Brian Thompson is a teacher, journalist and prolific writer in the literary genres of urban fantasy and science fiction. He has written several novels including The Lost Testament, Revelation Gate, and his newest book, The Nuclear Winter. Rolling out sat down with Thompson to discuss his literary career and motivations as a writer.
What made you choose science fiction and urban fantasy as opposed to other genres?
I’m a big lover of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and a lot of other fantasy books. I read through all of the books pretty quickly, and what I noticed was there aren’t many BIPOC [Black, indigenous, and people of color] in there. … And it was strange because it’s New York City, one of the most diverse cities in the world. And I thought to myself, “I have three daughters. What would I want them to be reading?” I want my kids to be able to see themselves in the stories they read, so that’s what I started writing.
You’re a teacher as well as a writer. What’s one bit of writing advice you’d give to one of your students or any aspiring writer?
When writing anything, if it’s an essay [or a] narrative, anything like that, I tell them just to bite the bullet and write. Get it out of your head. So if you’re talking about a piece of art, if you’re talking about a song, or if you’re talking about a full-length novel, just really get it out of your head and onto the page. Once it’s out of your head, you can do what you need to do with it. You can edit it, you can shorten it, lengthen it, you can deal with it because it’s there in that tangible form.
If you could meet any two writers, who would you pick and why?
I think I’d want to meet Octavia Butler and Maya Angelou, for sure. I’d want to talk about what it was like for them to create their art in the arena in which they were. Obviously, there were two different ones, but [I’d want to know] what was it like for them to come up against the challenges and expectations of what [others thought] their art should be.