Until the DaVinci Code novel hit the bestsellers’ list 15 years ago, I didn’t have any problem being Dan Brown, other than being a victim of my own misfortune.
Then, along comes Tom Hanks and the next thing you know, I’m defending myself on the radio that I am not some denizen of evil out to bring down 2,000 years of religion.
True story, though my mantra is to never let the truth stand in the way of one, I am on the air one Sunday morning and a listener calls in to let me have it.
“How dare you write such filth… such trash… to even suggest Our Lord and Savior partake in such acts.”
The crux of her complaint and the other Dan Brown’s story is that Jesus married and had a family… and really, what’s wrong with that? … without getting all theological here.
Her complaint isn’t the point… her point was because my name is Dan Brown and I’m working on a Sunday morning at $10 an hour, that I was the same Dan Brown that wrote the multi-million-dollar selling DaVinci Code novel and the same Dan Brown listed in the credits of the Ron Howard and Tom Hanks movie, that made more money than I could spend in a lifetime (though I would give it my best college try).
My reply to her – in my most compassionate and understanding tone of voice as I was working at a Southern Gospel format radio station on this given Sunday morning – dealt with nothing else beyond my personal finances at working part-time on a Sunday morning and also having written that filth, The DaVinci Code.
I said, “Ma’am, no offense, but if I wrote The DaVinci Code, I can promise you we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now as I would be anywhere else other than behind this microphone talking to you.”
She called me something one would never call anyone after just having left Sunday school and hung up.
This is some of the things I’ve dealt with now being Dan Brown.
Like the other guy, I write novels. I’ve written twice as many as the other guy, 13 published so far and working on book 14, and personally, I think mine are better. I write as D.P. Brown because presenting myself as Dan Brown, got me the Other Guy’s autograph on a “Cease and Desist Order.”
I have two Instagram accounts, Not That Dan Brown and Better Than That Dan Brown, and lately, being Dan Brown has come as a bit of a problem given the Other Guy’s marital and lifestyle allegations that have found their way into the tabloids.
Back in The DaVinci Code’s hey-day though, being Dan Brown brought about some awkward moments in book stores.
First, there was a woman – a mother to a son in the military and stationed in the Mideast – who approached me and said her son has read all my novels and loved them and would a please sign a copy for her son. At that time, “all my novels” numbered five and were visible in the community stocking libraries and Mom-and-Pop establishments like the bookstore I was in at the moment. Of course, I said, “Sure, I’d be glad to,” and grabbed my trusty pen.
She smiled big and pushed a copy of The DaVinci Code into my hands.
I didn’t know what to do.
It reminded me of the time when I was in a big box bookstore wearing my black blazer, charcoal mock turtleneck and with the white hair and beard, looked something like Father Flanagan in Boys Town. I was perusing bookshelves as books are my passion and obsession – another story for another time.
It was right after Pope Benedict had retired as pope.
A lady approached me, smiled and said, “Strange days in the Vatican, aren’t they father.”
Another, “Oh boy,” moment.
Like then, I didn’t know what to do.
Back then, I replied to the lady, “These are transitional days, my child,” and genuflected the Trinity with my left hand as I am a Southpaw and do everything left-handed, which upon further reflection, probably called up some vile pestilence from the nether regions of Hell.
And I got – the hell – out of that bookstore, and fast.
As for the woman with the son in Iraq, I opened the book, clicked my pen and signed it, “You are the Hero, not me. All the Best, Dan Brown.”
I thought about signing it as “The Other Dan Brown,” but why should I disappoint a mother wanting to surprise her son?
I get told that when I die, I will enjoy eternity in much warmer climates than I am enjoying right now for my poor choices, but that too is another story for another time.
Dan Brown writes as D.P. Brown because of the other Dan Brown. Dan has published 13 novels since 2013. His books can be found on Amazon.com. For signed copies, questions and other comments, email firstname.lastname@example.org Dan is also on Facebook and his books can be found under the D.P. Brown page.