Born on September 14, 1975 in Bronxville, NY, he grew up in Westchester County and Saranac Lake, and attended Bowling Green State University and the New York Film Academy.
In 2004, he decided to write a novel. Once completed, he spent about two whole weeks pitching the book to publishers before growing impatient, self-publishing it, and moving on to more writing. This established a pattern: finish a book, start a new one, and he self-taught this way for ten years, producing eight more novels in that time.
HABIT was his commercial debut published in 2014 by Joffe Books, the first book in THE TITAN TRILOGY, and DARK WEB, a standalone mystery thriller. Some of the previously self-published work are being groomed to publish commercially, and new books are in the works. Brearton’s writing has been compared to James Patterson, David Baldacci, Jo Nesbo, Jim Thompson, William S. Burroughs, and, at least once, Kafka.
In between novels, Brearton has authored short stories, short and feature-length screenplays, co-written a comic book, coordinated a film & writing festival, and worked as a broadcast TV cameraman. He’s been a painter, poet, photographer, and actor; fathered children, grown tomatoes, and freelanced non-fiction articles on film and the arts. He lives with his wife and three children in the Adirondack Mountains.
What inspires you to write?
Current events. Metaphysics. Crime. Hot-button issues. Other books, movies, TV shows. My kid’s pet goldfish.
Tell us about your writing process.
Sometimes it will begin with a sentence. Other times I’ll have a short list of ideas I’ll want to put together to form a story. I think I’ve become a little bit more of a planner, but not by much. The whiteboards in my offices tend to be used to sort out messes, not to outline. I do a lot of reverse engineering. This may be time consuming, and it may change as I continue to mature, but I like to not know where the story is going to take me when writing the rough draft.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Both. There’s a “listening” that happens in early drafts, but later the dialog gets revised along with anything else, and has to serve the story and the characters. Writers may be born with a repertory theater company in their heads, but unless you truly have multiple personalities, or have done some deep method acting, or are steeped in months – maybe years – of character research, it’s not always easy to sound like real, other people.
Who are your favorite authors?
I don’t like apple pie, but I like Stephen King. Now that we got that out of the way, I enjoy a range of authors, from David Benioff to Paolo Coehlo. Dennis Lehane is like the lead horse in the race – he’s so toned and well-muscled as a writer I set down the book almost every page and go “damn you, Lehane!” Cormac McCarthy is another one. He’s just so good. I want to get into some new authors like China Meiville. Robert Ellis is a good author – Access to Power and The Dead Room.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I self-published for a few years but I was in way over my head. Someone angel-invested in a book of mine and we printed 500 copies. I think I have 486 left. Every time I move, I move those boxes. They’re a reminder that the horse goes before the cart. Meaning, I needed someone to vet my writing. I think these days, small publishers are really auteurs. They’re editors, and they publish. Having that keen eye for concision and a really good grasp of the market is huge, and I just didn’t have the time or the skills. Not that I just “decided to get published” and it happened – I hate it when interviewees skip over the agony that is submission. I submitted for years. But I was submitting huge novels, barely edited, as an unproven author. I had to get humble, to break it down. I started writing and submitting short stories after I’d already written half a dozen novels. I got a few short stories published. It helped me to better learn the query process, and how to really have something tightly edited.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I have no idea. One part of me thinks, you know, you have the big five, and they dominate, yet these smaller publishers have gotten that democratic digital advantage. With Kindle readers, doesn’t matter how big of a publisher you are. That’s why even Amazon has its own Thomas & Mercer imprint. I think people still like analog books – I know I do. I barely read on Kindle. I do a little, and will do more in time, I’m sure – I just still have a lot of backlogged paperbacks to get through. I think we’ll have both for a long time. I think everything is going digital though – life is going digital, so eventually, all of this tactile stuff will be gone. I hope not, but, maybe. Probably.
What genres do you write?
Crime, Detective, Mystery, Thriller
What formats are your books in?