1. Paperback, hardback, audiobook? I prefer paperback.
2. Pick a genre, any genre! Oh, uh… romance! Did I do it right?
3. What is the first book you remember reading? Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss.
4. What book shaped your childhood most? Probably a toss-up between Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein and Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume.
5. When did you first start writing? I had a good friend in the second grade who turned me on to writing stories for the fun of it. I was eighteen when a college professor told me I was “a wonderful writer,” which got me thinking maybe I could try doing it seriously.
6. What made you want to write? Does it still hold true? There’s a line from a Belle & Sebastian song: “If I could do just one near-perfect thing I’d be happy.” I remember hearing that and thinking, “Yes, that is it.” Still holds true.
7. What book/poem are you most proud of creating? Easily my novel, We Take Care of Our Own. It took me ten years to write. Of course there were days of pure agony working on it, but there were also days when I would reach a breakthrough and it felt amazing, a truly psychedelic experience. I felt like that ape at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey when he realizes a discarded bone can be used as a weapon. I also wrote a short story twenty years ago called “Sight Reading” of which I’m still very proud.
8. Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only? LOL, no. No no no. Animals in Heaven stays in the drawer. Where it belongs.
9. How many books/collections have you published so far? Just the one, We Take Care of Our Own.
10. What genres do you write in (or hope to)? I don’t think very much about genre. We Take Care of Our Own turned out to be a dystopian-military-psychological thriller, though I like to think of it as an anti-war novel, first and foremost. Currently I am tinkering with a novel set in space, which I guess automatically makes it science-fiction. But one of these days I am going to write a love story. I think I could write a good one.
11. Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head? I tend to be pretty obsessive when I set my mind toward something, so yes, I do a lot of research.
12. To plan, or not to plan your plot? Oh, I plan, baby. The plan might change in the writing, but I always go in with a plan in mind.
13. What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it? I was published with Montag Press, a small independent in the Bay area. It would be nice to “go mainstream,” like with an agent who buys me lunch at the Russian Tea Room to keep me apprised of the bidding war for my latest high-profile opus. I don’t think I’m alone in cultivating that particular fantasy. But Montag was very good to me, so if I am destined to always be an indie writer, well, that’s just wonderful.
14. Do you currently have a WIP? Yes. I’m in the middle of a first draft, so needless to say it is atrocious. But I think I see potential.
15. Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart. Good question! I’m not sure I have one. They are all dear to my heart, I suppose, but at the same time they’re all a means to an end, the end being a satisfying end of the story. Maybe having more conscious affection for my characters would improve my writing. I need to think about this.
16. Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship! The central friendship/romance in We Take Care of Our Own, between a therapist and a veteran living with PTSD, is far and away my favorite. It’s a beautiful relationship.
17. Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song. Very rarely do I listen to music as I am writing. Sometimes I’ll listen to a song or two to put myself in a certain headspace, like many athletes are wont to do. There’s a song by the Roy Ayers Ubiquity called “He’s a Superstar” that gets my juices flowing, so to speak.
18. Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!) No, and I’m jealous of those who do. I would love to see an artist’s interpretation of my work.
19. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be? Try to have fun. If you’re not having fun, don’t bother. You’re much better off channeling your energies elsewhere.
20. Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience! What experience? I enter a contest, somebody else wins. I move on. I will say that I am currently serving as a judge for Onyx Publications‘ Winter Contest. It’s hard work but very fun and very rewarding.
21. Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers? I think less in terms of favorites and more about which writers I loved deeply at one time or another over the course of my life. Judy Blume was probably the first—I can remember pulling out the family typewriter and copying down a paragraph from Superfudge just because I thought it was so, so great.
Steinbeck and Salinger are probably the two who made me want to be a writer. I went through a Stephen King phase in high school and a Vonnegut phase in college. Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole books are the funniest books ever written. And I’ve read a lot of John Updike and Philip Roth and Richard Ford over the years.
My, so many straight white men! I’m working to expand my horizons on this front.
22. Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!
We Take Care of Our Own: https://bookshop.org/books/we-take-care-of-our-own/9781940233888
My website: www.christopherclancy.com
My Twitter: @ClancySpeaks