Brian Clopper: writer, teacher and foot soldier

Posted on February 9, 2012 (Subscribe to Blog)

I didn't get to finish Caleb's World before the end of January as I had planned, so I missed the submission deadline for this year's Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. But I did finish Quincy's Curse and am about to start on the editing.

But right now I'm proofreading a fab novel by author buddy Brian Clopper. I've known Brian ever since he read Island of Fog to his class and sent me lots of letters written by his fifth grade students. You might remember that post from March 2010, Letters from Jones Dairy Elementary School.

Anyway, I've been wanting to plug Brian's website (BrianClopper.com) and his work for a while now, and I think now is as good a time as any since I'm proofreading one his books. Turncoats is a zombie saga for young adults, so-named because our hero, Nathan, hangs around with a zombie girl named Trina, and so in a way both are considered "traitors" to their own kind. But, as I understand it, it's this unlikely friendship that promises to save the world against all odds.

Right now, Book 1 of the saga, Overrun, is starting to get really hairy. No, I don't mean people are turning into hirsute beasties, just that the zombie apocalypse has begun and our heroes, Nathan and Trina, are barely catching a breath never mind plotting how to save mankind. It's hard to believe I'm nearly halfway through already; now I understand why Brian complained that this first installment wouldn't quit and ended up much longer than expected. It's one of those "in the moment" types that sort of grabs you and won't let go.

Read what Brian says about the story in his blog post, Checking In With Zombies (written back in October 2011 before he was finished). And by the way, Brian Clopper is a fifth-grade teacher, hence the student comments at the foot of his blog post. I wonder if those students will be reading this young adult novel featuring brain-mashing, limb-severing zombie mayhem! Make no mistake, this book is for more mature young readers; there are no cuddly gargoyles or flying mummies in sight.

Speaking of cuddly gargoyles and flying mummies, Brian has two self-published books available right now. Graham the Gargoyle is actually a much earlier novel, formerly published with excellent illustrations (did I mention that he's a comic artist?) and now available in standard novel form (both printed and electronic)...

Graham the Gargoyle
On the left, the recent edition of Graham the Gargoyle, available to buy in print or for Kindle and Nook. On the right, the out-of-print original edition complete with excellent illustrations.

The other book currently available is Tagalong, a fantasy in which Dylan Thadmussel gets caught up in an adventure with the class bully, Mitch. The two of them find themselves on a quest in the magical world of Myriad, aided by Grimble, their tagalong gremlin guide. In the author's own words, "Dylan is starstruck by meeting and defeating trolls, bushwhacking bigfoot and sidestepping snallygasters." Tagalong is a fun fantasy romp for younger readers.

But as good as Turncoats, Graham the Gargoyle and Tagalong are, my own personal favorite of Brian's so far is Irving Wishbutton: The Questing Academy, the story of a fictional novel character who finds himself created out of thin air and spends much of the book not quite fully developed in the author's mind. It's hard to explain in a sentence or two, and anyway I don't want to give too much away, but this novel is not available – yet. Even though I've read it, I can't wait for it to be published in the future. Successful fantasy author Piers Anthony said it was "fabulous," and I agree. I also can't wait for Brian to get on with book 2. Come on, Brian!!

In one his recent projects, Brian wrote a chapter featuring the Wizard Robinson. This is apt considering that I'm a bit of a whiz at just about everything, and of course modesty is one of my many strong points. But Brian had the audacity to mention in the story that the wizard had a couple of citations, a direct poke at me because I was stopped by the police for speeding when the Robinsons and Cloppers met up in North Carolina last year (Brian and his wife and kids were with us in the van at the time). Anyway, as punishment I wrote him into Quincy's Curse. The plan was for him to be a lowly foot soldier named Clopper. Unfortunately he turned into a bit of a hero, which makes me mad. How DARE Brian take over my story like that!

Now I'm off to read some more Turncoat-mayhem. :-)

Comment by ROGER ESCHBACHER on Friday, February 10, 2012...

Recently finished reading Brian's "Graham the Gargoyle" and really enjoyed it. I'll have to check out his other books. "Wishbutton" sounds interesting!

I do the "use a friend's name" all the time in my animation scripts and spec screenplays. It's particularly fun to attach your buddy's name to an archvillain or other disagreeable character and then give him the script for a beta read!

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Friday, February 10, 2012...

Irving Wishbutton IS interesting! What's frustrating is that I'm eagerly awaiting Book 2 in the series and instead Brian is off writing other books. I mean, they're all good, and Turncoats is a winner, but still... what about Irving?!?

Comment by BRIAN CLOPPER on Friday, February 10, 2012...

Wow, thanks for all the kind praise! I love how much you are enjoying TURNCOATS. It's a book that has gotten me to exercise writing muscles I didn't think my all-ages sensibility would allow me to do. It's dark, bloody and incredibly gripping! At least that was how it was for me to write.

Yes, IRVING WISHBUTTON is one of my faves too. I tried the whole agent thing with it, but got no takers. Part of the reason I didn't throw it up on my site as a e-book was that I knew my publishing plan is to write a different book a year until I finally get an agent and book deal. The thought of writing four books with a project that hadn't been snatched up yet seemed like it would limit my options of landing a deal. Part of me is starting to rethink that. You never know. Maybe I might throw it out as an ebook this fall to test the waters.

Roger, glad you enjoyed GRAHAM. Book Two is coming together amazingly well. I just got done a sad chapter where Graham faces off with Blord and runs afoul of a mess of merry cones and boomberries. Those two flora should never mix as Graham quickly finds out in one of the sweetest traps ever conceived by a dim-witted bully. The chapter is called MAKING MERRY.

Very happy to see my work is catching the attention of more than just students in my classes.

Comment by BRIAN CLOPPER on Friday, February 10, 2012...

Roger: Thanks so much for the wonderful review of GRAHAM on Amazon. It made my day to see the warmth I work hard to put into my little gargoyles recognized by both you and Keith.

And the sequel is in the works as we speak! Halfway done and looking to hit my April 1st deadline with ease. No fooling there. Hoping to have it as an e-book by the summer.

Comment by ROGER ESCHBACHER on Saturday, February 11, 2012...

Brian: Excellent! Glad to hear there's a sequel in the works. You're more than welcome for the review. It came easily because, as I mentioned, I really enjoyed the book.

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