I thought this book was kinda neat and appreciate the fact that it was written as a Nanowrimo project.
How do you get inspired to write?
For me the hard part is getting the initial idea. With my novel Fire in the Bones, music, part of a song, sparked it. Once I have an idea, I’m inspired to pursue it, and I start thinking about characters. Characters drive fiction just like people make things happen in real life. And once the characters start moving, I can’t wait to keep up with them. (:
Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
Where the story came from—that’s pretty cool. My son had been doing NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month—for a year or two, where you try to draft a novel of 50,000 words in a month. One November I decided to do it too. We went to a little café in a bookstore for the first “write-in,” and I had a song in my mind—I’ve always loved popular music, and I’m an auditory person, so music is often floating around in my head—anyway, I had in my mind this song about fire and how it can actually clean or purify things, make them better. And I started to picture a scene I vaguely remembered about a little boy sitting in a little country church, fanning himself with one of those rectangular picture-fans on a stick that little country churches in the South used to have (maybe they still do). And the words started to come. That turned into the first scene/chapter in the book. The next three or four chapters of the book I based on other early memories or early stories I had heard. Then as the plot and the characters started to take shape and develop, it became clearer and clearer where to go with the story.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Write about something that you deeply care about and are truly interested in—not what sells the most or what is most popular. That way, no matter what the final outcome for your book, you can still feel good about it, knowing it is honest and true to you and genuine. And that genuineness should also come across to readers, reflecting in the quality of the writing. If you don’t deeply care about what you’re writing, it’s never going to be your best.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Not money, not fame. Sharing something of value with the world, with whoever is willing to take a look—that’s the best thing for me.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
You have to know yourself as a writer. Writers are not all the same. I could never sit and work on the same thing for hours on end. I must take frequent breaks, with almost anything. So that’s how I approach writing. I do a little, and when I find myself getting stuck, I take a break. A really good piece of advice I’ve heard and I try to apply is to stop writing each day before you finish whatever you’re working on. Leave yourself something to pick up with tomorrow. That way you never have to start from scratch the next day, just sitting there starting at a blank screen.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a second novel, which is a sequel to the first. It follows Luke through his high school years, and his pursuit of happiness through three different girls and LOTS of 70’s music, movies, and TV. I have completed the first draft and am currently in the revising stage. Working title: We Are Not Consumed.
What is your book about?
Fire in the Bones is about a boy, Luke, trying to find happiness in middle America, and it’s not so easy. He faces fears and often feels alone. He’s looking for security, love—something to take the pain away—wherever he can find it, be it God, girls—and eventually, one girl, Lonnie; and popular music—especially the Beatles.
What book/movie/etc. is it comparable to?
I think the book transcends any one book or movie, but you’ll get a good idea by thinking of “Coming of Age meets Classic Rock.” (:
Where can readers go for more?
My website! www.markrharris.net – It has more on the book, on me, as well as links to my other written works (articles, poems), as well as links to my blog and vlog—half a dozen video installments!