Fear, focus, and the future. Here, C.M. Humphries writes about whatever.
Kelsey Timmerman, author of Where Am I Wearing?, Where Am I Eating?, former mentor, and the only writer I know who can catch a glimpse of someone's undies and recognize their origins, tagged me in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop.
Check out Kelsey's answers on his work in progress.
Now take a breath and prepare yourself for my journey.
What is your working title of your book (or story)?
I do have a few other books in the works, but the one I'll focus on here is No-Injury Policy.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Near the end of my senior year at Ball State University I must've produced at least fifty new short stories. Some of them were thrown in the trunk, others appeared in various online & print journals.
However, I tucked away a few stories for something bigger. All these stories were transgressive in nature, which isn't too popular of a genre, but I thought they were relevant short stories focusing on social stigmas & pressures. Those pressures put many characters to the test, leading some to extreme reactions. Of course, stories in the collection like "No-Injury Policy" stemmed from my guilty pleasure of a good horror story.
What genre does your book fall under?
Since Excluded, I've been tagged as a horror writer. Honestly, it is one of my favorite genres but I think my work generally falls somewhere outside of the category - it barely touches the edge. And while No-Injury Policy does feature a couple horror stories, it's by large transgressive fiction. Transgressive fiction focuses on social pressures & their "victims". Those little angry thoughts that dash across your mind when you've really heated . . . the characters in these stories act out those extreme events.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
You know, this is the first time I've truly considered that. Maybe it would be kind of cool if Gerard Butler played Nicholas Tanner from "No-Injury Policy".
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When expectations are high, money is tight, love is tainted and stress ubiquitous, the citizens of Chase County will do anything to make sure they survive.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
While I thought after Excluded (Wild Child Publishing), I would never turn to self-publishing, I ended up doing so. In turn, though, I have had almost entire control of my book, which has allowed contests, giveaways, discounts, freebies, and hand-bound copies to exist.
Long story short: No-Injury Policy is self-published & the process has been serendipitous thus far.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I don't think I spend too long writing the initial drafts of most manuscripts. However, I'm quite the planner. If a book only took me a month to produce the first draft, just assume I spent the last six months outlining, time-lining, etc.
But for the sake of a number, it took about a year to write and select all of the stories, but a month to create the first draft.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
For most of the stories, I would compare them to the works of Amy Hempl, Bret Easton Ellis, and a dash of Chuck Palahniuk. For the horror tales, I would compare them - maybe - to Richard Laymon or John Saul.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Quite honestly, I might've simply been extremely stressed around the time I started composing the first few stories for the collection. The thing is, I'm pretty sure most people around me were facing very similar stressors. So I wrote a short story collection focusing on social paradoxes and how some people reacted them. I wrote about horror. I wrote a happy ending for once. I wrote about thought crimes. I wrote about feeling down on your luck or feeling stigmatized. I wrote about redemption.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
First, you could check out an excerpt of "All Things Beautiful" and see if No-Injury Policy is for you.
Second, some of my stories tie into each other, which I think is neat. The Douglas in "No-Injury Policy" is the grandfather of Liddell Douglas from Excluded.
Keep an eye out, because sometimes characters from different stories bump into each in Chase County. For instance, the mayor in "Sleep" was reelected during a tough run against Bruce Hartman & Nathan Daniels. Bruce Hartman is the late husband of Angela Hartman in my upcoming tale Forever Endeavor. Nathan Daniels is the "bridge killer" of Lakeside, Chase County & the father of Cameron Daniels in my latest project His Daughter. Cameron Daniels bumps into characters like Drake O'Conner from Drake. And so on.
All right, I'm ready to pass the torch now. I choose Meira Bienstock, Carolyn Arnold, Ellen Hopkins & Lynn Alexander!
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.