By Todd Travis
For some people, it takes a long time to find a true friend who really “gets them.” For Brennan Gilpatrick and Gregory Lang, co-authors of the upcoming novel “Battery Life,” that happened to them in sixth grade.
They first met when Lang overheard Gilpatrick mentioning he was having some trouble mastering the finishing moves in the popular video game: “Mortal Kombat.” Lang was basically an expert at the game and was eager to share his knowledge with Gilpatrick.
“I was talking about how I was struggling with these moves when Greg appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and started writing down some moves for me to try,” Gilpatrick remembered.
A creative friendship begins
“From there we started talking and realized that we had a lot of similar interests – that is when our friendship began,” Lang added.
As their friendship developed, an ongoing conversation continued between the two of them that included discussions of their favorite movies and video games – eventually, that evolved into them discussing how they would design their own reality if they were to create a story.
As teenagers, they began having fun with their ideas and would create different short films where Gilpatrick would direct, and Lang would play one of the character roles.
“For one of the roles, I played a monster under the bed and covered myself in green paint for the role. After showering all the green paint off my body, the tiles in the shower were stained green for about six weeks!” Lang laughed.
Another film featured Lang playing “The Crescendo Kid,” a homeless youth who turned out to be a piano prodigy. In the story, he eavesdrops into some piano lessons and even breaks into a house to have an opportunity to play a piano himself.
“It was a long time ago, but I remember one of these two short films actually winning at a local teen film festival we entered,” Gilpatrick mentioned.
After high school, Gilpatrick moved to Los Angeles where he studied film production and screenwriting, and Lang went to Indiana University to study informatics. During this time their conversations about creating a story became more serious. They began talking on the phone religiously every week and building on ideas and letting their creativity flow.
In 2017, the two of them were on break from school and they got together on one of their front porches for an in-person creative session. One of the elements that fueled their creativity was listening to synthwave music. As they listened to one of their favorite soundtracks, they both realized it was time to take one particular idea and run with it.
This was going to turn into something; they just knew it at that moment.
From that point forward, the book “Battery Life” began taking form. The story follows a young girl who crash-lands into a toxic wasteland and is forced to rely on a savvy scavenger with mixed intentions to survive.
The pandemic’s silver lining
As they slowly developed the environment, the characters and the storyline, an event happened that gave new shape to their process – the pandemic. With lots of newfound time during lockdown, the pair was able to really hunker down and dive into their writing.
“It was kind of ironic because as we were writing a book about a crumbling world, the world was literally crumbling around us,” Gilpatrick remarked.
“Besides writing, I just remember being in my room, growing my hair out like a caveman, doing push-ups until I was cross-eyed and sweaty,” Lang said.
Lang and Gilpatrick began to pitch their story to industry experts and were met with positive responses. That gave them the confidence to continue and complete their dream project.
“We wrote a few short stories set in the world of “Battery Life” to feel out the tone, and I got the opportunity to share those with CAA literary agent Abby Walters. She gave us the encouragement we needed to write the book proper, and when it was finished, she agreed to represent the novel and found us a publisher. We couldn’t have gotten this far without her help,” Brennan explained.
Launching their first book
After all the years of developing ideas, “Battery Life” is now complete and launching at the end of this month!
Besides being an action-packed adventure with multi-faceted characters, the book presents underlying themes that Gilpatrick and Lang both face personally and pose in the story. One of those themes revolves around the idea of mentorship. Does a mentor really have your best interests at heart or is there another selfish motive behind their offer for help?
Another theme that presents itself is finding “your people.” In a world with so many types of people, where do you really fit in, and what do you really enjoy doing?
“Taking care of the environment is also a very clear takeaway that can be found in the book,” Lang commented.
The book’s release date is May 30.
To pre-order go to: blackstonepublishing.com/battery-life-ezku.html#541=2053569