Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I started writing and drawing simply to amuse myself. I remember classmates looking over my shoulder while I doodled during lessons. Reading was important with my parents. They didn't so much push books on me, but I saw them reading, and wanted something for myself. We didn't throw a lot of money at entertainment. So the library down in Raleigh will be visited by my spirit one day, I spent so much time there. I would walk the stacks at random and pick up whatever caught my eye. Biographies, cookbooks, graphic novels, repair manuals, economic history, foreign language coursebooks, astral projection instructionals--I would read anything. The more I took in, the bigger my appetite got.

By this point I had my own stories simmering, so I started filling spiral notebooks until I got to high school and learned to type properly. I joined school newspapers, and it taught me I didn't want to make a career of writing about yesterday's news, chasing people around by foot or phone to ask questions. I wanted freedom to follow my nose--which I've gotten, but like every self-promoting author, I ended up chasing people anyway...

Whatever came out of my mind in the early days, another's opinion of my writing was incidental. If I could reach that sweet spot where an author can read his own stuff and almost forget it came from him, that feeling was good enough. Still is. It was some years before I realized that other people were entertained, but I didn't know because I didn't share at first. All I cared about was the creative process.

That started to change my freshman year at college, when I had to write my own short version of Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown. Goodman Brown became "Vinny Borranno", small-time Brooklyn hood. When the professor handed papers back, she kept mine and asked if I'd read it out loud. I refused because I thought I'd written something offensive, and was being spanked in front of everybody. So she recruited another student to read it, and when my story was done, everyone applauded. My good friend, in the class with me, gave me hell all afternoon over the look on my face. He kept saying I should have been proud, but I was embarrassed, because I hadn't put much effort into the assignment and all I heard were the flaws. It was later when I thought of it in another way--I'd barely tried and they still liked it. What if I tried?... so here we are.

About the Book:

Donna wonders how she can forgive and forget.
Charlene doesn’t quite know what she wants.
Robbie is usually thinking about which honey he plans to bag.
And Erven just does his best to obliterate the world…
Their lives and histories interconnecting, these characters navigate that uncertain time between classrooms and the wide-open world.

About Chris DeBrie:

Chris DeBrie was born in North Carolina, creating comics and stories as soon as he could hold a pencil. He wrote the millennial love story As Is as a ninth grader, publishing it a decade later. Selective Focus was the result of those homemade comic screenplays. With Shakespeare Ashes, he pulls the reader into the raw thoughts of four very different characters. DeBrie is a fan of photography, learning languages, and clean water. He lives in Virginia.


  1. Interesting concept, Chris! This almost looks like it could go as young adult literature and there's a flourishing market for that. Good luck!

  2. You have some interesting thoughts, very innovative. Good luck with your future plans.

    Missy Martine


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