Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Interview with 'That Which Maddens and Torments' Christopher Keating #suspense #thriller

Chris Keating had his first story published when he was just seven years old and in second grade. He has been writing both fiction and nonfiction ever since.

He wrote his first book, Dialogues on 2012: Why the World Will Not End, while he was a professor of physics at the U.S Naval Academy. He was inspired to write it because of continually being questioned on all walks of life about the myth the world was going to end on December 21, 2012 according to the Mayan calendar.

After the world didn’t end, Chris decided to tackle the controversial topic of climate change by writing Undeniable! Dialogues on Global Warming, which was published in 2014. He also began the online Global Warming Skeptic Challenge, offering $10,000 to the first person who could prove the fallacy of global warming. His challenge quickly went viral and Chris spent his entire summer that year responding to submissions. He later published a compilation of the submissions and his responses, which can be purchased at Amazon.com or downloaded as a free PDF at ChrisKeatingAuthor.com. Chris also writes the blog, Dialogues on Global Warming, which is devoted to climate change issues.

Chris most recent book is the thriller, That Which Maddens and Torments. It pits an ambitious, hard-hitting young newspaper journalist writing about global warming against villainous denier lobbyists in Washington, D.C., who are working for the fossil fuel industry. At the behest of their clients, the lobbyists will stop at nothing to protect the industry’s profits and to ensure that a scientific study proving the truth of global warming does not become public. Chris hopes that by tackling the issue of global warming via a work of fiction, he will engage a broader cross section of people in the issue.

After successful careers as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Navy and the Navy Reserve and then as a professor of physics, Chris now lives in the Texas Hill Country, where he continues to focus on climate change research and to write.

For More Information
  • Visit Christopher Keating’s website.
  • Connect with Christopher on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Find out more about Christopher at Goodreads.
  • Visit Christopher’s blog.
Welcome Christopher! Can you tell us what your book, That Which Maddens and Torments, is about?

A young newspaper journalist finds herself in a conflict where she is being pursued. The problem is she doesn’t know who it is or why. As a result, she sinks into insanity and becomes the hunter instead of the hunted. The basic character is inspired by Captain Ahab and there are a number of references to Moby Dick spread throughout the book.

Why did you write your book?

For fun. I’ve been writing since I was a boy but never had the opportunity to work at it full time until recently. When the opportunity presented itself I jumped on it. And, I have to say, it really was a lot of fun.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

The main character is Josephine Black. She grew up in Iowa before moving to New York City for college and pursued a career as a newspaper journalist. She is encouraged by her uncle and her boss to specialize in reporting on climate change, unaware of how her work would get her in trouble with powerful people. It isn’t all about her. She lives in a community and, along the way, there are several characters who influence her and have an impact on the direction she takes in her investigations and her life decisions.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I like to start with real people and then fictionalize them. The people who inspire me would probably have no difficulty seeing the inspiration, but I don’t think anyone else would. Life always has a story to tell. That doesn’t mean you can’t massage it.

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

Both. I usually start with a specific idea, but it can change dramatically and the detail certainly evolve. In That Which Maddens and Torments, I wrote the ending first and then I wrote the rest of the story to get there. In my next book, Purple Legion, the entire plot was in my head before I even began.

Your book is set in New York and Washington, D.C.  Can you tell us why you chose these cities in particular?

Because they’re great cities. As a writer, you’re free to put the story where and when you want. Why not put it somewhere interesting? The fact one of the main characters was a Congressional aide influenced the process. But, if I had wanted to put it somewhere else I would have written it to fit that other locale. Sometimes, you’re stuck with the location due to the story line. But, if you’re not, why not place it somewhere fun?

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

Not really. The place factors into the story, but if I had put it somewhere else then I would have simply written it to fit that locale and the story would have been basically the same. The bottom line is to write a story that is fun. Don’t get hung up on irrelevant details.

Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Jo Black is on a first date with the love interest of the book, a congressional aide by the name of Bennett Mills.

Is it hard to get a suspense/thriller book published?

It depends. If you want to go the traditional route and get an agent, then yes, it’s very difficult. If you’re willing to do the hard work involved with being an Indy publisher, then the publishing part is very easy. The marketing is the difficult part. That takes more work than writing.

Is it hard to promote a suspense/thriller book and where do you start?

It’s difficult to market any book. The competition is intense and you have to give the reader a reason to pick your book over the thousands of others. There are plenty of resources available to help the Indy writer. Do your research and be prepared to work hard. There are people willing to give advice and point you in the right direction, people who have done this same thing themselves. But, if you aren’t willing to promote your book, no one else will be either.

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

I don’t really have writer’s block. I can always write. Now, if you want to talk about working on a specific scene, then the answer is I sometimes have difficulty doing that. When that happens, I simply move on and write something else. If it’s really bad, I’ll write the scenes before and after the part I’m having difficulty with and I find this will answer the questions I’m having problems with. The scene writes itself after that.

What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?

Read. I love to read and have been a reader since I was a child. I don’t have enough time to read. I guess that’s why I’m a writer.

Which holiday is your favorite and why?

Halloween. I love the costumes and the spookiness. I’m a Goth guy from way back in the seventies. I’ll stay up all night reading a good Gothic horror story. I have a couple of Gothic stories in the works.

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

Who cares? As long as we can talk without people telling us to hush, it would be a good place. Once the conversation starts, we won’t even notice where we are.

What do you like to do for fun?

Write. I love telling a good story. Other than that, I enjoy socializing with my friends, floating in the Llano River and sometimes we howl at the Moon.

Can you tell us about your family?

I’m the seventh of nine children and the youngest boy. I have one son who I’m very devoted to.

What do you like the most about being an author?

I love to tell and hear a good story. Being able to put together a story and then change things as needed is very satisfying. When you are done, you can take a look at it and say, ‘I did that.’

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

The most pivotal point is when my fingers actually started moving on the keyboard instead of just thinking about it. Starting something is always the toughest part. The country is full of people who want to do something, but never get started. It’s not always their fault, but the biggest reason people fail at something is because they don’t start.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

See the answer above. Stop saying you’re going to write and do it. The only thing stopping you is you. Good luck and best wishes.

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