February 28th, 2020
I asked Sean where he would like to chat:
An Italian beach side restaurant right before the sun sets. The music is festive, the place partially full with groups of people talking and laughing their evenings away. The warm 75 degree day calls for cold drinks and Quatro Fromaggi Pizza shared amongst friends. The waitress, in her black pants, white shirt, ponytailed black curly hair, green eyes and vibrant red lips rushes back and forth from the back finally appearing with a “viola” as she places the steamy hot pizza on the table. We can hear the waves crashing the beach as the sky begins to share a vibrant glow of golds and pinks over the horizon. We decide to eat and do small talk before getting to the interview. So with a raised pizza we salute the night’s sky and enjoy the first bites of the amazing pizza. Only thing missing is the cold drink which, without saying a word, appears by our attentive waitress. Another toast and the festivities can truly begin.
Laura Mae: What inspired you to enter the world of writing?
S. L. Brown: I actually started writing while I was deployed to Afghanistan back in 2010-2011. I realized I had been giving the same advice to several different people in my life so I started writing what I called, “Sean’s Thoughts” on social media. Over the course of a few years I started getting really good conversations from my thoughts which was followed by the request to put them in a book. In 2016 I met my business partner April, a high school English teacher, and asked if she could help me put a book together. In 2017 we did just that and published my first non-fiction book, Just A Thought.
L: How long have you been writing for?
S: I have written all my life but for what I am published for I would say since 2010. However, that writing was not intended for world-wide consumption which would mean I started intentionally writing in 2017 when I started writing blogs on my website.
L: What are you currently working on?
S: The priority for myself, and in turn my biz partner April, is promoting both our personal growth workshops and our L.E.T.M.E (Live Every Tiny Moment Exceptionally) movement and internet show. I believe that life is an amazing adventure that we, as humans, spend too much time ignoring or overlooking. LETME is a real life attainable choice that puts us, as individuals, in a place to be our own happiness. Additionally, I am working to get my first book into more influential hands to bring it to schools as it brings real life truths to a group (teens and young adults) who crave real conversations.
L: Are there any books or authors who inspire your work?
S: To be honest I’d have to say my biz partner. When I started with my book I never intended to “write” a book it just happened to be words that could go in a book. April, on the other hand, knew she wanted to write her children’s book. When we started she said she wanted to but hadn’t really knew if and when she would. This year she put it all together and published her first book. Watching the process, the questioning, the struggle, the joy and the eventual success of bringing a dream to life is nothing short of inspirational to me and my writing. I write about life and this is exactly what her story is…life.
L: What has been the most challenging for you so far?
S: I have two answers to this question. The first one was considering myself a writer. I have always considered a writer to be someone who creates stories but after 3 years being published I now consider myself a writer for the most part. The second is getting people to read what I wrote. It is one thing to be told “your book is great” and another to have that translate into others picking it up. I know that if my books get into the right hands it will take off but the trick is getting into more hands.
L: What is your favorite writing trope? Least favorite?
S: Funny enough I had to look up what writing trope meant. I did say I find it hard calling myself a writer, didn’t I? If I understand it right, I think my favorite would be LETME. I use it for writing and believe in the freedom of living in that moment. My least favorite would be “Fake it til you Make it” as I think a lot of writers, and people in general, use this as an inhibitor to their success. In fact, it breeds failing or, at the very least, allow themselves to quit when it doesn’t go well.
L: Besides writing, what is it you like to do?
S: I love teaching both life lessons and dance fitness classes. That being said, I would say exploring this world and taking pictures of my journeys may be the thing I do the most. Sharing life’s simple beauties with those who don’t see them is amazingly rewarding.
L: What would you say is your favorite book or series of all time? Why?
S: This will come as a shock but I am not much a reader which is probably why I write what I do. Now that I think of it I really loved the Dean Kootz Frankenstein trilogy which, after a quick google search, I just found out was 5 books. I guess I have 2 more books to read. Good question.
L: Are there any regrets you have or anything you wish you knew sooner?
S: No. I can look back at life and see things where I could of made better choices but, and this is a big one, I love my life and where it has taken me which means I cannot regret it. In fact, one of the lessons I teach is, “if you love your life then appreciate all the bad things that happened as well as the good because they all made you who you are today.”
L: In a brief statement, have you self-published or traditionally published? What was your experience?
S: All three of my books are self-published. It was important to me that I was 100% in control of my book, the way it was written, presented and printed. Self-publishing did that for me (and April’s first book as well). With all the self-published authors out there the big sites (Create Space, Ingram Sparks, Amazon etc) make it pretty simple or minimally painful to put out a quality book.
L: What element of writing do you enjoy the most?
S: I am published but I love creating something that makes people think and see things from a different perspective of their own.
L: What are you currently reading?
S: Nothing but I will be ordering the other two books in the Frankenstein series thanks to this questionnaire.
L: What genre do you read?
S: Is Blogs a genre? Like I said, I am not much a reader but I do like reading blogs from other writers.
L: What does a typical day of writing look like for you? Any rituals or ‘must-haves’?
S: Since most of my writing is in blog or inspirational messages I simply have to have a story, a few pictures to add to them and time.
L: Any songs or type of music you need to listen to when you write?
S: I actually like it quiet when I write. I am easily distracted when a good song comes on and by Candy Crush too. So silence and just typing away is what I need.
L: What’s a word or phrase that people say that always irritates you?
S: I said it earlier, “Fake it til I make it.” One should never pretend to be anything. I rather fix it til I can live with it.
L: Who is your favorite literary character and why?
S: I’m going to go with the monster in the Frankenstein series. I love his drive, determination to exact revenge on his creator and his gentle yet complex nature.
L: Where would you say you get most of your inspiration?
S: This is where I differ from many writers that I have met. I get my inspiration from people. I love talking to people, being out in the world, experiencing life in both big and small ways and sharing stories with people I meet. The best lessons in life are found in living it.
L: For aspiring writers out there, what would be the best advice you want them to know?
S: In the past 3-4 years I have given this same piece of advice out to both published writers and aspiring writers… Write for yourself! It is your vision, your story, your voice and only you know what it is you want to convey so write “your” story.
In 1993, this Los Angeles native took his talents to Texas, Colorado, England, Korea and Washington State as a member of the US Air Force. After being medically retired from the Air Force he found his way into the Naval Reserves where he spent 10 years in San Diego.
In 2015, almost 22 years from the day he headed into the military, Sean retired. The Iraq and Afghanistan War veteran hung up his boots and pursued a career in dance fitness and wellness coaching. It is in these ventures that Sean realized he had a gift of reaching people through his down-to-earth realistic approach to life and fitness. He began writing inspirational messages on his Inspiration with Sean Puffy Brown Facebook page.
Just a Thought… – Every one of us has a history. We all possess an insight that only each individual can call his/her own based on the life that he/she has lived. It is in that which brings this book to the world. OK, technically the war in Afghanistan brought this book to life. Let me explain. Back in 2010 while deployed to Baghram Airfield in Afghanistan I started to write random thoughts I was having based on a myriad of goings on in the world, my mind, my family and friends lives or just because it hit my brain. This book contains those thoughts from my social media page in the order as they came to me. You’ll take a journey with me through the early days where messages had limitations on post length to the time where length no longer mattered and my thoughts were, well, a bit more wordy. And, then, there’s more…
Buy it here!
Just a Thought, Too – The second installment from S.L. Brown’s Just a Thought series is a grittier reflection of the times in America and around the world. In Part One he continues where book one left off at the end of 2014. Here we find Sean tackling tough and often avoided subjects of race, equality, sexuality and more, in powerful, unique and thought-provoking ways. This section will challenge the reader’s thinking and beliefs on the subjects in such a way it forces the reader to want to talk about it. Part One will take the reader on a journey.
Part Two of this book transitions to blogs that show the growth of a writer and motivator. This part returns us to the inspirational side of Sean’s Thoughts as he shares his thoughts in the forms of blogs. These blogs, like the passages in Part One, are life lessons for others as well as for himself. Part Two will take the reader on a wider range journey of life’s contemplations.
Part Three brings the reader back to inspirational Sean. Here he opens the doors of of imagination and wonderment as he shares pictures and motivational messages and passages. Images he has taken with his cellphone during his travels are shared with small messages, poems and thoughts. If Part One was gritty, Part Two was deep, then Part Three is the soft and easy relaxation of the journey. No better way to finish it off than a few stunning pictures.
Buy it here!