Here Be Dragons
C M Halstead’s latest psychological thriller will be available on August 10, 2021. He describes it as “something found on the edges of ancient explorer maps, the parts of the world that the people know exist, but don’t explore. In many stories Dragons represent the big challenge the protagonist must face in order to complete their hero’s journey and receive the prize.” Here’s a brief synopsis:
Marty Roberts has an opportunity to save the world, not from itself, but from the humans that dominate it. He sits, thinking. Determined to find a solution, no idea how lost he is.
Agent Joanne Clay urgently moves forward in her career, hell-bent on making her reputation and moving on from her family’s. She, a new generation of FBI agent.
Enter a clandestine agency, a psycho or three and the race for power gets violent. A whodunit, full of power and personal struggles. Who will prevail, the young, FBI-backed agent or Marty Roberts, alone and on mission?
C M’s Interview
Do you consider yourself (1) an introvert OR (2) an extrovert?
Introvert to the core. INTP 90% introvert, the other three teeter totter back and forth by 10% or less.
That being said, I am a trained extrovert. Survival required it. Now, at my age of 50, I’ve learned to embrace my introvert nature and to resist those that say I have to go out…. No, they have to go out, they just want me to go with them.
Why go out when I can stay in? Or in the forest? Or fishing from the shore? Other things that are quiet and recharging. Thank you nature for allowing me to recharge my energy, I’ve humans in my life that demand it. 🙂
Do you find it (1) easy to give a witty retort OR (2) think of what you should have said after the conversation is over?
I am known for witty retorts. In my own mind I am a verbal champion at this. I’ve been labeled “full of it” by peers and customers alike. I’ve had careers where quick thought and tongue were requirements often used in the constant negotiating of written contracts and verbal agreements, both between companies and spouses, as well as customers who thought they were in charge, until I took them out of their element and into mine. From negotiating multi-million dollar contracts to enticing an overbearing customer on a jeep tour to, “sit-down, shut-up, and have a good time.” Quick thought and bantering are one of the tools of my survival and success.
What provides more inspiration to you: (1) art OR (2) nature?
Nature is Art. Go out in it. Get high if you need to, stare at nothing, listen to everything. Stop moving! To be still is the best way to experience the things we do not normally see. Whether it be watching the ground creatures, the bugs, lizards, and others that crawl around beneath us. Or stopping to stare into a tree to experience what crawls up and down it, what flies in and out of it, and the surprises at the top watching you from just outside your site limits.
Moving meditation, also known as hiking, is a huge part of my creative process. Sometimes I will cover miles and miles on a trail, letting my body exercise while my brain wanders. I’ve been known to skid to a stop, whip out my phone and write a note before anything can distract me and the idea disappears with the same magic that had it arrive. Juxtaposed to long distance hiking, I also love to wander off-trail in various environments, seeing what I see, hearing what I hear, without the often repeated conversations that trail hiking requires. “good morning”, “great weather”, “beware of the snake ahead” and other excuses to break the uncomfortable silences of strangers passing in the wild.
Outdoors is where I escape the distractions of the modern world, slow myself down, and remove my face from the electronics. There my thoughts flow free. There my brain hops story to story or thinks of nothing.
Do you write (1) when the mood takes you OR (2) at a set time?
I write on a schedule. I put myself in my #writerscave 5-6 six days a week. I view my job (as an author) seriously and my job is to put my author butt in the writing chair, in the writer’s cave, away from life’s distractions, and keep it there. When I do, magic happens. Words come from my fingers and rough drafts appear. I DO allow myself to work on whatever my mood chooses to write. I generally have several novels in process at the same time. If my fingers stop moving I switch to a different tale, whatever it takes to keep the creative flow moving.
To be honest, some days, it is all I can do to keep ME in the writer’s cave, to block out the sounds of the humans around me, the barking dogs, garbage trucks, and other human sounds that remind me there is a world outside of the one I am creating in my stories. I often use sound deadening headphones while listening to classical music, trance, or other wordless music to keep me present in the moment.
Being a creative is different than the other jobs I’ve had in the past, they were mostly linear and judged by the perception of constant productivity, whereas being an author, some of the best ideas have come to me whilst staring at the floor and smoking a cigar. It is the uninterrupted thought that is needed to create. The quiet that requires is tough in the human infused first world I dwell in.
(1) Can you name just one favorite novel OR (2) you love too many to just pick one?
Who can pick just one… of anything. Me? I have a hard time with top ten lists. How about a top ten list for each genre of books, movies, music. I might be able to come up with a top ten list for video games (Madden, Super TecmoBowl….) other than that, my loves are a long list. My music tastes go from Mozart to Metal, I’d have to come up with a top ten list for both of those catagories. Same with novels… I bet I could come up with a top ten list of Stephen King novels, or top ten authors (besides the King whom I enjoy for his in the brain of everybody story telling style, Terry Pratchett for his humor and wit, Clive Cussler for his adventurous characters, and every military veteran who told their story in print, to name a few.) Top few self improvement books: The Four Agreements, The War of Art, Peter Principle. The only thing harder than coming up with a list of top ten cheeseburgers I’ve had in my life. First let us start with locations they were consumed in….
Thanks for being interviewed, C M!