Take This Book and Covet


By Frank Esposito

| Reprinted from The Glass Eye

Dame Fortune had a funny way of turning Marvin Brown into a published novelist. Brown, a BGSU grad and copy editor for an Akron-based trade magazine, waited patiently—OK, maybe not so patiently—for a year while a pair of literary agents unsuccessfully shopped his first novel, a horror tome titled Jigsaw Man.

The author

Then in early 2000, his brother John—a computer whiz who’s appeared on CNN—suggested that Marvin turn to the Internet to generate some interest for the book. Going a step further, Brown opted to write a 3rd novel—he had completed the first draft of his second, Constant Sleepers—and market the new work via the Internet.

The resulting book—a psychological thriller titled Covet—was wrapped up and submitted to Xlibris, a partner of Random House, in early 2001. [Author’s note: Xlibris and Random House have since ended their partnership; as of 2012, Xlibris has joined forces with Penguin Group.] Less than a month later, Brown was working with Xlibris officials to publish the book.

The novel

Fast-forward to March 2002 and Brown suddenly has Covet in his sweaty hands—available through Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble and every other bookseller of merit on the planet. Since its debut, Covet has sold almost 400 copies to curious readers as far away as California and Texas. At a late May book-signing in an Akron suburb, Brown hustled 40 copies of the book in less than three hours.

Covet also has won praise from Ohio crime novelist Richard Montanari, who described it as “a fast-paced, contemporary parable on the psychology of race, the nature of identity and the brutal powers of memory.”

In a recent interview in Akron, Brown said seeing his book in print “was like being handed a child—preferably my own—for the first time.”

Disparagingly, Brown got over the fact that his earlier, longer novels were being upstaged by Covet, a snappy 140-pager that reads like a dispatch from a coffee shop just outside of Hell. In tracing the descent of twin protagonist Russell Washington and Garrett Kale, Covet displays touches of the occult, heartache and, of course, ’80s R&B stars Ready for the World (RFTW) in all their jheri-curled glory.

“I’d advise that if any opportunity arises to reference Ready for the World in prose, take it. Oh Sheila!” said Brown, who also traps Etta James, D’Angelo, Miles Davis and others in his printed web.

Brown gave himself a 4-month deadline in which to write the book. He promptly spent the first 3 months going to the movies, watching “The West Wing,” and sleeping. Somehow, he crammed research into the time he had allotted for writing and cranked the finished product out in a feverish final month.

“That last month, I wrote every freaking day,” the dreadlocked author said.

The school

After snagging a journalism degree from BGSU in 1991, Brown went to work editing copy for a daily paper in Medina, a growing Cleveland/Akron suburb, somehow managing to work toward a Master’s in psychology from the University of Akron in his spare time. Somewhere in there, he also spent a semester interning at the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune.

Like many former Falcons, Brown’s got a set of alcohol-spattered memories and co-ed crushes that he threatens to air in print someday.

“Let’s just say BG left me with cherished, embarrassing and hilarious memories that I have yet to plumb as a writer and leave it at that, OK?” he admits.

As for advice for aspiring literary typists?

“Anyone heedless of the rigors of sitting for hours, days, weeks alone in a room, banging out stuff they’re passionate about doesn’t need my advice.”


| Frank Esposito is a senior reporter for Plastics News and a 1992 graduate of Bowling Green State University.





<About Marvin

| Home |