Single Question Interview: Teel James Glenn

Murder-mystery or mysterious murder?

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The concept of the conventional murder mystery is puzzle story, a game to be played with the ‘prize’ the satisfaction of solving it.

Murder Most Faire was anything but; it was a way to deal with the pain of a mysterious death of a friend. I took the real events of that terrible day when I found his body and, by weaving in other elements from my adventurous life fashioned a map of my recovery-as-puzzle. I found this was a healing journey for me and realized as I wrote it that it could be just that for others. So the final gift my friend had given to me was being able to lay this path out for others to follow–albeit not everyone can have the satisfaction of being able to drive a sword through their problem…But they should…

***You can pick up Teel’s books through AMAZON.

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Single Question Interview: Lori Michelle

Write with purpose or for feeling?

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Like all writers, I can do both and have done both.  Writing for a specific purpose is more factual for me. I tend to view purposeful writing as just that, writing for a specific purpose.  It has its place and can be done very well.

Writing for feeling is much more evocative. Words come pouring out of you whether in anger, happiness or depression.  They are words that provoke emotion from the reader unintentionally. However, most of the time, really emotional writing is a tangle of jumbled mess without much rhyme or reason.

A good writer can do both. They have the skill to turn purposeful writing into something more meaningful and be able to draw emotions out of the reader. They also have the ability to corral the emotional part and write cohesively when feeling heightened.

I will admit, I write much better when emotionally charged. The feelings that flow through me manage to make themselves jump off the page to my readers.  My rage is especially powerful since I tend to express that better in words than I do in life. So going back to the original question . . . with feeling.

The best idea as a writer would be, find your emotions right before purposefully sitting down to write.

***You can pick up Lori’s books through AMAZON.

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Single Question Interview: Jamie White

How important (or not) is relating
your writing to your past or present residences?

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First, thanks for having me here today, Kenneth. I love this feature you do, so it’s awesome to be a part of it.

I think it’s a big help to “write what you know”. I put little details of people I know and things I’ve experienced into my stories, and I think that brings a certain life to a story that research alone can’t quite give you. All the details of a place can be right on, but I believe writing about a place you have lived in adds an emotional resonance to a story that is hard to manufacture. Our hometowns are, for better or worse, filled with memories and helped to shape who we are as people. I can’t think of a better source of inspiration.

***You can pick up Jamie’s books through AMAZON.

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Single Question Interview: David Wright

Describe the feeling of being published.

299153_4722414031700_264933393_nGetting my first novel published was like Christmas morning. The Christmas morning after you’ve been told that year that there is no Santa. It’s still exciting. You still get up early and go look under the tree. Cuz, hey… there’s presents. But there’s no “Wahoo!” kind of moment. It’s more like, “Yeah. Alright. That’s pretty cool. I’m hungry… are we out of Fruit Loops?”

I try to get super stoked about being published but it is surprisingly difficult. Maybe it’s the nature of modern publishing. I had this scenario in my mind where I open the front door, take a brown cardboard box from the mailman, open it up and find my book in my hand. Music swells, the neighbors cheer and wave. A Jack Russell terrier runs up out of nowhere and offers to shake. The phone rings and it’s the publisher telling me we’ll take the world by storm. He’s smoking a cigar and wearing a bow tie. He calls me ‘Kid’ and laughs like he’s already drunk as hell at 11am.

Instead, I got an email that said, “Here ya go” and boom, it was on Amazon. Which is great. No long wait, no hassle. But just… plop and another work of fiction is born into the world.

Or maybe my lack of enthusiasm is more to do with the nature of the world now. I’m old. Getting published when I was a kid 40 years ago was a big deal. Being a writer meant you had skill and talent. You had crafted your masterpiece, run the gauntlet of agents and publishers and editors and you had arrived. You knew things that no one else did. Your sports coat had those goofy patches on the sleeve. You looked like Napoleon Dynamite’s twin brother but women still got all fluttery and worked up around you.

Now everybody is an author. Kind of like everyone is a photographer or a musician or poet or a model or an actor. Which doesn’t mean we’re all good at it. But it’s so much easier. We can produce movies on our telephones, compose music with 82 different instruments on a touch screen and take stunning photographs with the electric can opener. As Syndrome put it in “The Incredibles,” “And when everyone’s super, no one will be.”

I realize this makes me sound like Abe Simpson. Just bitching up a storm about everything with an air of senile entitlement. And I try to keep that in mind also. It is a big, huge, hairy deal to have completed a novel that I think kicks ass. It took two years to write. I rewrote it about ten times. I hooked up with a great publisher in Severed Press who pretty much gave me carte blanche to get the book out there the way I wanted it. That’s unheard of nowadays without going the self-publishing route. So I am grateful. And I’m more than pleased with the novel.

I just haven’t had my “Wahoo!” moment with it yet.

The publication of the book does make me look forward to this Christmas. Even knowing there is no Santa.

A couple of years ago, I went to my first Christmas party in the UK. I had just opened a beer and my big mouth to say that I was planning on being a writer when the host informed me that most of the people there already had at least a couple of books published. I spent the rest of the night nodding and smiling and trying not to look like a twat.

So when I go back to that party this year, I can say that I’m a writer, not a wannabe. I’ve written and published something every bit as good as anyone else’s. For even though more people than ever before are being published, there will always be an even larger percentage who just talk about writing without actually doing it. I did it. And there’s a lot of Wahoo in that.

I’m thinking that the big excitement will happen when I get that call from Hollywood telling me they want to option the book for a movie. I’m still holding on to that particular delusion pretty tightly. Can anyone else hear that music right now?

Cue the Jack Russell…

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Single Question Interview: Cynthia Pelayo

Is your heritage reflected in your writing?

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In short, yes. I’m not sure if a lot of people who read my work understand that. I try to not make it obvious that I’m Hispanic in my biography and marketing materials. I don’t want people to avoid my fiction because for whatever reason they haven’t read much fiction by other Latino/a authors. However, I feel maybe I should point it out sometimes to avoid confusion. Once a reviewer wrote something along the lines to me that how dare I caricature Latino characters – my response was ‘How am I caricaturing Latino characters? I’m writing about myself, my husband, my father, my uncles, my friends and our experiences.’ They detracted their response not knowing earlier that I am Hispanic.

It’s difficult for me to look at the world through any other prism. I was born in Puerto Rico, raised in inner city Chicago and by inner city I mean you name it and I’ve seen it: teen pregnancy, drive-by shootings, the deaths of so many young and bright individuals, the cost of poverty and the desperation of loss. So, not only do I write reflecting a bicultural identity, I try to reflect an urban identity. I’ve gone on to college, obtained multiple advanced degrees, work in corporate America but to this day I still live in that inner city neighborhood (by choice) and walk past panaderias (Mexican bakeries) and stop and chat with elderly Puerto Rican men who are out playing dominoes on a sunny Chicago summer day. They are my world and they are the community that raised me, a Latina horror writer who loves her people. There is something magical about speaking Spanish and having this slew of superstitions tied to my Hispanic culture and then having to navigate the English-speaking American reality. It’s both beautiful and sad sometimes. I’ve always felt as though I belong to both but somehow am not fully accepted by either. Perhaps that’s why so many of my characters are outsiders.

***You can pick up Cynthia’s books through AMAZON.

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Single Question Interview: Emma Ennis

Long fiction or make short work of it?

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To be frankly honest, my dear, I don’t usually have much of a choice. ‘Twas about this time last year I was settling in front of a blank page to jot down the outline for a short story which would go towards filling my second short story collection. An entire weekend and two a4 notepads later, and I was still going.

The thing, which started out as a just a snippet of dialogue I’d hastily scribbled down in some long forgotten moment, just exploded. All of a sudden I had a fully fleshed novel on my hands, and 20,000 words later I had the premise for a sequel and a third in the series.

Needless to say, said short story collection got shoved onto the back burner.

The book was completed around November last year, and is right now nearing the top of the ‘to edit’ pile. I plan to at least flesh out and start the sequel before doing anything with the first because it’s a tricky plot with lots of crossovers, connections and a sprinkling of conspiracy, so I don’t want to miss anything.

But as to short or long fiction, for me they both have their merits and faults. There’s nothing like the feeling of having a bulging notepad in front of you with layouts, characters, maps, pictures, all ready to be translated into a story. It’s a huge challenge, stretching ahead towards a glorious finish line. Picture yourself, if you will, standing at the entrance to the Appalachian Trail, a backpack strapped to your back, brimming with everything you’ll need for the long, arduous journey ahead. I’d like to think that feeling is something akin to starting a new book.

Short stories however, are rewarding in the sense of accomplishment they give. An idea gets wrapped up, tied in a bow and filed under ‘done,’ short and sweet, job done, brush off the hands, next one please.

Personally I’ll take any idea, long or short, as they come. Bring it on!

***You can pick up Emma’s books through AMAZON.

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Single Question Interview: G Elmer Munson

What makes you click with a character?

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For me, that’s both an easy and hard question to answer.  The obvious answer is that the character should be likable.  For a protagonist, I have to like the character enough to be willing to see them through whatever nastiness the story has in store for them.  I have to like them enough to hope they come out alive when the story ends.  If I don’t, why keep them?  I have had the occasion where mid-story I realize that I absolutely hate the main character.  This usually occurs right around the time that I kill them off (it’s a reliable indicator).  Someone else becomes the main character and the story goes on.  In most cases, I soon realize that’s what I should have done in the first place.  The story is better because of it.  Other times?  Well, that’s what a trunk is for…

That was easy, right?  Well, the hard part for me is when I take great pleasure in developing a character that I absolutely hate.  Nasty people are fun to write, but that doesn’t mean they’re as fun to read.  Thankfully I learned long ago that first drafts are like playing in a sandbox.  You can throw whatever you want in there and then just rake the crap out later on.  That, of course, is the hard part.  First drafts are fun.  Editing is hard.  That’s the time to take an asshole character and turn them into someone that’s fun to read.  Either that, or go through countless pages of manuscript deleting them from existence.  Both take time, but in the end you’ve got yourself a character worth reading.  That makes the story worth reading.

Villains are a different story altogether.  With villains, all bets are off…

***You can pick up G Elmer’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)