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Kaylon Bruner's Story

Tell us a bit about yourself Kaylon.

My name is Kaylon Bruner. I am a scientist from Nashville. I have been writing ever since I learnt to read. My first novel was written last year (2021). I was 57 when it was published. However, as a scientist, I have published multiple book chapters and around 75 peer-reviewed journal articles. I have also written several essays published in the lay press.

Everyone's got a unique process what's yours?

My first novel was inspired by an event in my family. Following DNA analysis, we found a relative that we didn't know about--he was half-Vietnamese and looking for his birth mother. The story that unfolded inspired me to write Time Intertwined. Importantly, half of the book is set in Vietnam during the American war there. Because of my medical research in toxicology, I couldn't write a story about Vietnam and not talk about Agent Orange. Ultimately, I decided to write a trilogy (The Agent Orange Trilogy). The first two books are published and the third is underway. You can read more about the books and the inspiration for the first one on my website: kaylonbrunertran.com

Compelling characters, mystery and suspense make for great good arcs. When you care about the characters and are anxious to know if they are okay--or what happens next to them.

Despite this, there are days when I don't feel like writing, but I don't call that writer's block. Sometimes I am stuck on a part of the story and am not sure how I want to resolve something--but I don't dwell on that. I just move to something else--either another part of the story or I walk away from the book for a day or two. 

‘’Sooner or later, inspiration strikes and I am back at the keyboard’’.

 I think you can stress yourself into writer's block. If I had to make a living from my books--I would get stressed out when I didn't feel like writing--and that could probably result in what some people call writer's block.

You've been through it, what have you learnt?

I write historical fiction. The history is easy enough to find online, but I love buying books written by the people that were there. Reading their personal stories helps me create more realistic characters and scenarios. 

My ex-husband is Vietnamese. Reading and writing about the war has given me a much greater appreciation for what his family went through.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Pay more attention in English class. Apparently, my use of commas leaves a lot to be desired (so says my editor).

Time Intertwined: Book 1 of the Agent Orange Trilogy weaves neglected aspects of the Vietnam War into solving a modern-day genealogical mystery. This historical fiction mystery novel ultimately reveals the heavy toll of this conflict—from the orphans left behind, to the long-term effects of the war on both soldiers and civilians, and the devastating legacy of Agent Orange.

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