Bradlee Frazer is an author, speaker, blogger and Boise, Idaho native who loves the blues, Ray Bradbury short stories and his wife, daughter and dogs. He is also the lawyer who successfully registered the color blue as a trademark for the iconic artificial turf in Boise State University’s football stadium.
Bradlee’s nonfiction has been published in national legal treatises on matters of Internet and intellectual property law, and he is a frequent speaker on those topics. His works of fiction include the short story “Occam’s Razor,” which was published in an online literary journal, and he has co-authored two screenplays, Dangerous Imagination and Spirit of the Lake. He has written scripts for sketch comedy, radio productions and short films, and in college Bradlee was a film critic who wrote and hosted a weekly half-hour television program called Premiere!. The Cure is his first novel.
Welcome again to Characters Well Met where we are talking with Bradlee Frazer, author, Lawyer and all around good person. He has his debut novel available for purchase on Amazon called The Cure. I am reading it myself and only about half way in so I cannot give a review yet, but I can tell everyone this. Thriller fans are going to like this story. It has great characters and an engaging plot which compels the reader to keep turning the page to see what happens next. My kind of story. Without further introduction I am honored to introduce Bradlee Frazer a name I am confident we will all associate with great writing as his future novels come our way.
1. Great to have you here and willing to be taken away for a moment from a busy law practice, writing schedule, and family. How do you do it? That is, balance the high wire act of giving all to each of these endeavors?
Reggie, thanks for having me here on Characters Well Met. I enjoy the blog, and I am pleased to be included in the select group of authors you have interviewed!
To your question, I try to give my family first priority, of course, but my law practice is certainly the thing that is the most demanding. I am very lucky because I actually enjoy copyright and trademark law, and so my job is not dreary in that sense. I like going to work each day and tackling the new challenges clients bring me. I do find that I have to multitask, however, sneaking in bits of writing here and there at night and on weekends and the occasional lunch hour. It would be nice to be able to write full-time, but at the moment I can only dream about a luxury like that.
2. I really am invested in your protagonist Jason in THe Cure. Where do you get the ideas for characters? Do you describe them from real life people you have met or observe or just make them up?
My characters, candidly, serve as vehicles to move the plot forward. I think about how to get the plot from A to B in the most interesting way, and characters result from that analysis. For example, I knew that I needed a protagonist for The Cure who possessed certain characteristics, and Jason came to be the right vehicle to move the plot forward. I knew that Jason needed an antagonist with a certain demeanor to move the plot forward, and Phillip Porter was born. I knew Jason needed a good friend and comic foil to move the plot forward, and Scott Durrant was the result. Although in truth, my college roommate was named Scott Durrant, but the book character is not based on him, per se.
3. Where do your stories come from? The Cure is a bio/medical thriller with elements of thriller genre. People are already talking about when the next contagion will come along. Did you arrive at this story after keeping up with current events?
Yes, in part. I had had the idea for a story centered around a man with immunity from a plague for a while, but then within the last few years, with the anthrax attacks and the outbreaks of bird flu and SARS and swine flu and mad cow disease, it seemed that the time was right for the story of a protagonist who was immune to such a threat. And, because those threats do not seem to be diminishing and are in fact increasing, the notion of someone who is the cure for an epidemic will hopefully remain relevant and interesting to readers.
4. You are a lawyer. But your novels read like they were written by a scientist or at least someone who knows a great deal about medicine. Where did you learn all of the jargon and especially the science?
My dad was a self-taught electrical engineer who built his own radios and transmitters. When I was a kid, I followed in his footsteps to a certain extent and built amplifiers and other electronic gadgets. Then my interests turned more to chemistry, and I became fascinated with studying chemical reactions and fireworks. Then in 9th grade, I had a health class, and I wished to learn more about medicine and the human body so I studied those topics. So by the time I got to college, I was essentially self-taught in three scientific disciplines--electronics, chemistry and medicine, but for some reason I chose to get a finance degree and go to law school and THEN get an MBA on top of all that! I think The Cure was a natural outlet for all that self-taught knowledge I had amassed but never used professionally. I still had to do a lot of research to write The Cure, but it was easier since I was interested in those topics already.
5. You allude to Stephen King's novel The Stand in The Cure. You must be a SG fan. Did this novel follow in his footsteps on the way to writing a possible horror novel?
Bradlee: I am a King fan, yes. In fact, the real genesis of the story for The Cure came from my reading Stephen King’s novel The Stand, in which one of the Army researchers says to one of the plague survivors, “You killed it, you just killed it.,” meaning that he was immune from the epidemic. This idea, that one could be immune from a pandemic, stuck with me as the basis for a good novel idea--what would it be like to be immune to a plague? How would that make you feel and act? How would others treat you and what would the economic consequences to the pharmaceutical industry be?
I have not given much thought to writing hard-boiled horror, no, although I and my wife are huge horror movie fans. In fact, the first gift I gave her after we started dating was a VHS copy of Psycho, the original with Anthony Perkins. Most women would run screaming from that, but it endeared her to me as we are both fans of the genre.
6. You slip in some humor in The Cure. I like that as it breaks the tension from time to time. Lets the reader chuckle and get a breather before something new comes along that makes them want to turn on the light and check under their bed.
Are you a funny guy around your peers? That is, does humor come natural to you?
It does seem to come naturally to me, yes. Which is not always a good thing! I have to work to keep it in check in professional settings and around my peers, because when I am asked a question or am involved in a discussion with clients or other lawyers or judges a smart-alecky joke will invariably pop into my head. That’s why Jason’s best friend, Scott Durrant, a computer programmer and math whiz, is one of my favorite characters in The Cure--he gets most of the best lines, like the time he refers to Linda, Jason’s wife, as “W-Cubed,” a reference to the Wicked Witch of the West.
7. I always ask this question as I am quietly doing a survey. Are you a plotter or a pantser. In other words do you just outline everything before you begin writing or do you just sit and write and let the magic happen?
A little of both. I outlined in broad strokes what would happen to Jason and the other characters and I knew how the book would end, but much of the stuff that happens in between major plot points was a bit “pantsed.” Because The Cure is plot-driven, I essentially would just periodically stop and ask myself where I was and how I was going to get to the next major plot point in an interesting, uncontrived way, and then, without actually outlining it, I would start writing again hoping I would find myself on the right path. If not, I would make mid-course corrections in plot and character to move me forward.
8. I see you have signed with Diversion Press. Do they help you market your work? Or are you left to your own machinations with social networking and personal appearances?
Diversion Books, a NYC-based imprint of the Scott Waxman Literary Agency, has a great model. You have to submit and be selected (whether you are agented or not), and if they accept the book they act like a traditional publisher--you do not have to pay to publish and they do all the editing, the cover and so on just like a traditional publisher. They publish you first in e-book to gain a sense of the book’s market viability. Because they are an e-publisher, and because that medium is so conducive to online marketing, Diversion asks its authors to help create awareness of the book, principally by using social media. To be clear, I have a terrific Project Manager at Diversion named Mary Cummings who is an e-book marketing wizard, and she does a lot to promote The Cure. I help out where I can by being active in social media.
9. Are you working on something new for us in the near future? Tell us about it if you can? I haven't finished The Cure so I don't know what happens to your main characters yet, but will there be room for a sequel?
I am working on two new manuscripts right now, yes. One is a thriller in the vein of The Cure about a protagonist with a special ability and what that means to him, and the other is sort of a “buddy movie meets road movie” story about the end of the world and two mismatched people who team up to survive it together. It will ultimately be a story of hope, I think. Still not sure how it will end.
10. Who are your favorite authors? And what are you reading now?
My favorite authors are, in no particular order, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Ayn Rand, Kurt Vonnegut and Michael Crichton. I also like the classics: Huxley, Orwell, Harper Lee. I find myself reading mostly non-fiction at the moment; I just finished Bat 21, and before that I re-read both A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks--both of which are science-based works, by the way. I have pretty eclectic tastes!
Thank you sir for coming here and opening up a slice of your life for us today. I am honored to be your friend and that you took the time to answer our questions. I sincerely hope you will come back soon to introduce a new novel to our group of readers and writers and challenge us to be as good as we can be.
Author Reggie Ridgway