Thursday, July 21, 2011

Up Close & Personal with Author - C.S. Splitter - The Reluctant

Where were you born and where do you call home?
I grew up in Maryland and moved back here a few years ago. I've lived in Virginia, Texas, and a few other places. At some point, I am going to move someplace WARM once again. If I never turn another shovel of snow, it'll be too soon.

How long have you been writing? And is writing your full time occupation?
I think I have always been a writer and have written many political and industry pieces over the years. I always wanted to write a book, just to see what it was like, but i wanted to write fantasy and never came up with a truly original idea in that genre. The idea that inspired me to commit to writing a novel happened to be in a completely different genre than fantasy.
When someone offers me that huge contract, I will bee happy to give up my career and write full time. Anyone? Hello?

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?
If you were asked to do something really bad for some very good reasons, would you? Could you? That is the question that is asked of Tom Crayder, the story is his answer. (that's 32 words but I like to color outside of the lines)

If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
My main character, Tom Crayder, narrates the "Crayder Chronicles" so he already has a voice. But, if he could talk to me, he would mostly complain about how unfairly he gets treated and ask why he didn't get special abilities that would help him cope with the situations I throw him into. Then he would make a joke about idiot authors.
Lorena, a secondary character, would ask why I felt compelled to make Tom such a pig and poor marksman.
Tiny, another secondary character, would ask when lunch was being served.
Jake, yet another secondary character, probably wouldn't say much before he beat me to a bloody pulp for talking about his business.. 

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
"The Reluctant" was just the first book in a series named "The Crayder Chronicles." I have 2/3 the second book, "The Willing" (working title), written. About 20,000 f those words are something approaching final, the rest need to be tweaked, edited, and massaged. The third book, as yet untitled, is outlined but that doesn't mean much. It may change completely as I write it. I try to be a good architect and outline, but I end up being a gardener and going where the story takes me.
The goal is for book two, "The Willing", to be out before December 2011.
I know how the series ends, I just don't know when I will get there or all the steps Tom will take along the way.

What or who inspired you to write? And how long have you been writing?
I have a lot of favorite authors and began writing a novel just to see what they went through to produce all of the entertainment I had enjoyed over the years.
Specifically, though, a police acquaintance made an offhand comment one night that criminals got caught because they talked about their exploits. I had heard that line many times before, but that night it sank in and I couldn't get it out of my head. I immediately started wondering what would happen if someone was able to keep their mouth shut and had just a little means. Could they "get away with it?"
I didn't want to write about a criminal, though, so Tom's character came to me pretty quickly. By the time I got home that night, the basic story for "The Reluctant" was already formed in my head. I knew I had to write the story. 

Would you like to giveaway a copy of your book on this blog?
Of course! All I ask in return for free eBook copies is a fan review. Note that I said "ask", not demand. I won't lie, I live for good reviews but I don't demand them.

How did you come up with the title and cover design?
For the title, I wanted something descriptive of the character and story but short. "Reluctant" describes how Tom grows into his new role in life without getting too specific.
The cover follows a similar thought. Is that a gun with a magazine full of bullets? Yep, it is. What does that mean? Well, I hope it gives enough of a clue to help the reader decide to read the story. Honestly, the cover could be better and may get changed in the future. 

Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?
No and definitely no.
Is there part of me in Tom Crayder? Sure, just a bit. I'm a normal guy and so is Tom. But there are parts of many people and characters from books, television, real life, and movies, in him too. I don't think there are really any "original" characters in any medium, just unique blends of traits.
My life is definitely more mundane than how Tom's life turns out to be.
Lorena is a really kick...uh...backside...character with a few twists in her personality. Everyone wants to know more about Lorena and I have a complete back story on her that might get revealed as the series goes on. Then again, it might not. I think I want to write at least a short story from her perspective some day, but neither she nor I are ready for that yet. 

What books have most influenced your writing most and why?
None or all. I know that is a lame answer, but I am not above being lame!
I pulled a technique for character development, or non-development, from Glen Cook's "Annals of the Black Company" because I thought it was a unique way to bring the reader into the story and make them a participant in that story. That's the only thing I have done consciously. I think all of the books I have read, mostly fantasy as strange as that sounds considering I don't write fantasy, probably had lessons for me on what to do and what not to do.
In the end, however, I just tell stories and hope the writing doesn't get in the way. If you are looking for great literature, I am not your guy. I you are looking for good stories and interesting characters, I think I am your guy. You, the reader, can be the judge. 

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
There are several authors I would love to meet.
Michael J. Sullivan (just Google "The Crown Conspiracy") is a great "new" author who has gone from indie to a big contract with a Big Six publisher. I would love to pick his brain not only on the business side of things but about his writing. The guy is a good writer. Thankfully, he has his own blog where he talks about such things so, in a way, it's like I have already met him.
I would love to have a beer with Jim Butcher. Someone compared my style to his and so I immediately ran out and bought every book in "The Dresden Files". I saw why the reviewer said what they did but I also saw the differences. Still, it was great to be compared in the slightest way to such a great story teller. That's what Butcher does: he tells good stories. I am now a huge fan. I think we could have fun nerding out over a beer. 

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
There is nothing like the smell of book made from real trees! I read eBooks almost exclusively, and that's how I have published, because I can take a whole library with me wherever I go. It took me a couple chapters to get into reading a book on a screen, but now I wouldn't have it any other way. I still miss the smell of "real" book though.
I think the eBook market is going to grow significantly over the next few years as others get used to them. Paper books won't ever go away but at some point we are going to see a significant percentage of the books being sold being in an electronic format. 

Where do you prefer to buy your books?
Everywhere. Again, that's another lame answer but it's true. I find myself in used bookstores all the time replacing books I have lost but want to re-read. I also download a lot of books from Amazon and Smashwords. There is a cool new endeavor called Journal Stone which I will be sending my book to for publishing in the near future.
I am heartbroken that Border's is closing. That was my favorite "new" book place to hang out and browse. 

Are you a self published (Indie) Author?
I never even considered traditional publishing. I wrote "The Reluctant" because I wanted to experience writing a book. I didn't know if it would be any good until people started reading it and sending me positive feedback. Now, the new experience I am looking toward is figuring out how to market as an independent author, which is actually harder than writing a book!
With that being said, if any publisher wants to offer me gobs of money to write for them, have your people call my people. Just give me a heads up so I can get people for you to call. I would be happy to let someone else handle the marketing.

Have you ever read a book more than once?
Certainly, but only after a number of years have past since the first reading. My tastes have changed over time so sometimes the fondness I felt for the book on the first read takes a hit, but sometimes I find an whole new level of enjoyment. 

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
I think I am the only person alive who thought that the movie "Dune" was better than the book. Most of the time, we are lucky if the movie even comes close to the book.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
I just finished "A Dance with Dragons" by George R.R. Martin in eBook format. It was.....

Patti Says:  I love the Game Of Thrones - TV show and the books!!

What book do you know that you will never read?
Never say never! I may get stuck in a cabin somewhere where the only reading material I have are books left behind by previous occupants. It's happened before.

Are there any new Authors that have grasped your interest and why?
I am not finished with "Killer" by Stephen Carpenter, but it's good so far. In reading his bio, it looks like he had done a lot of writing for television and movies, but I am still calling him a new author because he only has two books out right now.
In "Killer", he takes some chances especially with the verb tense he uses. Taking risks like that is gutsy, but it works for the book after the reader gets used to it. The book is actually about an author who....well, just read the book. 

Is there anything you would change in your last book and why?
No, my book is perfect. Why are you looking at me that way? Fine, I lied. It is far from perfect. Happy now?
The first chapter is exciting, but it throws the reader right into a really intense action sequence. It also happens out of chronological order. Hey, I take chances too.
I would put chapter five first. I often tell readers who contact me before buying the book to read chapter five first and then go to chapter one. That brings the book into chronological order and gives some context to the main character, Tom.
When I publish the second book, "The Willing", I will probably put out a revised edition of "The Reluctant" with that change in chapter order. For now, though, just read chapter five first and let me know how you like it..

Do you have a book trailer?
That's in the works. 

What are your thoughts on book trailers?
I never watch them and I am not sure how valuable they are in getting people to read the book. But I am keeping my mind open about them. 

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Someone once said that you should love like you have never been hurt and dance like no one is watching, I stole that from somewhere, don't ask me where. I would add that a writer should write like no one is going to read their work. A writer has to write for themselves. That's passion. That's what makes you sit down and write every day...and actually sitting down to write is the biggest problem authors usually have. We procrastinate, we get distracted, we....wait...what was the question?

What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing?
Put your backside in the chair and write. That's the key to actually finishing a book. Simple to say, hard to do. 
Do you write under a pen name?
Of course! If the book was bad, I didn't want people pointing and laughing at me. I get enough of that just walking down the street.
Seriously, though, the pen name somehow freed me to write without personal pride getting in the way. As C.S. Splitter, I can say things I could not in real life. 

Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
Or less....

Cats or dogs?
My wife and I have a tiny dog and a huge cat. The cat acts like a dog and the dog acts like a cat. The dog taught the cat to beg and play fetch. The cat taught the dog to lick her paws and clean her face after eating. It goes against nature but it works for them and they are now buddies.
The truest thing I have ever heard about both species is that dogs have masters and cats have staff. Dogs are all about you, cats are all about them. 

White wine or red?
Now I have that UB 40/Bob Marley song in my head. Red, red wines you make me feel so fine....
Red wine. Yeah.

Coffee or tea?
Coffee! None of that fancy stuff either. Double strong, double sweet.
Favorite food?
Crab imperial. It's so rich it bypasses your stomach and goes right to your arteries.
Vanilla or chocolate icecream?
Vanilla DIPPED in that chocolate syrup that hardens. Now I have to go to the ice cream stand while humming about red, red wine.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
I admit, I watch a fair amount of TV. That's something I do have in common with Tom Crayder. I loved a show called, "Flying Wild Alaska" about bush pilots who'll land their planes on a postage stamp if they have to. We also watch shows like "True Blood", "Mad Men", and "Burn Notice".
The best TV series of all time was "The Sopranos". A distant second was :"The Shield". I like "complicated" good guys.

Where can your readers follow you?
My facebook page:
My Goodreads author page:
Twitter: SplitterCS


Smashwords: HERE
Is your book in Print, ebook or both?
For now, "The Reluctant" is an eBook. I want to see where that goes. When I hit a certain predetermined sales figure, it will be offered as a paperback. I can't see paying $10 for an indie book so I won't offer a paper edition until I can bring the price way down.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me and allowing us a glimpse into your writing word. If your book is as quirky as some of your very entertaining answers - you have a winner! Patti

Image of C.S. Splitter


  1. Great interview, sounds like an interesting book!

  2. That's a Great Interview Patti and C.S. I love the humour that's there and what seems like a relaxed atmosphere over a cuppa almost.
    Thanks for some enjoyable minutes. I'll keep an eye open for the books.


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