Thursday, June 19, 2014

Meet Brian L. Porter: Author, Screenwriter, Co-Producer and More!

Brian L. Porter is a friend and an icon to me. I am so delighted he agreed to be interviewed! Brian's publisher is Creativia. He is a screenwriter and co-

producer for ThunderBall Films

They are filming his novels. Watch this space!

Behind Closed Door's Inspector Norris Page



Each may be purchased from Brian's Fan Page at Creativia

All of Brian's books may also be purchased at Amazon-World Wide

Coming soon from Creativia is the first ever paperback publication of

Brian's Avenue of the Dead, previously published in Kindle edition by

Stonehedge Publishing and available at Amazon .com

Amazon uk  

Creativia's edition will include the exciting prequel 
The Devil You Know, making this a terrific two-in-one purchase.

Details about the thrilling new reality TV series Jack the Ripper, Reality and Myth, featuring John Nettles and Mischa Barton can be found at

with regular updates at:

Interview Questions:

1 Why Jack the Ripper? How did that come about?

Would you like the long or the short version?

Oh, the long one, please!

Well, Carole, try to imagine a lonely, windswept hilltop, miles from anywhere, in the depths of winter, where darkness fell by late afternoon, with the wind constantly howling around the hillsides and snow falling steadily, temperatures falling by the day. Back in the winter of 1971/72, that was the location of RAF Little Rissington, at the time, the Central Flying School of the RAF, and home base of the Red Arrows, whose aircraft actually flew from RAF Kemble, not too far away. I was an 18 year old newly qualified airman, and Little Riz, as we called it, was my first posting after completing my RAF Apprenticeship. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere during the coldest, darkest months of the year, with little off-camp entertainment available, I gravitated to the Station library, where one day I found a book on serial killers, took it back to my room, and read it in about three days. Back to the library, where a book on the crimes of Jack the Ripper caught my attention. Within a day I was hooked!

So began a lifetime’s obsession/ passion, call it what you will, with the most famous unsolved crime mystery in the annals of British crime. I eagerly devoured book after book on the subject and have now spent the last 43 years studying and researching the case. It was thanks to my involvement with various Jack the Ripper organizations that I met my good friend and fellow author Mike Covell, renowned ripperologist and now the Historical Research Director for Thunderball Films. When it came to writing my first novel, logic dictated that it would be based on the subject I knew best, and so, A Study in Red – The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper was born, soon to be followed by its sequels, Legacy of the Ripper and Requiem for the Ripper.

2 You mentioned you were 8 years old when you were first published. 
Your short story, The Lion sounds interesting; do you have any recollection of what inspired that particular story?

Surprisingly, yes.
My teacher at Junior School, Mrs. Lee, asked the whole class to write a story about their favorite wild animal, and at that age, I thought Lions were really ‘cool’, so I invented my first piece of fiction based on the King of the Jungle. I no longer have a copy of The Lion and if I had, it would probably prove to be a piece of typical infantile prose, but it did get me hooked on the pleasure of story writing.

3 What inspired Behind Closed Doors, Purple Death, Kiss of Life and
 Nemesis Cell? If you want to tell me what inspired all of your books, go ahead—but I’ll settle for these and of course the Jack the Ripper Trilogy!

I’ve already covered the Jack the Ripper trilogy with my fascination with the whole Ripper case in question one, but as for the others…

Behind Closed Doors was a real labor of love! I’ve always tried to base my main characters on people I know, using their personality traits, often mingled together, to form the composite models for those characters. However, one day, I was watching a TV program about the early days of the London Underground system, and was fascinated by the fact that in the early years, they actually used specially modified steam locomotives on the system, with belching smoke and vile smells being prevalent and often off-putting to those who dared to use what was then a whole new form of travel around London. I thought it would be fun to create a murder mystery based on a series of murders on the first of the Underground Railways, The Metropolitan Railway.

I researched the Metropolitan, and when it came to inventing my two lead characters, Inspector Albert Norris and Sergeant Dylan Hillman, I thought I’d try a  new idea, and I based those two characters on myself, with each man representing different parts of my own personality. It seems to have worked rather well, because people have reacted so well to Norris especially, and to the book in general, and I believe it was you who actually contacted me one day to ask if the murders on the Underground were real or fictional, and to say that you felt so at ease with the character of Inspector that you felt you knew him and could happily sit down and share a cup of tea and a chat with him.

For me, that was a superb accolade, first of all that you really believed my fictional story to be a true story, the most any fiction writer can ever hope for, and secondly, because it appears I’d succeeded in creating a really believable and very ‘human’ character in Albert Norris, with all his flaws, secrets and basic humanity. Again, a wonderful thing to have achieved. A lot of people have since contacted me to say much the same things, which makes Behind Closed Doors, I believe, my finest work as yet.

Purple Death was very different in that it is set in the modern day, although, like most of my books, it has its roots, and the answer to the mystery it portrays, set firmly in the past. I wanted to create a serial killer with a difference, and one day, I was reading an article about the innocent looking plants that can prove poisonous to dogs, as I wanted to make sure I didn’t inadvertently poison my own dogs, when I discovered the fact that a plant that many people innocently grow in their gardens is actually the source of one of the deadliest poisons known to man. So, you could say that in a way, my dogs were the inspiration for Purple Death as without reading that article, I would probably have ended up writing far more mundane and less interesting story. I loved writing it as well, due to the fact that I was able to introduce a love story between my police detective and the pathologist working on the case, which added to the human interest side of the story and made those characters more ‘comfortable’ for readers to identify with.

The Nemesis Cell came straight from a dream…seriously. More than once, I have gone to bed at night, and woken up and found that I’d dreamed a whole book, as happened here. The odd thing, when this happens, is that unlike most dreams these ‘story dreams’ do not fade with time and they are there for good, the whole story from start to finish indelibly ‘printed’ on my brain’s synapses, so there is no danger of me forgetting any part of what I’ve dreamed.  I based parts of this book on places I’ve lived in the past, allowing me to introduce real places, and local settings and scenery that are exactly as they are in real life, so again, adding a touch of genuine realism to the book.

Kiss of Life was great fun to write. I’ve always loved the Dracula story and the various movies that have portrayed the evil count over the years, and so, a few years ago I wrote a short story, an homage to the great Bram Stoker, that I called Dracula Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. My story brought the Dracula story very much up to date, was set in the present and presented a whole new take on the vampire legend and the way vampires themselves live and reproduce.

The story was published as an ebook by a small Australian publisher, and was rather well received. When the contract for that book expired I decided I wanted to revive the central characters in a longer, full length novel, and so, Kiss of Life came into being. It was originally published by a publisher who has since closed down and may have languished unread and unloved forever until Miika Hannila of Creativia came along and offered to publish Dracula Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and Kiss of Life together in a new omnibus edition, with the short story assuming the role of a prequel, thus bringing the whole story of Alan Dexter and Christina together in one wonderful new book. I think vampire fans will enjoy the new take on the vampire legend and I have certainly received some great feedback on the story, which contains enough scares and dark brooding malevolence to suit most fans of the evil Dracula family.

I’d like to mention Pestilence and Glastonbury before I leave my books for the moment. Pestilence first I think. Having served in the RAF during the Cold War, I wanted to write a book that had some connection to those years when everyone expected one side or the other to press the button that would lead humanity into a nuclear holocaust. What would it have been like, I wondered, if one small village became the focus on a terrible calamity that took place during the Cold War, but that had its roots set further back in time, in the Second World War? So, set in the 1950s, Pestilence came into being. It’s a real roller coaster of a thriller, with a fearful conspiracy taking place behind the scenes and the lives of many hanging by a thread as death and destruction suddenly become the twin terrors that beset a small English country village, but with potentially fatal consequences for the country and perhaps the whole world hanging by a thread as the story unfolds with no one really knowing who they can or can’t trust.

And now for Glastonbury! This is the book I always wanted to write, a real modern ‘James Bond’ type of adventure thriller. No need therefore to tell you who or what inspired this story! I’ve always loved the works of Ian Fleming and the modern day master of adventure, Clive Cussler and so, with Glastonbury, I will say that once again I managed to create a scenario that is set in the present, but again with the roots of the mystery it portrays set in the past. Was King Arthur real? Did Excalibur exist? Why is a millionaire businessman prepared to spend a small fortune chasing what is in all probability a pipe dream? Shock and surprises abound in this novel that I found a pure joy to write, which also contains a tragic back story that surrounds the millionaire’s secretary, with fatal consequences for more than one innocent victim. Real goodies and baddies stuff, just like the books written by my heroes, Fleming and Cussler.

4 Your writing is so vivid, is it difficult to get out of the characters’ heads? Jack the Ripper, for instance. The journal entries are so realistic; I think I was relieved we weren’t neighbors! 

Haha. “Welcome to my home. Enter freely and leave a little of yourself behind when you leave…” oops sorry, forgot who I really was for a minute.
Therein lies the answer to your question, Carole. Yes, sometimes it is very difficult to ‘come down’ and leave behind the characters I have created. With my Ripper books, even my own wife would often get nervous as he said more than once that it was as if I had become possessed by the character I was living with day and night over the space of the years it took to research and write the trilogy. The only way I could present my own Jack the Ripper was to try and get inside the mind of the killer, to try and think as he would have thought, and to speak as he would have spoken, and so I became immersed in the life of the nineteenth century, and, like the central character in A Study in Red, literally ‘live’ the life of the Ripper as portrayed in the fictional ‘Secret Journal’, which gradually seemed to take on a life of its own as I sat writing the entries supposedly written by the Ripper himself. Writing the Ripper’s own account of his life and crimes became so natural to me that it really was rather scary at times to sit back after a period of writing and read what I’d written, and to see it as though it were written by someone else, truthfully!

5 What was your very first reaction to the offer of a film?

I didn’t believe it and thought someone was playing a cruel joke on me. I think it took Mario Domina a whole week to convince me he was the genuine article and that he was serious about wanting to produce A Study in Red – The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper as a movie. During that week, with emails flashing back and forth between L.A. and the U.K. I did all I could to check out the company that was apparently offering me the movie deal. I looked up Thunderball Films on the internet, and read Mario Domina’s biography on IMDb, and spoke to all sorts of people who might tell me if they thought this was a genuine offer. I simply couldn’t believe that a real movie company would contact me out of the blue with such an offer. Then I spoke with a friend and fellow author who happened to live not far from L.A. and she told me right away that she had heard of Thunderball and also that the address for the company was genuine and she even did a drive-by to check it out. Yes, the company was real, and their office was just where it was supposed to be, so I was convinced that this was no scam, this was the real thing. It took a few more emails between us as I must have driven Mario mad with all the questions I was asking him, but he showed remarkable patience and understanding and answered every one of my questions without ever appearing to be growing impatient or tired of my skepticism, and of course, in the end he managed to convince me, I signed on the dotted line, and the rest, to use an old saying, is now history!

Of course, I should add that at the time, it would never have entered my mind to even dream that within a few years, with Mario’s support, help, and tutelage, I would end up as a screenwriter and producer, so perhaps the old description of Hollywood as ‘The Dream Factory’ is true after all!

6 You are forthright enough to mention your health issues—how do you do it all? How do you stay focused as you do? 

Well, I’ve always been a very introverted and private person, and I never used to mention my health problems as I felt it wasn’t important for people to know about that part of my life, but when things got really bad and I had to virtually withdraw from life to the extent that I ‘disappeared’ for over a year, severing my ties with many of the networks I had built up, and from friends and contacts I’d known for years, I decided that if I ever felt well enough to resume contact with the outside world, I would need to explain my long absence. So, one day, and with much help along the way from Mario, whose constant support was unbelievable, I began making tentative steps to begin, in a small way, rebuilding some of what had been torn down by the terrible and chronic depressive illness that my many physical disabilities had brought on. In fact, when I think back, I believe that you, and fellow authors Ed Cook and Eileen Thornton were the first three people I made contact with, out of the blue, and when all three of you showed such delight at hearing from me, I knew I’d made the right choice. I told the three of you all about my problems and found you all to be immensely supportive, and now, I have managed to rebuild a much smaller, yet very important network of friends who are an important part of my life. Even now, because of my problems I can only sit and type for a very short period each day, maybe 30 – 60 minutes a day, as sitting down for more than a few minutes causes me pain, as does walking far, or even lying down, making me a sort of very slow moving human jack-in-the-box, so I have to strike a happy medium, plus, the very powerful medications I take do make me very sleepy most of the time and I have to take regular rest periods. (I could do with a supermarket trolley when I go to collect my monthly repeat prescription order). I’m not complaining, as this is just another aspect of life, and we all have to accept the hand we’re dealt with, don’t we? I try to make a laugh and a joke about it most of the time, so I just do the best I can, when I can.

It’s just a shame, that with my health problems and inability to travel far, I’ll never get the opportunity to walk down the proverbial red carpet at a Hollywood Premiere! But like I said, that’s life!

7 Do you write with an outline—with regard to novel writing? Or are you a seat of the pantser?

As I already mentioned, sometimes I dream an entire novel, and when that happens, the outline is already there, start to finish, in my head, so in that respect, yes,  but no at the same time, as, when I begin to write, it’s very much seat of the pants, and I just go with the flow and write the book as it develops in my mind along the way. In other circumstances, in just developing an idea, I start with the idea and again, let it and the characters develop along the way, so on balance, I’d have to plump for being very much a seat of the pants writer. I really don’t think I could write a successful book if I had to plan it all out in advance. My crazy mind is too mercurial too allow me to do that. One thing I’ve learned from my depressive illness is that I do get periods of intense mental activity, when the writing can flow, interspersed with long periods of deep dark depression, when nothing is possible and I have to wait it out until the next lucid period.

8 For your screenplays---do you use a storyboard to get going? And if not—how do you manage to get started?

No, I don’t use a storyboard. Thunderball’s philosophy is quite simple when it comes to adapting a book, and we keep as close to the author’s original story as possible. You see so many movie adaptations of books that end up nothing like the original story, and so we try to make sure that people who have read the book first will recognize the characters and the storyline when they see the movie. Of course, I often use a little ‘poetic license’ where I need to create certain moods or effects, as it is must be remembered that a screenplay is essentially a visual experience and dialogue is in fact kept to a minimum so that people’s attention is drawn to what is happening on the screen by the action taking place before their eyes, making the dialogue a secondary consideration, though of course, still an important one.

Perhaps the best example of this is in the opening a movie, where I attempt to set the scene for the movie before the opening credits have begun, with a short scene that illustrates the theme of the film, a ‘set-up’ of what’s to come, if you like, and this will mostly have no direct correlation to anything the author has written in the book, but comes from my own fevered imagination! It should also be remembered that a book may be 400 pages or longer and it is not always possible to show every piece of action in a movie that will last, on average, about 90 minutes. So, some scenes in the book will be deleted and it then becomes important that the screenplay is written in such a way that the action remains continuous without losing the thread of the story, which is in itself quite a difficult trick to perfect. Often two, three or even four chapters of a book can be brought together in one short scene of maybe two minutes screen time, so you see how the art is to show as much of the intrinsic plot of the book using as much visual content as possible, without losing any of the important aspects of the original  story when it appears on screen.

So, the best way to answer your question, Carole, is to say that the book itself is my storyboard, as I constantly refer to it while writing a screenplay. I always work with a paperback copy of the book at my side, where I can make notes and annotations relating to the screenplay in the book’s margins.

9  Your characters are so fleshed out, so real—do you method write—in other words do you become the people you are writing about?

I certainly do, Carole. I really do become those characters as I write about them, and really ‘live’ the story in my mind as I go along. All my major characters are based on people I’ve known over the years, often two or three people spliced together to form one composite character using what I feel are their best, (or sometimes worst) personality traits to create that character. As I mentioned earlier, I based Norris and Hillman in Behind Closed Doors on myself and gave them each separate aspects of my own personality with Albert Norris exhibiting the more excitable and mercurial side of my personality, complete with inherent flaws and basic human frailties and Hillman, his smoothly efficient sidekick inherited my sense of logic and methodology. Together, I think they made the perfect investigative partnership.

10  What’s your first step to writing a screen play—and do you ever write it without a novel—in other words, writing the screenplay only? 

If I’m writing from a novel the first logical step is to read it. Sounds basic, but it is the first essential step. As I’m reading it, ideas will begin to form as to the best way to portray the story on screen. Remember that the opening scene I previously mentioned is an important ‘hook’ in setting the scene for the movie and often this will include action that takes place in the middle or towards the end of the book, so you can see how important it is to read every page very carefully.
As a screenwriter, I also have to describe the action in words, and also the setting, and the physical characteristics of the characters, so a lot of thought goes into what I’d describe as the ‘staging’ of each scene. I can’t just write the dialogue, and have to describe in full the room or the external location in which the action takes place, (how many chairs are in the room, what the color scheme is, are other people (extras perhaps), present as the action takes place. What are the main characters wearing, is it day night, evening, is it raining outside or is the sun shining? Do I need to include title credits over the action to illustrate where the particular action is taking place, for example ‘Whitechapel, London, August 1888’ in the case of a scene from a Jack the Ripper screenplay? Does the scene fade in or out or do we simply ‘cut’ to the next scene, literally everything taking place has to go into the screenplay, which will then become the ‘bible’ for the director who will eventually adapt the screenplay himself to create the maximum dramatic effect of each individual scene.

To answer the second part of your question, yes, I also write without a novel as in the case of the TV series Jack the Ripper – Reality and Myth, which has been co-created by Mario Domina and myself. As this is a new and totally innovative concept, I was able to write this screenplay ‘from scratch’, creating each scene and every piece of dialogue from my own mind. This was a completely different process from writing a movie screenplay from a book, and in many ways, far more difficult but also much more rewarding. The same applies in the case of one of the movies we are currently developing. Annie Chapman, Wife, Mother, Victim was created originally as a result of one of my dreams. I woke one morning, having dreamed the life story of one of Jack the Ripper’s victims, and immediately phoned Mario the following morning. He was instantly enthused by the idea and we began to put together a synopsis for the movie, based on my own research into the subject.

We then contacted Mike Covell, who had assisted us in the creation of the movie of A Study in Red, The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper, who we took on board as Historical Research Director for this and future movies, including the TV series. As there were no substantive books available on the life of Annie Chapman, apart from a short 45 page pamphlet sized book which was now  out of print, Mike set to work on transferring his own extensive research into a book that we could use to base the film on and also which will accompany the film as a great reference guide to Annie’s life. As a result Mike’s 700+ page book bearing the same title as the movie was recently released by Creativia Publishing so this is a case where the concept of the movie came into being, knowing we would have a great book to refer to, and the screenplay began before the book was actually published because I had enough information at my fingertips to create a credible opening and then I has Mike’s raw manuscript to hand to refer to as the script developed further so this becomes almost an amalgam of the two sides of what you were originally asking. I hope that all makes sense!

11 How long do you think about a novel or screenplay before you actually begin—is it a long process or short—this is related to seat of pantser question! Do you ruminate or jump right in?!

I jump right in! As long as I’ve read the book or know in my mind what I want to create as in the TV series, then there is no point in hanging around. I can begin to write and when I’ve got so far down the line will send to the Producer, (Mario), who will decide if this is exactly what we want or not. (Thankfully he’s never said it isn’t). He will of course suggest changes in dialogue, and (rarely), in the setting, which is the prerogative of the producer, (kind of like a book editor), and we then work together to produce something we both agree on before I carry on with the next set of scenes. It’s very much a team effort and in the case of the recent acquisitions of books by Doug Lamoreux and Tony Lewis from Creativia publishing, we remain in constant contact with the author in order to get their feedback and approval of what we are creating, which after all is based on their terrific work in the first case. In Doug’s case he is going to work with me as co-screenwriter as he has some experience in the world of film and theater. Tony will also be closely involved all through every step of the creation of his screenplays though the actual writing will be my responsibility. So, in every case, no matter how the screenplay is written, we always endeavor to keep the author on board throughout the process, but I have little time for rumination!

12 Where do you do your writing? Must you have absolute quiet? 

I actually write on my laptop on the kitchen table, and yes, I do need perfect peace and quiet in order to create the right atmosphere for me to work in, to lose myself totally in the book’s setting and to enable me to ‘become’ the characters I’m writing about.

13 Please tell us about your relationship with Thunderball Films, whatever you wish to discuss. What do you think about the relationship between Thunderball and your publisher, Creativia? 

Wow, Carole, have you got all day? Well, first of all my relationship with Thunderball Films, and CEO Mario Domina in particular is a fantastic one, with both of us sharing the same ethics and ideals, not just professionally, but privately too. Over the years, as we got to know each other Mario and I discovered we were very alike in many ways, with our lives sharing so many parallels it was quite uncanny, and in the end we have felt like two brothers in many ways, separated only by the Atlantic ocean and of course, different parentage. When I discovered that Mario was the sole carer for his very sick Mother I told him I had done the same for my own mother, taking care of her for the last nine years of her life as she fought against cancer. So, while many people couldn’t really relate to what he does every day, I fully understood not only the physical side of what he actually does for his Mom, but also the mental anguish and strain he undergoes every day of his life as he does everything in his power to take care of Mom and make sure she receives the best medical care he can obtain for her.

Believe me, sharing such an experience really does bring people close together! We then found we shared similarities in the way our children have grown and developed, and, very spookily, over the years we’ve found that the same, or very similar things kind of happen to us at the same time. For example, last week, when Mario’s Mom was taken ill and had to be rushed into hospital, it coincided with my constant companion, my dog Sasha, having three epileptic seizures and having to be rushed to the vet. When my computer developed a problem some time ago, Mario’s computer developed a similar problem at the same time, you get the picture? As for the rest, well, Mario was really responsible for helping me to climb out of the deep pit of depression that hit me the year before last, and it was at his urging (and thanks to him paying for it), that I began to learn the craft of screenwriting. Over the years, little did I know that he has greater plans for me, and not only did I become Thunderball’s chief screenwriter, but he appointed me as an Associate Producer of A Study in Red – The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper. As my experience grew and I began to take on more responsibility for other aspects of the development of the movies, Mario then made me the Co-Producer of the current slate of movies on Thunderball’s development list. He is the perfect example of a man who stands by his team and is not afraid to give just rewards when he sees the commitment and effort in those who he works with. For example, next week I will be meeting with Thunderball’s new UK Casting Director, Barbara Knight, CEO of Prenelle Casting to discuss our requirements for the upcoming TV series, Jack the Ripper, Reality and Myth. It’s a real honor to be representing Thunderball Films at such a level and is a great illustration of the faith Mario has in me and my abilities.

The link between Thunderball Films and Creativia came about from an idea I had while talking with Mario one day. I had told him what a dynamic and ambitious person Miika Hannila at Creativia was, and also that I had read some of his books, and said, “Why don’t we see if we can do a deal  whereby Thunderball gives Creativia’s authors a priority chance to see their books developed into films? Miika could act as their agent and help set up the deals, and produce trailers for the books etc and we could have a co-marketing agreement never before seen whereby film maker and publisher work together to promote both the books and the films at the same time.” Mario loved the concept and an approach was made to Miika, and after talks between Thunderball and Creativia the current deal was arranged which should prove of benefit to both sides for a long time to come.

It is worth pointing out here that Thunderball Films, in line with most Hollywood Production companies, does not accept or consider unsolicited approaches by authors, publishers or agents for movie productions, and therefore this arrangement gives Creativia’s authors a fantastic ‘in’ to the world of Hollywood movies. Having said that, not every book can be developed into a film, and I hope all authors will be aware of that. Even a great book might not present the right concept the producers are looking for at any given time, as current industry trends have to be considered, and there are many other criteria which must be met before I can recommend a book to Mario for consideration.

Sheba, one of Brian's 10 rescue dogs. This is what love and care are all about. 

14 You know I call you St. Francis of England—and the reason I do is, aside from having 10 rescue dogs of your own, you are donating $1.00 for every paperback copy of BEHIND CLOSED DOORS that is sold through Amazon.
I know JM Northrup mentioned this in her interview with you. So for details, of the charity and why it is called Mayflower I urge readers to go to the interview with JM Northup. 

It is really so kind and so flattering that you think of me that way Carole and yes, my wife and I are rampant dog lovers and have rescued many dogs over the years. All of them have become a part of our family, loved and cared for as family pets. Most, if not all have been abused or neglected in some way before coming to us, and some have required intensive training to help them become socialized and happy members of our ‘pack’ of rescue dogs. Among our dogs, we have one who was thrown from a moving car on a  busy road, one who was whipped and beaten within an inch of his life, one who you know very well, (Sasha) who was abandoned on the streets at about 6 weeks old and has since proved to  be a very special dog, who has survived two broken legs, has terrible skin allergies and epilepsy, but who still has the nickname ‘Mrs Wrigglebottom’ because no matter what has happened to her, her tail never ever stops wagging, she is so happy to be alive. The same can be said of Sheba, who was used as bait to train fighting dogs and starved and beaten before being thrown on a rubbish tip and left to die, as a barely ‘living skeleton’. Sheba, like Sasha is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a much maligned breed that is actually inherently soft and loving by nature, hence the Victorian name of ‘The Nanny Dog’ as they used them to help care for their children, and to see this once emaciated little dog, (about half the size she should be), look up at me with the biggest ‘Staffy smile’ you’ve ever seen, and her tail whipping back and forth like a manic metronome is the most wonderful thing to see, it really is! Between them Sasha and Sheba could reduce a grown man to tears with the level of unconditional love they offer to us each and every day of their lives. Do dogs remember the abuse they suffered in their past lives? You bet they do, and my dogs are proof of the gratitude, and love and affection they and any rescue dog will lavish on those who subsequently offer them a loving home and treat them as they should have always been treated. So to everyone, I say, when you want a dog, go to your local dog pound or dog sanctuary and adopt a recue dog, PLEASE! Okay, end of Advert!

I imagine that is where your rescue dogs come from. How did you discover this wonderful rescue?

Some, though not all of our dogs came from The Mayflower Sanctuary. When my wife Juliet and I were first together, I had two dachshunds, Sophie and Candy, and my wife thought we should have another dog, one that we picked together, and so we looked up the addresses of dog sanctuaries in the area as we quickly decided that it would nice to offer a rescue dog a nice home. Having found The Mayflower Sanctuary in the phone book we paid them a visit and a longtime friendship began.  Of our current pack, Dylan and Muttley are Mayflower dogs, while Sasha, Sheba, and Dexter came to us via the local dog pound, Cassie was given to us by an owner who didn’t want her and Penny was picked up from the streets, abandoned as a puppy when a group of ‘travelers’ left town. Petal, Muffin and Digby, (known as ‘the puppies’) were not actual rescue dogs,  but these two sisters and their brother came to us when we decided we wanted ONE puppy, saw an advert for a litter of crossbreeds and went to take a look. My wife wanted the little black one, I wanted the black and white one so in the end we took them both. A few weeks later we got a phone call from the lady who we’d bought the two pups from to ask if we’d like the last dog in the litter. Her husband had taken it to the home of someone who’d said they wanted him, but when he got there, he ‘didn’t like the look of them’ and took the dog home. They said they had felt we were ‘special people’ when we had visited them to buy Petal and Muffin, and they were happy to let us have the little boy dog for a nominal price. So, Digby came home to us, and since we got them the three pups have spent their lives together every day, so much so that it is like having one dog with twelve legs. They literally do everything together, and never have we known dogs with such fantastic even temperaments, and loving natures, a true compliment to the people who bred them, and whose mother and grandmother they also owned and we’d met when we went to see them in the first place. Like us, they were true ‘dog people’.

15 what was the first novel you remember reading—and what novel made the greatest impression on you and why?

It was Biggles Goes To War by Captain W.E Johns. I was about ten years old and just loved all that action and adventure. I think I ended up reading every Biggles book ever written by the time I was fourteen.
As for the novel that has made the greatest impression on me the first prize goes to Dracula by Bram Stoker. I read it during that first winter at Little Rissington I mentioned earlier and to this day I can still remember the feelings it engendered in my teenage mind, fear, terror and the sheer thrill of the fight between good and evil. I’ve been hooked on the vampire legend, books, movies and so on ever since, so you could say that Stoker’s book definitely gave me my start on the path to lifetime of blood, guts and horror in its many guises.

Can I just add here that the BOOK that has made the greatest impression on me is Schindler’s Ark, by Thomas Keneally. This is of course the book on which Stephen Spielberg based his award winning movie Schindler’s List, and for me, this book should be made compulsory reading in schools as an example of what happens when man’s inhumanity to man is allowed to proceeded unchecked, but also to show how one brave man with the heart of a whole pride of lions could make a difference and save so many in the face of constant danger to himself and his family, simply because he knew what was happening was wrong. This is, I think, the only book I have ever read that has reduced me to tears while still reading it!

16 I know you looked after your mother and I think that is so admirable. What did you learn from it—how did it impact on your life and your goals?

My mother was, to me, the greatest person who ever lived. She gave birth to me, raised me, looked after me, fed me, nursed me when I was sick, and even when I’d grown to be a man, she was always there for me, supporting me in whatever I tried to achieve in life. The wonderful thing about her was that she never criticized me or tried to make me do things other than those I wanted to do, and she had the most wonderful sense of humor, even through the later years of her cancer. She never once complained of the pain she obviously was going through, and always, at the end of each day, she would say goodnight and thank me. I used to ask her why she felt the need to say thank you and she would reply that it was the polite and the right thing to do and that she appreciated all I did for her. That could reduce me to tears too. It was her who had done everything and made many, many sacrifices for me during the sparse post-war years in the fifties when the world was still recovering from the war and the profligate wasteful materialistic society of today was still at least a decade away. She loved to read my writing and was so proud of everything I’d achieved in life, great or small. She didn’t live long enough to read any of my novels but she read my poetry and short stories and loved every one of them in the way only a Mother can.

I still remember her last words to me. She managed to say “I love you, Brian,” and I replied “I love you too, Mum,” and I think in those few short words we both said all there was to say about our mother and son relationship.
What did I learn? Humility I think, and I felt so honored to have been able to be there for her when she needed me as I once needed her, and the meaning of love and respect for the person who above all in life is the bedrock on which all family life is anchored, our Mothers! You might have noticed that each of my books contains a dedication to Enid Ann Porter. That was my Mum and I will always cherish her memory with every word I write.

17 and lastly what do you want people to know about you and your work? Please elaborate and give us the lowdown!

I really don’t know quite how to answer this one, Carole. Let’s just say that I hope my writing gives people pleasure, that they enjoy reading the creations my mind has brought forth onto the pages of my books or the scenes that will appear on screen.  I’m not a genius or anything like that, just someone who could be likened to an old-fashioned story-teller, a teller of tales, a purveyor of dreams and mysteries; yes that’s it, if I am to be remembered as anything at all, I’d like to just be thought of as a man who was, at the end of the day, a story teller!

Thank you so much for asking me to talk to you Carole, and I hope I haven’t bored you and your readers too much. It’s been a pleasure.


Thank you so much for sharing all that you have and for giving us a great insight into the man that is Brian L. Porter.


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  2. Great interview, Carole! Well done!
    Thank you for mentioning me as well! That is very kind of you!
    It is truly a blessing and an honor to be personal friends with you and Brian! You are both such talented, caring, and "real" people!
    You both have my respect!

  3. My goodness! thank you so much!
    you are so kind and I appreciate it!
    thanks! pleasure to know you!

  4. It's my pleasure to know YOU, my friend!