Welcome Leighgendaries to the fifth edition of 10 Questions With…
Today, our guest is:
Normally right here I will introduce the author, but I like the introduction Chris sent me. So let’s just jump right into this. It is time for:
10 Questions With Chris Pourteau
Before we get to the questions, tell us about yourself.
I’m a Nigerian prince who really wants to share his wealth with the rest of the world—I’m just that kind of guy. For a mere $5,000 investment from you, I can more than quadruple that value in diamonds, which I’ll ship directly to your home at no cost! All I need is a credit card number, an address (that I can ship your diamonds to), and a commitment from you to your own future as a successful entrepreneur in the diamond futures market. Let me do the rest.
That’s at night. In the daytime, I’m a Texan in his late-40s who works a day job at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute as a technical writer/editor/web content manager. I’ve been blessed with that steady job for over 20 years. I’m married to a lovely wife with infinite patience, and we have a brilliant-on-the-brink-of-teenhood son and two dogs. When I’m not introducing those who aren’t afraid to take risks to find their destinies as self-made diamond entrepreneurs, I write fiction at night. I’m not a genre writer, so it’s hard to say what kind of fiction…but lately it’s been military sci-fi and horror-thriller stuff.
1.) What is something that many people might not know about you?
In addition to being a technical writer/editor in my day job, I’m also a licensed professional counselor.
2.) What inspired you to write your first book?
Though I only published it a couple of years ago, I wrote Shadows Burned In—a contemporary Southern Gothic novel about a family in turmoil—over a decade ago. I was going through a lot of mid-life, mortality stuff at the time; issues exacerbated by my dad’s passing in 2003. Writing Shadows was very cathartic for me in dealing with all that. It isn’t the first novel I’ve written, but it was the first one I published.
3.) Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Okay, that’s a tough one, because my reading interests—like my writing interests—are very eclectic. When I write, I write character first and plot/genre second (if even that high up the list). So, similarly, I’d have to say my favorite writers are the ones who do character really well. In the case of indie authors, Nick Cole, Jennifer Ellis, and Edward W. Robertson are three of my favorites because they write GREAT, complex characters and then stick them in a situation that, like a slow flame on a stove, brings their character development to a boil. As far as traditional authors—Stephen King is an excellent storyteller, again because of his focus on character. Bernard Cornwell writes first-rate historical fiction, and while his descriptions of battles are great, you only care about what’s happening because his characters are so rich. I could go on and on, but for the sake of your readers, I’ll stop there.
4.) If you could have dinner with any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Mark Twain. I wouldn’t have to say a thing—always a bonus for me in social situations, since I’m basically a shy person—and I’d be laughing the whole time … probably wouldn’t even have a chance to eat! Twain’s acerbic humor, insight into human nature (both the bad and the capacity for good), and willingness to challenge social propriety (with, for example, treatises on taboo topics like masturbation in Some Thoughts on the Science of Onanism) would make for a very, er, interesting evening.
5.) What book are you reading now?
On Basilisk Station by David Weber. I’m a fan of C.S. Forester’s Captain Horatio Hornblower novels (high-sea adventure set during the Napoleonic Wars), and in the 1990s, Weber translated Hornblower into a space opera. Plus, he made Honor Harrington—Hornblower’s analog in the novel—female, which is usually more interesting to me from a character standpoint. One thing I try to do is write strong female characters into my stories—like the QB (aka Mary Brenneman) in Tales of B-Company: The Complete Collection, set in Michael Bunker’s Pennsylvania universe—and I have a lot of respect for other writers, particularly male writers, who do the same.
6.) Are there any new authors that have captured your interest?
I talked a little about this above. I think Nick Cole is the most naturally talented indie author writing today. I’ve been lucky to become friends with him (we play Dungeons & Dragons together as part of the group Sci-Fi Writers Playing Old School D&D) and other indie authors, whom I really respect. Ed Robertson, same thing. Sam Peralta has put together an amazing corps of indie authors (over 100 now) as part of his Future Chronicles series—anthologies written around a particular theme—and, by doing so, provided a platform for scores of new writers, like myself, who otherwise wouldn’t have as prominent a voice. Michael Bunker created a whole sub-genre of sci-fi called Amish Sci-Fi and allowed me to write in it, and that’s helped me tremendously to hone my craft and find readers. So, various authors have captured my interest in various ways—some as writers I admire for their craft, some as mentors I’ve learned from, and some who hit both categories.
7.) If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?
I can’t think of anything specifically character- or plot-wise I’d change. I’m pretty careful not to release something until I feel it’s just right, though I could tweak language and presentation all day. Eventually, I just have to say “it needs to be done” and hit publish.
8.) Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m currently writing a sequel to Apocalypse Weird: The Serenity Strain called Ironheart, which should be out early next year. I’m also putting together an anthology of first-class indie authors (three of them USA Today bestsellers!) that will be out later this fall. And I’m ramping up to start an original space opera of my own that sorta combines The Godfather with Wall Street and throws an aging hitman with Alzheimer’s into the mix for good measure—I’m really looking forward to developing that project in 2016. So my “free” time not spent encouraging diamond entrepreneurs is very limited these days…
9.) If you were to get rid of one state in the US, which would it be and why?
There are other states in the U.S.? Hadn’t noticed. I’m from Texas, remember? 😉
10.) A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
You seen Berkeley Breathed? Dude owes me royalties.
Go ahead, pimp whatever book you want:
Shadows Burned In is the first novel I ever published, as I mentioned above, and it’s available for a limited time for only 99 cents—if you like your Stephen King-style stuff more The Body and less It, you might give it a try. If you’re more a military-sci fi type, Tales of B-Company: The Complete Collection will be on a Kindle Countdown Deal July 24-26.
See? I told you I was an eclectic writer…
I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did. If you have any comments or questions for Chris, please leave them below. Don’t forget to pick up Shadows Burned In right now for $.99 and be sure to get Tales of B-Company: The Complete Collection July 24-26. You can see my review of Tales Of B-Company: The Complete Collection right here.
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For more information on Chris Pourteau, please visit his website.
GIVEAWAY: Chris is going to giveaway 5 ebook copies of Shadows Burned In. All you need to do is answer the following question in the comments below:
Who’s your favorite author currently writing today and why?
If you could visit one world that an author has created, which would it be and why?
I will take answers until 7/24/15 at midnight (EST) and I will announce the winners 7/25/15 at noon (EST). I will announce the winners here and also on The Leighgendarium Facebook Page.