Meet Jeremy Brundage
Join us in welcoming Jeremy Brundage to the CDS crew. To our library, Jeremy adds a hilarious fantasy that takes place during the time and in a place where Greek gods ruled the land.
Jeremy Brundage has worked as a stone mason, a carpenter, an artist, an animatronics engineer, and more. He is working on several projects with his brother James A. Owen for Coppervale Studios and assists in creating armor for the SCA at Windrose Armory. Jeremy writes comedy, fantasy, and science fiction, sometimes combining all three.
We asked Jeremy a few questions to get to know him better.
Asked and Answered
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
In high school I was put into a regular English class instead of the advanced one I should have been in—long story. I was crazy bored in the class. The teacher recognized I didn’t belong there, but he understood why I wasn’t in the other class. He came up to me and told me that if he looked over and saw me writing or reading or doing anything language related, I’d have an “A” in his class. It was wonderful! I had an hour every day to do nothing but write or read, and I put the time to good use. At the end of the year, they had a short story contest for the school. You could enter as many stories as you wanted, and they would all be blind graded and judged. I took first, second, third, and fifth place in the contest out of hundreds of entries.
Why did you choose Cursed Dragon Ship Publishing?
I’d contemplated self-publishing, but I’m not very good at promoting myself, so I needed someone to push me a bit. My brother, James A. Owen, knew Kevin Pettway published with Cursed Dragon Ship, and James had heard that Kevin was pretty happy with his publisher. So James set up a brief virtual meeting between me and Kevin just so I could ask him a few questions. Kevin answered most of my concerns and said he was extremely happy with Cursed Dragon Ship. That led to me sending a submission to Kelly. With every interaction since then, I knew I’d made the right choice.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I tend to hang onto traditional definitions of certain words, even though modern common usage might give the word a different meaning now. I’ll never use the word decimated to describe a people or place that has been totally wiped out. If I do use the word, it will mean that a tenth of everything is gone. Gotta hand it to the Romans, though. Who else could come up with a word that means “killed every tenth person?”
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Editing is hard and totally worth it. The story I turned into Kelly Colby (my long suffering and wonderful editor) is far different from the book Cursed Dragon Ship is going to publish, and that’s not a bad thing. Having a person look over your work using their different focus and perspective helps you in more ways than I can express. I learned so much in the process that I am a far better writer now than the one Kelly was first introduced to.
What do you think makes a good story?
Twists and unexpected happenings are great, but they don’t matter if you don’t feel something for the characters these things are happening to. Make a character to love or hate or feel something about, and the story will just mean that much more with them in it.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I kind of do write under a pseudonym. It’s not a secret. My name is Jeremy Brundage Owen, but I decided that Jeremy Brundage was the name I was going to be writing under. There was a bit of thought put into this, but it mostly came down to me always liking my middle name. My best friends when I was growing up always called me Brundage.
If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?
Younger self, why is it you waited this long to get serious about writing? And you should pay more attention when they go over punctuation and sentence structure in class.
Do you Google yourself?
No. What have you heard? I can explain . . .
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Finding time to write is difficult. There is always something that needs to be done or someone that needs help with something. I’m in pretty high demand when it comes to brute force and free manual labor. I’m a guy that has said “no problem” to a lot of people when they have asked for help over the years, and half a century of personal mental conditioning is hard for me to let go of.
I’m getting better at focusing on my writing.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
My spirit animal would probably be a sarcastic Muppet—is it okay to say Muppet here, Kelly?*—of some kind or another. As a teenager I had a puppet of Walter the Muppet that I sewed a priest outfit for. (I don’t remember the exact reasons for this, other than I thought it would be funny) I sat in my room just making the puppet rush my face for half an hour or so. My mom came in and checked on me later, wondering why I was laughing so hard in my room. When she saw me playing with the puppet, she just shook her head and left me alone for the rest of the day, probably figuring I seemed happy, and a puppet was pretty inexpensive when compared to therapy.
*Editor’s note: It is okay to say Muppet here. If anyone wonders why he asks, come to the launch of The Twelve Trials of Doug and we’ll fill you in on the back story. (February 2024)
A Glimpse at The Twelve Trials of Doug
Book One in the Not Quite Legendary series
Why did you decide to write about Ancient Greece?
I always enjoyed reading about Myths and Legends. In grade school there was a book in the library called D’aullaires Book of Greek Myths that I think just rotated between being checked out by me and my brother. One of us always had the book, and I must have read it fifty or sixty times. It’s a time and story type I was very comfortable writing about.
Why did you decide to write a Greek Comedy?
It actually started as a bad joke. I had a vision of Patrick Warburton as Zeus. Every time he would see a woman walk by, any woman, he would give them an appraising glance, nod, and in typical deadpan Patrick Warburton delivery say, “I would do her.” (Zeus became a much more well rounded, respectable character as the story developed.)
The jokes kept on building, but they always had to be set in Ancient Greece. Pretty soon I created a champion to go on these absurd quests in an effort to tie all the jokes together. The jokes became less and less the focus, and the journey of the hero began to take center stage. I’m pretty happy with what came out of what would have otherwise have been a pretty forgettable joke.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?
Every character, male or female, is going to be different. The hard part is finding a way to understand who the character is and then be true to who they are. Everyone has their own wants, desires, and needs that make them unique.
In college I remember a friend of mine walking up to me and asking why it was so easy for me to talk to girls. I, half-jokingly, responded that he should talk to women like they were people, and he might find he had some things in common with them. His eyes went wide, like I had just revealed one of the most closely guarded secrets of the universe to him. I’m not sure if the message got through.
I did write a princess as a bit of a spoiled brat, and Kelly pointed out how I was lessening her character and impact on the story. It was far easier to see and correct once I was aware of it, and the princess took on a much deeper role in the story once I really saw her.
How do you select the names of your characters?
The name of the main character in The Twelve Trials of Doug was chosen because his name would be totally out of place in the setting of Ancient Greece. I thought the humor would be subtle, but it made me smile just the same.
His brother, Modifixeus, is a skilled engineer with an understanding of how anything mechanical can go together. His name was just a description of who he was.
Names are sometimes easy, and sometimes hard. I’ll just create or steal until I get the right feel for the character.
What was your hardest scene to write?
It was actually harder to cut scenes than write them for me. I gave Kelly a big spider-whomping story of around 140,000 words, and we cut it down to about 90,000. It was good to trim the story, but a couple of the lost chapters were hard to let go of. I had a scene between my hero Doug, the king of Larissa in ancient Greece, and the ferryman over the river Styx that I really loved, but the chapter needed to go. It was hilarious, but it didn’t advance the story quickly enough.
Welcome to the crew, Jeremy!
If you want to follow Jeremy and his adventures, make sure to check out his website jeremybrundage.com. Scroll down to the bottom and join his newsletter for all the latest and a free short story so you can get your first taste of the Not Quite Legendary universe.