Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Interview with C.B.Forrest


Today we welcome to Jamie Tremain’s blog, award winning author C.B.Forrest. http://www.cbforrest.com/
Journalist, poet, short story writer, fiction crime writer.
Chris has promised to dig up a few skeletons from his closet so sit back and learn more about Chris and his writing life.


Pam:
Thanks for being here Chris.

You didn’t start your writing career as a novelist. Can you tell us what made you concentrate on crime novels after your start in journalism?

Chris:
I’ve been writing stories since I was about eight. I went into Journalism because it didn’t require any math or science, and I knew a lot of fiction writers got their start in the profession. I was covering murder trials within my first few months on the job, so that provided me with an inside look at the justice system, crime and punishment. Everybody wants to write crime, even the literary heavyweights –they just use a pen name when they do it. 
  
Pam:
You wear many hats in the writing field. Do you have a favourite way of working with words? Novels, poetry, articles or short stories?

Chris:
I’m just a writer, that’s how I look at it. I don’t consider myself a ‘poet’ because I could never dedicate myself entirely to that craft, and I don’t consider myself exclusively a ‘crime writer’, either. I’m interested in all forms of expression. These days I’m tweeting like a maniac thanks to the Rob Ford train wreck. I’m on fire with the one-liners. #crackmayor

Pam:
What writer inspires you the most in your own writing?

Chris:
I’m inspired these days by the depth of talent among my Canadian peers. Most of them have been at it longer than me, so I take comfort in seeing their work continually evolve and mature. As for a single writer, that would be Leonard Cohen. I discovered his writing when I was 14, and it changed everything.  
  
Pam:
What are you reading right now?

Chris:
I just started ‘And So It Goes: A Life of Kurt Vonnegut’, and James Lee Burke’s ‘The Lost Get-Back Boogie’, which was rejected 111 times by the way.

Pam:
What keeps you busy or relaxes you when not writing? I’m sure I read you’ve tried skydiving!

Chris:
I went skydiving the summer before last and loved it. I would like to get fully certified one day for solo jumps. I’m bumbling my way through some Buddhist traditions and trying to figure out the punch line. I think I might be discovering that meditation, eating well, and exercising work better than drugs and booze, at least for the long-term.

Pam:
If you weren’t a writer what would you be? Do you have a secret passion to conquer? Come on Chris. Rattle those bones!

Chris:
I was interested in a military career before life events steered me to a different path. I was acquainted in the past with some people who were former bank robbers and bikers, and never judged them – in fact, I saw part of myself in them. So who knows, maybe I would have been a bandit instead of a wordsmith.   
    
Pam:
Do you think technology has something to do with children not picking up a book to learn or for entertainment? Has literacy been affected by the use of devices or helped?

Chris:
Kids are probably reading less than they did 20 years ago simply because they have a billion more options for amusement, but at the same time they are communicating with each other around the clock about what music they like and what book they just read. Technology is generally like that: good news, bad news. Where do we go from here except maybe back from where we started?

Pam:
We met at a Bloody Words conference a few years ago, and I attended the Toronto launch in a downtown pub for ‘The Devil’s Dust’. How important do you think these events are for a writer?

Chris:
Events provide an opportunity for a writer to engage with his or her peers to complain about writing and publishing, and to interact with readers to learn what resonates. Everybody likes to hear how his or her work is being received.

Pam:
Have you considered collaborating or do you like to control your own work?

Chris:
I can’t collaborate with myself half the time, let alone another writer. I tip my hat to you and Liz.

Pam:
Canadian literary writers have received many awards recently. Get out your crystal ball and tell us the future for crime writers.

Chris:
I think Canadian writing in general is entering an exciting new era. The artistic talent in this little country is staggering. We need to do a better job promoting ourselves and taking pride in our work, maybe add a little American bravado to our Canadian false modesty. Canadian crime fiction is finally starting to earn the respect it rightfully deserves. The “Literary Establishment” will one day hopefully recognize that good writing is good writing, period. If those who work in crime fiction can get invited to the serious award galas, we promise we won’t eat with our mouths open.

Pam:
We hear a lot of negative news about changes in the book industry. How are you feeling about where we are headed?

Chris:
Change is inevitable. No business model lasts forever. I think smart publishers are proving they can more than fill the gap left by those companies who can’t or won’t change. Books will always be a part of our culture, of that I am certain. Purely from a reader’s perspective, the choices are mind-boggling. We are living at a time when many of the top writers in the game are doing their best work.  

Pam:

I loved this book. “The Devil’s Dust”.  Small town with big problems. This was the third in the trilogy featuring Charlie McKelvey. Do you have a work in progress? Another series? Spill the beans Chris!

Chris:
Thanks for reading, Pam. I hope very soon to be able to announce details around a forthcoming book that I’m really excited about – a crime thriller with a cool twist ending. And I have been busy tweeting about Rob Ford. You can join the fun @cbforrest   

Pam:
You were born in the Ottawa area and live there with your family. What is in the water there that has produced so many great writers?

Chris:
I feel like I stumbled into this terrific group of writers who have supported me from day one. A strong local writing group helps, and the Capital Crime Writers is a large and active body of writers in all stages of their career. There might be something in the water here, but it’s affecting the politicians, not the writers.

Thanks Chris for taking the time out of your busy schedule. We look forward to reading your next project.


                      BIO

C.B. Forrest is the author of the acclaimed Charlie McKelvey trilogy, including The Weight of Stones, Slow Recoil, and The Devil’s Dust. His short fiction and poetry has been published in Canadian and U.S. journals. He has just completed a new crime thriller and is at work on a new series. He can be visited at www.cbforrest.com and followed on Twitter @cbforrest


We hope you've enjoyed meeting C.B. Forrest. Stay tuned for another interview next month with Andrew Pyper.

Talk soon,
Slainte,
Pam


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