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Graphic Novel Authors the Brothers of Silence and the Online Graphic Novel Blank

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Tell me more about you.
We are the Brothers of the Silence, creators of Blank – The Graphic Novel, part one of the trilogy. Ian LeWinter is the writer and creative strategist. Don Richmond is the writer/illustrator and creative strategist. We come from a visual media background. We met in 2006 and decided to set Blank in motion in May 2009 as the first graphic novel in history to launch and be continuously unveiled on Facebook and Twitter with individual network specific content.

Tell me more about your novel.
Blank is a novel that defies genre. It is a McLuhan hot and cool media experience; which is to say, an experience that vacillates between passive, singular visual media and active, multiple-sense media requiring abstract thought and deep pattern recognition. The namesake hero, John Blank, has what psychologists term a compromised ego integrity — one that is continually fragmented and redefined, possessing no reliable sense of self apart from his unique capability to kill. The antagonist, Ouranos Gaia, has a psychopathic megalomania that stems from a mythic iconography that has been nurtured by his family for generations. The child-ghost Angel is a goddess and foundational soul for all humanity and for all of the trilogy.

The book is being launched on numerous social media platforms with a new 2-page spread viewable every other day. The pages are always viewable free on the website: JohnBlankMustDie.com. Before the project is over, for us to accomplish our goals for John blank, we will have published a three-part graphic novel series, negotiated a motion picture deal and produced spin-off books.

That was your first novel?
Yes. Blank is our first novel.

That was your first website?
Yes. Blank is our first website

What is your biggest tip you would give to a newbie writer?
Stay true to your vision. Learn the fundamentals, then throw them away. Pay attention to what moves you — and we mean really moves you. If you want the most heinous thing imaginable to happen, then do it. If you want to have a character talk in an archaic, biblical fashion, then go for it. If you want your 12-year-old heroine to walk between worlds, right on. Dozens of people may offer advice on what they would do instead. Thank them for their wonderful input and then go write YOUR story. If you stay true to your vision, then there isn’t any reason that your project can ever be anything but a success.

What do writers do that you wish they wouldn’t?
Many writers we’ve met seem to have contracted the horrible disease of literary hierarchy, or the belief that one writer is better than another for this or that reason. These are personal preferences that damage young writers more than they empower them. Writing is too personal to be judged in the way we have all been taught to judge it. We say writing is a personal invitation into another person’s mind — and this is a great privilege, that should be honored as such. Write from your own soul and ignore those who would keep you from your chosen path. And only pay attention to rules and convention if it suits what you have to say.

Where do you see growth in the writing field?
Three places: graphic novels, graphic novels and graphic novels. This genre is coming into its silver age, a time of limitless creativity and boundless depth. Look for great work here for the next half a century.

Also, continue to look to the increasing influence of technology on content delivery. Interactivity will continue to promote a richer broader conversation between reader and writer.

What new ideas are writers coming up with to take advantage of new trends?
Social media is affording an unparalleled access and transparency. Writers are just now realizing that they can communicate with millions of people with little capital investment. The first issue of Wired magazine that we can remember had the headline: “Privacy. Get Over It.” We might restate that as: “Access and Transparency. Get With It!” We made up our minds never to be hidden or unavailable.

What do you do to improve the world?
Ask us that after the book is done and we’ll be in a better position to answer it. For now, let’s remind ourselves of the fabled conversation between the doctor and artist. When the doctor was asked what contribution she offered society, she answered, “Medicine is able to extend life.” The artist was asked the same question, and after some thought she replied, “Art makes life worth extending.” In our opinion, there is no greater contribution.

What do you do that is green?
Green will be a significant message of our story. We’ll have to point you to our completed book.

What is the one thing about you that not many people know?
We consider ourselves already dead, with a last-second chance to live one more day to tell our story. We exploit everything about that day. Our motto is “I am not here.” That defines our outlook and is the reason we can focus on our single-minded purpose of telling the earth Blank’s story.

What is your favorite book?
Ian: Based on the number of times I’ve read them, I’d have to say “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” However, there are so many breathtaking, mind-bending, thought-provoking words strung from the mouths of so many gifted people that I love. Poets like Frost and Sexton. Authors like Thoreau and Camus. Storytellers like King and Ludlum. Alan Moore, Henry Miller, Bill Watterson and so many others.
Don: The Book of Revelation

What is on your iPod?
Ian: I feel oddly uncomfortable answering that question. It implies that my thoughts on music are important to others. And I might have to reveal something about myself I don’t want to share with other people.
Don: “Polyhymnia” by “As The Poets Affirm”.

What are your contact details?
Email: oneofthe@silentbrothers.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BlankMustDie
Web: JohnBlankMustDie.com
Blog: blanktheblog.wordpress.com
Linkedin:  Ian: http://www.linkedin.com/in/ianlewinter
Don: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/don-richmond/2/338/929
Facebook Fan Page:  facebook.com/group.php?gid=77930679452#/group.php?gid=77930679452&ref=share  

How do you prefer to communicate?
We prefer to communicate by every channel possible.

Who would you recommend and why?
Ian: Don. Because he thinks he’s dead.
Don: Ian. Because he thinks he’s alive.

Who would you not recommend and why?
Ian: Myself. Because I can’t be trusted.
Don: Ian. Because he can’t be trusted.

Graphic Novel Authors the Brothers of Silence and the Online Graphic Novel Blank

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