Thursday, May 21, 2015

Interview with literary fiction writer Scott D. Southard

Literary fiction writer Scott D. Southard is here today to chat with me about his new book, Permanent Spring Showers.

During his virtual book tour, Scott will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

Scott D. Southard is the author of A Jane Austen Daydream, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, My Problem with Doors, Megan, 3 Days in Rome and Me Stuff. His eclectic writing has also found its way into radio, as Scott was the creator of the radio comedy series The Dante Experience. The production was honored with the Golden Headset Award for Best MultiCast Audio and the Silver Ogle Award for Best Fantasy Audio Production. Scott received his Master's in writing from the University of Southern California. Scott can be found on the internet via his writing blog “The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard" where he writes on topics ranging from writing, art, books, TV, writing, parenting, life, movies, and writing. He even shares original fiction on the site. His blog can be found at Scott is also the fiction book reviewer for WKAR's daily radio show Current State.

Welcome, Scott. Please tell us about your current release.
Thanks for having me on your site!

Permanent Spring Showers is many things to me. While some would classify it as literary fiction (which it is) it is also a dark comedy, romantic (or maybe anti-romantic), and surprising. When I think of my writing career, this is definitely me trying to do something new, a little experimental and very unpredictable. I think if readers give it a shot it will be a very memorable and unique reading experience.

Here is how my publisher describes it on the back cover, I think it is a nice introduction-

Professor Rebecca Stanley-Wilson is having a very bad season. Her husband has just admitted to having an affair. And it was with one of her students.

Blame it on a desire for revenge (or way too much alcohol), she then has had one of her own. Unfortunately for her, her affair was with one of the great upcoming painters of his generation. The ramifications of that one torrid evening will not only be felt across her life but over the entire art world.

Sexy, funny, and very surprising, Permanent Spring Showers is the tale of one very memorable springtime and how it impacts a group of unique artists and dreamers. From the writer who is creating a new literary movement (through outright manipulation), to the hopeful Olympian with the failing marriage, to the romantic wondering what he did wrong to drive his love from him, each tale walks the line between reality and fantasy. And waiting at the end of the line is a very important painting… and possibly the revolver used in the Lincoln Assassination.

What inspired you to write this book?
After writing my novel A Jane Austen Daydream (which was my “love letter” to the author, recreating her life as one of her own romantic novels), I wanted to do something very different, very daring. Definitely something very different from the world of Austen.

Also, I was a little inspired by Charles Dickens. He used to write for a paper, publishing a different chapter each week. I wondered if I could do the same. Of course, instead of a paper for me, I had my blog (“The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard at I used one of my old screenplays as a starting point and began to write the book. After a chapter I was in very different waters from the original story. It was a fun challenge and I could not be more proud of the final result.

Excerpt from Permanent Spring Showers:

Chapter 1
The Argument

                It probably all began far before the argument.
                It might have even begun before the affair he had, no matter how brief it was. He wanted an excuse to end it, her mind cried at her. His penis only gave him the excuse he was looking for.
                The fact it was with one of her students was just the icing on the cake.

                “How many times do I have to say I’m sorry?”
                She turned back to him; it was the first time she even dared to look at him since he broke the news to her that morning before her flight. And yet all she could think right then was why did he have to chase her around the house in that old raggedy bathrobe? That damn old weather worn bathrobe he bought on their honeymoon. God, help me, she thought to herself staring at the pleading man, he looks like a broken bunny in that hideous thing.
                She grabbed her keys off the kitchen counter as angrily as such an action could be, stepped over the bowl of cereal she shattered on the kitchen floor, and threw up her hands as she walked past him. “I don’t care if you’re sorry or not. It really doesn’t matter now.”
                “It doesn’t matter?” He sounded floored by the concept. “How can it not matter?”
                She sighed by the front door, and spun back to him. “Can you go back in time?”
                “Can you go back and stop yourself from inserting your penis…”
                “Stop it!” he interrupted and covered his ears almost like a child would when being scolded. “Do you have to be so vulgar about it?” He removed his hands, now taking on the posture of a parent with his hands on his hips. How fast the switch was made astonished her.
                “Vulgar?” She was becoming so angry her right hand was starting to shake. She hated when this happened, it always felt to her like a part of her body was revolting against her mind. Vomiting at that moment felt like it would be too easy. “You do that and call me…”
                “Would you rather I didn’t tell you?” he interrupted. “I could’ve kept it a secret.”
                “I’d rather you didn’t do it in the first place.” Her voice cracked on the last word, almost sounding like a cough. No, she wasn’t about to cry, she told herself, she wouldn’t give him that satisfaction… assuming he would feel satisfied to know he broke her spirit.
                He didn’t respond to her last point, he went on with his pathetic reasoning he had already repeated three times that day while she attempted to put on her old trench coat (first putting her arms in the wrong sleeves, getting it right the second time). “I didn’t know if she would’ve said something to the other students or faculty. I didn’t want people talking behind your back. I thought you knowing could help avoid any discomfort, get you ahead of any of the tales and…” His voice losing steam as she faced him again.
                “So this…” She was so angry she had to work to get each word out in something less than a scream. “So this—this!— is for my benefit?”
                “I didn’t say that.”
                She turned to the door, and she heard him take a step closer behind her. She whirled with a speed she would not have thought possible before this morning. “Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop!” she said holding up her finger like a librarian silencing a child. “You are not coming outside.”
                “Why the Hell not?”
                She spoke slowly, hoping it would help him to understand her point. “Because I don’t want the neighbors to see us arguing, I don’t want Ms. Florence to hear us going at it. If she hears, if she sees, everyone in the neighborhood will see. I’ll become something to be pitied, you will become… even though, knowing her and her ears and eyes, she probably has pictures of you and…” She couldn’t even finish her sentence or even say the name.
                (Her name was Alice. Alice, it felt like a swear word now to her, something to be blurted out only in anger. Alice was 19. Alice had cute freckles and a slightly twisted smile. Alice thought she knew everything and, up until 8:10 this morning, Alice sometimes reminded her now-furious professor of herself at that age.)
                She gasped. It was as if she lost breath, or some higher power had turned her voice box off. “I… I…” Her mind, her wonderfully brilliant mind that she could always rely on, was failing her for the first time that she could remember. It was like a little death. Her wonderful reality she created was falling apart around her. All she could do was mumble, “Just stay in here.” She then picked up two of her bags and her purse and left as quickly as possible.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have two works in the pipeline. One is a novel that I’m still in the middle of writing. It is probably the closest thing I will do to sci-fi, even though it is not sci-fi in the typical sense of the word. It feels like a very powerful book to me.

I have another work that I plan to start shopping around soon. It is called Cassandra on the Island. It’s probably the most beautiful work I will do. I think I captured something special with it; hopefully, I can talk to you about it in the future.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have always loved books. Summers as a kid for me were not marked by sports or vacations, but which author or books I read. When my mom would kick me out of the house to go play with the friends, chances are I would grab a paperback and head to the park; where you could then find me with my back up against a tree once again lost in a book.

I wrote my first book as a teenager, and ever since then I’ve been putting up the good fight for my career. Writing has always been a lot of fun for me, never really a struggle. I make myself laugh. I think I’ll probably do this (and dream of it) until it is no longer any fun.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’m the dad of two really great kids, so I need to find my time to write around them. My wife is really supportive of my writing and I sneak away from time to time on weekends with a notepad in hand. I also will write in the evenings.

When I was writing Permanent Spring Showers, because I had a deadline thanks to my site, I would be up to 1 AM or later just acting out scenes and writing quickly.

It’s not always easy to find the time to write, but if the idea is a strong one, you find a way, you know.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I allow my creative energy to dictate a lot of what I do around a book. If I always need a certain drink or snack, it is there. If I have to wear a certain hat, it is on my head. If I have to listen to a certain CD it will be in the player each and every time. I’m at the mercy of the muse and what she says goes. Granted, for my family this can look a little silly. I know for a fact I have driven my wife crazy a few times with playing the same CD over and over again, but she was very understanding.

For Permanent Spring Showers it was all about Fiona Apple’s music, especially her last CD. Amazing album. Highly recommend it. I dream that someday she will check out the book.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
One of my fantasies was to be a jazz artist. I dreamed of being the next Coltrane or Parker (I played alto and soprano saxophone). I even got into college on a jazz scholarship. But there was a moment when I realized it wasn’t in me. I was just repeating myself and I was not getting a thrill out of my solos anymore. Basically, I had nothing to say anymore with the instrument, but I did have a lot to say with the pen.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Whenever I sit down to write a book, I want to do something new, something different. If I, for a second, could compare a work I was creating to something else on the market, chances are, I would stop working on it. See, one of my joys as a reader (ever since I was a kid) was being surprised and fully escaping into a narrative. So if you were to pick up one of my books, that is my aim. It’s one of the reasons each of my books are very different from each other.

Permanent Spring Showers has a lot of interesting layers to it. It’s funny, it’s sexy, and it will surprise you. I hope you will check it out.

Thanks for the interview!

As a special note: Permanent Spring Showers is on sale from May 18-30 (the length of the tour) for only $1.99 (regularly $3.99).


Thanks for being here today, Scott!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

Thanks for having me on your site!

Rita Wray said...

I enjoyed the interview.

Mai T. said...

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Unknown said...

Thanks Rita! I hope you will check it out.

Mai, for me it is about authors that are really creative. For example, I'm a big fan of Twain. Many think of him as just Huck Finn, but he could write anything. He did a Confederate Yankee and Prince and Pauper. Heck, he even did short work in the voice of Shakespeare. An amazing talent.

Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury were also very important for me.

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed every part of this post and I was so happy to hear you say that you have always loved books. I feel exactly the same and have for as long as I can remember. Recently, my husband asked me don't you have enough books as I carried in a "few" more and I told him you can never have enough books. So, even though my shelves are groaning, there's always the floor! And I'll have to make room for this one because based on the excerpt, you are an amazingly talented author. Thank you so much for sharing!

Nikolina said...

Enjoyed reading your great interview, thank you!

Unknown said...

Thank you Nikolina and Betty!