Professor Charles F. French Chat Interview Feb 26, 2020 19:59:09 GMT -5
Post by Admin Kbatz on Feb 26, 2020 19:59:09 GMT -5
On Wednesday February 26 12 noon Horror Author and Professor Charles F. French sat down with HOW for an Interview!
Charles is a college professor and the author of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1; Gallows Hill: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 2; The Investigative Paranormal Society Cookbook; and French On English: A Guide To Writing Better Essays.
***Charles is also chatting Horror with HOW AGAIN 8 pm est Thursday February 27!!***
Charles also has an extensive How to Build Worlds and Characters in Horror Workshop at HOW: horroraddictswriters.freeforums.net/thread/102/world-character-build-horror-series
For more information about Charles visit www.charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com
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charlesffrench: Hello to everyone! I am looking forward to today's Shoutbox session.
Admin Kbatz: We're Chatting with Horror Author Charles F. French at Noon!
charlesffrench: Good afternoon to all!
Admin Kbatz: Thank you for joining us, Charles! When was your first book published?
charlesffrench: in 2016. So, I came to the world of writing, or at least, being serious about it relatively recently. and you are welcome.
Admin Kbatz: So all your degrees and teaching came before writing?
charlesffrench: For the most part. I finished my Ph.D. in 2014 and I was working on Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, book 1 at the same time.
Admin Kbatz: Last night we were talking about how college cores and writing courses are often not so welcoming to new genres. How do you balance horror and your classroom?
Charlesffrench: I often teach a first year writing course at Muhlenberg College on Gothic and Horror, and I am teaching a similar course now at Lehigh University. And while many in the academic world still don't accept the importance of genre writing, I simply don't worry about that.
Admin Kbatz: So you write and teach horror.
charlesffrench: Yes, and I point out to students that fantasy, imagination, and horror are part of accepted great writers such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Poe, and Mary Shelley.
Admin Kbatz: Are there still old school idealogies about obtaining an MFA being what makes one a 'real' writer?
charlesffrench: Yes, unfortunately for many places, if you do not hold an MFA, you cannot teach creative writing.
Admin Kbatz: Yes, that was what we discussed last night, an MFA is really only for education purposes, not publication anymore.
charlesffrench: I believe that is true.
Admin Kbatz: How much do the classics inspire your writing? charlesffrench: I am deeply influenced by Shakespeare, as well as writers like Tolkien and Stoker. The most important thing for all writers to remember is that they should read and write everyday, no matter their genre.
Admin Kbatz: Why did you choose your publishing route?
charlesffrench: I tried to find a traditional publisher, but when I was unable to get one, I decided to self-publish. It is not an admission of defeat; rather, it is taking advantage of a different available path. It is important for writers to use whatever they can to get their work into the world.
Admin Kbatz: Did you hire editors or experts to handle the copying and formatting? Or are you a business type person who can put away the writing brain when it is time to do all the technology and such?
charlesffrench: Yes, I did. If that is possible financially for self-published writers, I recommend it. It can be difficult, because it can become financially problematic, but writers need to remember they should keep receipts of everything for tax purposes. No, I come to the tech part with some difficulty. LOL I am a man of my generation!
Admin Kbatz: Did you have beta readers or critique groups for your novel? In what other writing groups or networking do you partake?
charlesffrench: Yes, I have tried to gather a few other writers and readers I trust to help each other. I run what I call, not a critique group, but a writers' support group. We do writing and sharing. Critique occurs if it is requested. The point is to keep writers writing.
Admin Kbatz: What kind of promotions and marketing have you done? How much more does a self-published book take these days?
charlesffrench: That is something I am still learning about. Writers have to be their own promoters now--I use my blogging ad twitter platform, but I think I need to invest in careful advertising on FB and Amazon. Writers must be willing to shout to the world about their books. I think many do not understand the difficulties. No artistic effort is easy, and success must be worked at with great diligence and effort. I try to write everyday, and I try to learn about publishing every day. By the way, I want to thank horroraddicts.net for this opportunity!
Admin Kbatz: Do you find it difficult or in conflict to inspire writers in the classroom yet know that publication is very difficult no matter the path?
charlesffrench: No, I don't. I think if you need to write, you should.
Admin Kbatz: Re: Shakespeare. Why do people think horror is a relatively new and hot genre today when the seeds have been around for centuries?
charlesffrench: I think because they are not educated in the history of literature and writing. It goes much further back than Shakespeare. Homer's Odyssey as well as Gilgamesh have horror elements i them. I think because they are not educated in the history of literature and writing. It goes much further back than Shakespeare. Homer's Odyssey as well as Gilgamesh have horror elements i them.
Admin Kbatz: Beowulf. My next Frightening Flix video at HorrorAddicts.net I was going to discuss Titus Andronicus
charlesffrench: Yes! Beowulf is an excellent example, and I taught it this semester in an independent study. Titus is a great choice.
Admin Kbatz: Being at the university level, are you allowed free reign to teach in the format the class or literature needs? When I was in school, you had to sit there and read Shakespeare aloud and it was the worst way to present it. Most of the mythologies of the world have horror in them.
charlesffrench: I am very fortunate; I have a great deal of freedom with choice of books and the way I teach. I would not do well at all with a dictated approach.
Admin Kbatz: Is food and taste the kind of sensory and world building often overlooked? You have horror recipes!
charlesffrench: Yes! In my Wordpress blog, I had fun putting up recipes from my characters, so I decided to expand that to a cookbook from "the characters." And all of the recipes are delicious!
Admin Kbatz: That sounds like the perfect platform, blog in the character perspective and then you can video yourself making the recipes
charlesffrench: I never considered the video possibility. I think those details not only help to build the world in which the characters live but also it speaks to the characters themselves.
Admin Kbatz: Tell us about your latest work
charlesffrench: Thank you! My next book is a book for writers who experience difficulty finishing a first draft, called "Get The Draft Done!" It is the needed and crucial first part of the writing process. I hope to have it out sometime in late March or April. I also want to have book 3 of the Investigative Paranormal Society in October. And a YA ecological post-apocalyptic novel in the summer!
Admin Kbatz: Your non-fiction writing is also self-published? How many books will there be in the series? Do you alternate then between horror and writing help books?
charlesffrench: Yes, it will be. I would love to have a publisher, but I want the book out. It needs only formatting and a book cover now. I write many different kinds of books, which is why I call myself a writer of speculative fiction, but I love horror.
Admin Kbatz: So you like the speedy nature of self-publishing
charlesffrench: Yes, I do. Although I tend to work on each book for a couple of years. I am always working on a new first draft. And I do not expect to run out of ideas--ever.
Admin Kbatz: How has speculative fiction as a genre changed in recent decades?
charlesffrench: I am not sure--I use that term to cover what I do, because I write whatever tales or books come to me. But my focus is on horror. I have the first drafts done of two other horror novels.
Admin Kbatz: Do you have to alter the tone or scale of the horror if you are writing YA?
charlesffrench: Yes, although I try not to dilute anything. I want the stories to have what is needed to work well. I did have to alter what I was calling a Mid-grade fiction to adult fantasy/horror because it is simply too intense for younger children. That book should be ready next year.
Admin Kbatz: Do you just write really fast or have these drafts accumulated over the years?
charlesffrench: I write every day, or try to, about 500-1000 words a day. If a writer does that, they will draft 1-2 novels a year. As soon as I finish the first draft of one book, I put it aside for a bit and being another.
Admin Kbatz: Do you choose to vary your writing across these levels and genres, is it important for a writer to diversify?
charlesffrench: I think it is important for writers to write whatever they are interested in. If they, for example, write romance, then they should write romance.
Admin Kbatz: What is your writing process? Just drafts not outlines and editing?
charlesffrench: First the drafting, then at least 5-6 revisions of each book. then editing So I do revisions also almost every day
Admin Kbatz: Has your academic background helped or has it been difficult to apply what you learned into practical writing and publishing? You are a late bloomer you say? Why did you decide to finally publish in 2016?
Admin Kbatz: Am I asking the tough questions like I should?
charlesffrench: Yes, and they are excellent questions.
charlesffrench: For much of my life, I played around with writing, but I didn't commit to it. Then one day, my wife looked at me and said, "Why don't you commit to being a writer?" I had no good answer, so I did.
Admin Kbatz: As a professor what are your thoughts on NaNoWriMo? The just get the novel in a month, it doesn't have to be good mindset?
charlesffrench: I am not a fan of binge writing, because it suggests you should set aside one time period to do the writing. In my book, I speak about developing the habit and mindset of being a writer. A writer has more success is she or he writes consistently.
Admin Kbatz: But you already have a back up profession. As you said, writers looking to self-publish need to calculate what is financially possible for them.
charlesffrench: Yes, all writers should not expect to make a living from the writing. That is simply the reality of the profession, so like actors and artists of any other kind, a person needs another way to make a living while writing. I am fortunate that I am able to teach books while writing them!
Admin Kbatz: How much of your book comes from the professor experience teaching other people how to write and how much is you experiencing being a published author yourself? If that makes sense!
Admin Kbatz: How much of your book comes from the professor experience teaching other people how to write and how much is you experiencing being a published author yourself? If that makes sense! Do you intend to continue to self publish or are you looking at other publication opportunities?
charlesffrench: It makes perfect sense. I try to use teaching techniques in the book, so writers can gain practical information, and I use my experience as a writer to help inform the ideas. I am always looking for other opportunities. I attend writers conferences and submit books to agents and publishers.
Admin Kbatz: We bemoan the MFA but I can also picture young students rolling their eyes like pfft what does he know. You know what I mean?
charlesffrench: Young students must experience and learn from their lives. An MFA can be helpful if approached properly, and it can give a writer the credential needed to teach Creative Writing at college.
Admin Kbatz: Why would a writer want to merely teach others how to write though, if I'm playing devil's advocate.
charlesffrench: Remember teaching is never, merely teaching. If someone is teaching Creative Writing, they should also be writing themselves.
Admin Kbatz: It almost seems like publishing is coming round again to MFA or credentials and agents as gate keepers at one end with open season self-publish on the opposite end. E-publishing and mid tier presses used to be popular but have kind of died away recently.
charlesffrench: Trends will come and go, and writers need to pay attention. We must, however, keep writing and doing what we can to get out work out to readers.
Admin Kbatz: How important is networking and conferences and writer groups?
charlesffrench: Networking is extremely important as well as self-promoting! I attend conferences, and I am diligent with my blog and twitter accounts. And, we must support each other. That is crucial for writers. We must help each other.
Admin Kbatz: Where are you "appearing" next?
charlesffrench: I am waiting to hear from a conference in the Lehigh Valley, PA, and I often put together small writers reading their works events in my area.
Admin Kbatz: Where can readers find you?
charlesffrench: They can find my books on Amazon -- by Charles F French. my blog is http://www.charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com and @french_C1955 on Twitter.
Admin Kbatz: Thanks for chatting with HOW, Charles! I know you have to get back to class, right?
charlesffrench: and thank you so much! I have been advertising the conference.
Admin Kbatz: Charles, will you be able to chat with us again and talk about our horror favorites? 8 pm Thursday February 27?
charlesffrench: Yes, I would be delighted!
Admin Kbatz: Thanks so much for being part of HOW, Charles!
charlesffrench: You are very welcome. It has been my pleasure.
charlesffrench: I will be here tomorrow at 8. Bye for now!