Creative Spotlight on Authors Breakfield & Burkey
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Tell our readers briefly about yourself.
BREAKFIELD AND BURKEY began their partnership by writing non-fictional papers and books. They formed a business partnership to share stories as fictional story writers. They recognize storytelling is an evolving method to share the excitement, thrills, and insights into today’s technology risks. They are passionate about leveraging real technology into fictional writing. The variety of characters have attributes from the many people who crossed their professional paths adding that depth. Admittedly, Breakfield often asks interesting people he meets if they thought about being an evil cyberthug or femme fatale in their series. Both authors have traveled to many places around the world. These travels are pulled into stories that require real knowledge of specific locals. They enjoy well-rounded thrillers that include levels of humor, romance, intrigue, suspense, and mystery.
Can you tell us about your most recent release? Album? Song? Art piece? Etc.?
Our newest technothriller, Enigma Tracer, is on pre-order until its launch on March 31st, 2023. It is the first book in our new series of The Enigma Heirs. This begins with the next generation of cyber good guys up against the cyber bad guys they have been training to fight all their lives. This is a tale focused on new leadership of the R-Group and CATS, who team together to stop an environmental gangster at the request of a friend. It becomes personal when people you know are at risk of captivity or death. The story is fictional, the technology is real.
What inspires you?
We love to talk about our stories at private and public book readings or events. Burkey conducts podcast-style interviews with a couple of author groups and enjoys extracting tidbits from authors, especially new ones. Breakfield is always trying to listen to readers and critics for informational tidbits to help polish their storytelling efforts.
What is your creative work routine like? Do you balance it with another job?
The technology we see day in and day out delivers a conveyor belt of story material that we pick through all the time in our day jobs as technologists. Using this informational stream, we outline the direction we want to take a story along with the top protagonists and antagonists. We rough out a few chapters, each leading the charge on one or another. Then we share the drafts to polish and gain a single voice. One key element is ensuring each story can stand independently, but they are richer within the series. We (Breakfield and Burkey) then use our patent pending writing technique entitled Literary Badminton. The LB process begins with the four most terrifying words in our vocabulary; I have an idea. The words can occur almost any time of day, though frequently upon waking.
Do you plan out your creations? What is your process before you create?
We generally rough out a story on the way to a book signing or fair and then drive it into a spreadsheet that we share and update. One of us begins writing on that idea or chapter and then bats it over to the other via email. This iterative process continues until we have a highly polished character or chapter module that gets bolted into the current story.
Do you have a self-care routine or want to have one? What do you do or wish that you did to take care of your mental health?
Honestly, we both use our writing activity as a mental exercise to keep the demons of our day job at bay. Well, that's the theory anyway. Sometimes the writing deadlines we impose on ourselves get a little onerous now and again. In our world, time is the most important resource that must be spent wisely, which is tall order for a couple of over-achievers.
What is your favorite creation thus far?
We are quite proud of our Enigma Book series and the 12 novels we have crafted in it.
Do you have a character that is your favorite over others you've written into creation?
This is a highly charged topic with answers that vary from both of us. However, we would submit that ICABOD, our A.I. enhanced supercomputer, usually bubbles to the top when we get asked this question. If we are invited to be on your show for discussion, please ask what ICABOD stands for. We technologists just love to use acronyms.
Are there any recurring themes in your work?
Yes, we see so much technology flowing by and we are always concerned about how it will be used and secured to limit the abuse that the cyber bad guys want to dish out.
How much research was required on your topic of choice?
As stated earlier, we work in the high-tech industry. Our day jobs are to advise and consult with technology consumers so we are always in research mode at work. This ongoing research naturally spills into our writing.
How did you organize and keep track of all your information, face-to-face interviews, etc.?
All of our story threads, characters, and future ideas go into our spreadsheet for ongoing references and updates. It's the only way to keep track of our universe of characters and the genealogy of several generations.
What does success look like to you considering your creative passion?
Success is a reader who was delighted enough by our work to leave a 5-star review. Our favorite review quote came in on a character where they said - "I didn't want to feel sorry for them, but I couldn't help myself". We had written a memorable character.
What is something your fans/readers/followers don’t know about you or something unique about yourself?
Rox hired Charles to work at her company many moons ago. She became the godmother to his youngest daughter when she got the insurance company to accept Charles’ claim for his daughter’s hospital costs.
What advice would you share with new or aspiring authors/singers/artists/etc?
Practice, practice, practice. Work at your craft, talk to your peers, and strive to be better personally than you were yesterday. Always know that you are in competition with yourself, and no one else.