Saturday, August 4, 2012

Interview with Brian Bandell, Author of Mute

Today I will be interviewing Brian Bandell, who is the author of Mute.

What are your favorite book(s)?
My favorite novels include Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, Venus by Ben Bova, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and Pet Sematary by Stephen King. I love a lot of drama and danger.

Who is your favorite author?
Besides those mentioned above, I am also a fan of Dean Koontz. I am thrilled to read just about any of his books. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mute is about how people who don't fit in cling to the special people that finally come into their life, and a lot of that comes from growing up in Melbourne, Florida as one of the few Jews, and having a personality that was pretty different. The characters in the book have trouble fitting in for different reasons, but it impacts the decisions they make all the same. Mute is as much about fighting inner forces as battling a murderer.

I also drew great inspiration from the music of Tori Amos. I listened to her songs during most of the writing. That really helped convey the female point of view, and the vulnerability of the child.

What made you decide to include a character who was mute?
From the beginning, I wanted to have a young mute girl because I could build the tension around her. Lead investigator Sneed insists that the girl fingers the killer, but officer Moni Williams is more concerned with protecting the girl's fragile mental state and is willing to bring out the evidence over time. Yet, the murderous forces in the Indian River Lagoon aren't giving them any time.

What was the hardest part of writing your novel?
It was pretty hard to start over after I lost the whole thing. My computer crashed when I was 80 percent done and I (stupidly) failed to back it up. So I had to restart from page 1. Luckily, I had an outline on paper. Despite the setback, I feel the novel was stronger when I wrote it a second time. Not that I'm going to make that a habit.

I love the cover. How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
I must give the credit to El Cesana, a wonderful photographer from Australia. She also has selective mutism. I found her quite by chance.

I did a Google image search for "Mute" looking for photos that matched my book when I saw a photo of teenage girl with tape over her mouth. I wanted to use it for the cover, but I had trouble finding the photographer because that photo was picked up by bloggers and cell phone art sites without attribution. Eventually, I found that the original photo ran has part of a story on El on an Australian radio station.

I contacted the station through Facebook and they put me in touch with her. El took a new photo, which is the one I selected. She also let me use some of her other photos for the Mute video, which is on YouTube and Silver Leaf Books.

If you like her work, check out El's photography site.

The last two questions are for you to provide any information you want to provide about your book and anything you want to tell about yourself.

Tell us about your new novel.

A detective’s love for an orphaned girl witness has her turning a blind eye to evidence that could stop a wave of unnatural murders.

Mute follows detective Monique “Moni” Williams, who has never lived an easy life—with an abusive ex-con father, a two-timing, pistol-wielding ex-boyfriend and a racist boss—it’s hard to see how things could possibly get more difficult for her. After she meets a child that she bonds with, Moni must protect the girl from a mysterious threat stalking everyone near the Indian River Lagoon.

A serial killer is on the loose on Florida’s Space Coast, and Moni has been put in charge of the key witness in the biggest case of her life: an eight-year-old girl called Mariella. The child has gone mute after losing both her parents one harrowing night. Now, Moni struggles to protect the child and break her silence, while more reports of inexplicable deaths and animals with eerie purple eyes pile up. Her bond with the child is tested by a police force demanding answers. What does the lagoon’s rotten stench have to do with a mute little girl? Can Moni save Mariella from what lurks along the water? Who is really facing the most danger? 

Mute is available on Amazon Kindle, whether through the device or the free application. It's also part of the lending library for Amazon Prime subscribers, but only through September.

About the Author
What’s the only subject gorier than murder? Try covering business in Florida during a recession. Brian Bandell is a reporter at The South Florida Business Journal covering America’s most beloved industry: banking. He has won 10 awards from the Florida Press Club, including first place in both business writing and government reporting. He received another 10 awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including a first place for business enterprise reporting in the Southeast U.S. He received a B.S. in communication from the University of Miami. Brian grew up on Florida's Space Coast.

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