Interview with R. Breuer Stearns, author of The Question

Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author?

I suppose that it might make for a more interesting interview if I told you that I always had a compulsion to write or overcame tremendous hurdles to move my novel from concept to reality. But, the truth is, an interesting concept bubbled into my mind that developed into a lively story. I think that writers can take many paths to become excellent authors. The key common point is that writers write. Saying that you are a writer does not make you a writer. Writers write.

When I look at your bio, the subject of The Question seems far removed from your career path. Where did the inspiration for this story line come from?

What inspires me inspires you and your readers, too. Regardless of our backgrounds and livelihoods, we are all innately curious about very fundamental unknowns. We all think similar thoughts when gazing at the Milky Way or across a vast ocean or into a lover’s eyes. We do. That’s why readers relate to THE QUESTION.

How did you conceive and develop your characters? Are they based on people you know?

Yes, the characters in THE QUESTION embody traits and characteristics of many people who I know. None of my characters are precise avatars. Each character is a combination of individuals. I try to make my characters believable . . . so that my readers understand why the characters act the way
they do.

As a first time published author - what surprised you most about the writing/publishing process? What came easy? What was a struggle?

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If you are looking for easy wealth and quick fame, writing is not for you. Writing well, for me, is hard. I want my readers to feel what I feel, understand what I understand, question what I question. To accomplish that, I try to balance vocabulary, perspective, tone, level of detail, and tempo. On same days, my writing flows easily. On other days, it’s a struggle.

What kind of research was required to accurately portray the government, research and military people and facilities included in this story?

Prior to and during my writing, I spent significant time reading about and researching the topics discussed in THE QUESTION. Additionally, I interviewed military, political, medical, and behavioral experts, as well as specialists at The Monterey Bay Aquarium.

What did you do to relax when you needed a break from the writing process?

Writing is very solitary, very “internal.” To relax, I try to increase my “external” stimuli by interacting with people and experiencing new places or situations. I try to see colors, hear sounds . . . in general, engage mentally and physically so that my mind and body is refreshed.

Any advice for young authors wanting to write books in this genre?

Start writing! Test your material on family and friends. Learn from constructive criticism. Keep your standards high.

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