Title: For Mac
Author Name: Brynn Stein
Publication Date & Length: May 29, 2015 — 246 pages
Branson Farrell lost his parents when he was thirteen, and for the last ten years his brother, Mac, eight years his senior, has taken care of him. But Mac’s love came at a price. Both brothers were raised to believe being gay was completely unacceptable, and Branson has almost convinced himself he can be what Mac expects. When he looks at a man in a bar and Mac notices, Mac drags him off in horror.
Mac’s distress and disgust leads to a car accident that leaves Branson injured and Mac in a coma. Branson heals and stays at Mac’s bedside, but when Mac doesn’t recover, he is moved to a long-term care facility. There, Branson meets openly gay, confident, and attractive Liam Sullivan. Liam stirs feelings Branson thought he’d rid himself of, and to honor his brother, Branson fights tooth and nail against his attraction. When the cost of denying who he is becomes too high, Branson must battle a lifetime of hatred that’s been beaten into his body and mind to try for something of his own.
Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?
I find that my writing environment has changed over the years. I used to like music or background noise. I used to like to write longhand (and still do sometimes but now only if absolutely necessary) and used to write at a desk. Now, I sit in my quiet living room, in my recliner, curled up with my laptop and sometimes a bag of snacks (usually cheese curls).
Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?There are parts of characters that I relate to. Daniel from Living Again, because he’s also a teacher, and a bit of a loner. Gene from Through the Years, because of his sexuality and his patience with a friend who doesn’t always treat him very well. Branson from For Mac, to some degree, because of the dedication to family (though he takes it much farther than I think is healthy).
If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?
Up until two years ago, it didn’t occur to me that I actually might ever be an author, in the true ‘getting paid for it’ sense, so I guess the answer to the question would just be what I’ve been doing. I’ve been teaching special ed kids for the last thirty years and loving every minute of it. I’m actually retiring from that this year. (You’re among the first to know). I’ll still be working with the same type of child but in one on one situations and focusing more on behavior than education. (I’m about halfway to my license in mental health counseling an already am a qualified mental health counselor).
Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?I’m not sure I could pinpoint specifics, but I know I’ve grown a lot as a writer in the last two years. The next book out, What No One Else Can Hear,coming out in July or August, was actually written prior to my first published book, Haunted, but I hadn’t submitted it until recently. I was shocked at how much more editing it required than my other books, just by virtue of how much better I am at the craft (relative to where I was when I first wrote the original manuscript).
Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?
There are always things about every book I want to change or add. I’m not sure of specifics with this book really, but for long after I finish editing on a book, the characters still talk to me and tell me little pieces of dialogue or additional scenes. Or how scenes should have been rearranged. I’m never truly ready to say goodbye to the characters I guess.
How do you come up with new ideas for your story?I always feel inadequate when asked this question because I never really have a good answer. Usually the ideas just come to me. Usually they’re sparked by some little thing that happens in real life but it doesn’t really have much to do with the overall story. For Mac came from a discussion my daughter had about a picture we saw on FB. Two guys who looked like they could be brothers. Both had serious looks. We were guessing what could be going through their minds. One of the many ideas we came up with was that one was gay and the other didn’t like it. Then my mind ran with it, pulling from real life experiences and those of loved ones, combined with bits and pieces of anything that I have ever seen or heard. Tossed in a mental bowl, blended generously, and voila…a new novel.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m on a supernatural kick here lately:
I’m wrapping up the editing process for What No One Else Can Hear, which will come out in July or August. (I already have the cover art). Stevie is a ten year old, diagnosed with Autism, who is actually an empath. He mentally calls to Jesse in Jesse’s dreams from across the country. Jesse finally finds Stevie in the waking world and thinks he’ll be able to suddenly help the overwhelmed empath cope with his ‘gift’. They make remarkable headway but then a disgruntled ex-co-worker throws a wrench in the works. Another co-worker (and love interest), Drew, helps Jesse through the tough time.
I have a contract on a short story called Lifeline, which should be out around October or November. It’s about Eric, who suddenly sees what he thinks at first is a homeless man whom everyone is just ignoring, but finds out later is the spirit of Dennis, a missing hiker.
I’m currently writing a story about a ghost from the civil war.
Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?I live in the bible belt, and yes it very much influences what I write. I live around and work with incredibly bigoted people who hide behind religion as a reason to hate not other gays but many entire groups of people. They are very outspoken about their narrow minded opinions and feel it’s their due to be able to hate whomever they want. Characters like this often creep into my stories, usually as background characters, but sometimes as more prominent characters. It’s difficult to keep them from looking two dimensional because the real people themselves come across as two dimensional. I’ve known some of them for four years and they haven’t emotionally grown a lick.
What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?
Science fiction. Haven’t a clue why. I’ve just always loved it. If you go by a popular quiz on Facebook, it’s because I have alien DNA. It’s as good an explanation as any I guess. <G>
Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?I drink way too much caffeine, usually in the form of Mountain Dew, and have a love affair with chocolate that my waistline can attest to.
I’ve always loved to write and wrote fan fiction before I even knew what it was called. When computers came along, with online communities and places to publish fan fiction, I wrote even more. Then a friend convinced me to try to have an altered version of an AU (alternate universe, meaning all but original) published. My manuscript was accepted and now I’m a ‘published author’.