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March 4, 2013

Interview: Bradlee Frazer

Bradlee, tell us about yourself.

Well, here is the blurb from my publisher Diversion Books’ author bio page. It says it all pretty well:

“Bradlee Frazer is an author, speaker, blogger and Boise, Idaho native who loves the blues, Ray Bradbury short stories and his wife, daughter and dogs. He is also the lawyer who successfully registered the color blue as a trademark for the iconic artificial turf in Boise State University’s football stadium.

“Bradlee’s nonfiction has been published in national legal treatises on matters of Internet and intellectual property law, and he is a frequent speaker on those topics. His works of fiction include the short story “Occam’s Razor,” which was published in an online literary journal, and he has co-authored two screenplays, Dangerous Imagination and Spirit of the Lake. He has written scripts for sketch comedy, radio productions and short films, and in college Bradlee was a film critic who wrote and hosted a weekly half-hour television program called Premiere!. The Cure is his first novel.”

What is your new novel The Cure about?

To quote my tagline: “What if we had the cure for a catastrophic illness, but it lay hidden inside the blood and bones of just one man? Interweaving the styles of John Grisham and Michael Crichton, The Cure is a thriller that fuses genres while retaining its own unique voice to tell the story of Jason Kramer as he struggles with the knowledge that he is mankind’s last hope against an impending viral apocalypse.”

In short, there is a new viral pandemic spreading across the globe and no one can find the vaccine because the virus mutates too quickly. The protagonist, Jason Kramer, possesses a natural immunity that kills all strains of the bug, and when pharmaceutical magnate Phillip Porter realizes that Jason is the only source of the cure, he strives to make sure that Jason’s serum is not disseminated since Porter profits from selling supposed vaccines and other treatments for the new illness. The story thus focuses on the conflict between Jason and Phillip Porter while everyone is getting sick and dying around them. Jason obviously does not possess the tools to get the stuff out of his blood and into a vaccine, so he is somewhat helpless—as he describes it, a “genie in a bottle—all the power in the world, but no way to use it.”

What inspired you to write it?

When I was reading Stephen King’s novel The Stand, there was a line of dialogue in there between an Army researcher and one of the survivors of the “Captain Trips” superflu. The researcher says, in essence, “You killed it. You just killed it,” meaning that the character’s body had somehow killed the virus. I remember thinking, “Wow, how cool would that be to be immune to a plague.” But then I realized I wanted to know more about that aspect of the story: so he’s immune—then what? I wanted to explore the story more from the perspective of the man with the immunity and what that would mean to him and the rest of the world, many of whom are sick and dying. I give a nod to that source of inspiration by calling my fictional disease “Trip’s Lite.”

What advice would you give a struggling writer?

It sounds trite, but it is true: “good books aren’t written--they are rewritten.” Always be on the lookout for good advice from agents, authors, publishers and others who can offer accurate industry criticism of your work, and then try to integrate that advice on every rewrite.

Where do you see book publishing heading?

When this issue comes up, I always think about Napster and wonder what would have happened if the music industry had embraced digital distribution models and gotten into bed with Napster instead of trying to sue them into oblivion. If the mainstream music industry had done that, there would be no iTunes today—Sony and the others would ~be~ iTunes. Similarly, I think publishing must embrace digital distribution models. If the Big Six had learned from the Napster model, there would be no Amazon Kindle today—the Big Six would ~be~ the Amazon e-book model and would have introduced the first e-reader. I do not yet see the death of print, certainly, but I do see continuing growth in e-books and digital distribution of content. This is one of the main reasons I signed with Diversion Books, because of the foresight they demonstrated in offering a traditional publishing model (no fees to publish) combined with digital distribution, which inherently means that everyone in the world with Internet access can immediately get a copy of your book. That is a very powerful truth, one that Diversion has, and all publishers should, embrace. 

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