Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Interview with award-winning author Charles Porter

Award-winning novelist Charles Porter joins me today to talk about the second book in his Hearing Voices series, Flame Vine: His Voices.

Born in 1944, Charles Porter grew up in Stuart, Florida on the St. Lucie River in the same old wooden house where his father was born.

First going to public school, then Catholic school, Porter graduated from Belmont Abbey college with a degree in philosophy. After traveling for two years around the United States in a camper pickup truck, he went to work in his father's lumber yard following his father's untimely death in 1963.

From a young age, Charles trained western horses, worked on a cattle ranch, competed in reining at local rodeos while he fed a deep love of music and poetry placing him on stage for a time, as a singer/songwriter.

In 1988, when he sold the lumber company, his interest in the sport of dressage grew, and now he devotes much of his time to schooling, coaching, and the buying and selling of imported horses at Peak Rock Farm.

Continuing to write poetry and music, in 2006 he turned to prose. His first novel in The Hearing Voices series was Shallcross, published in 2015, followed in 2017 by Flame Vine.

Porter lives in Loxahatchee, Florida and South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. He has a son, Michael, who is a circus performer and lives in Las Vegas.

Welcome, Charles. Please tell us about your current release.
Flame Vine is half a love story from the 20th century, its foot on the gas of American existentialism. It is the ongoing story of Aubrey Shallcross, a man who would be dubbed a schizophrenic by modern western medicine, but who functions normally as a lot of voice hearers do without coming forward and telling anyone for fear of being anathematized. It is a historical account, sort of a bildungsroman of Aubrey Shallcross’s life from the age of six until he is forty-two. The story starts in 1949 and goes until 1986. The chapters are ordered in decades through the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and mid 80’s.

What inspired you to write this book?
I am a storyteller, and was an incredible liar as a child.

Excerpt from Flame Vine:
In the backseat of his father’s Chrysler on Sunday drives when he was a little boy, Aubrey would conjure things in the cane, but now as a grownup, it had his full shine. What was he going to do with this Leda girl he was running with? He craved her sex and conversation. She said she was tough and cold from the way she grew up, and he wasn’t going to question her about it. She said they should never say the word love to each other, the late build of his own thinking after his father’s death broke his heart and the Blind Spot Cathedral showed up in his mind. He was not sure he would ever pray or love again, and he made totems of what he thought might be a hip mental illness—schizophrenia— to live and underwrite whatever it took to keep him safe.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am working on the sequel to this trilogy in the Hearing Voices series.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In school. It was obvious that math was not my strong subject, and my adolescent love letters were pretty good.

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 write maybe two to three hours a day, the rest of the time I train horses and do my farm work.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I seem to only be able to do it mid-morning and around 4:00 in the afternoon.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I grew up in the Florida ranch country in the time of TV westerns. So the handable standable truth to that question is, I wanted to be a cowboy—and I became one.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Oh, maybe this. When you are in a dead-feel spot, or think you have to do something else to make things even better than they are in your life, ask yourself this: Maybe what you always wanted you already have.

Thank you for joining me today, Charles!

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