Jun 29, 2014

Mortom Interview

When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?
I was probably 15 when I sat down at a typewriter and churned out my first ‘real’ tale. It was a horrible story with a nonsensical twist, but my folks—God bless ‘em—said they loved it. After that I was hooked.

Is being an Author all you dreamed of, or did it just happen? The best and worst thing about it?
I’ve always been blessed with the creative bug. When I was a child I loved to draw, and everyone thought I would be an artist. When I reached my teens, my interests shifted to music and writing. It was a blast being in a band, but I disliked relying on other people to practice, and I preferred the solidarity of writing.

The best thing about being a writer is having someone connect with the work. I don’t care if you laugh, cry, or throw the book across the room—anytime I evoke any emotion in someone, I’ve done my job.

On the flip side, one of the worst things (for me) is how long it takes to get the words right. I’m not a prolific writer, and I can spend hours on a single page and still not be happy.

What was the very first thing you ever wrote?
I think I started drawing comics as soon as I learned to hold a pencil. Star Wars hit the big screen when I was five, and there was no question it awoke my imagination. I remember making everything from flip books to bubble gum cards.

What made you create (your book)How did it come to you?
Mortom is loosely based on the town of Farmington, Iowa, where my father grew up. I’ve always been intrigued by small towns. It has to be incredibly difficult to hide anything within a tiny population, but at the same time, small towns seem to hold the most secrets. It’s a fascinating dynamic.

Who is your literary hero?
I’ve always been drawn to Stephen King. He’s a brilliant storyteller and an incredible curator of characters. If I’m stuck or uninspired I grab some King, leaf through a few pages, and I’m off and running again.

How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?
As many writers will freely admit, characters are little more than ‘thinly disguised versions of themselves’. The protagonist of Mortom, Andy Crowl, is basically me with all my worst attributes. It was never intentional, but (I felt) it was necessary to serve the story. The other characters in the book are composites of people I’ve come across throughout life.

Describe your main character in six words.
Andy is selfish, stubborn, and logical.

Describe the world you’ve created in six words.
Isolated small town with lethal secrets.

What scene was your favorite to write?
Andy and his Aunt Mary have an intense dislike for each other, so it was always a treat to put them in the same room. Both are extremely sarcastic and volatile, so writing their dialogue was always fun.

What scene was the hardest for you to write?
I can’t think of one in particular, but I always struggle with writing ‘action’ scenes. The finale in Mortom took a fair amount of tweaking before I was satisfied, and even now I can still look at it and cringe at certain sentences. At some point you just have to say ‘enough is enough’ and move on.

What are you working on now?
Resthaven will be released in spring 2015. If I say anything more, it might ruin the fun.

Goals? Accomplishments? Improvements?
One of my life’s goals was to publish a book, and it’s an incredible feeling to have that accomplished. From here, it’s a matter of making each book better, expanding my reader base, and continuing to grow as a writer.

Are there any authors or books you recommend?
Two of my favorite novels are A Simple Plan (Scott Smith) and The Reapers Are the Angels (Alden Bell). I recently finished Murder by the Slice (Rob Cline) and would recommend that to anyone who enjoys a quirky ‘non-traditional’ mystery.

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?
Spending time with my lovely wife and two beautiful daughters. They are what get me out of bed each and every morning. Sometimes literally.

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, (inadvertently) harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. None of these have come close to the thrill of releasing his debut novel, Mortom.

When he's not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his oldest daughter's volleyball team, or chilling on the PS3 with his 11-year-old. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only 7 places in the world the UNESCO has certified as a “City of Literature.”


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