Hey there friends, welcome, welcome!
Here I am again with another method of chasing away those pesky Monday Blues, so without further ado, let’s kick off another creativity session with a witty author by the name of Charley Pearson, as we join him on his Blog Tour for his brand new medical thriller.
Thanks for reading folks, have a wonderful time and keep smiling 🙂
Hi there Charley, fantastic to have you over here today to discuss your latest novel release, along with your own passions, influences and writing experiences.
Thanks, David! Glad to be here.
Let’s start first with your novel featured in your Blog Tour this month, your medical thriller “Scourge”. Please tell us more about the plot and themes of your book, along with giving us background on where your story is set and what is ultimately at stake for your protagonists.
“Scourge” is my debut novel. It’s the story of an introverted Roma biochemistry genius from upstate New York, who hates how her clan is making her use her knowledge and is desperate to do something to compensate. It’s the tale of dysfunctional people who have given up on humanity and want to ‘save the planet’ with a killer virus. It’s a love story between two nerds with no clue how to read each other. In the end, it’s a battle against the plague unleashed by the pessimists, where urgency clashes with moral considerations, and the cure they’re trying for may not be worth the cost.
You also have a book published called “THE MARIANATED NOTTINGHAM AND OTHER ABUSES OF THE LANGUAGE”, a collection of skits, short stories and ballads. Can you tell us a bit more about it and also explain the unusual title too!
It’s off-the-wall, occasionally Pythoneque humor. The title piece is a full-length screenplay telling the Sheriff of Nottingham’s side of the story—because it’s about time someone told the truth about Robin Hood! Then there are twenty-four short things including insane ballads, which I refuse to call poetry (solid meter, strict rhyme, and no redeeming social value). Of course, no self-respecting agent or editor wants to see anthologies from unknowns, nor do they want to see screenplays or poetry, so that book failed on every count and I had to self-publish. Won “best anthology” at the 2017 Killer Nashville writers conference, though.
If your novel “Scourge” was to be made into a film (or even a TV series), who would you cast in the lead roles?
I could see Eliza Dushku in the female lead. For her male counterpart, a younger version of Wentworth Miller could work (mixed heritage).
What would you choose as your own personal mascot or spirit animal when it comes to you and your style of writing?
A raven. We’ll hunt, we’ll scavenge, we’ll do whatever it takes to find something that works. (I have a pair that visit my deck to snitch bird food. Pretty skittish, though, so I’ve not made friends yet.)
What do you think most characterizes or defines your writing? Do you have any writing quirks or themes that constantly crop up in your stories?
I do have a recurring theme of a character who decides, dang it, they’re going to do the right thing, or what they hope is the right thing, no matter what it costs them. It’s there in “Scourge,” and it’s there in my YA-historical WIP (work in progress). Otherwise, what characterizes much of my writing is variety—trying different things on different days. Humor, fantasy, science-based thrillers, or even the one historical. I’m also told my humor tales almost always include a crone, hag, or other such character, but it must be unconscious.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
It’s hard to merge all the little scenes I come up with when first crafting a tale—the way a character reacts to another person, or how they learn certain information, or what they logically would plan to do next—into a coherent whole. So many times, I’ve got completely contradictory mini-scenes, and each one of them sounds cool (at the time), but they don’t work together. Someone can’t learn something one way and at the same time have another character doing such-and-such.
Editing when I have a coherent whole is much easier. I bleed all over my own stuff at least as badly as I do when critiquing another’s work. (And yes, you do need critique partners. More than one. You’ll never think of everything yourself.)
Who are some of the authors, poets and/or historical figures that inspire you?
Benjamin Franklin was the greatest guy ever for his sheer variety. Science and humor writing and politics. Mark Twain, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke were among the authors I lived with when young, but there are so many more. And the ones who could switch-hit from serious jobs to fiction always seemed so impressive, like Fletcher Pratt going from naval historian to fantasy writer, and Ian Fleming going from espionage to such well-known works as Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang.
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
I researched the era of Richard the Lionhearted for the Nottingham tale, so that has more historical accuracy than any other Robin Hood legend. Adds to the humor. The science for “Scourge” had to be correct, as it does for anything with a technical flavor, or the audience will be put off. So I redid math calculations multiple times, refreshed memories with old biochemistry textbooks, and had another engineer double-check some things. Got doctors and several nurses to provide beta-reads to get details correct. Of course, you also have to find good analogies for some of the technology, so less geeky readers can enjoy the story. And do it all so smoothly the story doesn’t lag.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
An overwhelming urge to create something new (which may mean a big ego?), and a trace of guilt that I’ve been enjoying the works of others so much over the years that I ought to give back to the community. Didn’t start writing until I was 35, unless my mother’s memories of drafting stories when I was a kid are correct; don’t remember them, myself. Humor proved a relaxing break in the evenings from a stressful job. “Scourge” allowed me to speculate on a future technology that worries me. So I guess it’s not any one thing that inspires me to write.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writer’s Block?
Wait, slumps are good! That’s when we get to go hiking in the hills, or play computer games, or read all those things we never had time for when employed and raising a family. I want more slumps!
Okay, I suppose I should get serious. When I get stuck on a plot, and either have contradictions brewing or no idea where to go next, I try to make a series of short notes on what needs to happen eventually. Move them around and look for a pattern. Which ones need to precede which, and which ones don’t work at all because those characters would never act that way. Sometimes scribbling on paper works better than typing, and sometimes forcing yourself to sit at the computer and “write anything at all” gets you thinking.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Start writing sooner. Start flossing sooner. Start exercising sooner. Oddly enough, we don’t seem to be quite as immortal as we once thought we were. Go figure.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
See above re: slumps (heh, heh). Well, in addition to hikes and reading and online gaming with friends/relatives, there’s also tennis and visiting kids and all kinds of movies I never got around to seeing in past decades. And every couple of years or so, one needs to vacuum or otherwise do some housework, I suppose.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
I’m quite happy with my current WIP, a YA-historical about a Japanese-American girl who infiltrates a WWII Japanese POW camp to free victims of medical experiments. That’s her plan, anyway. My father served in that theater during the war and had PTSD afterward, which inspired me to do a bunch of research on the era. And finding a local Japanese-American born in Tokyo in 1938, with memories of the later war years, really helped. And of course, having a large number of women to serve as beta readers was essential; even raising two daughters and spending hundreds of hours backstage at their ballet studio, exposed to scads of teenaged girls, wasn’t enough to be totally realistic on my own.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
Absolutely. Check out the “writer aids” page on my website (Charley Pearson – Author – Writer Aids). I put together a bunch of info I’d drafted over the years to help those in my local writers’ group, and if anyone else can benefit from it, that’d be great.
And that’s a wrap! Thanks for stopping by Charley, we’ll be sure to take your writing advice to heart and check out your books quick smart 🙂
Thanks for having me! Fun, fun.
Charley Pearson started in chemistry and biology, then moved on to bioengineering, so the Navy threw in some extra training and made him a nuclear engineer. This actually made sense when his major task turned out to be overseeing chemical and radiological environmental remediation at Navy facilities after the end of the Cold War, releasing them for unrestricted future use. Now he writes fiction.
You can contact Charley via the following Social Media channels:-
Facebook:- Charley Pearson – Author (FB)
Twitter:- @CharleyPearson (Twitter)
Website:- The Website of Author Charley Pearson
You can buy his book here:-
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.