Brian Cohn

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Interview By: Night Owl Romance

Date: January 23, 2017

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Hello Brian. It's great to have you over to chat about "The Last Detective" and your life. What is "The Last Detective" about?

It's a sci-fi mystery, a real alien noir detective story set two years after Earth has been invaded and conquered by an alien species known amongst the remaining humans as "slicks." When one of our captors is found murdered, they call on former homicide detective Adrian Grace to help solve the crime. In the midst of his investigation, he uncovers conspiracies and betrayals that speak volumes about human nature.

What should readers expect from you titles?

I try to write about people more than anything. My goal with each endeavor is to try to understand human motivation in a new and interesting way, by creating original characters that reflect some ordinary aspect of the human experience and placing them in extraordinary circumstances. In The Last Detective, for example, I took an entire city and threw it into a bleak, oppressive future, then sat back and watched as each individual dealt with the hardship in his or her own way.

What books have you analyzed to help grow yourself as an author?

I read pretty voraciously, and pretty broadly. My first book is science fiction and mystery, and I read a lot in both genres in order to get a better feel for the style. I've read classic noir detective stories by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, along with more modern, experimental takes on the detective story, like The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon. In science fiction, guys like Alastair Reynolds and Peter F. Hamilton have been my more modern influences, along with all of the classics by Clarke, Heinlein, Niven, Dick, and many others.

What's next for you as an author?

I’ve been working on another mystery/thriller, but this one isn't sci-fi at all. It's about a mysterious woman who moves in next door to an aging, retired homicide detective with her fifteen-year-old son. What makes this one so interesting to me is their back stories, which play out in two separate narratives. The woman was abducted by a cult when she was fifteen while the old man recounts the tale of his last case on the force, a case in which something clearly went wrong. In the modern narrative, they start to grow close (in a completely platonic way), though it’s pretty obvious that everything is headed for disaster. I got about 100,000 words into a first draft when I had to put it on hold to start editing The Last Detective, but I’m hoping to get back into it soon. I’ll hopefully have a completed first draft in a few months. I’m really excited about this one.

Do you have a favorite or interesting reader meet moment?

I threw my first launch party earlier this month and invited a bunch of friends and family by email and Facebook. These two guys showed up at the event that I didn't recognize, and I assumed they were just in the wrong place. It turned out they were reading enthusiasts who happened to see the post on Facebook and decided to come. It was awesome to have someone there who didn't even know me beyond my writing.

If you could travel to another time, would you choose past or future or would you stick where you are at? And Why?

As a science fiction enthusiast, the future has always interested me. I think in some ways, it's the sci-fi writers job to try and predict the future (or at least speculate on changes in technology and politics). It's tough, because the path technology takes is never what you think it will be. In the middle of the 20th century, it was all about the space race and traveling faster, who would get to the moon first, etc. If things had continues in that direction, we'd all have flying cars and colonies on the moon. But then in the '90s thing headed off in a different direction, and it all became about communication. Now we have smart phones that can do just about anything no matter where you are in the world. I think it would be really neat to see where technology takes us in 50 or 100 years.

What's your day job like?

I've been practicing emergency medicine for over a decade now, so my day job can be pretty hectic. It's nothing like what you see on TV, but it's still pretty crazy at times. I think that's one of the reasons I love writing: sitting at the computer in a quiet house is very much a release from what I deal with at work.

Anything else you would like to share?

Just keep reading, and make sure the next generation has the same passion for reading that you do. It's a medium that we can't let die.

Thanks so much for coming and hanging with us.

Thanks to all the readers out there who make it possible for guys like me to write so passionately. It's because I know there are people out there who love books so much that I'm able to stay motivated.