Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rutherford Author Takes You along on the Journey

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Rutherford Author Takes You along on the Journey

Article excerpt

RUTHERFORD - William R. Brown's goal within the first few pages of his novels is to create an attachment between the reader and the protagonist, and to bring you along on a journey.

Brown spent 30 years sharing famous works of fiction with his students. When he retired from the classroom in 2012, the Rutherford resident set pen to paper writing three novels and is well into his fourth.

"I taught AP English and college prep English, so understanding novels was part of the course. So I figured I would try it," Brown said. "When I retired I was finally able to. I don't think it's an uncommon trajectory."

In 2013, he published his first novel, "Nika: the Adventures of a (Not So) Dumb Polish Girl," the story of a young woman living in Gdansk, Poland, who emigrates to America.

"She's a dreamer with a very bad sense of herself, very humble, and she learns that she is a pretty special person. She meets a number of people along the way, faces challenges and learns that she can succeed, to prevail. I got a hold of the character in the first two pages, and basically Nika wrote the novel for me. It's odd how that happens," Brown said.

Brown's stories are character-driven and each is written in the first person. He said writing in third person would be "too arrogant" for him.

"I don't know what's going on in someone else's mind. I would have a hard time sorting that out and making it sound valid on a piece of paper," he said.

His first took him about two years to complete, and his next story -- set in the New Jersey Pine Barrens -- came about a year later.

In "Low Dreams," Jason Clayne, the main character, is related, through a long string of coincidence, to the notorious family of the Jersey Devil.

"This is about a young boy, an almost feral child but not really, growing up in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. I spent a lot of time in South Jersey -- on my motorcycle researching, and I have a home in Ocean County," he said.

His parents also owned a house in what was then a less-developed Ocean Beach.

"Much of what Jason Clayne does was the way I felt as a child -- an overwhelming sense of how grand it was in nature. …

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