Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Christopher S. Tolley Interview

 1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

I write best when I feel like I don't have any other demands on my time. This tends to be very early morning. Any other time I can be somewhat isolated, like if I have to go somewhere on mass transit, like a train ride, believe it or not, works pretty well, too, for the same reason.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

I like pen and paper to start. Then I type what I've written on the computer, editing in the process. For my latest project I started writing on the computer. It's been a little dicey so far. I may not continue that way.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?

When I think of 'inspiration' , I think of the idea of seeing or hearing something and having it stir up some inner wellspring and then, as a result, a connected idea forms. If this happens to me, I'm not aware of it. Ideas for stories or scenes or viewpoints for characters or anything that goes into writing fiction just pop into my head, frequently at inopportune times.

Then, of course, I think it's the greatest idea anyone ever had, so I scribble it down somewhere, resulting in a pad of paper with lots of  cryptic little notations that usually don't seem as useful as when I first had the idea, or slips of paper with unintelligible writing on them, that I find in my pants pocket months later and wonder, what the heck was I thinking? 

4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?

No, I purposely keep things loose. I think it works better for me that way.

5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?

Self-published, and I did the cover myself (can't you tell?) I was really conscious that when people are looking for books online they see a really small picture. I thought anything detailed, no matter how good it was, would not make an impact. I also wanted to use imagery that told the reader what sort of book I'd written.

I went through a number of ideas in my head and settled on the one I used.

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?

That's hard to answer because I'm so busy with it I don't usually think about why. I guess I always felt strong reactions from reading books and I thought it would be really fun to do what I could to elicit those kinds of feelings in others. Or share those feelings.

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?

I don't, but one is on my shopping list.

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?

Right now I'm reading The Pathfinder by James Fenimore Cooper. I liked the Last of the Mohicans pretty well, so I thought I'd give it a try. Nineteenth century action adventure. I was on a huge Patrick O'Brian kick for a long time (Aubrey/Maturin British Navy series) After that I was on a Raymond Chandler kick. I read everything I could find by Chandler, novels, short stories, everything. I couldn't find his last book, Playback, however. I don't think it was very popular. I really like Elmore Leonard, but only certain books of his, like Stick and LaBrava. Outside of that, the usual run of classics, like Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, Herman Melville, etc., and contemporary authors, James Lee Burke, Bernard Schopen, and anything that sounds good when I check the message boards!

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?

Sorry, I don't know what a book trailer is, which probably means I'll have to get one.

10: What are you working on now that you can talk about?

I'm still getting my feet wet with my recently published novel, Only Money. Once I feel comfortable with how I've positioned that marketing wise, I've got another I'll publish, called The Dead Bass Player.
Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk about my work.


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