Interview: Shane Briant

Shane Briant is an actor and novelist who studied law at Trinity College Dublin before becoming a professional actor at age 21. Starring in films and television opposite Paul Newman, Rosemary Harris, Jeremy Irons, John Hurt, Olivia de Havilland, George Chakiris, and Jack Palance, among others, Briant has worked with directors such as John Huston, David Wolper, Glenn Jordan, and Just Jaekin. The first short film Briant wrote, “A Message from Fallujah,” won the “Best of the Fest” award at the 2005 Los Angeles International Short Film Festival and was in the final mix of ten shorts for consideration for an Academy Award that year. Worst Nightmares is his first novel. Shane Briant resides in Sydney, Australia.

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ShaneBriant

You’ve had an amazing career as an actor. Tell us about some of your favorite roles.

My favorite role has to be Dorian Gray in the Oscar Wilde classic. I filmed that right at the start of my career and the director Glenn Jordan was wunderbar (5 Emmy’s, last time I looked) Then there was ‘The Naked Civil Servant’. I played the street hooker who introduced Quentin Crisp (John Hurt) to the gay London underworld. Working with Paul Newman in John Huston’s ‘The Mackintosh Man’, though my role was really a cameo, was a standout. Paul was a genius as well as being one of the most modest men I have met (given his immense talent.) I loved my early Hammer films. Cushing was a master too – I earned a lot from him. I enjoyed ‘Farscape’ immensely too – I love playing brain-sucking monsters from time to time. ‘Till There Was You’ was great fun too. Eight weeks on an island in the Pacific with great pals such as Mark Harmon and Jeroen Krabbe. Yes, I have been blesses with a great career. Recently ‘The Children of Huang Shi’ with Rhys Meyers and David Wenham in Shanghai was great fun!

Did acting inspire your desire to write?

Did my acting inspire me to write? Yes, it did! My father was a writer too. Edited the Oxford Isis. I didn’t start writing for a long time. But it was reading screenplays that just weren’t up to scratch that came me the idea. Why not write something myself and see if I could? So I did and my new career blossomed. I wrote The Webber Agenda while on a six month shoot in Europe and Africa called ‘Mission Top Secret’.

Tell us about your latest book. What do you hope readers take away from it?

My latest, and BEST book, is called Worst Nightmares. It explores the lengths to which we might all go to achieve success and financial security. This is woven into a story of a demon serial killer calling him self the ‘Dreamhealer’. We see innocent cyber lambs visiting the killer’s web site in an attempt to cure themselves of the most terrible nightmares. Of course the killer tracks them down and visits their worst nightmares on them, magnified a hundred fold! It’s one scary ride of a thriller and it never lets up – at least that’s what the reviews say! They are all on my web site http://worstnightmares.net As for what they take away… I hope they will be more careful in their day to day experiences on the Internet. There are some scary people out there as well as scam artists and yet we share some of our most private fears and experiences on the Net with perfect strangers. Scary. And my other thought was… ‘Never compound one lie with a bigger one! It’s the primrose path to hell.’

Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?

Next up goal now that I have finally cracked the US market, is to be published in foreign lands. I just sold the German rights. Why not the Japanese – they LOVE thrillers? And France? Awards are nice but down my list. Sales are important – enough of those and I can do so much more research.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

Interesting books? Probably the life and times (and recipes of) Escoffier. As for thrillers, Martin Cruz Smith, le Carre, Steve Berry, Alistair Maclean.

Book you’re currently reading?

I am currently reading The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith. Loved his debut novel, Child 44. This one is more adventure-driven. I liked the first more.

Any type of writing ritual you have?

No strict writing regime. Wake, have coffee, sit down at computer, write for a few hours (3?) have lunch, go for walk, write a bit more (2 hours?) I like to get 3 – 5 pages down each day.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?

I suppose I do believe in writer’s block, though I have never suffered from it. But so often the first book is the best. Shame for those people. I think I am getting more experienced and loving it so much I keep getting darker!

In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?

A successful writer is one that sells a heap of books. But I’d rather sell really well and yet be respected as a good writer by those who can tell those sort of things. Not the ‘uber-cerebral’ critics, but people that love my hero writers such as the Russian classic writers (Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Gogol) and modern thriller writers such as le Carre and Cruz Smith.

Advice for other writers?

Advice to other writers would be to write what you enjoy writing rather than attempt to write a novel that you THINK will appeal to the masses.

Where can we learn more about you?

If people are interested in my books, then they can go to my latest book site http://worstnightmares.net. If they want to know more about my films etc, they can visit the Internet Media Database at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0108470/ And if they want to see some YouTube videos try http://www.youtube.com/user/Robcrankey

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