Monday, May 23, 2016

An Interview with Charles Bourland

Charles Bourland, author and playwrite
C.R. Bourland

How did you start writing?

As crazy as it sounds, I began making up stories to entertain myself when I couldn’t sleep. I’ve always have problems sleeping. Creating story lines and dialogue proved to be far more enjoyable than tossing and turning for hours at a time. It’s still the best way to work around writer’s block when I run into a snag. The downside is that sometimes I get so wired about an idea or the solution to a problem, that I have to get up and work on it right then.

What first inspired you?

One day in elementary school, a friend lent me a science fiction novel. Until that time, I’d never read anything that hadn’t been forced on me. After the first few chapters, I was hooked. Before I knew it, I was beginning to enjoy everything from comic books to the classics. Later, as an art director in advertising, I worked alongside some very good copywriters and realized that’s what I wanted to do at some point in my life.

Who or what has helped you the most with your writing career?  

I was extremely fortunate to have a wonderful cousin who is a very accomplished writer. Without her help, I doubt seriously that I would have ever made it through the first chapter. She’s been a huge help in the editing department as well. I also have a supportive wife who is uniquely creative in her own right.

Do you write everyday?

I tend to write in spurts. Sometimes I work steadily for many days at a time, but then there are days or even weeks when I don’t write at all.

Do you have a special place to write?

I generally work in one or two places, but thanks to my trusty laptop, I often work outside when the weather is nice. When I lived close to the ocean, working at the beach was a great way to relax and find a new perspective.

Typically, how much do you write a day?

When I’m on a roll I usually write anywhere from two to four hours a day. Stumbling out of the gate is pretty much a given each time I start a new project, but I tend to pick up speed as things begin to take shape.  

Do you use an outline? If not, how do you keep your story and characters together?

I rarely use outlines until I’ve worked out a few scenes. Once I get a feel for the characters and the general tone for actions and emotions, then I begin to work out the overall flow with a rough outline in the form of a series of notes and plot lines.  

How much do you rewrite? How many drafts do you typically have?

A lot! The first write through is generally pretty rough. After that I usually go back through three to five times until everything begins to work smoothly. Then another time or two is required to feel like it’s close to a finished product.

How do you feel about writing groups and have they helped you?

The best thing ever is giving and receiving input. Critique sessions not only allow you to see how others view your work, but it’s surprising how much you can actually learn by analyzing someone else’s technique. If you get the chance, there are some excellent writers' seminars. I’ve attended a few and can honestly say they are well worth the money. Being able to talk to agents directly about your work is invaluable. The interaction with other writers in similar stages of their careers is a real eye opener. You’ll be able to share successes and failures along with some amazing insights you’d probably never realize on your own.

What drew you to your genre of writing?

Because, I used to favor books and movies with light storylines and happy endings, I began by writing a couple of romantic comedy type novels. A thriller came next, followed by an action comedy. After writing four novels, I began writing screenplays and now find myself drawn to a wider variety of subject matter.

What authors do you like to read?

Unfortunately, since I’ve started writing, I don’t read as much as I used to. When I do, I still find myself drawn to authors like Nelson DeMille and Carl Hiaasen.

Who is your greatest support?

I’m fortunate to have two wonderful people to buoy my efforts. As I mentioned before, my cousin has been an enormous help, sharing her expertise and time. My wife has not only supported my writing, but still reads everything I do and helps me with everything from spelling to evaluation of plots and character development.

What do you think of e-publishing?

It’s the best thing to happen to emerging writers since the computer. Anyone can do it and get out into the marketplace. I design all of my own book covers.

What are you working on currently?

As I said before, my comfort zone was squarely set in lighthearted, happy ending storylines. So, oddly enough, I’ve just begun work on a contained horror project. It’s an interesting exercise since the entire story takes place in a single room. It’s much more difficult than I ever imagined.

What advice would you give to beginning writers?  

Write as often as you can, even if it ends up in the trash. Everything can be used as a building block to something better. If you don’t have access to classes, seminars or other authors, join some online writer’s groups. Working in a vacuum limits everything you do.



Novels by CR Bourland are available in the Amazon Kindle Store
    
Contempt of Courtney by C.R. Bourland


CONTEMPT OF COURTNEY - Dramedy
A young woman’s transformation from cold-hearted lawyer into a caring human being isn’t an easy process and Courtney Mitchell’s path has more twists, turns and detours than most. Incredibly successful in the courtroom, Courtney is an unbelievable disaster on any personal level. The friction she causes among the associates in her law firm reaches an all time high and she’s forced to accept a frivolous pro-bono case miles away in a small town. The lawsuit she’s inherited comes complete with a grieving young widower, ripe for a grueling confrontation with an arrogant big city attorney. Somehow, between mutual contempt and non-stop personal conflict, Courtney acquires an appreciation for rose gardens, Jerry Mason and trout fishing naked. Even murder and betrayal can’t stop the unlikely couple’s headlong rush into romantic disaster. What starts as an unwanted lawsuit soon turns into Courtney’s ticket to the human race as she learns about real friendship, real human tragedy and real love.
Available in Amazon Kindle Store: 

DOES THIS COFFIN MAKE ME LOOK FAT? – Action Comedy
Blackmail and murder have never been more entertaining.
Mike Leary realizes his wife’s untimely death may not have been an accident when he discovers her lucrative home business consisted of blackmailing everyone from friends and neighbors to the Commander in Chief. Now, he is on the run from a homicidal priest, a giant albino with a pocket full of pet rats and the knife-wielding uncle of a young woman Mike has been sleeping with since his wife’s demise.
Available in Amazon Kindle Store:
A SWORD FOR THE DEVIL - Thriller
Terrorists threaten to release a horrifying biological agent on America’s entire population if their demands for weapons grade plutonium are not met within five days. Ironically, the only man with the solution to this horror is on the run from his own country’s military forces. Dr. Roger Davis inadvertently infects himself with the deadly virus and becomes a triggering mechanism for the very menace he’s worked tirelessly to prevent. Roger not only knows the answer . . . he is the answer. Unfortunately, the U.S. Air Force is out to exterminate Dr. Davis before he can stop A Sword For The Devil.
Available in Amazon Kindle Store: 
http://tinyurl.com/swordfordevil


Visiting Eternity by C.R. Bourland

    
VISITING ETERNITY - Dramedy
Working in a strip club wasn’t what Katrina Tobin had in mind when she left her home in rural Nebraska. After months of dancing naked and saving every penny she can, Katrina makes a run for home. When her car breaks down outside the farming community of Eternity, she finds herself stuck in the same small-town atmosphere she’d tried to escape when she left home. In exchange for room and board, Katrina works at the local diner while her car is being repaired. There she finds a new best friend and an attractive ex-con she can’t seem to resist
Available in Amazon Kindle Store:


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