How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in Mortom?
As many writers will admit, characters are often only ‘thinly disguised versions of themselves.’ This has never been truer than with Andy Crowl in my debut mystery, Mortom. Many times I would ask myself: What would I think or do in this situation? I’d love to say Andy’s an altruistic hero who saves the day . . . but the truth is that he’s stubborn, selfish, and often crass—all my worst attributes rolled into one. It’s always a risk to have a severely flawed protagonist (as you’re never sure if readers will connect with them), but I think it works for the story.
What about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I believe Mortom will appeal to people who enjoy ‘non-traditional’ mysteries. There are no serial killers, no burnt-out cops, and/or retired FBI agents—only a normal, everyday guy, thrown into extraordinary circumstances. And who wouldn’t love to play a ‘real life’ game of follow-the-clues?
What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
I tend to be most prolific during late evenings and weekends. If I’m especially inspired, I might try to sneak in some pages during lunch. I absolutely need music when I write, and—depending on the project—it varies from metal to movie soundtracks. I personally don’t shoot for a word count; I only try and write something every day, whether it’s for five hours or five minutes.
What are you working on right now?
I have two teenage daughters, and I wanted to write something they’d enjoy. Resthaven (Spring 2016) is about a group of kids who decide to have a scavenger hunt inside an abandoned retirement home . . . only to discover they’re not the only ones inside, and sometimes there are things far worse to fear than ghosts or monsters.
What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?
I struggle with writing action. One of the golden rules for a writer is show—don’t tell, but every time I put action on the page it feels like forced description. It’s not uncommon for me to spend hours on a single paragraph, trying to get the words just right. At some point you simply have to say ‘enough is enough’ and move on. Otherwise it can drive you insane.
What writer influenced you the most?
I’ve always been drawn to Stephen King. He’s a brilliant storyteller and an incredible curator of characters. Whenever I feel stuck or uninspired, I grab some King from the bookshelf, leaf through a few pages, and I’m off and running again.
Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?
I don’t remember exactly where I heard it, but the best writing advice I’ve received is: “Raise the stakes and continue to build them.” If you don’t put your characters in peril, why should your readers care what happens to them?
What advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Never give up, and do whatever it takes to get your writing into the world. I would love to say that good writing is the majority of the battle, but it’s not. Timing, circumstance, and luck all play a huge factor. All you can do is believe in yourself and try to make as much luck as you can.
What do you think the most influential change in book publishing will come from?
Amazon publishing. With a few clicks you can sell your book with no upfront costs, and—like traditional publishing—you receive royalties. It’s incredibly empowering. The flip side is that the market is saturated with thousands of people doing the same thing, so the competition is huge. The most important thing is to write the best book possible. If you do that, readers will find it.
Where can people learn more about your books?
I’m active on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and information on upcoming projects can be found at http://www.eriktherme.com. Mortom is available at Amazon.com and wherever books are sold.