An Interview with Erik Therme, author of Mortom and Resthaven
I’m not going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other published novels, is there one that is your own personal favourite?
That’s a tough one. My debut mystery, Mortom, has a special place in my heart, as it’s my first published book. Resthaven, my YA suspense novel, was written for my two teenage daughters, and I feel very paternal toward the characters in the book. All that said, my soon to be published third novel, Roam, is probably my favorite, as it has the most accomplished and fulfilling story line (in my opinion) of everything I’ve written to date.
Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?
This is a great question, as I’ve been recently thinking a lot about my first novel. It’s basically a love story—very different from everything else I’ve written—and while I never plan to officially publish it, I’d love to have a paperback for myself and a few friends. If I get ambitious, I might do a one-time limited printing of the book and possibly offer a few copies as giveaways.
Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?
I’m not a prolific author, and I don’t really have an ‘idea’ dump as many other authors have. I wish I did, but my mind doesn’t work that way. For me, an idea comes slowly, and it’s not uncommon for the story to wither and die once I try to put it on my paper. Needless to say, I have plenty of half-written stories haunting my hard drive, which I never delete, as sometimes they can be recycled for other projects.
I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?
I’m fortunate enough to have a downstairs office inside my house, and it’s definitely my happy writing place. You’ll find me there with a cold Mountain Dew, a movie soundtrack playing in the background, and wearing my fuzzy Mogwai slippers. I’ve always used a computer to write, as very few people (myself included at times) can read my handwriting.
Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?
My lovely wife is my first and primary beta-reader. She’s incredibly talented when it comes to catching errors, and she’s an expert in all things grammar. She’s also not shy about pointing out things she doesn’t like, whether it be characters, plot points, or just bad writing. It’s definitely tough love at its finest.
I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?
I’m blessed to live in Iowa City, home of acclaimed Prairie Lights Bookstore. Their staff is amazing to work with, and they’ve been extremely generous with shelving and sharing my work. I’m also fortunate enough to have a great relationship with our local Barnes & Noble stores, and they’ve been kind enough to invite me to multiple signings and events.
I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind?
Harold and the Purple Crayon was one of my favorite books growing up. When I graduated to chapter books, I devoured series like Encyclopedia Brown and The Three Investigators. It was in junior high that I discovered Stephen King, and I continue to be inspired and awed by his writing to this day.
Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. What’s your take on it?
I manage all my social media: everything from Facebook to my website. It can definitely feel overwhelming at times, but it’s a necessary evil if you want to successfully extend your reach as an author. The important thing is to not shout BUY MY BOOK! over and over, as that rarely works and can easily alienate others. Social media is about connecting with readers and fans, and sharing your love of books and writing. If you’re lucky, readers will then be curious enough to take a chance on your work.
Answering interview questions can often take a long time! Tell me, are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next?
I have to be honest: after my first dozen interviews, I began to realize that many of the questions were so similar that I found myself (more or less) rewriting the same answers. Eventually I created a Word document with my completed interviews, and I refer to it when I’m asked similar questions, which gives me more writing time for my novels.