This month’s author is CD Gallant-King. From the twinkle in his eye, you can guess his books are not entirely serious. Follow the links below if you want more details.
We had a little chat. Here’s what he had to say.
So CD, when did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve always been a writer. It’s not a decision, it just kinda happens, like becoming a heroin addict.
Are you speaking from experience?
Let’s not go into that. (Laughs).
I decided to become a “published” writer in about 2004, except no one wanted my book. I don’t blame them, it wasn’t very good.
Finally, in 2015, as I approached my 35th birthday, I finally made the plunge to self-publish. Everyone was doing it, why shouldn’t I get a chance? I never expected to make much money or win accolades, but I thought I could at least entertain a few people with my stories, and I did. So I’ve kept it up, because that’s who I am now.
That’s great. So how do you go about things? For instance, when you have completed a book, do you let it stew – leave it for a month or so – and then come back to it to edit?
Absolutely. I even tend it leave it between rounds of editing/revision. The longer you stare at something the harder it is to be objective and worse, just reading it becomes a chore. I have fallen asleep both reading and listening to my own work, and it’s embarrassing. You don’t ever want to end up at that point.
So after I’ve spent several months writing a draft, I take some time off to write something else or read a few books or do whatever I need to do to recharge my brain. I want to come back at it with fresh eyes and renewed interest. I know I’ll care more about it when I feel the words are at least a little less stale, and it’s not the tenth time I’ve read them in a week.
What about the subject matter: Is there anything you find particularly challenging as far as content?
Do you mean things I find difficult to write? Not many. I’m not bothered by sex, violence, profanity and such – which you can probably tell if you read any of my work. I don’t get upset by killing characters or anything like that. Character death is a necessary part of a story, and one of a writer’s tools. It would be like getting upset by having to type the letter “q.”
No queens or earthquakes!
I will admit that lately I’ve been a little apprehensive about stuff involving children. Not about writing for children, I love writing children’s stories, but about combining my aforementioned sex, violence and profanity with kids. Being a relatively new parent with small kids makes that a sensitive subject to me. I know, however, that this is true for many other people, so it may at some point be a topic worth exploring. I probably will write about it someday, it’s just a little too fresh and raw on my mind right now.
Take time to enjoy your kids while they’re around!
Do you have any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing?
What to do: Just write. I know that sounds dumb, and clichéd, but I hear about so many people who are “writing” a novel but never seem to finish it. Put words down on paper and see what happens. This leads directly to…
What not to do: Everything else. Stop second-guessing yourself, wondering whether it’s “good enough”; it doesn’t matter, just put something down, you can fix it later. Stop worrying about covers and marketing and maps when you don’t have a story to go with it. Stop spending so much time on message boards, talking about writing; all those words are wasted, they could be going into your manuscript. Stop world-building and calculating the airspeed and wing-beats per minute of dragons in your universe. None of it will matter if no one ever reads the book because you’ve never finished it. And stop reading advice about writing from people who don’t know what they’re talking about.
Wait a minute…
That’s something to chew over.
I guess you read a lot: Do you have a favourite quote?
It’s hard to pick just one, but you could probably just pick anything Kurt Vonnegut ever wrote.
I remember reading Player Piano as a school kid; found it tough.
(Laughs). If you had to distill it down, just pick any line from Mother Night. That has been my favourite novel for ages, about an unwitting American spy working as a Nazi propagandist during WWII. I was originally enthralled by the love story between the spy and his German wife, a beautiful but doomed relationship that struck my young romantic heart. But as I re-read the story more recently I was stunned and horrified by the discussion of propaganda and hatred and manipulation of the media. Vonnegut was talking about World War II, but his words are also commentaries on what’s happening in our insane world today:
“I had hoped, as a broadcaster, to be merely ludicrous, but this is a hard world to be ludicrous in, with so many human beings so reluctant to laugh, so incapable of thought, so eager to believe and snarl and hate. So many people wanted to believe me!”
More about CD Gallant-King
CD Gallant-King is a writer, tabletop gamer, pro-wrestling aficionado, loving husband and lucky father. He writes comic fantasy and horror fiction about horrible people trying to be heroic in hilarious ways.
He’s also proudly Canadian, born and raised in Newfoundland, fine-tuned and educated in Toronto and currently residing in Ottawa with a beautiful wife, two wonderful children and various furry four-legged companions.
He has published two novels, Ten Thousand Days in 2015 and Hell Comes to Hogtown in 2016.