Interview with author Carl Plumer -
1. Who are you and what do you do? / Why writing?
I was born and raised in New York City, where there is a great literary tradition. I was writing as soon as I could hold a crayon. Now I hold advanced degrees in writing (see what I did there?). As for words, I’ve spent my life surrounded by them in a way. I’ve delivered newspapers, worked at a printing press, managed a bookstore, taught writing, wrote for literary magazines and pop culture newspapers (in NYC), and published both technical and fiction books. In short, even before I started creating novels, I’d been a writer. I’m proud (and humbled) to be an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist (with my very first novel, Zombie Ever After) and a National Indie Excellence Award Finalist (same book). I was also chosen to be a judge for the World’s Best Story award, an international writing contest, which was an honor and a privilege. In the coming year, I’ll be putting out to an unwitting audience four new novels and a second collection of short stories. In edition, I’ll be initiating both a new podcast on writing and a couple of new udemy courses on the same topic. Busy, but very fun, year ahead!
2. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be a writer?
I have been writing all my life, in one form or another—comics when I was a little kid: my own newspaper (one edition only; collectors item by now, I’d imagine); high school and college literary magazines; “underground” (indie) press; online story collections, etc. But I always knew I wanted to write a novel — which is weird, because I’d never done it ‘til I did it and writing a good novel is hard to do.
3. What are your favorite subject(s) and style(s)?
I write horror with a twist of humor. Or maybe it’s the other way around? For example, my favorite “horror” movie is SHAUN OF THE DEAD. That should give you a flavor of what (I hope) my novels are like. If your readers check out my books on amazon, I think they’ll find that they break the boundaries of the genre they’re assigned to. They’re not really science fiction or fantasy or romance or comedy or YA. I consider myself in whatever category A. Lee Martinez and Christopher Moore are in. That is, a category called, “Carl S. Plumer” books. I’m not saying that to be boastful. But because, well, that’s really what they are.
4. How do you work and approach your subject?
I put my characters into dire situations — apocalypses. As bad as things get. But my characters rise above extreme adversity, with grace, dignity, and a sense of humor. Which I like to think is how I’d handle it (though I know I’d just cry). The plot may be adventure with a bit of gross horror, but my message is “Carry on, regardless.” Chin up, chest out, you know? It’s the British side of my ancestry…
5. What are your favorite written works, writers?
I read constantly, so that’s a tough one. New favorites every week, you know? As far as my influences, strangely, I have few English-speaking writing heroes. I’m inspired by Cortázar, Nabokov, Fuentes. And mostly by Italo Calvino. I don’t write at all like they do, but they motivate me to try harder. Recently I’ve been reading a lot of Nordic writers. John Ajvide Lindqvist. Håkan Nesser. Jo Nesbø. But my favorite author is Herman Melville. First of all, beard down his chest. Second, the research! This was years before the Internet, so he had to get all his whaling info from what—? I don’t know, chit-chat? Pamphlets? Penny dreadfuls? Meant a lot of walking around, a lot of reading. Exhausting, I’d imagine.
6. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
Very positive, thankfully, minus a few trolls. People seem to enjoy my work. I put my heart and soul, sweat and tears into my works. They may seem flip and easy, but I do many, many drafts and then I involve professional editors, then I do a couple more passes on my own. And then a proofread pass and done. I hate typos. I hate insincere writing. I hope to improve forever. I’m nowhere near a great writer, but I constantly strive to be.
7. What do you like about your work?
I think it’s different. I don’t think I write like anyone else out there. I think my stories are 100% unique. I like to say that I write the books that I can’t find out there to read. But that’s not entirely true. Like I said before, there’s a niche of “Carl S. Plumer” books and, well, I’m the only one who can supply content to that niche. So I write what I write and I’m proud of it. Not for everyone, though. Ask my critics.
8. What advice would you give to other writers?
Never, ever, ever stop. You stop, you will never be a successful writer. If you keep at it, you at least have a chance. And maybe the story you were destined to write, the story that will change the world is your second book, or your sixth, or your twentieth. Keep writing. Keep learning. Keep getting better. If you love what you do, passionately, the universe will reward you all in good time (which may be posthumously, by the way, so back to work!).
9. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I want to have at least 20 novels out and a bunch of short stories. I think you need that many to claim to be a writer. And I’m not talking about the money-making, Internet scammy technique of publishing 20 “shows” in a “season” and calling that a book. That’s just a written podcast. Don’t do that, you guys. I’m talking about substantial pieces of work. I also want to have a few screenplays done, and at least one movie produced. I want to teach writing, maybe coach some writers to success. I’d like to do a TED talk on things like perseverance, never giving up, and, you know, writing stuff. The list goes on.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Carl-S.-Plumer/e/B009BHL84K/
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+CarlPlumer/posts