thanks, Ken Chowder and Jane Bowyer Stewart.)


When you aren't writing, what are you reading?

Most of M. Scott’s favorite writers are women, although the virile Henry James tries to poke his toe into the distaff lineup of Austen, Brontës, Mrs. Gaskell, George Eliot, Edith Wharton and Penelope Fitzgerald. His models for literary fantasy are T. H. White and Peter S. Beagle. He did read The Lord of the Rings before it was out in paperback.


Tell us about your interaction with the narrator?

Mark Bramhall is a top professional actor and book narrator with a wide range of experience. M. Scott has a nice garden, thanks to his late wife. M. Scott has faults, but presumption on how to narrate an audiobook does not seem to be one of them. 


What was one challenge in writing this book?

As time passed, certain names in The Hero’s Brother found their way into the general culture and had to be changed, despite the earlier claim. For example, Magnus Pye was originally Harley Quinn. Lackeys were once Minions. O tempora! O mores! Someone must have peeked at M. Scott’s manuscript.


What was one fun thing about writing this book?

When M. Scott first wrote the book, there were few women who were both murderous and likable in Fantasy literature (perhaps among the writers, but not among the characters). In the intervening 43 years, the landscape has changed considerably. Too bad; it was fun while it lasted.