Friday, December 30, 2011

Cedardale Court by Nathan Christensen - Interview : Featured Author

BLURB (from Goodreads)

Cedardale Court is a neo-gothic murder mystery with enough fools and old flames to keep you happily mixed up for most of a long weekend. When Canner Connelly and his daughter, Chloe, move in with their Uncle Henry, and a simple drainage problem turns a normal Sunday morning into a slightly darker affair, it's not easy to tell where everyone might end up, or if they'll even make it at all.


 I apologize for the delay. My review should be posted within the next several weeks.              

How did you start your writing career?
I’m sure I started out the same way everyone does. My wife and I had a colicky baby. I spent the first three months of fatherhood rocking Sevyn with my foot, in this thing we called The Bouncy (a steel framed contraption that appeared absolutely capable of launching our newborn child through the front window if I got too carried away) and, while I waited for the sun to come up and my shift to be over, I wrote. Honestly, I don’t think anyone even pays attention to what goes on the air after 3 a.m., and there’s a very limited amount of stimulating conversation to be had with an unreasonably grumpy person, or someone who can’t manage to touch their hand to their own mouth. Needless to say, that first draft was a little hairy, but creating my own story, such as it was, kept my mind going, and me from melting right into oblivion.
Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?
When I was 19, I took a trip to Alaska to work at a summer camp for kids who lived out in the bush. In the moments before we left Oregon, I grabbed a book from the airport gift shop, and read it three times before we came back home. Even if I had been able to sleep (the sun there never goes down), or if I hadn’t needed an excuse to stay indoors (the mosquitoes there are as big as sparrows), I wouldn’t have been able to avoid falling in love with its honesty. William Goldman’s The Princess Bride is, still I think, one of the best things written down, by anyone, ever. I read it now to my daughter while she’s in the bathtub, and it will always be marvelously special to me. I could never hope to be any more, or any less, than the kind of person it takes to write something that beautiful, but, if I’m going to answer thoroughly, it wasn’t until I started reading Christopher Moore that I found the guts to write anything at all. To me, he is the bravest son-of-a-bitch in the world, and without either of them, I wouldn’t be here answering any of your questions.
Has someone helped or mentored you in your writing career?
Billie Knottingham, the wife of a dear friend of mine, began telling me how ridiculous I was from the moment I asked her to start editing. I’m a three time college dropout and, even though I have a lot of spunk, it became immediately clear that I could have used that lost time in school to learn control, and that spunk is overrated. I’m not delusional. I don’t pretend to have mastered anything. I really hope Cedardale Court is the worst book I ever write, but, without Billie, I would never have known where my changes needed to be made.
Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what?
I do, but not all the time. Writing a novel, for me, is a year long process. Two to four hours a day; seven days a week; taking a day or two here and there to rest when the gears start to grind; and then it’s over. That’s a lot of hours to occupy with a worthwhile playlist. Every scene and scenario I write, along with every character, requires a different mood, and different music is a part of that. Sometimes Debussy blends right into Led Zeppelin, into The Wu-Tang Clan, into John Mayer, and then into nothing at all.
What book are you reading now?
T.H. White. I miss Dumbledore from time to time. I know that that completely contradicts everything I just said about The Princess Bride. But, I am too afraid that rereading him would ruin that particular type of magic I once found there. What if he’s not as wonderful as I remember him? So, to recreate without destroying, I find that The Once and Future King, being such a slow read, and Merlin such a fantastic alternative, that I’m very happy to pick it up and read it a bit at a time over the year. I would compare it to losing a favorite pair of glasses. Nothing will probably ever feel that perfect again, and the bridge of your nose may take some time getting used to this new thing perched there, but it absolutely doesn’t mean you have to live the rest of your life without having the right prescription. Even if it is in a new frame.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I’m a stay-at-home-dad. And I write books when everyone else is asleep. I think that pretty much sums it up. Alright, red wine, if you really want to know.
Have you attended a high school reunion? What did you learn?
I’ve watched Gross Pointe Blank too many times to ever go to a reunion. “It was just as if everyone had swelled.” I can’t imagine that not being totally accurate. And anything I really cared to know or share with someone, I likely already took care of on facebook.
If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?
Everyone I just pissed off with my answer to the last question.

Thank you, Laurie. You’re an unbelievable darling, and very kind for having me.

(image & info from Smashwords)

Nathan Lee Christensen is a stay at home dad who writes books while his daughter is napping. He's happily married, lives in Pacifica, Ca, and, while he doesn't quite understand why he's awake at 2:30 in the morning trying to think up interesting things to say about himself so his bio doesn't sound idiotic, he's overjoyed that his debut novel has just been published, and can't wait to celebrate by going straight to bed.


No comments: