Brian Thiem

Hometown: Bluffton, SC 

Primary Genre: Fiction 

Secondary Genre: Non Fiction 

Honors and Awards: Distinguished Thesis, 4.00 GPA 

Activities: Writing additional novels, mentoring in the MFA program, speaking at and attending writing events. Board member of Retired Oakland Police Officers Association. Member of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. Lowered his golf handicap by four points in the past four months.  

 

 

Before getting his masters at Western Connecticut State, Brian attended Arizona State University, where he got his B.S in Criminal Justice. Following receiving his B.S, he received his Master of Public Administration from Golden Gate University. 

Brian says he began writing fiction when he was in high school. He loved to piece together stories that included both suspense and strong themes. Though he is a professional writer and mentor now, Brian stopped writing for pleasure for many years. After college, he entered the Army, which was followed by a career in policing. After retirement from the Oakland Police Department, he took an adult education course in creative writing, and there his interest was rekindled. A few years after forming a writing group, he completed the first draft of a novel. Brian wanted to make the novel better. After receiving a letter from the VA advising him that he was eligible for the Post 9-11 GI Bill as a result of his year in Iraq, he started looking into taking some college courses in writing.  

Brian wasn't initially looking for an MFA program, but saw that WCSU had a good writing program that was close to home, so he met with the WCSU veteran's coordinator. From there, he was introduced to Brian Clements, who knew Brian had what it took to be in the program, despite his lack of background in writing.  

Brian says what he remembers most about his experience in the program was the overwhelming first residency. Specifically, his first workshop led by Dan Pope. The students had to submit something before the workshop, and Dan Pope had selected Brian's submission as an example for the class. That's when he knew that he would definitely be able to sit alongside all the other students who seemed to have more experience than him.  

A month after graduating with his MFA, Brian signed with a literary agent, and a few months later, signed a contract for a three-book series with a publisher. Since then, he has had three books published: Red Line (2015), Thrill Kill (2016), and Shallow Grave (2017). He's attended mystery conferences throughout the country and has done dozens of author talks, presentation, and book signings. In the summer of 2015, he met his wife and moved to Hilton Head, SC, where he can golf and ride his Harley all year long. He is currently working on a fourth novel and is a mentor in the MFA program.  

Brian's advice for current MFA students is to take advantage of the learning environment. His goal in the program was to learn how to write. He didn’t need a piece of paper (Diploma) or a professional secondary genre to make a living. He wanted to learn how to write a novel that others would want to read. Those whose goal is solely the MFA degree are missing out on a huge opportunity- a structured academic environment with some of the most dedicated and talented mentors who are willing to work as hard as necessary to guide and encourage students in their quest to become accomplished writers.  

Many of his mentors are now his friends and peers. He goes to them for advice, and even introduced him to his agent. Brian completed the program part time over a period of three years, and even though he was only required to attend four residencies, he attended all six. He immersed himself into the writing life with his fellow writers, and that week inspired him to continue to work for the following months. One regret Brian has about living in the south is his distance to the WCSU program, the residencies, and its mentors.

 

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