Columbus, OH

Art Imitates Life in New Release from Columbus Author Douglas R. Brown

Walter Rhein

Cover art courtesy of Douglas R. Brown

Douglas R. Brown has been writing fantasy novels since his first Epertase book was released by Rhemalda publishing in 2011. His latest release, Death of the Grinderfish, imagines a world where the air is lethal and life saving masks are required at all times.

A lieutenant and paramedic for the Columbus fire department, Brown has first-hand experience with the kind of respirators used by life-saving emergency response teams. These masks are powerful symbols both for their physical appearance and from their historical context.

The premise of Death of the Grinderfish is that people have to use masks to breathe. Knowing that, I believe it wouldn’t take much of a leap to extrapolate how mask-wearing in the pandemic is directly tied into my fantasy world—Douglas R. Brown

Creative individuals always process traumatic circumstances by using them to help germinate artistic expression. Through exploring an idea in fiction, it’s possible to achieve a greater understanding of fundamental issues confronting our society. The resulting creative work can help create a new avenue for inspiring productive public discussion.

Death of the Grinderfish was born from a compassionate response to the challenges we've all faced as a result of the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic locked me in my house just like it did everyone else. While I still worked as a firefighter/paramedic, my off days were spent stuck at home. That’s when I revisited my Death of the Grinderfish idea and really sunk my teeth into it. So, in a way, the pandemic actually contributed to my release in a major way as it forced me to rediscover my love of writing after a few years away from it—Douglas R. Brown

Brown is known for quick, visceral prose that is highly engaging for the reader. He excels at world-building both in his high-fantasy Epertase series, or in a dystopian setting such as can be found in Death of the Grinderfish.

I can only spend the years it takes to fully realize a new story from idea to finished product if I’m in love with the idea behind it. I write because I need to get those ideas out for the same reasons an inventor might invent. I love to see my ideas finally fleshed out as much as if not more than the actual writing of them—Douglas R. Brown

The fundamental purpose of Death of the Grinderfish, like all great literature, is to entertain the reader. It has often been suggested that writers exist with one eye focused on reality and one eye focused on the visions in their own imaginations.

In Brown’s case, the recent mask mandates informed his imagination and helped bring the seedling of an idea to maturation. The result is a delightful piece of escapist fantasy.

Brown has organized several in-person events at local bookstores to launch Death of the Grinderfish so as to assist the kind of small businesses that have been most affected by the pandemic.

To read more about Douglas R. Brown and his writing, check out his website at

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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