Over the course of his life, author Brian Whitney has been employed as a counselor, a landscaper, and a case worker at a homeless shelter. In 2012, drawing upon his experiences, Whitney published 37 Stories About 37 Women, a collection of interwoven tales about sex, relationships and addiction. With rhythmic prose and hypnotic storytelling, Whitney explored the dark, dysfunctional side of love, lust and desire, topics that he revisited in his next book, 2013’s Am I Pleasing You?
In June of 2013, Whitney co-authored Wasted Paradise, the story of Keith Moore, who left his small town in Maine to travel to Saint Thomas, where he lived the high life until developing a severe drug addiction and ending up in a third world prison. Whitney also worked with adult film star Porsche Lynn on her memoir, The Girl with the Million Dollar Legs, which was released in September of 2014.
Whitney is currently working on books with adult film actress Rebecca Lord and reality television star Megan Hauserman, and he recently started his own publishing imprint, Strawberry Books. To learn more about Whitney and his work, visit him online at www.brianwhitney-writing.com.
What was your upbringing like, and how did it shape who you are today?
My upbringing was very normal outwardly. My parents are nice people, I was middle class. With all that said, I always felt like I didn’t fit in with anyone around me, and if people knew what I was really about they would shun me. I was an anxious kid who spent most of my time faking it. I don’t fake it anymore.
Who are your biggest creative influences?
I love people that write very simply about fucked up things. Dennis Johnson, Arthur Bradford, George Saunders, Jim Carroll. All of them have influenced how I write.
What inspired you to write 37 Stories About 37 Women and Am I Pleasing You?, and what were your goals with each of those books?
I like weird books. I like to read things that push peoples buttons and make them go “What the fuck did I just read?” Both of those books are my attempt to do that.
I am a good writer, but I literally have no ability to write something “normal.” When you read one of my books, it is going to be a wild ride. Both of these books are about the darkest aspect of human behavior. They were published with a “literary erotica” publisher, but believe me, most people don’t find them to be a turn-on.
I have a novel coming out soon that is more of the same. It is filled with odd people and sexual debauchery.
How did you initially become familiar with Keith Moore, and what was it about his story that you found most interesting?
Keith is a really cool guy. His book was my first attempt at ghostwriting, and it came out pretty well. Keith went from being a small town boy from Maine, to a drug kingpin in the Virgin Islands, to being imprisoned in Tortolla. The whole story is a rather epic tale of ruin and redemption.
Did writing The Girl with the Million Dollar Legs with Porsche Lynn affect or alter your opinion of the adult film industry in any way?
Not really. I am one of those guys that doesn’t really get phased but what other people do. I do admit it was rather fascinating to get the behind the scenes look on it though. Porsche was one of the true icons. She did the job back when things were really wild. She has some stories that would be unbelievable to most people.
I also didn’t know who she was, so I think that gave me a unique perspective. I don’t watch porn. Not because I am against it, I just find my own life and mind much more stimulating than something I could watch on a screen.
At one point, you were working on a book with actress Lisa Robin Kelly, who passed away in August of last year. How did that opportunity come about, and in speaking to her, did you get any sense of how troubled she was?
It came about because I got in touch with her. I work with a lot of people as a ghostwriter and almost all of them came from me saying “Hey what’s up, do you want to do a book?” Lisa was wild. I felt really badly for her. She would one day be very sweet, then the next day would be flirtatious and sending me photos of herself, then would write me and tell me that she hated me then the next day she would say that wasn’t her that wrote me, it was her ex that hacked her email.
I think, if we were able to finish her book, it would have been an interesting document. She was fascinating not just because she was famous, there was something going on there that I couldn’t put my finger on.
If you could co-author a memoir with anyone from throughout history, who would you choose?
That is a tough one. It wouldn’t be someone famous. It would be someone that had some sort of wild story to tell, someone that didn’t fit in and did their own thing. Sometimes the quietest lives leave the best stories.
What does your writing environment look like?
I publish books, I sell books as an agent, I edit books, I ghostwrite, I promote books and I write my own stuff. So I spend a lot of time doing this. I spend my day tucked in the back of a quiet condo banging away on a 7-year-old Macbook. I live near the ocean, and also in a cool little city, Portland, Maine. So every day, I get out and hoof around a bit.
What has been the happiest time or moment in your life?
Things are pretty good right now. I still have a few things to work out, but I am quite happy in the present.
What would you like to do that you simply haven’t found the time for yet?
I want to travel. I have had a lot of luxuries in my life but travel has not been one of them. I have either been too poor, too crazy, or too busy to do so.
What are you working on next?
I am working on book with French porn star Rebecca Lord, one with a man from California who goes to Costa Rica to unearth tombs for gold, I am editing a new anthology of erotica, and working on my own novel, which I am hoping to get out in a month or so. I am busy all the time as of late, which is a good thing for someone like me, idle hands and all of that.