Spotlight on About the Authors TV, with Jake Brown

Locus will be premiering the Kim Stanley Robinson episode
for About the Authors TV on the Locus YouTube channel,
this Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. Pacific. Check it out!


Tell us about your web video series About the Authors TV. How did it come about, and what inspired you to launch it?

I consider it a lightning bolt from beyond. Like so many authors, I was stranded at home over the summer of 2020, doing a 50th-book promotional campaign that my amazing publicist at the time, Samantha Downey, dreamed up after my publisher canceled my book release when the bookstores closed. This amazing phenomenon called Zoom, that seemed like something right out of the Jetsons, revolutionized our ability to reach writers right in their writing rooms. At the same time, while all these podcasts interviewing writers about their latest books popped up, I was watching the news with a split-screen, with the newscaster’s pro broadcast shot on one side and the Zoom screen on the other, so the viewing public got used to it. At the same time, streaming exploded in content opportunities, and I noticed that, unlike the podcast world, there was no episodic author-interviewing-author-format show in that streaming space yet, so About the Authors TV was born.

I funded it myself with $30,000 — an entire year’s royalty checks, my stimulus check, and ghostwriting work. We built a real lock-out set that you can see on the show, where I film each week. We began reaching out to the biggest names in the book world and wound up with seasons one and two, featuring 54 superstar authors. Through the next stroke of good fortune, we were picked up by a mainstream streaming network, TUBI TV and boom: we became the first episodic authors interview TV show in the streaming-verse. It was an immense amount of luck that the concept caught on with so many authors, and people started watching it, both fans of these authors and a lot of teens and early twenty-somethings — exactly the blend of audiences we were hoping to target. TUBI just renewed us for seasons three and four, with another 68 episodes profiling bestselling authors across the stylistic spectrum. We have upcoming UK and science fiction editions with incredible casts, and it’s really starting to gain some exciting traction that I never saw coming two years ago. I feel very blessed, given all the amazing competition out there.

The key to our growth has been new author interviews, and for that reason, I interview an average of seven to nine authors each week. We’re editing around the clock with a brilliant team of Ray Riddle, my co-director Allan McCall, and Chris Lucas, plus my agent Frank Weimann at Folio Literary Management and our new publicist Mickey Mickelson of Creative Edge, so it’s really taken on a life of its own. We’re in our third year and have passed two million viewers organically, almost entirely by word-of-mouth on social media and among our authors, who kindly help us spread the word about the show. It’s been so much fun talking to this amazing cast of science fiction authors from across the generations too!


You’ve interviewed a broad set of authors, and seem to be branching out into interviewing more SF and fantasy writers, of course of interest to Locus. Tell us about the science fiction edition of About the Authors. Who do you have coming up in future installments?

We’re so excited to have a magazine of Locus’s standing in the genre premiering Kim Stanley Robinson’s catalog- and career-spanning episode on your Youtube channel and online. Robinson is appearing in both the upcoming science fiction Edition and Seasons three and four, which begin airing on TUBI TV in March. It’s a truly amazing cast, representing every generation of science fiction and subgenre, and we’re revealing the cast exclusively here: Andy Weir, Tananarive Due, Nisi Shawl, Kim Stanley Robinson, Larry Niven, Kameron Hurley, Joe R. Lansdale, Fonda Lee, Sheree Renée Thomas, Robert Sawyer, Pamela Sargent, Walter Jon Williams, David Brin, Malka Older, Matt Hughes, the great Dean Koontz, Star Wars universe writers from the original series James Kahn and 2000s era authors like R.A. Salvatore (also profiling his amazing catalog), Claudia Gray, Cavan Scott, Terry Brooks (also profiling his broader career), Dune co-author Kevin J. Anderson, David Wellington, Lois Bujold, Ann Charles, Steven Barnes, Scott Sigler, Dark Hunter creator Sherrilyn Kenyon, David Abraham, Lauren Beukes, Chana Porter, David Abraham, James Morrow, A.G. Riddle, K.C. Julius, Christopher Paolini, Steve Alten, David Weber, Carrie Vaughn, Charles Gannon, Raymond Feist, and the one and only Nancy Holder and legendary Heather Graham. There could be a few last-minute surprise editions as we wrap filming this spring.


How do you choose who to interview?

I grew up a child of the 1980s, and have my parents (both authors in their own rights, James and Tina Brown), to thank for loving drive-in movie theatres. My mom loved them, and so my parents took my brother and me to see The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and E.T., just this amazing generation of new science fiction. Some of the first books in grade school I remember exciting me were the novelizations James Kahn and others wrote. In junior high and high school, they had those paperback spin racks where you could pick a book out and read it throughout the day behind your text book or on the subway or wherever, with work by Walter Jon Williams and Kevin J. Williamson and Nancy Holder and Joe R. Lansdale. Those were a big influence on me in keeping me interested in reading.

Then the genre just exploded into the millennium and 2020s, especially with the rebirth of Star Wars and all these amazing hybrids and subgenres many of the aforementioned authors are responsible for inventing, whether in the speculative or hard science fiction ends of the galaxy. We want to feature as many author’s catalogs and creative processes as we could episodically, for what we hope is the first time comprehensively in the streaming space. The idea is that when you pull the season up, as a new science fiction fan or longtime one, just getting to hear from the creators of your favorite universes, worlds, characters, and series, you can hear about what originally inspired them, how they uniquely wrote them, and what advice they have for up-and-coming science fiction authors alike.


Your upcoming SF-focused interview is with author Kim Stanley Robinson, who’s not only a great author, but also a champion of ecological sustainability and social justice. What about him or his work was so appealing to you?

Two of my oldest friends from high school, Andrew McDermott and Robert O’Brien, both read the Mars trilogy — I’ve followed his revolutionary work since. Everything that Dr. Robinson forecast would and could happen if we didn’t take care of the planet in the Gold Coast trilogy is happening now. He was visionary with amazing characters. I was so honored he spent nearly two hours with us, going in depth through his entire catalog, and I hope fans of his enjoy what we intended as a love letter to his one-of-a-kind contributions to literature overall and this genre specifically. Think of how many new readers he brought into science fiction, and the whole generations of new authors he inspired to first pick up the pen, who are now innovating in the genre today with their own work!


You’ve come to this after being a music biographer for many years. How have those skills you gained as a biographer worked to your advantage in this new medium?

It provided me a huge advantage, I’ve been making a living professionally as a music biographer since I was 24. Tony Rose and his wife Yvonne, who run Amber Books together, gave me my start. Fifty-five books later, even as writing, producing, and filming this show has become a seven-day-a-week labor of love, I couldn’t have done it without that 25 years of experience under my belt. Working and writing in the record business and book business simultaneously gave me a great advantage, too, because I’ve had this amazingly lucky career writing books with bands like Heart and Motorhead, Joe Satriani and Teddy Riley, among many more. I’ve spent the past 20 years interviewing well over a thousand producers, musicians, critics, and different bands’ extended circles — it just went on and on, and provided a great education in being a good listener and, hopefully, a decent interviewer. What I try to do on the show is talk as little as I can, and let the authors talk in as much depth and at as much length as they care to about a specific series, book, etc. The freedom of streaming television makes that innovation possible, and we’re seeing all kinds of exciting new documentaries, docu-series, and of course podcasts doing that. For example, we spent at least 40 minutes with Stan talking about the Mars trilogy, and hopefully fans of these authors feel they’re getting to spend real quality time with them.


Do you have any other projects or plans for the future of About the Authors you’d like to tell our readers about?

Absolutely, and we appreciate the opportunity to talk about these amazing casts.

Seasons three and four feature another 68 new episodes with bestselling authors like with legendary Joyce Carol Oates, Andy Weir, Lincoln Rhyme creator Jeffery Deaver, Barry Eisler, Indiana Jones author James Rollins, JA Jance, Bones franchise creator Dr. Kathy Reichs, Daniel Kraus, Rocket Boys author Homer Hickam, Longmire series author Craig Johnson, Sara Paretsky, Erica Jong, True Blood franchise author Charlaine Harris, Hap and Leonard series creator Joe R. Lansdale, Dark Hunter universe creator Sherrilyn Kenyon, Donnie Brasco/Ret. FBI agent Joe Pistone, Rambo creator David Morrell, Dean Koontz, Riley Sager, Victoria Aveyard, sci-fi legend Kim Stanley Robinson, Candice Fox, Apple TV sensation Shining Girls creator Lauren Beukes, Christopher Paolini, Jay McInerney, Ben Mezrich, Janet Fitch, Jeanine Cummins, Charles and Caroline Todd, Megan Miranda, Christina Lauren, Joyce Maynard, Star Wars/Goonies/Indiana Jones/Poltergeist novelizer James Kahn, and more.

Seasons one and two, which you can check out now on TUBI TV at and Youtube, feature 54 authors like Scott Turow, Karin Slaughter, T.C. Boyle, Brad Meltzer, Ian Rankin, Catherine Coulter, Heather Graham, Chris Bohjalian, Jonathan & Faye Kellerman, John Lescroart, Tess Gerritsen, F. Lee Bailey (his final TV interview), Mindhunter‘s John Douglas, Laurie R. King, Steve Alten, Rob Bell, and many more.

Seasons five and six include completed conversations with David Baldacci, Gillian Flynn, Patricia Cornwell, Jean Hanff Korelitz, Karen Robards, Jacquelyn Mitchard, James Lee Burke, Joanne Harris, Elly Griffiths, Anita Diamant, W. Bruce Cameron, Tracy Chavelier, Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler, Alice Hoffman, Melody Beattie, William Kent Krueger, Eric Garcia, Christina Alger, John Hart, Sophie Hannah, Kristin Harmel, Lynwood Barclay, Raymond Fiest, Terry Brooks, Deon Meyer, Thomas Maier, Michael Punke, William Landay, John Hart, Gail Carson Levine, Beverly Donofrio, Buzz Bissinger, Christopher Golden, Allison Pataki, Prof. Percival Everett, David Fisher, Mitzi Perdue, Ana Castillo, Doug Richardson, Kate Manning, Fiona Davis, Pam Jenoff, AM Homes, Margaret George, Jeff Pearlman, Michael Farris Smith, Lily Brooks Dalton, Meg Cabot, Steve Berry, Lauren Kate, John Larison, Diane Chamberlain, Attica Locke, Nicholas Myer, John Sayles, Robert Greene, Meg Clayton, Anthony Bozza, Scott Phillips, Alexandra Kleeman, Richard Russo, Roxana Robinson, Alka Joshi, Nadia Hashimi, Heather Gudenkauf, Nelson George, Don Winslow, and more to be announced. We’re filming for that now, along with the upcoming season seven and eight!

We’re trying to amass the largest streaming archive of episodic author interviews out there, and thanks to our amazing distributor, MVD, and streaming network, TUBI TV, along with the brilliant folks over at YouTube who invented the channel concept — that’s been our life blood, and continues to be for new content, because each week we’re constantly premiering new author promos, extended previews from upcoming episodes, full episode early premieres like Robinson’s, and on and on. We then turn around and blast those out to Twitter, our primary social media hub, our Instagram and TikTok channels, and Facebook, so it’s been very organic, word-of-mouth growth. Hopefully the science fiction edition will expand that number exponentially!  We certainly have our fingers crossed that the fans of these authors like what they watch, because each episode is a love letter to all of our favorite authors who have given the genre so much, and keep it growing every day,

Jake Brown

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