TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine needs to look no further for new writers then our own back yard. In Northern Virginia we have discovered much talent in the literary field. One such talent is Brandt Legg who has just released his new book Outview.
Brandt, we have learned that you were a child prodigy who became a well-known stamp collector as a youth. Please tell our readers about your early years.
BL- I grew up in Fairfax County, Virginia (just outside Washington, D.C.), the youngest of five boys. My father died suddenly when I was eight, gutting my family emotionally and financially. A couple of years later, I began collecting stamps (my dad had loved the hobby). At age ten I started helping a local dealer at stamp shows. I bought a cover (envelope with a stamp affixed) for twenty-five cents and minutes later another collector offered me $85 for it. Of course I sold and thought I was rich! Immediately, I decided to be a stamp dealer and gave up collecting.
TAEM- We understand that your hobby as a philatelist has earned you a great deal of money. From your proceeds that you made from your collection we learned that you created a multi-million dollar business empire. Please tell us about this aspect of your life.
BL- It was a good time to be in the stamp and cover market. Along with coins, gold and silver and other collectibles, I was able to parlay that $85 into tens of thousands, then began acquiring other dealers and soon bought out a national auction house. I fell into real estate while looking for a larger place to house my business. Before I could close on my first purchase, someone offered to buy my contract for a huge profit. The DC market was hot and like the first stamp deal, I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. In addition to flipping properties and development, I expanded into many other businesses. All through my teen years, I worked long days and ignored most typical adolescent pursuits. I left high school at seventeen, already a millionaire. By nineteen I was worth more than $10 million and the media dubbed me the Teen Tycoon. That was 1986.
TAEM- We understand that you later left Virginia and fortunes are made and lost, but you emerged later and began to rebuild through ventures in retail and real estate. How were you able to turn the tables on life, and tell us about the fantastic drive that you possess and the ability to succeed?
BL- In order to achieve such results, I was highly leveraged, so when the stock market crashed, around my 21st birthday, in October of 1987, I was caught short. Things unraveled through 1988 and by the end of the year it was all lost. During that time I made some bad choices and did things I very much regret. After a lengthy investigation, I served a year in federal prison for financial improprieties. Around then I wrote a memoir about my life as the Teen Tycoon and fell in love with writing but preferred the freedom of fiction.
After my release, at 26, I began anew in retail and real estate and over the next decade found my luck again before deciding to give up business to pursue my dream of writing a novel. I left Virginia and headed west.
TAEM- Not one to rest on his laurels, we understand that you branched out into Magazine publishing, newspaper writing, FM radio, and Music production. This is an overflowing plate in anyone’s book, but yet you were able to tackle all of them. Please tell the story behind these accomplishments.
BL- I settled in Taos, New Mexico, became a nature photographer and began to write but was lured back into business when the owner of the world’s largest solar powered radio station asked for my help to expand his company. At the time I fooled myself into thinking it wasn’t business, it was rock n’ roll! But as it turns out, business is business, no matter the product. Still, the next ten years were a blast. We grew the company into two FM stations, a monthly arts magazine, an indie record label, a bar and live music venue, booking acts like Angelique Kidjo, Buckwheat Zydeco, Little Feat, Dr. John, etc., as well as many of the top touring reggae acts. Along the way I squeezed in a weekly newspaper column on music. The owner decided to sell, in 2010 so I structured a deal for a group of employees to take over, then relocated to Oregon for another fresh start. This time nothing would get in the way of writing.
BL- Outview is a coming-of-age thriller of mystics and magic set in present day southern Oregon and Northern California. The story has been called visually stunning. The action takes place in beautiful locations such as: Crater Lake, Mount Shasta, the Oregon Coast, Redwoods, etc. It follows a group in their late teens that find themselves on a frantic quest. While running for their lives, they encounter wonderful, whacked-out mystics who reveal an incredible destiny. There’s a metaphysical undercurrent throughout the novel but no vampires, I promise.
TAEM- Who are the main protagonists in your novel?
BL- The protagonist is Nathan Ryder, a teen who lost his father young, suddenly finds himself with enormous power, in situations way beyond his years, wading through corruption and pursued by powerful people. It was fascinating for me to take my own experiences and impose them metaphorically onto Nate. As a new author, it’s exciting how many readers have told me they keep thinking about the book for days after they finish. I’m especially flattered when people quote lines from my characters. For example, Spencer, one of the people helping Nate, forces him to question all his beliefs and I’m hearing readers have done that as well. For me, that’s the thrill of fiction, to explore without offending, and to let the reader discover something about themselves.
TAEM- Who is the publisher for this book and where can our readers find it?
BL- Outview is published by the Sager Group (theSagerGroup.net) The best place to order it is amazon.com (available in paperback and ebook). I’d also like to invite your readers to my author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brandtleggauthor and my website BrandtLegg.com where they can learn more and keep up to date.
TAEM- We also understand that the two other segments of your trilogy will be out later this year. When can we expect to see them?
BL- The Inner Movement trilogy will be complete by the end of the year. Book two will be available midsummer 2013 and book three is due late 2013
TAEM- Is there any possibility that your novels will be made into a movie?
BL- A movie deal is a dream of mine.
TAEM- What will be your next literary accomplishment and do you have anything planned in this respect?
BL- Once the Inner Movement trilogy is complete, I will finish work on an archeological thriller I began in Taos. And, consider whether to publish Teen Tycoon, my long completed memoir of those early years.
TAEM- Brandt, I am truly humbled by the many things that you have been able to create, and I want to thank you for your time in this interview with our publication. Please promise to keep in touch so that our readership can follow your career in the future.
BL – Thank you so much for the opportunity to share Outview with your readers.