Welcome to this week’s feature with fellow Pittsburgh author Brian Hagan! Brian has been kind enough to sit down and offer his answers to a few fun questions.
When have you felt your biggest adrenaline rush?
I think my biggest rush comes when I’m sword fighting. Either in a choreographed performance, or competitive fencing with rapiers, daggers, and the like. In both, unexpected things happen and it’s those moments when training and reflexes kick in that give me a huge adrenaline rush and leave me grinning afterwards.
What’s the craziest thing you have ever done and would you do it again?
Appropriately enough, the craziest thing I’ve ever done was volunteer for my first choreographed sword fight… an hour before the curtain went up on opening night.
It was a production of Macbeth being put on by my college. My girlfriend at the time (now my wife) and I had volunteered to help with the sound & lights, so we showed up early to run through the program before audience members arrived. As we walked in, the director looked at me and says my name in that real friendly way when you need somebody to do you a favor. Apparently, the prior day one of the actors jumped off the stage and broke her ankle. She was able to still go on & do her lines, but she couldn’t move well enough to do her part of the big battle at the end. They needed somebody to fill in for her, as the whole thing was intricately choreographed and they couldn’t just remove her part.
So, over the next two hours I received a crash course in stage combat and was taught the choreography that the regular actor had spent four months practicing. Did I mention that they couldn’t change anything? That also meant that if I screwed up, the whole battle could get thrown into disarray and people could get seriously hurt.
Thankfully everything went smoothly and the curse of the Scottish Play didn’t feel any need to manifest further.
I would do it again in a heartbeat, but preferably without anyone breaking their ankle.
If your job gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those days?
Spend time watching good movies, reading, and snuggling with my cats. These are ingredients chosen to create the perfect inspiration. But Professor Utonium accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concoction: Everyday Life. Thus, a to-do list of shopping, cleaning, and spending time with my awesome family, was born!
In the past people were buried with the items they would need in the afterlife. What would you want buried with you so you could use it in the afterlife?
My sword, because my friends will be incredibly disappointed if I showed up without it (also, a piece of string tied on the end makes the best toy for playing with cats, and they would be disappointed too). My instruments, because I love playing music and as heavenly as the angels’ songs surely are, I’ll be sad if I can’t play along. Finally, I want to be buried with a library, because then I can be sure my afterlife will be heaven.
What advice would you offer an aspiring writer?
Write. Write well, write poorly, and with all manners of spelling and grammar. Write what you love to write, write what you don’t love to write, and learn from both. Most importantly, meet people, because they are what stories are made of.
Brian’s background is varied and curious, starting with an interest in science and language, before moving into animation and game design. Most recently he’s been working with gemstones, and experimenting with bonsai and carnivorous plants. But of all his many hobbies and vocations, he loves telling stories above all else. His first novel, The Horrible Plan of Horace Pickle, was completed for NaNoWriMo in 2008. Brian currently lives in a notoriously haunted house in Pittsburgh with his wife, daughter, and a menagerie of cats and rabbits.