Thursday, April 19, 2018

Interview with short story writer C.D. Gallant-King

Today is the first interview in a series with the authors of:
Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

About the anthology:
The clock is ticking...

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting...

“Each story is fast paced, grabbing the reader from the beginning.”
 - Readers' Favorite, 5 stars

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook and Instagram group, Twitter, and a monthly newsletter.

First up is C.D. Gallant-King. His short story is a mystery/comedy called “Gussy Saint and the Case of the Missing Coed” in Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime.

C.D. Gallant-King wrote his first story when he was five years old, and he made his baby-sitter look up how to spell “extra-terrestrial” in the dictionary. He now writes stories about un-heroic people doing generally hilarious things in horrifying worlds. A loving husband and proud father of two wonderful little kids, C.D. was born and raised in Newfoundland and currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario. There was also a ten-year period in between where he tried to make a go of a career in Theatre in Toronto, but we don't talk about that.

What do you enjoy most about writing short stories?
I like short stories with a hook, or even better, a twist. Short stories can’t be written just like mini-novels, it’s a completely different skill and style. A short story needs something that makes it memorable, something to make it jump out at the reader with only a few pages to get your point across. I can’t say I’ve always succeeded in finding that special spark, but it’s a lot of fun to try, and very satisfying when it works.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your short stories – perhaps some of your favorites?
Well, I’m contractually obligated by Dancing Lemur Press to say that the Gussy Saint story in Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime is the best thing I’ve ever written. With the legalities out of the way, I can tell you honestly that Gussy Saint was a lot of fun to write. It’s a mystery/crime sort of story, borrowing freely from those terrible old Mickey Spillane books, but with the same lack of seriousness that infects all of my stories. I love to blend serious genres with weird humour. I had a story published in Strangely Funny IV last year, which is a collection of comedic horror stories. My tale included four main characters who were killed in horrific ways nine times between them. If that math makes sense to you then you will definitely appreciate my sense of humour.

What genre are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
If comedy is a “genre” then I’ll go with that, but usually I tend toward fantasy and speculative fiction. I like having the option to have anything and everything happen in a story, without the silly constraints of dumb things like death, gravity or the combustion point of small mammals.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m hoping to have another installment of my Werebear vs Landopus series completed in the near future. It’s a weird, comic fantasy with a lot of potty humour and senseless violence. It’s heartwarming. And the next part will feature a nun with a gun.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still don’t, half the time. I’m a monkey that flings words at a typewriter and sometimes good stuff comes out. I’ve been writing my whole life, but I rarely call myself a “writer.” A friend of my wife once greeted me with, “So you’re a man of letters!” and I basically replied “What the _ are you talking about?” It’s just not something you discuss in polite company.

That being said, I think the single-most defining moment for me thinking of myself a writer is when I hit “Publish” on Amazon with my first self-published book. That was the moment when I realized a certain threshold had been crossed, and I was actually putting my work out into the world for people to read and hopefully enjoy. I was now out in the world, and there was no turning back.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for writers?
I don’t, which is probably why my success has been limited, and I’ve been rejected by plenty of places that I had no business submitting to in the first place. In that vein, my advice would be “Don’t be afraid to fail.” Revel in your rejection and wear it as a sense of pride. Every writer goes through this, and if you’re persistent and continue to hone your writing, eventually you will whittle down your options and find exactly the right audience for your work. Because you will have tried and failed everything else.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I outline after I write. For some reason, writing the outline beforehand hurts the fun and creativity of writing for me. I like to just sit down and write and hammer out a story, then go back afterward and try to mold it into something that makes sense. It ends up taking a heck of a lot longer and being a lot more work this way, but it’s what works.

Also, I do most of my writing with my laptop balanced precariously on my knees on a crowded bus. Is that quirky?

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The first thing I remember wanting to be was a bricklayer. I was a big LEGO fan. It was in grade 4 that I decided I wanted to be a writer, but even back then I realized it was probably a terrible idea. So then I went to university to study to be an actor.

Yeah, I’m terrible at choosing careers. I probably should have stuck with bricklaying.

Thanks for being here today, C.D.!

Tick Tock links:



cleemckenzie said...

Sometimes bricklaying seems easier than writing, but I'm sure you made the right choice in choosing the more challenging work. It's great to learn more about another author.

Jemi Fraser said...

That's a fun interview!
Short stories and novels sure are different to write!

Gwen Gardner said...

I loved the quirkiness of your story! Crime noir is so fun too, like watching an old black and white Sam Spade movie. Also, it’s just struck me that I could benefit from writing an outline on a couple of stories I’ve recently completed. It makes a strange kind of sense. Thanks, C.D.!

C.D. Gallant-King said...

I suppose bricklaying and writing have a lot in common. Put all the pieces in the correct order and it's sturdy and aesthetically pleasing. Mess it up and it all falls down.

C.D. Gallant-King said...

And one day I'll figure out the difference!

C.D. Gallant-King said...

It feels backwards, but it really helps to figure out if you've hit all the right beats in the right order.

Yolanda Renée said...

A sense of humor is always great reading and crime noir an excellent choice. Your story was tops! Loved it!

Yolanda Renée said...

Thanks, Lisa, for hosting the Tick Tock Team.

Michelle Wallace said...

C.D's story is fabulously and refreshingly quirky!