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Friday, May 24, 2013

Blood Drama Virtual Blog Tour: Author Interview and Giveaway with Christopher Meeks

Hi, everyone!

I am pleased to participate in Christopher Meeks' Blood Drama Virtual Blog Tour hosted by Premier Virtual Author Book Tours.


About Christopher:

Christopher Meeks first published short fiction in a number of literary journals, and the stories are available in two collections, The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea and Months and Seasons. Recently, he’s focused on novels. The Brightest Moon of the Century is a story of a man who yearns for love and success, covering over thirty years—a tale that Marc Schuster of Small Press Reviews describes as “a great and truly humane novel in the tradition of Charles Dickens and John Irving.” His last novel, Love At Absolute Zero, is about a physicist who uses the tools of science to find his soul mate–and he has just three days. Critic Grady Harp calls the book “a gift.” The new novel, Blood Drama, has him edge into a thriller. Meeks also runs White Whisker Books and publishes four authors.

CONNECT WITH CHRISTOPHER ONLINE: 


Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Christopher! Please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m presently growing corn, watermelon, and artichokes. That’ll make a meal, right? For the artichokes, I love them boiled with a lemony hollandaise sauce, which I make fresh using whole eggs. Now that I’m a farmer, I like to say “y’all” a lot. I must be a Southern farmer.

 

Do you have a specific writing style?

I take what I write seriously, even if humor sneaks in. My style is to make each sentence clear. It takes a lot of work to make it seem easy.

This question brings up a thing that happened in my Introduction to Literature class yesterday at Santa Monica College, which relates to voice and style. I had the class read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.” I like assigning this short story because it’s so different—about a dishevelled old man who’s rescued, and he has wings. (If you’ve never read it, click on the above link.) Rather than lecture about what magic realism is, I had them experience it.

I happen to find many parts of the story funny, such as the woman who counted her heartbeats until she ran out of numbers or the man who couldn’t sleep because of the noise of the stars. You have to admit, people can be weird.

When the students had a hard time talking about the story, I put them in small groups and let them answer questions about it. What was great was many of the students, now being asked questions, looked at the story in a new way and even asked their own questions. A few students on their own found parallels to Jesus, and one brought up the Joan Osborne song, “If God was One of Us.” They overcame their first assumptions and found a lot to admire in the short story. What I’m getting to is that I like stories that have multiple levels, and that’s what I aim for in my own stories.

Today on Library Thing, I happened to come across a new review of Blood Drama by someone named Stephario. She wrote, “I've been sitting here for the past several hours trying to summarize and review the characters and plot of Blood Drama, but I just couldn't do it. You can't summarize this story. It has way too many twists and turns and is way too unique to shorten without giving something away. You can't condense these characters into a short paragraph each. They're all, save one, too complex, too well-rounded, too evolving to be able to write just a few lines about each.”

This isn’t to say my story can’t be summarized. Rather, I like to see that Stephario appreciates the complexity and, like my students yesterday, came across something different and on her own came to understand much of it.

My style is not Marquez’s. Like Marquez, however, I write for a reason. I hope to disarm.


Is your ending clearly in your mind as you write, and do you build your story towards that? Or are you open to exploring where the story will take you as a writer?

My ending is definitely in mind, but the exact wording is not. John Irving typically writes out the last lines of his stories first, and in most cases has always kept the exact words. I only have a general ending in mind. I always hope for something lyrical to pop up, or at least powerful, and in most cases that’s what happens.

I write down in shorthand the scenes to the whole book in advance, but once I’m writing, I’m open to changes. Sometimes a character does or says something that surprises me.

If something changes or gets added in, I go back to the outline and see how the new thing affects the whole story. I readjust the outline before going much farther. It’s important to have structure. I can imagine scenes faster than I can write them.  


Do you discipline yourself to write a certain number of words daily, or does your writing ebb and flow?

I aim for a thousand words a day, but if I don’t always hit it, that’s okay because other days I write a lot more.
 


What is your ideal writing environment? Do you prefer music or solitude? Is there a time of day (or night) that you prefer?
 

I tell my students to analyze themselves. When and where are they the most productive? Then create a routine. I like working in my home office in solitude right after waking up. I’m still in a dream state. I have the most energy then. My wife, in contrast, is a night person.


Blood Drama is your first novel in the thriller genre. What led to your writing taking this new direction?

I like to try something new with each novel and short story. I challenge myself. I know I’ll end up not being completely traditional. I’m not fighting the genre but just following what interesting characters do.

 
Can you tell us a little about your current and upcoming writing projects?

I’m into the fifth draft of a mystery, 10 Days to a Bad Habit. Each day is a chapter—ten chapters. It’s about a married man at a convention in Las Vegas who meets an interesting woman, brings her back to his place, and in the morning, she’s dead. However, he did nothing—he’s innocent—and while evading the police, he tries to figure out who killed this woman and why.

 
What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Our daughter is fourteen now and doesn’t like restaurants, so my wife and I have date nights. It’s great we don’t need babysitters now. Our five cats and two dogs would say I exist for their needs. I walk dogs and clean catboxes. I also garden, swim, teach, read, and tweet.


What book are you reading now?

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. A research doctor from Minnesota goes to the Amazon to find out about a colleague who died there. It’s very good.



Thanks so much for joining us today, Christopher! It was a lot of fun getting to know you better.


One lucky winner will win a copy (print or digital) of Christopher's thriller, Blood Drama. If the winner is outside of Canada/US, the winner will receive a digital copy.


TITLE: Blood Drama
AUTHOR: Christopher Meeks
PUBLISHER: White Whisker Books
DATE OF PUBLICATION: June 20, 2013
FORMAT: Paperback, 242 pages
GENRE: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense, Crime 
ISBN: 9780983632962






Everyone has a bad day. Graduate student Ian Nash has lost his girlfriend in addition to being dropped from a Ph.D. program in theatre at a Southern California university. When he stops at a local coffee shop in the lobby of a bank to apply for a job, the proverbial organic matter hits the fan. A gang of four robs the bank, and things get bloody. Ian is taken hostage by the robbers when the police show up. Now he has to save his life.

FBI Special Agent Aleece Medina's analysis of the bloody bank heist drives her into the pursuit of a robbery gang headed by two women. She doesn’t anticipate how this robbery will pit her against both the bandits and the male higher-ups in the FBI while the media heats up during a giant manhunt.

The robbers are about to kill Ian, and all he has at hand is his knowledge of the stage.



To enter the giveaway, please fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open worldwide until 12:00 AM EST on May 31, 2013.
Tour Participants

So Many Precious Books May 13 Review & Giveaway
Books, Books & More Books May 14 Review
Books, Books & More Books May 15 Interview
Alive on the Shelves May 16 Review
Ordinary Girls May 17 Review
DWED Blog May 20 Review
DWED Blog May 21 Interview
She Treads Softly May 22 Review
Reading With Tea May 23 Review
Darlene’s Book Nook May 24th  Interview &Giveaway
Green Mountain May 27 Review
Book Lover’s Library May 28 Review
Book Lover’s Library May 29 Interview & Giveaway
Raging Bibliomania May 30 Review
Hezzi D’s Books & Cooks June 3 Review
Celtic Lady June 4 Interview
OmniMyMystery June 6 I
Laurie’s Thoughts & Reviews June 10 Review
Laurie’s Thoughts & Reviews June 11 Interview
I’d Rather be Reading June 12 Review & Giveaway
Self Taught Cook June 14 Review
Wormhole June 17 Review
Wormhole June 18 Interview & Giveaway

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for taking part in the tour and hosting Chris!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for hosting and the contest Darlene! I visit your site often :)

    Dayna
    book reviewer
    http://www.LazyDay.Ca

    ReplyDelete

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