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Friday, August 23, 2013

Interview with Steve Brewer, author of They Called Me Brent

Today I have Steve Brewer by the site with an interview.  He's recently written a book called They Called Me Brent.  It's not on Goodreads, or even Amazon yet, but he's still getting the word out there.  Check it out!


Hey Steve, thanks for being with me here today!
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me.

First, let’s talk about your book, They Called Me Brent. Can you tell us something about this book?
In short it's the story of how my biological mother found me, what circumstances led to my adoption and how we were never as far from each other as we may have thought. I was newly married and performing as a stand-up comedian all over the country at the time, and while I knew I was adopted, I had no interest in reuniting with any of my biological family. In the past several attempts had been made to contact me but I had turned them all down. What made this attempt different is that I received a hand written letter from a woman who I thought was my biological mother. I found out after calling the phone number she had included in her letter that she was a court appointed intermediary assigned to my case. After speaking with her, (the court appointed intermediary) I found myself in the position of having more questions about where I came from than I ever thought possible.

So this is a non-fiction book, something I don’t usually feature on Fictional Candy. But I felt your story was important. What made you decide to write it?
Writing They Called Me Brent wasn't an easy choice for me. While I have made a living for many years as a stand-up comedian, I am a very private person. Had the story and the events that followed opening that letter from the court appointed intermediary not been as interesting and amazing to me as they were, I know I would not have been able to share the good, bad, and even ugly intimate details of what happened with the world. With that said, it has still taken me nearly 18 years to feel comfortable releasing They Called Me Brent as a finished book. 

And now you are trying to help reunite people with their birth parents. How hard is this to do? And is there a place to start?
I wouldn't say I am trying to help reunite people with their birth parents as much as I am trying to get the conversation started. I want those who are touched by adoption to know that it's okay to talk about it. I want adoptees to know that they aren't alone when they feel disconnected from the reflection in the mirror. I want adoptive parents to have something to read so they might be able to understand their child's feelings when they feel helpless. Most importantly I want everyone to know its okay to talk about and even laugh about adoption.

Before you were an author you were a comic. Do you still do comedy?
I was a comedian for about 25 years, however I have found that this book has really taken me in a different direction creatively. I still do the occasional show here and there but I have found the process of writing a book far more challenging and rewarding than I could have ever imagined. I am currently working on two other books, one is actually fiction. I think writing fiction is just about the most fun creatively I have had in years. 

Which is harder/scarier/more awesome/more fun/insert your own adjective here, writing a book or being on stage?
Writing a book is far more difficult and scary. Being on stage is second nature to me. I find the stage a very peaceful place. When you are performing there is a energy that the audience gives off and you know immediately if what you are doing is working. Its a very immediate response which gives you the opportunity to adapt to what the audience likes and refrain from what they don't like. Writing on the other hand is like doing a movie, you do the best you can then wait until the release to find out if the audience likes it. If they don't, well, there isn't an anything you can do about it. It's a very final art and that is terrifying and exciting and about as creatively dangerous as I can imagine.

Do you have plans to write any other books?
I hope to write many more. Like I said I really find it a wonderful challenge. 

Ok, now for some fun stuff. Ready? Let’s play a fun game called This or That, and you have to pick one!!
Sweet! Okay, lay it on me.

One of my favorite questions, and I’m not sure why: Would you rather be bitten by a shark or by a zombie (and why)?
Zombie! Why? Because it's a zombie! I mean how cool! Any idiot can go jump into the ocean and get bit by a shark. You really have to work at finding a zombie to bite you.

Eat a jar of mayonnaise or a gallon of milk?
Milk. I hate mayo. I am a Miracle Whip man. 
Me too, actually... errr, Miracle Whip woman. 

Country or city?
Country. I have spent a lifetime traveling and working in cities. I'd like to look out the window and just see trees and a stream. 

Win $48,456,856 in the lottery or live an extra 50 years?

Where the hell did you come up with that amount? Hahaha! I suppose it would depend on the quality of life of those extra 50 years. However, I'd probably take the cash. That way I could take care of those I love for their entire lives.

Sweet or salty?
Are you kidding? Both! What good is one without the other?

And lastly, before we go – how can we find you? Give us the deets, I’m looking for your social media links here!! 
On twitter @calledmebrent & on Facebook

Thanks, Steve, for spending some time with me today! It’s been awesome getting to know you a bit!


As the hostess began to show us to our table I was suddenly overcome by the weirdest of 
feelings, it was so powerful it stopped me dead in my tracks. Slightly thrown off balance, I was 
dumbfounded by a sensation that was so strange and yet somehow vaguely recognizable to me, 
not déjà-vu, but something similar to it. An overwhelming sense of familiarity seemed to rush to 
the front of my consciousness from so deep within in me, it left me momentarily stunned. I 
turned to Christine and softly said, without thinking about it, or even being able to control the 
words as they spilled from my lips, “They're here.”  
She went to the window, looked out, and then turned back to me. The look on her face 
almost scared me. She was shocked that I knew. She asked me how I knew since neither one of 
us could see the parking lot from where we were.  

“Did I tell you that they drove a silver van? Did you see it somehow?” She asked.  

“No.” I replied.  

I made my way to the window, joining Christine, we watched together as Mary, Summer, and 
Anne all stepped out of the silver van and headed toward the door. I could see them but they 
couldn't see me yet. My wish of the first glance had been fulfilled. My moment of emotion 
should be here and now, but it wasn't. I should have been feeling something, but it was like I 
wasn't even there, I felt nothing. It was as if I was watching it all happen to someone else. I 
wondered to myself, “What the hell was my problem? Could I truly be this detached?”  

While I searched my thoughts for answers to my questions, Christine walked around the 
corner to grab them as they walked in. I was just standing there, waiting for them, wondering 
what to do next, wondering when I would be hit with the great flood of emotions that I must have 
been damming up in some deep and dark secret place within me.  

There are things that happen in everyone's life that get burned into your memory. There 
are things that you couldn't forget even if you tried. They might be good memories, or bad, or 
maybe just plain old memories, the kind that have no significance at all. Those little vignettes 
that flash across your minds eye and leave you wondering, “What the hell made me think of 
that?” Then there are the smells that are associated with those events. Those smells can evoke 
the memory and emotion of that moment with only a whiff. It would be my luck that the strongest 
smell in the air at that moment was Applebee's chicken tenders. To this day the smell of chicken 
tenders leaves me feeling anxious and a little choked up. And I am only half joking when I say 
I'm still afraid to walk into a Kentucky Fried Chicken or a Boston Market for fear of a total 
emotional break down. 

With the smell of processed and breaded white meat wafting through the air they turned 
the corner, Christine leading the way. My heart dropped as she introduced Mary to me. I didn't 
even have time to react, take in the features, or even the face, of the woman standing in front of 
me. Mary rushed up the two steps that divided us, wrapped her arms around me as tightly as she 
could, buried her face into my chest, and began weeping deeply. Sounds of relief and joy mixed 
with sadness and guilt seemed to echo from the bottom of her heart and from deep inside her 
soul as she cried. There I was in an Applebee's restaurant, hugging my biological mother for the 
very first time in my life. I found that I was oddly comfortable allowing her the time she needed to 
hold me tight, and even found it feeling vaguely familiar. I held her as she cried and whispered 
how much she had missed me, and loved me. It was like a hug I had felt a long time ago, before I 
knew what a hug was. Just as Mary let go of me a waitress walked by with a serving tray full of 
chicken tenders . My deep fried sensory association was complete.