Tuesday, May 26, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Christopher Brooks

An interview with Christopher Brooks, author of The Gertrude Threshold.


Hi! Welcome to Zigzag Timeline. Can you tell us about your background as an author?

I published my first book, The Gertrude Threshold, a sci-fi novella, back in October 2014.  The Gertrude Threshold follows one family over the course of a single day, the last day on Earth, which has been destroyed due to our sun’s rapid, uncontrolled growth.

What got you into writing?

Boredom, probably, if I’m being honest. The first story I wrote was in 6th grade as I waited in the green room between my (very) infrequent appearances in Fiddler On The Roof. A few years later, I picked up writing again during another bout of boredom during the summer before I started high school. After that, it became a permanent part of my life.

What was the first idea you had for your book, and how did the story grow from there?

The very first scene of my novella, with one of the main characters and his grandson living in their home underground, was the earliest idea I had. It was a summer day, and I was walking to my car across a sweltering, unshaded parking lot. After asking myself “why” seemingly countless times, I went from a single scene to a hundred-page novella.

Among your characters, who's your favorite? Could you please describe him/her?

There’s a young, five-year-old boy in my story who’s largely a bystander to the adults’ tribulations. However, the chapter I wrote from his perspective was incredibly refreshing. It’s not often you get to reexamine the world through younger, less skeptical and cynical eyes.

What's your favorite scene from your novel? Could you please describe it?

My favorite scene is likely the finale one, which I won’t spoil here. In a novel about how a family spends the last day on Earth, the ending is in a sense pre-determined. However, when I wrote those final few pages, I felt full of possibility, as if I were at a stopping point for one thing and a starting point for something else. I suppose that’s the feeling I’d like everyone else to take away, too.

What's your favorite part of writing? Plotting? Describing scenes? Dialogue?

I’ve never really made a distinction between the different aspects of writing. My favorite part of writing is simply the act of it: setting aside time to create something that might not be necessarily tied to your job and doesn’t have a deadline or expectations. Letting your unfiltered thoughts out once and a while is probably a healthy thing.

How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have a writing process, or do you wing it?

Writing my first book, The Gertrude Threshold probably took over a year, including writing and editing. In terms of a process, I try to write every day in the morning before work. Success depends on whether I remembered to buy coffee at the grocery store.

What is it about the genre you chose that appeals to you?

The Gertrude Threshold technically would be categorized as science-fiction, and it’s hard not to love a genre where you can essentially write your own rules.

Are there any books or writers that have had particular influence on you?

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce is probably the book that opened my eyes to the possibilities of literature and power of the act of writing. Before that, I wasn’t what you’d call a regular reader or writer. After reading Portrait, I started to feel it was okay to “waste” time writing, perhaps even if nothing ever came of it, as if someone had said, “What the heck? Give it a shot.”

Did you ever surprise yourself when you were writing your book? Characters who took on lives of their own? Plot elements that took unexpected turns?

I’ve been terrible at writing outlines for research papers and stories ever since junior high, so still much of what I write in a first draft is a surprise.

I like to create the sandbox - the characters and different scenarios - and just let everything react in a way that feels genuine.

Thanks for stopping by!

Christopher's Website: www.RaggedRightMedia.com
Christopher's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RaggedRightMedia

Book Description:

Brandon knows today will be his last. He has been dreading this moment his entire life. Scientists had long ago predicted the year and the day when all living things, everything Brandon has come to know, would go up in flames – the day Earth hit the Gertrude

For seventy years, Brandon had aged with the sun. He’d watched it grow bigger and the Warming fry the planet. Science was powerless to stop it. Plants withered. Oceans dried up. Humanity went mad. People sought safety underground. Radiation poisoned the world they left behind above.

Now, Brandon languishes on his deathbed. He looks after his grandson, Ky, and again wonders what survival left him with. Ky’s parents, John and Ellen, wander throughout the underground tunnels. Ellen mourns the loss of everything she and her child will never experience. Desperate to spend his final hours with the man he has grown to love, John abandons his wife and child.

Brandon, his family, and the underground survivors have no future, only the past, and less than 24 hours to reclaim the years the Warming stole while Earth begins to fall apart around them.

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