Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Jungle Within: Interview with Charles M.

Despite growing up in a small town, I always knew I was destined for bigger things. At age eighteen, I enlisted in the US Navy, a move that allowed me to see the world and explore my passion for life. After 6 years and an honorable discharge, I settled into civilian life, earning my Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and an MBA in Technology Management.

Always eager to challenge myself with new and different roles, I took on the role of “Author,” writing my debut novel among the roles of full-time engineer, local business owner, and family man. But, I have no plans to stop there!

I am an avid outdoorsman, enjoy camping, hiking, snowboarding, shooting, and fishing, making the Land of Enchantment an ideal place to call home.

I look forward to sharing my novel and experiences with all of you!

Charles’ latest book is the drama/suspense, The Jungle Within.

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Can you tell us what your book is about?

The Jungle Within is really two stories in one. The one side is about a husband named Evan, who gets into a bad car accident and is taken to the hospital. At the same time that he gets into the accident, his wife Katie, is having an affair with another man. The book then proceeds into parallel paths. One story is about Evan and his struggle while he’s in the coma, and the other is about Katie and her struggles as she deals with what she did and the current state of her husband. The two sides clash in tremendous fashion.

Why did you write your book?

I wrote The Jungle Within as a dare to myself. I always thought I could write a book and so I challenged myself to do it. And I did. I was surprised at how much fun it was. I struggled at first, quite a bit actually. I even stopped writing for about 3 months. I kept finding excuses to not write. One day I just found some drive and I finished the first draft in about 3 months.

Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?

With The Jungle Within, I knew the beginning and I knew the ending. The middle part of the plot was the tough part. I found myself writing and writing, sometimes having to back up, but as I developed the characters, I discovered knew and fun ways to stir up their lives. It was all downhill after that!

Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

The setting in The Jungle Within is everything. When Evan is in the coma he awakes in the jungle, a metaphor for his mind. This is where his journey takes place. Readers have pointed out that they don’t understand the cover, but once they get to a certain point in the book it all starts to make sense.

Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

I have suffered from writer’s block before. It’s hard to explain, but it feels as though the well goes dry. You pull so much water out of it and one day there is nothing. That’s the best way I can describe it. It’s hard because on one hand you know it won’t be like that forever, but on the other, it feels like an eternity. What I do is I completely disconnect from the story I’m working on. The more you try to force it, the worse it gets. I find that when I let it come to me, it comes from a place of inspiration, not a place of force. And it feels so much better when it comes like that.

If we were to meet for lunch to talk books, where would we go?

If I had my choice, we would meet somewhere outdoors and surrounded by nature. I love being outside. We came from the earth. It’s only natural that we love being near it. I think a nice stroll through the woods would stir up some interesting conversations.

What do you like the most about being an author?

My favorite part of being an author is being in control. I’m not a control freak or anything like that. It’s just like it’s this world that you can be the creator of. You can make up people, places and things and give them purpose and meaning. You can also use these stories to touch people in ways you wouldn’t imagine. We all have an imagination inside of us. The beauty of being an author is nobody can tell you your imagination is wrong. It’s your story. Tell it like you want to.

What is the most pivotal point of a writer’s life?

I believe the most pivotal part of writer’s life begins after their first novel. To me it felt like I was through, but I was far from through. Unless you have a publicist, you have really just started. People have to find your book, read it, share it, review it and so much more. This is the point where you decide if you writing it was good enough, or wanting to be a great writer is the real goal. All of this while trying to write your next one. It can be difficult. This is probably why most people don’t do it.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

Never give up. I know that’s a cliché thing to say, but there were times when I really, really wanted to quit writing. I could spare myself all the work and criticism that came along with releasing a novel. But when my final edition came to me in the mail it was a surreal moment. SO MUCH work went into that book and there it was. Sitting in my hands staring back at me. And in that moment, it was all worth it. The feeling is like a drug. The final product is euphoric.

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