We’ve recently revealed the cover for The Demons of the Square Mile, book 2 in Laurence Raphael Brothers’ paranormal investigation series featuring Nora Simeon and her overly handsome partner, Eyre. (You can pre-order book 2, or pick up a copy of book 1 from our online store by clicking here. )Well, this week we thought we’d give you all a chance to get to know the man behind the demons of the financial sector. Take it away, Laurence:
I’m a technologist with five patents and a background in AI and Internet R&D. So naturally I write romantic urban fantasies about demons and private investigators. Wouldn’t you? But also cli-fi SF, historical fantasy, and post-apocalyptic weird-western cosmic horror. Let’s see, I play games of all kinds: board games, role-playing games, computer games, chess, go, cards, everything, really. I used to fence and was team armorer in school. But what I really do is read.
As a writer, I think it’s important to read in all genres, to read writers of every cultural background, and to read books of every era. Samuel Delany said you can’t write a novel better than the best book you read the previous year. So you’d better keep reading the good stuff. Favorite active writers: Premee Mohamed and Martha Wells. Favorite SF and fantasy writers of all time, Roger Zelazny and Ursula K. Le Guin. Favorite writers of the classics, Proust and Dumas. Favorite writers from long ago, Lady Murasaki and whoever wrote the epic of Gilgamesh.
My writing process is a bit haphazard at times, but I generally start with a vague combination of character, setting, and situation that seems cool or to which I can pin a narrative (or at least a fantasy or a day-dream). Then that mysterious confluence becomes clearer and more distinct as I consider it, and I can either write down the character and setting essentials as the preliminary to a full outline, or just start drafting the story as the case may be. For The Demons of Wall Street, I started with the idea of the traditional hard-boiled PI, who (because I read Mishell Baker’s excellent Arcadia Project trilogy) I realized must be alienated, miserable, and in grave psychological danger of losing their grip entirely. So we have Nora Simeon at the beginning of the novella, desperately unhappy and yet unwilling to admit it. But at the same time I wanted to write a romantic partnership story a la Nick and Nora (aha, you say) from The Thin Man. So I needed a partner who would be capable of rescuing my otherwise strong and sympathetic PI from their downward spiral but who would still be meek and mild enough not to upstage them, and Eyre was born. In the upcoming sequel, The Demons of The Square Mile, being fully engaged with Nora and Eyre and the general world-problem of these poor-bastard demons, I didn’t have to start with a blank page, but could pull on the hanging threads from the first volume and the (to-me obvious) development directions the prequel implied for the characters and the overall world.
Currently I’m working on a bunch of projects all at once. I’m just finishing up a short story that escaped into novelette length but that’s about to become a novella because it’s greedy. Inspired by The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe, it starts in a Parisian institute of patisserie in 1967 and mixes espionage and extraterrestrials into the batter. It culminates in a tense attempt to bake the perfect mille-feuilles, which are also mentioned, by the way, in the current Demons novella. Oh yeah, re hobbies, I don’t bake all that much myself, but I like mille-feuilles and macarons and tartes au chocolat and éclairs….
I’m also working on a romantic found-family space-opera heist novel in which the main character is a sentient starship, and then of course there’s the next Nora Simeon novella to write, tentatively set in Tokyo (The Demons of Shinjuku? The Demons of Mitsubishi Fields? Hm). For a list of my published short stories, mostly online and mostly free to read or listen, please visit https://www.laurencebrothers.com/ and also please feel free to follow me on twitter: @lbrothers, for the latest news and takes. Pronouns: he/him.