Interview with Ian Brennan, Grammy-award winning music producer and author of Sister Maple Syrup Eyes

Ian Brennan

We’re delighted to welcome Ian Brennan to the blog today. Ian is the author of Sister Maple Syrup Eyes, not to mention a Grammy-award winning music producer! Check out his interview responses below and then read on for more information about his work and his book.

Interview with Ian Brennan

Recent work

Tell us about your most recent completed project

Sister Maple Syrup Eyes is a book about recovery. It was inspired by own personal experience coping with the aftermath of the rape of my “first love”. The first rough draft was written in 1990 and it has been relentlessly revised and honed down since, to just over 20,000 words. In many ways, it sort of unintentionally anticipated flash novels.

What are you working on now/next?

My fourth book (a non-fiction work on inequity in media, How Music Dies (or Lives): Field-recording and the battle for democracy in the arts, is being published in February 2015. And I’m very exited by an upcoming, solo debut record from Bob Forrest “Survival Songs”, which also deals with recovery.

Which is your favourite piece of work so far? Why?

It is hard to choose from the many records I’ve produced by other artists, but i think the forthcoming collaboration between Tuvan throat singer, Sainkho Namtchlak and the rhythm section of Touareg legends, Tinariwen, it really sounds unlike anything else out there. And that is a rare accomplishment in these over-documented times.


Favourite author?

So hard to say

Favourite book?

Whatever i am reading at any moment.

Favourite film?

Purple Rose of Cairo, The Graduate

Favourite video game?
I HATE video games

Favourite food?

Tea Leave Salad

Favourite drink?

Roasted green tea


Who inspires you?

Those who live independent lives with respect for others and no intention of harm. (That description fits the majority of canines on the planet, by the way.)

What motivates you?

Art has the ability to anonymously inspire empathy. In the presence of empathy, deliberate violence cannot arise from a person. Beauty is something that we can never really overdose on, so any one who purely strives to contribute to the collective good without desiring reward(s) or recognition, gives me hope.

How do you define creativity?

Art and creativity are linked but separate. All people are creative, but few are often artistic. To create something for its own intrinsic sake and without concern for its reception is a high level of artistry that few of us ever reach, and one that is even harder to sustain.

Anything else?

A wise, old artist once told me “every new author thinks that their own life is more interesting than it is”. An even wiser senior editor commented that “every author thinks that their book is the next Moby Dick.” Decades of rejection and indifference have dissuaded me of such notions.

About Ian Brennan

Ian BrennanFor over twenty years— since 1993— Ian Brennan has successfully trained over one-hundred thousand people across the USA (as well as Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East) in violence prevention, anger-management, and conflict resolution at shelters, schools, hospitals, clinics, jails, and drug-treatment nationwide, including such prestigious organizations as the Betty Ford Center, Bellevue Hospital (NYC), UC Berkeley, the National Accademia of Science (Rome), and Stanford University.
These trainings are based on more than fifteen years experience laboring as a mental health specialist in locked, acute-psychiatric settings, the job rated as ‘the most dangerous’ in the state of California.

He is a Grammy-award winning music producer (Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Malawi Mouse Boys), who specializes in working with underrepresented international artists. His poetry was first published at age nineteen. He is also the author of the non-fiction books Anger Antidotes, published April 2011 by W.W. Norton (NYC), Hate-less, which was issued in the fall of 2014, and a book on popular culture, How Music Dies (or Lives): Field-recording & the battle for democracy in the arts.
Twenty-five years in the making, Sister Maple Syrup Eyes, is his first novella. Though it is a work of literary fiction, it was inspired by his own life-altering experience at age 21 when his ‘first love’ was beaten horrifically and raped in her apartment by a family-friend.

About Sister Maple Syrup Eyes

Sister Maple Syrup EyesI never believed that my own hurt during the aftermath of the rape was all that momentous. I knew full well that the trauma I’d experienced was infinitesimal compared to hers. Yet, nonetheless, it was still devastating and changed the course of my entire life. The one thing I was determined to do was to try to produce something good from that bad, a celebration and memorial of what was, and that if it leant some small healing to even one person, it was somehow worth the while to help tip the scales however insignificantly back towards sanity.

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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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