Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Author Spotlight: Beau Hall

Beau Hall is a Booktrope author. His novel, Snapshot was released in October. Here's what he has to say about himself:

Beau Hall is an authority on procrastination. With over a million unfinished projects to his name, it’s a wonder that he remembers to tie his shoelaces. Or at least the second one. A 7th-generation Atlantan, Beau juggles writing with the finer things in life; his family, friends and cheap guitars.

You can find out more about him on his website

Author Interview

1. Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower?)

When I'm writing, I need total quiet; I'm not one of those who can kick some jams on the radio to get me going. Since I've got a chaotic family, I use earplugs to cut everything out. The pros to this is that I can get going in peace. The con is that I've got no clue what's happening around me… house on fire, visitors, maybe a home invasion, I have no clue. Now that I think about it, maybe that should go over on the pros column.

2. Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of, and what did you do?

When I think about "a situation that was hard to get out of", I think of jail for some completely random reason that has nothing whatsoever to do with my own personal history. Without giving too many details, I found myself, eh, well, in that very situation. I called my daddy to save me. He reminded me (again) that if I was going to do stupid things as a teenager, there would be consequences. Indignant and shocked, I hung up on him. Sometime after 2 AM, the police released me from the situation-I-could-not-get-out-of. I called my father again, very very apologetic, and begged him to come pick me up. As I climbed into his Honda an hour later, he suggested that I think twice before hanging up on somebody. I'm sure I've been stuck in other situations since my teen years, but that one stands out.
NOTE: I want to point out I was never convicted, I have no criminal record, it was all just a misunderstanding. My agent told me to say this.

3. What literary character is most like you?

The character David Wong from David Wong's book titled, "This Book Is Filled With Spiders, Seriously Dude, Don't Touch It." He captures the essence of the 90's beta male: Sarcastic, defeated, determined. Or maybe it's because the guy is a jackass.

4. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

To keep my character's voice consistent, I'll use the name of the person who reminds me of my character, for the first draft at least. Once I'm done with the draft, I'll change the names, but never too much. For instance, in my book Snapshot, the grumpy old lady, (Mary Frances) was influenced by the story of Vivien Maier, a photographer whose photos became headline news a few years ago. As I wrote, it was easier to visualize my character's actions if I used Vivian as the name. When the first draft was complete, I picked a name similar to Vivien Maier, something that hinted at mid-20th-century, plain-jane, wasp, possibly European but maybe not. Mary was the plain jane part. I chose Frances because, (I think) it had "France" in the name. I'm not even kidding. I try to avoid picking a name to match the character; that's not how it works in real life. I pick the names based on when and where they came from. Maybe in this next novel it'll be different because most of the characters are circus clowns.

5. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I'll plot as much as I can, but allow for constant detours. I'll try to map out the landmarks, (Guy starts here, ends there, stops off mid-way to sell cow for magic beans) and I'll sprinkle some character's secrets and motivations to keep them multi-dimensional; (bean merchant hates kids, cow loves cigars but has cancer). And THEN I'll start writing, trying to get my herd of players from scene to scene. Quite often - TOO often - the characters become something else entirely. Sometimes it's good, but more often, I end up writing aimless conversations, trying to find the pony under all the horse poop. Last night for instance, (day one of NanoWrimo) I wrote 4,000 words that I KNOW I'm going to have to go back and re-do. The characters were just finger puppets, shoving the story to the next point. But, to be fair, I'm rusty with this writing thing; I've been too busy hyping my published novel, and haven't spent enough time out in the story-telling playground.

6.  Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others?

I stop dead in my tracks when writing single-character action scenes, where one person does stuff, but there's little or no dialog. On the one hand, it's easier because directing one actor is easier than four, but after awhile I worry that both of my fans will get bored, wanting to hear more about the rest of the story. Kind of like those Walking Dead episodes that give you a very in-depth one-person episode, and you're all "I DO NOT CARE ABOUT CARL EATING PUDDING; WHAT HAPPENED TO CAROL AND DARYL?" Now, I realize that my A.D.D. runs at full speed, and most people probably enjoy a little quiet time before Jason jumps out with the axe. But me? Just get to the guitar solo, man! I don't care how Johnny became a shooting star.
(And yes, I just mixed The Walking Dead, Friday the 13th and Bad Co's Shooting Star to make my point. Did I mention the A.D.D.?)

7. Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I love a review that gets what I was trying to do, whether they liked it or not. What matters is that I was able to convey what I was trying to say. If they didn't like it, then it's because they didn't like the story or the characters. If they didn't get it though, (or didn't finish it), it's because I didn't write it well enough. Bad reviews sting, but it's pointless to respond to them. That person took the time to write about my work; the best thing I can do is learn from what they had to say, and decide to improve, or maybe just google their address and swing by with two dozen eggs and a few rolls of toilet paper.

8. What book do you wish you could have written?

NOS4A2. Holy hell it's the best book Stephen King never wrote. For a while I wondered if Joe Hill was just another Richard Bachman. The story is massive, the characters are deep, the good and the bad ones, the action, the pacing, the descriptions - it's just so much what I hope to be like one day.

9. What do you want your tombstone to say?

Oh, it's going to say a lot. My tombstone will have a hand-cranked record player, with the words WIND ME UP somewhere on there. Upon turning the crank, Lynyrd Skynyrd's Freebird will play. But not the entire song, just that part where he says "Won't ya flyyyyyy-a-hyyyyyy my freeee-heee-bird yeah" and then the solos kick in. (You DID read question 6, right? Get to the good part?) At that moment, flames will shoot out the sides of the tombstone, and my skeleton hand will rise up, spring loaded, with the devil horns. I'm not a redneck, but I love the hell out of Freebird.

10.   What are you working on now? What is your next project.

It's 11/2, day two of NanoWrimo, and my next story is tentatively titled Killer Clown / Clown Killers. It explores people's irrational fears of clowns, and has a lot of clown tomfoolery and beheadings. A water-squirting flower in the lapel, a voodoo doll made from rubber noses and fright wigs.

Intrigued? You should be! You can pick up your own copy of Snapshot here.

You can visit Beau's blog Write Wrong, or catch up with him on Facebook