Biography


Gary Braver is the pen name of Gary Goshgarian, the author of eight critically acclaimed suspense novels: three under his own name--Atlantis Fire, Rough Beast and The Stone Circle--and five under his pen name--Elixir, Gray Matter, Flashback, Skin Deep, and Tunnel Vision. He is also the author of six popular college writing textbooks--Exploring Language, The Contemporary Reader,  Dialogues, What Matters in America, Readings for Today, and Dialogue as Argument: A Concise Guide, now in 35 editions!

Gary is an award-winning professor of English at Northeastern University where he teaches Fiction Writing and courses in popular culture (Science Fiction, Horror Fiction, Detective Fiction, Modern Bestsellers, and Edgar Allan Poe.)  He has taught fiction-writing workshops throughout the U.S. and Europe, including the Maui Writers Retreat, Cape Cod Writers Conference, London Writers Conference, Almost Famous Writers Conference (Switzerland), as well as workshops at Brown University, Emerson College, Florida State, and others.

Gary's articles on travel and scuba diving have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, Today's Education, among others.

 

In Gary's own words:

I was born and raised in Hartford, CT and educated in its public schools. I received a B.S. in physics from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, an M.A. in English from the University of Connecticut, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin.  Before settling in a teaching position at Northeastern University, I worked as a soda jerk, newspaper reporter, tech writer, foundry laborer, and project physicist, which taught me that lab work wasn’t for me but teaching and writing were.

After a year of teaching at Western Michigan University, I took a position at Northeastern in Boston where I’ve been since the 1970s. Originally hired to teach linguistics, a subject which was turning my blood into ink, I introduced a course in Science Fiction. It was one of the first SF courses on the college level in the country, and my colleagues were hoping it would explode on the launch pad. But it took off, and I soon introduced two other popular culture courses—Horror Fiction and Modern Bestsellers.  They’re all still going strong after 25 years. 

In the 1970s I took up scuba diving and joined an Earthwatch team looking for Phoenician and Roman shipwrecks off the Spanish island of Mallorca.  We discovered two Roman wrecks as well as modern-day pirates who attacked us underwater with anchors dragged behind fast speedboats. Unbeknownst to us, our little expedition had trespassed into the middle of an antiquities blackmarket involving dealers who were stealing booty from Mediterranean shipwrecks and selling it to museums around the world.  I vowed that if I got out of that alive, I’d write a book about  it.  I did and moved the locale to the majestic island of Santorini,  the ancient outpost of the Minoan empire. That book is called Atlantis Fire, which Stephen King called “a fine thriller seasoned with wit and sensibility…it blew me away." 

The reviews were flattering, including one which suggested that I do a series of archaeological adventure tales using the same protagonist. I thought about that but couldn’t imagine a there’d be a market for a James Bondish archaeologist going from one exciting dig to the next. A year later, the first Indiana Jones movies came out.  So much for literary foresight.

But I did do one more archaeological thriller, The Stone Circle, which got good reviews and, for awhile, had attracted the interest of Jack Nicholson who was looking to do a horror movie on the success of “The Shining.”  He eventually passed, choosing to make “Wolf” (1994) instead.

In 1995, my next novel Rough Beast was published. Because of its reception, the publisher asked that I do more of the same—high concept bio-medical thrillers centered on the family. That led to Elixir, which got optioned for a movie by director Ridley Scott.  Because of that option and the publisher’s perception that the book was going to take off, I was asked to adopt a pen name to fool the bookstore chains which base their prepublication purchases on the sales figures of an author’s previous title. Because my publisher (Tor/Forge, St. Martin’s Press) wanted to print up ten times the hardback copies of Rough Beast, they didn’t want bookstores to under order. Thus, Gary Braver was born. Scott, alas, did not make the movie, even after a second option, but Elixir did well.

Since then, I’ve published two more thrillers—Gray Matter and Flashback, winner of the 2006 Massachusetts Honor Book Award.

Available in 2008, Tor/Forge will publisher my seventh novel Skin Deep, a psychological thriller centered on cosmetic surgery.

Besides teaching fulltime and writing novels on the side, I continue to teach fiction-writing workshops and will be returning for the third time to teach thriller-writing at the Maui Writers Conference Retreat.

My wife and I live outside of Boston and we have two grown sons.


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