Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.
This week author, Chris Cloud, joins us as part of his virtual book tour.
Welcome, Chris. Can you tell us a little about yourself.
I began writing fiction full time at the age of 66 after a long career in journalism and public relations. I graduated from the University of Missouri in 1967 with a degree in journalism. I worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist at newspapers in Texas, California, and Missouri. I was employed by a major oil company as a public relations executive, and later operated my own public relations agency. I created the board game Sixth Sense in 2003. I live in Joplin, Missouri, and enjoy golf and hiking.
Fascinating career you’ve had. You just keep reinventing yourself. Tell us about your book, A Boy Called Duct Tape.
`My groundbreaking novel A Boy Called Duct Tape is available at all online bookstores, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Paperback copies are available through CreateSpace. Told through the eyes of 12-year-old Pablo Perez, a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks, A Boy Called Duct Tape brings to life a Missouri legend that has endured for more than 130 years.
The long-lived folklore claims that outlaws Jesse and Frank James stashed millions of dollars in gold and silver coins in a remote cave in the Ozark hills of southwest Missouri. A middle-grade story, A Boy Called Duct Tape is the first novel to scrutinize this legend, thus earning it the title of “groundbreaking.”
Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.
- Top 3 books you’ve read in the past year.
1.) Delirium by Lauren Oliver. This novel was written in the first-person, present tense, and I found that refreshing. Ms. Oliver has a wonderful ability to capture a character’s emotion in both dialogue and action.
2.) Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King. Full Dark is four separate stories via novellas. What can I say about King that hasn’t already been said? He is my favorite author because of his attention to detail in narrative, action, and dialogue. He paints wonderful pictures.
3.) Blink and Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones. This is what I would call unconventional literature. It moves from first-person present to third-person present on a couple of occasions, but that doesn’t spoil the magic. Jones has been around the block a time or two, and it’s reflected in his storytelling.
- Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.
1.) PC. If I had to go back to a typewriter I’m not so sure I’d write.
2.) Thesaurus. I’ll get stuck on a clichéd word every chapter or so, and turn to it.
3.) Internet. I do a great deal of research for every novel I write. For my latest novel, for example, A Boy Called Duct Tape. I did research on antique coins, caves, and the legend of the “lost treasure” of Jesse James. I spend dozens of hours of research online. That would translate into hundreds of hours in a library. (Vive la Internet.)
- Top 3 skills to hone for people just starting in your business.
1) Discipline. You can’t write when you feel like it. You establish a schedule, perhaps daily, and stick to it. You write on those days when nothing in your story seems to work.
2.) Read. A. Great. Deal. I’m always reading a book. There was a time, before I started writing, when I might be reading three or four books at once.
3.)Pay attention to your surroundings. Try to memorize physical images that might serve you well in your novel. Same goes for dialogue. Especially, dialogue. Listen to how people talk (or kids or teenagers) and try to emulate that tone.
- Top 3 personal and/or professional goals.
1.) I want to write two novels a year for the next five years. A Boy Called Duct Tape is my first for 2012. A teenage love story set in post-war Japan is scheduled for release later this year. (I attended high school in Japan, and the story is based loosely on my experiences.
2.) I believe reading is the foundation to learning, and learning is a foundation to a better life…so I try to involve kids in the reading experience. I’ll be donating 100 paperback copies of my novel A Boy Called Duct Tape to the R-8 Joplin School District later this month.
3.) I’ve been single now for five years. My personal goal is to stay single for another five. Heck, maybe 10.
My computer is my lifeline as an author as well. I have so much respect for authors who had to compose on a typewriter or on paper.
Where can our readers go to keep up with you and your writing?
Ron Hutchison – email@example.com
Christopher Cloud – firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for joining us on Three Times A Charm, this week. I wish you the best of luck to A Boy Called Duct Tape and your upcoming projects.
***I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.