When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing when I was very young. It’s hard to remember exactly when, but I must have been about 5 or 6 years old and it was often cartoons. I started writing songs when I was about 8 and then poetry and nonfiction in my early twenties. I didn’t really get serious about writing nonfiction until I was about 30 or so and was living in Japan where I had enough time to do as I wished.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I had my first article published., it was a phone interview and feature piece with (a young and very helpful) Naomi Klein who was just bringing out her first book called No Logo. I did a book review with it as well, all for the Japanese magazine, Kansai Scene.
What are some day jobs you have held?
Furniture sales/delivery, van driver, speechwriter/researcher for a local politician, History teacher, adult English teacher, IT language hack.
What have you written so far?
A number of researched magazine articles and plenty of monthly pieces for Catalonia Today magazine – mainly review and opinion columns and one nonfiction book on parenting titled The Remade Parent.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
I’m just finishing a travelogue/memoir on Spain. I had the desire to write something that was worth saying, partly because there are areas of Spain that are neglected by most tourists that deserve to be much more widely known.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Recently, finding the time to finish it while working full time in an IT job. Before that, I found it a real challenge blending the personal with relevant news stories.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
The satisfaction of writing a sentence that says exactly what you had in mind. That’s harder than it sounds and not so common either in the struggle to get it written.
What role does research play in your writing?
It plays a major role because I tend to combine personal experience with more journalistic facts and stories. Sometimes it can almost take over the writing
What one person from history would you like to meet and why?
Al Pacino. He never says a dull sentence and listening to his voice is wonderful. To me, he is one of the personifications of artistic integrity.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?
George Orwell, Paul Theroux, Primo Levi, Carlo Levi, Don Watson, Paul Auster, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Slavenka Drakulić, Rory Maclean, Joanna Bourke, Eduardo Galeano, Bob Dylan(!) (The more I read the better I get as a writer. Being a big reader is a very underrated part of being a good writer in my opinion.)
How can you discover more about Brett and his work?