Welcome to my blog interview with novelist, CF WALLER,
author of FREE DIVE AND SOUTH FACE.
Award winning novelist C. F. Waller published his first science fiction novel at age forty-seven, after a flight on an ill-fated commercial airliner over the Atlantic Ocean, that nearly became an episode of “Why Planes Crash.” This experience illustrated for him first hand that writing about exotic or dangerous locales was safer than traveling to them. Since then, he likes to think his meticulous research and storytelling gives readers a clear sense of their grandeur, without the inherent risk of flying.
After narrowly escaping the academic death-grip of several universities, he worked in nightclub, took a turn as a new car salesman, and did hurricane shutter engineering. His favorite authors include Oscar Wilde, Kurt Vonnegut Jr and Michael Crichton. His favorite novel is The Picture of Dorian Grey by Wilde, which inspired a bigger than life oil painting that hangs on his bedroom wall.
Though he’ll forever be a Midwestern boy at heart, he now lives on the gulf coast of Florida with his wife Tina and one fuzzy feline companion. If he’s not working on a new novel, you can find him volunteering at church, playing overly competitive Yahtzee with his spouse, or indulging in an unhealthy addiction to competitive cooking shows on television.
What genre do you consider your book(s)?
Not locked into just one. Went to Readers Favorite book awards last year as a winner in Paranormal [SOUTH FACE] and Science Fiction [FREE DIVE] (narcissist patting himself on the back). In my opinion a good plot is in itself a genre.
Take a two-hour walk, then sit down and write. All my ideas come when un-plugging my mind after walking.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
For the most part, I over-research locations. Sometimes you have to make the ideas fit a timeline or to fit a scene, but I endeavor to be spot-on. Unfortunately, literary license is an ugly necessity. I often sit down to write and get lost in research, winding up with no words at the end of the day.
How did you come up with the title?
The first four books just came during the writing, but now I work a year ahead so they are a part of the original plot generation. I sit around trying titles in amazon searches until I find one that doesn’t piggy back some current fad, then stick to it.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Never, I keep people I know out of my books. Even so, I get e-mails for acquaintances going on and on about how I used them in a book. It’s amazing to see how people perceive themselves.
They overlap as I write a first draft on the next one while the current work is out to Beta readers. I’m blessed to be a full-time author so this is all I do. Overall I’d say five months per novel.
What books have most influenced your life most?
The story of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, One Second After by William R. Forstchen, and anything by Michael Crichton.
What book are you reading now?
The Clay Lion by Amalie Jahn
What are your current projects?
Tourists of the Apocalypse, science fiction, is in final edit with an April release date. Just finished the first draft of The Conduit, which is more of a fantasy novel which will release on Black Friday (November 25th 2016)
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest (or first) book?
Yes, yes, yes. I am taking a Writing Fiction, Master Class, via DVD and twenty minutes into the first lecture I threw my notebook into the wall. Someone should write a time-travel novel about a writer using the darn thing to edit past works.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Putting it down and turning it loose on the world. At some point my constant revisions ruin the original storyline. Sometimes a character will jump off the page and scream “Stop messing with me.”
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Take the time to read someone else’s work and give honest feedback. It’s an amazing palate cleanser before editing your own. Also focus on making the book you are writing the best it can be, not setting up a second book. The reader is reading THIS BOOK, not an un-written sequel (sorry, steps off soap box).
Do you have playlists for any of your books or characters?
There is always a song on the radio during the time a book is written that sticks to it. Frozen was the soundtrack of SOUTH FACE and when I hear it that’s what pops into my head. Currently Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” is the sound track of TOA, but who knows why (yes, I have the musical taste of a 13-year-old girl)
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Never blocked, but when my brain has nothing to contribute I don’t write. I can’t understand page count goals or writers forcing themselves to sit down and write. I just make sure when the story demands to be written I stop what I am doing and let it out.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
I should, but currently I start writing with a beginning and an end and let the people in the book figure out how to get there.
Have you ever hated something you wrote?
The early books I wrote would be better off used as fire wood. Worst part is the story ideas were good, but now they are ruined for me.
Never, I am not interesting at all.
If you were a fictional character, who would you be?
I’d like to be NEO, but I am probably more akin to Hermie the misfit elf.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Watch Gordon Ramsey cooking shows.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t buy a motorcycle, tie down the ignition wire on the 95 State Finals car, don’t bet trips into a flush draw and stop using 100 words when 5 will do. That won’t make sense to anyone else but it’s what I would say.
THIS OR THAT—The Speed Round
Reading a ebook or print? PRINT
Buy books online or buy in a bookstore? ONLINE
Weather: Hot or Cold? HOT
Music or Silence? SILENCE
Classic Fairy tales or Fairy tale retellings? CLASSIC
Chocolate or Vanilla? VANILLA
The Beach or The Mountains? BEACH
Time travel to the future or past? AWAYS PAST
Facebook or twitter? WHAT’S TWITTER
Being able to fly or being able to go invisible? INVISIBLE (PLANES ALREADY FLY)
Bookmark or Dog eared? BOOKMARK
1st character POV or 3rd character POV? FIRST ALWAYS
City or Country? CITY
Pen or Pencil? PEN
Polk-a-dots or Stripes? POKA-DOTS
Pancakes or Waffles? CUPCAKES
Books or Movies? MOVIES
Coffee or Tea? COFFEE
Elbows the size of pumpkins or knees the size of watermelons? ELBOWS SO MY PANTS FIT
How can readers discover more about you and you work?