Chris White’s Worst and Best
Linna recently asked me to write a little something about the worst thing I ever wrote. Well, then. I can breathe a sigh of relief that my videos will be excluded. That’s nice. But it’s dangerous ground for an aspiring author to tread. I normally avoid this, I usually try to hedge around the subject of my worst stuff because my career stands on a knife’s edge every day as it is. I’m sure there are others in the arena who can relate to that.
I guess my worst was my first, and I’m sure you can relate to that too. It all started when I lost a massive construction company in 2007. We were stacked up with almost seven figures of debt. That’s back before the word debt became profanity and speculation wasn’t that risky. Anyway, long story short, we lost just about everything but our sanity, and I needed an outlet so I turned to my old Mac and started to write about it. 80,000 words poured out of me in three weeks. This little autobiographical was cathartic, sure, but my mistake was trying to publish it. I went through Lulu and sold two copies: one to my father-in-law and one to my mom. She’s still my #1 fan. She’s sweet. Anyway, I had to learn that the MS I had produced was utter crap all by myself; no one told me. I guess I’m thankful for that.
It’s funny. While there are all kinds of dispensaries of advice on the Web, there’s really no cohesive and sensible source for good information that might add up to something truly educational, something that produces highly skilled and competent writers from the admittedly talented but clueless hacks most of us are (including me). There’s no easy way to become magically successful. Good writers must endure the fires and pressures of contention, we must enter the arena and spill our sweat and tears for the privilege of calling ourselves writers. Perhaps that’s as it should be, because that fight produces… eventually… sometimes… something amazing.
I’m certainly proud of what I consider to be my best writing yet, though. It’s my solo debut novel: K [phantasmagoria]. It all started with an itch, a need to get something out on paper. That excerpt, highly modified, now appears toward the middle of the book, and it’s just about a dude who hates his life who nevertheless has to wake up and friggin deal with things because there is no rest for the weary. You get the idea. But that’s not all. This man, simply K by name, has a reason to be so hateful: he’s suffering from something that might be spiritual, might be a psychosis, might mean he’s a nutter, might mean he’s crossed the line with God, might mean he’s walking a little too close to the edge and daring a little too loudly for the Reaper to reach across the void and snatch him.
K is afflicted by phantasmagoria, a clutch of random flash visions and dreams that haunt him day and night, making rest impossible, straining all his relationships to breaking. There’s a large cast of characters in this, including Dr. Audrey Kendrick, the youngish and stunningly beautiful blonde who’s sharp and unafraid to express herself. She holds a double doctorate in anthropology and archaeological linguistics. Her flaw? One of her legs wasn’t formed right; she’s had to use a cane to walk since childhood. There’s professor Hollis D. Hamby, loveable old sage and academe whose life has been devoted to medieval studies at the University of Chicago. There’s Allan Haight, the ultra-wealthy and ultra-mysterious man who comes off just ever-so-slightly psychopathic. Then there’s K’s conflicted affections for the copper-haired beauty Essie Gray, who breezes in and out of his story to notes of tragedy. There are more characters, but I’ll spare you for now and ask you this: what’s behind it all? You’ll have to read K [phantasmagoria] to see some of the driving forces, but there are no sure bets, even when certain plot twists seem like they’re untwisting. This is a psychological thriller packed with plot twists, crazy nightmares, impossible happenings, questions, and lies. And it’s only the first book in the series, too. =)
I’ve painted it with some bold and broad strokes, taking a couple of years to develop the ideas and plotlines in it. It releases as an eBook in December, for Kindle and Nook. I know, never trust a writer to talk honestly about his own work, but this one… I wish I could say, “trust me,” but that’s more than a little cliché. All I can say is stay tuned to my blog for the latest poop. Scoop. Like, info. And thanks, Linna, for having me on your blog.
@cpwhitemedia on Twitter.
Chris White grew up living on an old San Francisco city bus that was converted to an RV, living in almost every state of the Union. He spent most of childhood learning how to make fast friends, reading books and doing heroic skids on his coaster-brake bike. He spent most of adolescence playing the trumpet and being a total nerd, building lots and lots of plastic models. He tried college for a couple years, but interrupted that with four years of service as an infantryman in the U.S. Marines. He finished college later, but the Marines taught him far more. He met his wife in Idaho and then spent six months in South Africa with her shortly after they were married. He’s tried being a truck driver, bicycle mechanic, executive recruiter, drummer in a rock band and call center robot, but he’s always, always been a writer—which he only just realized a few years ago. He has two boys and lives with his family in Idaho.