June 16, 2010

Made It Moment: Carl Brookins

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 5:48 pm

Devils Island

I was very pleased when author Carl Brookins wrote me because I’ve long enjoyed his posts on listservs such as the great DorothyL. Carl always has an interesting, no-nonsense viewpoint, and his approach to making it in this business reflects the same. Plus, Carl’s Moment brings in some ways the best thing of all–an undiscovered body of work yet to read!

Carl Brookins

It’s an interesting question, Jenny.

I always knew I’d be a writer. Then I sold my first piece of writing. That was more than 60 years ago when I was in the seventh grade. I wrote a short story to submit to a pulp magazine that featured only western tales. I had never been west of the Missouri and had yet to discover Louis L’Amour or the other western writers, except for Jack London. But I did know the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. Imagine my delight when the magazine sent me 50 cents for the story!

Writing, fiction and non-fiction has always been a major part of my life. In high school I discovered that writing essays was better for me than short answer or multiple-choice tests. Every job I’ve held since high school has included a writing component of larger or lesser degree.

So, I’ve had many “made it” moments. One occurred when a piece I wrote on driving safety was published, without a word being changed, in the Triple A magazine. Another occurred when my first script for a televisions series I later produced was accepted for production. I knew I’d “made it” again when an international magazine aimed at professional broadcasters accepted my article on the founding and development of the tiny public television station in Fargo, North Dakota, a station I headed at the time.

My fiction writing career began when I made it as the author of “Inner Passages,” my first sailing adventure story, from Top Publications and again with my latest in that series, “Devils Island.” That novel is particularly satisfying because it represents the evolution of perhaps my strongest character, Mary Whitney, a bright, resourceful woman of charm and grace, with the athletic and mental skills to deal with her powerful but deranged ex-husband.

But you know, I’ll have the satisfaction again of having made it this far with the publication of my next novel or short story, or article. I’m a work in progress and I’m having a lot of fun getting there.

I’ve had many jobs, all related in some way to public communication. They include highway safety, public television, cable television and higher education. I love writing and almost everything that goes with it, including revising! I live in a suburb of the Twin Cities of Minnesota with my wife, a retired publisher. I’m a member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Private Eye Writers, and Minnesota Crime Wave.


  1. Carl, that’s wonderful! Do you still have that first story? xoHank

    Comment by Hank Phillippi Ryan — June 16, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  2. Hank, there’s a great book called FIRST WORDS collected by Paul Mandelbaum, which is exactly that…great writers’ first ever stories. It’d be great if Carl’s could be included in Volume II…

    Thanks for stopping by…

    Comment by jenny — June 16, 2010 @ 7:06 pm

  3. I am TOTALLY interested in “a bright, resourceful woman of charm and grace” dealing with a psycho ex! lol. Seriously–congratulations on all your success! 50 cents is a lot to a 7th grader. :) But you’ve only gone up and up and up since then! And you’ve kept at it. Definitely congratulate yourself!

    Comment by Savvy — June 16, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

  4. Definitely not BSP, Jenny. More BGP–blatant genre promotion–and you do a wonderful job of it. Thank you for sharing, Carl. What a great picture of you at the helm. And so true–each step forward is a “made it” moment, isn’t it?

    Comment by Donna Fletcher Crow — June 16, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

  5. OK, I *will* cop to trying to shine my own little light on the genre–I’d shine a 20,000 watt bulb if I had one. It’s that the thought of a world without mysteries and suspense makes me shudder. I want my children’s children’s children to be surrounded by stories of the creepy variety. (Preferably in print, but that’s a post of another color.) So there is a self motive in there, I guess, but in the meantime, thank you to everyone who keeps writing–that’s what really keeps the niche alive.

    So, Donna, we’re going to see your Moment in this forum round about September, right? (A teaser, everyone…Wait till you check out Donna’s website!)

    Comment by jenny — June 16, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

  6. Savvy, one day your First Words will be worth 50 cents + inflation ;)

    Comment by jenny — June 16, 2010 @ 9:28 pm

  7. The story referred to was long ago committed to the ether. I had a copy on yellow copy paper for a while and a copy of the magazine for years, but alas, marriage, service in the Navy and so on, and things get lost. Truth to tell, I strongly suspect it would be an embarrassment today.

    Comment by CARL BROOKINS — June 16, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

  8. Oh man, don’t get me started on my very first YA novella, with actual magic marker illustrations, which my mom lost. (Mom!!) I am still hoping that one may turn up in a stray box in the basement.

    And we weren’t even *in* the navy ;)

    Anyway, Carl, that is too bad, but I join in the congratulations for being able to declare earnings in this biz from the ripe old age of twelve. An emerging writer I know–thank you, Louise Penny, for that most dignified of terms–has written an action novel set in Florida, much of it upon a boat, and I think he’ll get a lot out of your series. Thanks again for sharing your MomentS…

    Comment by jenny — June 16, 2010 @ 9:40 pm

  9. Hey, that’s 50 cents more than I’ve ever made on a short story!

    Comment by Savvy — June 17, 2010 @ 8:22 am

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