Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Blood Drama by Christopher Meeks: Interview: Virtual Author Book Tours

Welcome back!  I'm excited to feature you again, along with your newest book.  What is one of your favorite characters from a book?


I assume you mean characters not from my books but others’. I just finished reading an amazing book, Too Bright to Hear, Too Loud to See by Juliann Garey, a first-time novelist.  Her protagonist, Greyson Todd, is a Hollywood studio executive whose bipolar disorder gets so strong, he flees his job, wife, and daughter to travel the world, telling no one when he leaves. He figures he’s a bad person and shouldn’t inflict himself on people he loves or respects.  He becomes dangerous and self-destructive, making him unlikeable at times—but he’s also darkly and starkly funny.


The book shows you don’t need to make a likeable protagonist as long as long as you can empathize with the character. Tony Soprano and Dexter are this way in their respective dramas, too, often doing despicable things, yet you have to watch. Too Bright to Hear, Too Loud to See is in the first person; you’re in Greyson’s head when his thinking goes off track, so it’s a surrealistic ride at times.


What books have most influenced your life?


It’s a great question because it assumes a book can influence a person’s life. I like to think of great fiction as akin to brain surgery. It can save a person’s life.


It’s not that one book has saved my life, but stories themselves have guided me, and writing them has given me endless challenge and purpose. J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and his Nine Stories gave me characters I could empathize with and also stories that threw me off my stride. They were not the usual stories but ones with characters that seem ordinary from a distance and unique up close. They have stayed with me.


Tim O’Brien’s collection The Things They Carried took me into the Vietnam War, which I felt I narrowly missed when I had to register for the draft, and it showed me what could have been. It’s also an amazing collection of what stories can do. O’Brien speaks in one how fiction can be more real and truthful than “happening truth,” i.e. in what really happened.


Margaret Atwood’s poetry and fiction, such as Oryx and Crake and its sequel, The Year of the Flood, has bound itself to me. They help me look at life from another angle.


What book are you reading now?

I love these questions on books, which underscores how reading helps mold you, too, Laurie. I just started my first Ann Pachett novel, State of Wonder.

Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?


My mother was a voracious reader and encouraged me when I started writing. She died a few years ago but had read the first versions of Blood Drama. She’d been the one to introduce me to novels by Michael Connelly and Robert Crais, who inspired me to write in this genre. The late author Thomas Thompson (Serpentine and Blood and Money) had been my professor at USC, and he was a major influence and quite personable, too. He was a great character in his own right, starting his writing career in journalism at Life magazine.

What does your wife and family think of your writing career, and does she read your stuff?


My wife Ann is a librarian, so we have a natural symbiosis. She happily reads my work, but usually after the editor and proofreaders have done their work. Ann is smart, so I listen to her.


In fact, with Blood Drama, one of her favorite characters, a nurse named Cuervo, was killed. She asked was it possible to save him?—that he might be a good character for another novel. I liked Cuervo, too, so I had someone else die instead. I feel like a god when I do these things because a good character can be closer than real people.

Plotter or Pantser? Why?

Ah, craft! With short fiction, I always worked by the seat of my pants. I never had a firm idea where it would go. With novels, I discovered the power of a bullet-point outline. With it, I could picture an entire scene faster than I could write it, and, once it was down, I could push scenes, make them better, all in my head. I could “what if” to my heart’s content without writing a lot. I could compare the beginning to the end and create more steps—or fewer in spots—and deepen the emotion.


The thing is with this, the outline needs to stay fluid because once I am writing a scene, new things happen anyway, and then I go back to the outline and adjust and see what the repercussions are of this new thing. So the answer is it’s a mixture of both.

How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?


I can’t even conceive of writing by formula beyond giving my protagonist a deep need and then things stand in his way. Even though thrillers and mysteries have certain expectations, there’s something in me that pushes those expectations.

I love dramas that are rich in character, stories that grow week by week. I didn’t own a TV for a long time. Now with cable, so many of the best shows are not on the networks. This will date me and this interview, but I’ve loved such past shows as Thirtysomething, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, and Rome. Right now I’m into Mad Men and Breaking Bad. We also watch one reality show, Project Runway, which speaks to me so much about the creative process and its constant challenges.

Publisher: White Whiskers Press  (June 15, 2013)
 Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense, Crime Thriller
 Available in: Print &  eBook, 242 pages

Everyone has a bad day. Graduate student Ian Nash has lost his girlfriend in addition to being dropped from a Ph.D. program in theater 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.

 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.

Christopher at the Red Room: http://redroom.com/member/christopher-meeks
Christopher’s Website www.chrismeeks.com


Blood Drama  Web Tour Schedule

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
Darlene’s Book Nook May 24th  Interview &Giveaway
OmniMyMystery June 6 Interview
Green Mountain May 27 Review
Book Lover’s Library May 28 Review
Book Lover’s Library May 29 Interview & Giveaway
Hezzi D’s Books & Cooks June 3 Review
Celtic Lady June 4 Interview
Laurie’s Thoughts & Reviews June 10 Review
Laurie’s Thoughts & Reviews June 11 Interview
I’d Rather be at the Beach June 12 Review & Giveaway
Self Taught Cook June 14 Review
Wormhole June 17 Review
Raging Bibliomania June 18 Review
Wormhole June 18 Interview & Giveaway


holdenj said...

What a great interview with Christopher! I always enjoy an author who likes to read such a fun variety of books. And admits to watching Project Runway too! :)

Teddy Rose said...

Thanks again for taking part in the tour and hosting Chris!

Teena in Toronto said...

I liked this book.