Are any of my answers particularly offensive? There's a couple of bad words, but I personally am not the best judge of that. It gets a bit weird in the middle, which I thought was funny but maybe the blog host didn't appreciate it (I've been kicked out of writing contests for my jokes, so I'm used to it). I think the biggest problem was me shilling my books full of graphic violence, sex and potty humour, and they were afraid their audience would be offended.
Anyway, the interview didn't get published then, so I'm going to try and offend all of YOU with it now... Happy reading!
Oh, and if you do like my style of writing and humour, then you will LOVE my contribution to Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime, about a punch-drunk, recovering drug-addict private detective bumbling through an investigation to take down organized crime in the seedy underbelly of Mount Vernon, Washington. It's called "Gussy Saint and the Case of the Missing Coed" and no, I don't take anything seriously.
I've been writing stories since I was five years old, but I think I got passionate about it when I was about eleven or twelve. I would get really excited writing stories in English class. Most kids would see it as a chore and struggle to write a page or two. I wrote ten to twenty pages, and usually illustrated a cover, too. The teacher would often have me read them out in class (whether to save herself from writing a lesson plan for that day or to shame the other kids into writing better, I can't say), and I've always been a ham in front of a crowd so that worked for me. I was never good at sports or popular at school, so entertaining the other kids with my silly yarns was a big deal for me. I've wanted to write and tell stories ever since.
What makes you passionate about writing?
I love the moment when an idea comes to fruition in words, when the story is flowing and coming together. It's so easy and fun, and the best feeling in the world. Of course, it always comes crashing down when reality sets in and I have to re-write everything to death, but the moment when the words are coming fast and furious is the moment I feel like a real writer.
What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Erratic. I tried to get a couple of books published when I was in my early twenties, in the early 2000s. This was before the rise of digital self-publishing, and I had no luck breaking in the traditional way. Probably had something to with the fact my writing wasn't that great and I was submitting to completely the wrong markets. I forgot about it for a while, but when Amazon KDP became big it piqued my interest. I thought about it long and hard for five years... and then self-published my first book in a rush without having a clue what I was doing. It was terrible, full of mistakes and typos. I sold a bunch of copies to supportive friends and relatives, who have since not bought anything of mine because the first one was so terrible.
Now, my next book was much better (it helped that I had a proper editor work with me to polish it up) and I actually went back and nearly completely rewrote that first one. Ten Thousand Days is now a proper, finished book, and it's the book I wish I had put out the first time, two years earlier.
Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Like I mentioned above, I tried to get my book published years ago without any success. I was young and naive, so I did get discouraged when rejection after rejection came in. I didn't feel that discouraged at the time, but it took me over ten years before I tried to seriously get published again, so it must have hit me more than I realized. Maybe it was because back then someone had to take the trouble to stick a rejection letter in an envelope and mail it, so that meant they REALLY didn't want you. It took the passage of time to ease the memory of it, and the inexorable onset of age and mortality to kick my ass into gear and remind me that if I didn't get started soon I might never see my work in print.
What books have most influenced your life?
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas taught me about the wonders and benefits of drug use. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy told me never to leave the Solar System without my towel. Mickey Spillane and Raymond Chandler taught me where not to hide the bodies. Marilyn Manson's autobiography taught me how to be a self-centered dickhead. The Cat in the Hat taught me not to let talking cats into the house when my mom is not home. The Secret taught me I should write terrible self-help books.
Is that what you meant?
Please tell us about your book, Hell Comes to Hogtown.
Hell Comes to Hogtown was my second self-published novel. It's the story of the hapless night manager of a comic book store and his womanizing, drug-addled pro-wrestler best friend. It follows their adventures trying to avoid being murdered by a bloodthirsty demonic hobo while clearing their names in the kidnapping of the prime minister's wife. There's lots of sex and violence and bad words, and it's not for the faint of heart.
What genre is it?
Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
Before I start I usually have a few clear points in my head. Probably a few scenes, a couple of major plot points, some background info. I may or may not have the ending. I start writing and when I get to the end realize it's a total jumbled mess that doesn't look anything like what I had envisioned. Now that I know where the story is going, THEN I write an outline, and basically re-write the book so that it falls into a logical shape. I should really try to outline first to save myself a lot of time and headache, but I find that when I outline too much, I never get around to actually writing the story. It's like if I figure out all the details beforehand, it's not as much fun. I like to feel a little surprise myself as I go through the writing process.
What has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
As poorly has my first self-publication went, it really helped me out. It showed me how the publishing process is supposed to work, and a lot of mistakes I made along the way. Plus, my feeble attempts to promote the book also made me a lot of contacts and friends in the business, which makes a great network to support me in the future. If I could translate that into advice, it would be to go ahead and make mistakes on your first book, no matter how bad it is. If you want, use a fake name and go through the process just to see how it works. It's eye-opening, and using a fake name will save you some of the embarrassment. When you release your next book with your real name (or "real" pen name), you'll feel more confident going into it.
What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?
Dialogue. I come from a theatre background, so dialogue is very important to me. I try to give each character their own distinct voice, and play with how those voices interact with each other. Knowing what a character wants is very important, but knowing how they talk about what they want is just as important. Do they speak forwardly, being candid about what they want and think? Do that have unusual speech patterns or certain words they use frequently? Do they have an accent? Do they speak to some characters differently than others? Are they eloquent or blunt? All of these things make the words and the individual personalities stand out on the page. Or just make them annoying to read, but I like to think it's the former.
Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?
I don't know... nunchuck skills, bow-hunting skills, computer hacking skills. All the skills girls look for in a boyfriend.
How do you come up with your character’s names?
It really depends on how tired I am at the time. Some names have a deep meaning, or have a carefully-crafted joke built-in. Others are just made up at the spur of the moment, the first thing that pops into my head. There's a character in my current WIP named Thumb. There's no real rhyme or reason to that, like, he doesn't have particularly interesting thumbs or anything. Sometimes I go back and change those names when I think of something better, other times they grow on me and become part of the character. And sometimes my main character ends up with the name Fistpunch.
What is the best compliment you could receive from a reader?
Hey, I'll take any compliment I can get! Anyone who's willing to give my work a chance and spend a couple of dollars to read it is a-okay on my book! And if they take the time to actually write a review I'm over the moon.
Ah, who am I kidding? The best compliment will be when someone buys the film rights for $500,000 plus a percentage of the profits.
Where can readers go to find your books?
The best place to get your CD Gallant-King goodness is my homepage, http://www.cdgallantking.ca/. If you want to skip my thought-provoking and life-changing blogs to go straight to the riveting thrills of my novels, then check out my Amazon page at https://www.amazon.com/C.D.-Gallant-King/e/B00XAZHYGA/. If you prefer to read my random thoughts about daddyhood and Star Wars, then check me out on https://twitter.com/cdgallantking or https://www.facebook.com/cdgallantking. And if you just want to write passive-aggressive negative book reviews, then there's always https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13932038.C_D_Gallant_King.
So what do you think? Was it really that bad?
If you haven't already, go pick up Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime and let me know if my story about Gussy Saint is any good, too. Reviews and gratuities are appreciated. Love letters will not be answered, but will be read and cherished.