Thursday, November 4, 2010

Author Interview: David A. Ross (Calico Pennants)

Please join me today in welcoming David A. Ross, the author of Calico Pennants.  Read on to learn more about the author and the book.  Later today I will post my review of Calico Pennants.  Thanks to David and Open Books for allowing me to read the review and have the interview.  

How did you celebrate when you found out your book Calico Pennants, would be published?

A: I don’t know that I did, but I remember getting the first royalties from it. The check was for twelve dollars. Which doesn’t sound like much, I know. But it was the first money I’d ever made from my fiction. That was twelve years ago; there have been a few larger checks since then.

How would you describe Calico Pennants to others?
Calico Pennants: A Novel
A: Calico Pennants is basically a fantasy novel. It is about time, about its tenuous nature. It is also about how we perceive our environment. Calico Pennants takes place in a virtual paradise. Julian, the castaway, is even furnished with his ideal fantasy lover. Yet paradise is really only a state of mind, and what seems to be real is not always tangible. Then there is the element of randomness, which also plays a pretty big part in the novel: a curious message in a bottle, a Hawaiian kahuna, a ship with a curious record of breaking down at just the wrong moment, a parrot that seems to know more about what’s going on than the humans…

Where did the idea for Calico Pennants come from?

A: The idea struck me when, in 1997, I was spending a month in Hawaii. I kept hearing the hype, you know, about how it was paradise. But I could see that there was a bit of ‘trouble in paradise’ too. That was the original title of the book. Anyway, I wrote the first chapter of Calico Pennants in one of those guest books that B&B owners put in rooms for guests to sign. Ironically, after the book was published and in stores in Hawaii, the B&B owner wrote to me and told me how thrilled she was to have the ‘original’ manuscript of the first chapter, which I guess she did.

Did you plan Calico Pennants out or do you just write and see where it took you?

A: First I write then I plan. Then I write some more, then plan some more. By mid-novel, I have a working outline to which I pretty much stay true.

Do you get time to read? What are your favorite types of books to read?

A: I read quite a lot. Mostly unknown writers these days. There has been a long period where literary writers have had to remain in the background, so I think there is a build-up now of great literary work that few people have heard about. I mostly read novels, but I read nonfiction too. A great biography will always capture my attention—especially women behind the man sort of stuff.

What is your favorite room in your house?

A: I live in a very small apartment—40 square meters with three terrific balconies. The one off my living room is also my garden. I like to read and work there.

What is your favorite spot to read in?

A: Well, if not my balcony, then I guess the beach.

What is your favorite snack food?

A: That’s easy: chocolate and Beajolais.

What is your favorite season?

A: I live in Greece, so spring is glorious.

I am very jealous - it does sound beautiful there.

Do you have a schedule for writing each day or do you just do it when you can?

A: No schedule. I am a great believer in cogitation—especially the subconscious kind. I have learned to wait…and to wait…and to wait some more… And when the time is right, I know it. No writer’s block that way. When I work I usually put out ten to fifteen pages in a day.

Where do you do the majority of your writing?

A: In my head.

Did you find writing Calico Pennants to be difficult or did the book just take off with no problems?

A: If a book is giving the writer fits, it probably won’t be any good. The hardest thing to learn is to give up control and let it just come out. Because the really great stories do that; they literally write themselves. It is we who try to get in the way.

Any book signings/conferences/public/blog appearances in the near future?

A: Always doing something. Social media makes everything possible. I have a radio interview coming up in February with R. Jeffries on blogtalk radio.

Do you have a new book in the works?

A: Ah, so happy you asked. Yes, I do. And it is my best work to date. In fact, I’d say it is the book I’ve been trying to write for 50 years. A writer is really lucky if such a thing happens to him. The book is called The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans and it will be out in early spring.

Anything else you would like to say?

A: Maybe I should end on a heavy. How about this? Literature is the foundation of any culture, so I hope writers think before they babble. Remember, you are defining the pathway upon which your fellow human beings will walk, how they will think, how they will treat one another, what is important and even what is real. Give it your best shot. 

Thanks so much for agreeing to do an interview with me

And thank you, Crystal!
***********Later today my review of Calico Pennants is coming.  Just a hint, it's a very exciting book.  I am thoroughly enjoying it.******************