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CS DeWildt lives in Tucson Arizona with his wife and sons. His novella Candy and Cigarettes was recently released by Vagabondage Press as an ebook. His short stories can be found online at Bartleby Snopes, Word Riot, The Bicycle Review, Foundling Review, and Writers Bloc.

About the book

In the face of revenge, innocence is meaningless.

Death is omnipresent to small-town loner Lloyd Bizbang. Today proves no exception. After being attacked yet again by a pair of sociopaths who have targeted him since childhood, Lloyd stumbles upon a sight he wishes he could unsee in the town junkyard. Now as he just tries to live through another day, the bodies are stacking up in the town of Horton, and Lloyd finds himself connected to each of them via the drug-and-drink-addled, unhinging police chief, yet another person who has an old score to settle with Lloyd. A game of revenge and survival is underway, but will there be a winner at the day’s end?

Interview

Thanks for stopping by The Dark Phantom. Tell us a bit about your novella, Candy and Cigarettes, and what inspired you to write such a story.

The setting initially. I wanted to set something in a fictionalized version of the town I grew up in, something dark, something that explored the nature of revenge and redemption. So I got to work and put my main character, Lloyd Bizbang, on shoulder of the main highway that ran through town and the story just took over from there.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

I don’t outline. I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work for me. I work better without a plan so I start with a vague idea of where I’m going and then take the scenic route. I find interesting stuff along the way and if I get lost it doesn’t matter, I always end up someplace.

Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her when she refuses to inspire you?

Ah, the muse. So easy to dismiss unless you’ve really tried to create something true.
I wait, plain and simple. My muse is wild and runs out on me often, like a bad-for-you lover you just can’t break free from. She’s high maintenance, but she’s mine and I know she’ll come back to me eventually. She knows I’m faithful to her. I just keep at it and she returns, tearful, remorseful, and full of sweet surprises.

From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?

I spent two months getting a quality draft together. Then I submitted it to a few appropriate small presses, waited for the rejections, got them, and then finally received word Vagabondage Press was interested about nine months after I finished it. From there it was almost another year for editing and finally publication.

Describe your working environment.

I try to keep it sparse with as little distraction as possible. I try. But most of the time it’s a mess. I just moved to a bigger place and now I have a room just devoted to my writing. It’s the first time I haven’t had to share my space with a houseguest or washing machine or the accumulated crap of my three plus decades as a good consumer.

They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?

It goes with the territory, so you better get used to it. If someone says something especially spiteful, well that says more about them than the work. And you just have to realize that writing is a highly subjective art form. Take any great work of literature and read the reviews on Amazon.com. No matter what it is some people will love it and some people will hate it. That said, I take constructive feedback, but in the end it’s my party and if you don’t like it, you can go someplace else.

Are you a disciplined writer?

More than most, less than some. It’s tough to say. My goal is to get something on paper every day and most days I succeed. But I’m sure there are other writers who would consider me lazy if we’re talking word count only.

How do you divide your time between taking care of a home and children, and writing? Do you plan your writing sessions in advance?

I solved that problem by waking up earlier than everyone else. I love to write in the early morning, when it’s still dark and the world is quiet. It’s as if I’m the only person alive and I’m doing exactly what I want to do.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

You can’t be a writer if you don’t write, so put in the time.
I think I saw that on the television.

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