S.G. Browne, the author behind Fated, recently visited the KQED studios to record an episode of The Writers' Block, which will be released next week. Until then, get to know him a little better with this Q+A, in which he talks about his favorite SF haunts, his geekiest obsession, and his dream to be Farrah Fawcett's husband.
You're a longtime Bay Area resident. What are your favorite haunts in and around San Francisco?
S.G. Browne: In San Francisco, I enjoy hanging out at Books Inc. in the Marina, Nick's Crispy Tacos in Russian Hill, and everywhere in North Beach. I also love taking bike rides across the Golden Gate Bridge up to Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands and doing tai chi at Ocean Beach. And, although it's not exactly nearby, Santa Cruz always has a special place in my heart.
You've released two novels in the past few years and I read that you're already finished with a third and at work on a fourth. What's your secret to productivity?
SGB: Lots of recreational drugs. I'm kidding, but honestly I always feel like I should be writing more than I do. When I do get focused on a project, I tend to be single-minded and don't do much of anything else. When I'm not focused, I'm easily distracted by sunny days and friends calling me to come out and play.
Both Breathers and your latest book, Fated, deal with the supernatural. What TV show, movie, or book in the sci-fi genre makes you geek out the most?
SGB: I was a pretty big X-Files geek. And I forgave LOST a lot of its faults because I loved the characters so much. But if I had to pick just one, I'd have to go with Star Wars. It awed me like no other film before or since and I can quote almost every line in the movie. Though I still wonder why the Death Star didn't just blow up the planet Yavin to get to the rebel base on the moon on the other side of the planet rather than going into a thirty-minute orbit around it.
What kind of kid were you and what did you want to be when you grew up?
SGB: I watched a lot of TV as a kid and I threw a lot of temper tantrums. My parents told me I went through the terrible twos until I was eleven. Around that time, I decided I wanted to be Farrah Fawcett's husband, but after she married Lee Majors I opted for a career as an NFL wide receiver. That didn't last long. I'm 5'11" and 165 pounds. Enough said.
You're on stage at a karaoke bar. What are you singing?
SGB: "Mack the Knife" by Bobby Darin. I croon better than I sing.
If you could invite 3 people (dead/alive/fictional) to your dinner party, who would they be and why?
SGB: John Lennon, Chuck Palahniuk, and Vincent van Gogh. Because they have inspired me with their own contributions to the world of music, literature, and art.
What's something about you that might surprise people?
SGB: I started off college as an engineering major. I loved math and I had no idea what I wanted to do to earn a living, so it seemed like a good fit. But after I got a C- in physics my first year and kept falling asleep in my thermodynamics class my second year, I realized I should probably reconsider my options.
If you could live inside one movie, which would it be?
SGB: The Big Lebowski. The Dude abides. And I'm a big fan of the Coen brothers.
If you could visit any other time period and place in history, which would it be and what would you do there?
SGB: Taking a page from Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, I'd visit Paris in the 1920s and rub elbows with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, Dali, and Gertrude Stein. It would be the perfect blend of place and history for a writer. Plus I love Paris.
Look for S.G. Browne's episode of The Writers' Block next Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at kqed.org/writersblock. And be sure not to miss each episode as it becomes available by subscribing to The Writers' Block podcast!