Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Author Spotlight on local author Brian McKeown. Brian joined us for our Small Business Saturday event, and he has been a feature of Worcester Storytellers. We have copies of his books at the store.
Brian McKeown was born and raised in Birkenhead, England. His father was a docker and his mother was a clippie on the buses. He attended St. Anselm’s College, did a stint with the RAF and the Merchant Navy, and then studied electronics at Birkenhead Tech, which allowed him access to the fledgling computer industry. After being hired by an American computer company, he relocated to central Massachusetts where he has lived for the last thirty-five years. His first book, Enter at A Laughing, is a collection of humorous essays. His most recent novel, Hannah’s Left Hook, takes place in England and is loosely based on the life of his somewhat dangerous grandmother.
Thank you for the interview, Brian. What kind of research went into writing your books? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the books, but you loved discovering?
Some of the most interesting research I did was about the importance of Spam in WWII. The British lived on Spam during this period, as did the Armed Forces of the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union. In fact Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev stated that without Spam, the war against Germany would have been lost.
During the Blitz over Britain during WWII, a bomb hit a train and a truck. When the firemen appeared, they had to decide which they should put out first. They chose the truck, because it was full of the canned meat Spam.
There should have been a statue for Hormel!
What was the inspiration for Hannah’s Left Hook? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
Hannah was loosely based on my maternal Grandmother, and I’ve always wanted to tell her story. I’ve admired her for her tenacity and her ability to survive and thrive with her family through the tumultuous and difficult times of the first half of the last century.
Are there any groups, classes, or organizations that you would recommend to other writers that have helped you in your career?
I would specifically recommend the Fiction Writing classes that are offered at the Worcester Art Museum taught by Laurel King, without whose advice and support the book would never have been published.
Thank you so much for the interview, Brian. We love having you at the bookstore!
For any one interested in copies of Brian’s books, Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester has copies—and if we’re out, we can order them for you.