Author of The Blood Drama
Sponsored by Virtual Book Tours
Welcome to Books, Books, and More Books. I am pleased to share my interview of Christopher Meeks with you. Thank you for visiting and please come again.
Publisher: White Wiskers Press (June 15, 2013)
Category: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense, Crime Thriller
Tour Date: Mid May- Mid June, 2013
Available in: Print & eBook, 242 pages
Thank you for joining us here at Books, Books, and More Books today, Mr. Meeks. Please tell us about yourself and your writing.
I grew up in Minnesota, which was a frozen wasteland in the winter and the humid Amazon in the summer, but I didn’t question the weather or the place because it was just where I was—with three brothers, my parents, and a number of friends. Spring was E.E. Cumming’s mudlucious, puddle-wonderful place, and the fall was ablaze with foliage colors. Things changed.
In high school, I was most interested in filmmaking, but I’d discovered poetry, too. I went off to college at the University of Denver to be a filmmaker, but my first elective in poetry writing had me revel in word imagery. I thought I could combine my two passions of film and poetry with either short story writing or screenwriting, and I loved doing both. I loved science, too—chemistry and physics.
The great thing about college is that when you follow your bliss, no one is there to tell you can’t take chem labs, poetry workshops, music appreciation, psychology, and golf all at once. I couldn’t get enough. I wasn’t in college to make the dean’s list but to try subjects out. The fact I landed good grades was a by-product of my interests.
It was with that same sense of brio that I moved to Los Angeles—that’s where the films were being made. There’s something great about naiveté. It gets you to do things that if you fully researched it, you might not do otherwise. My parents were worried at how I’d manage a big city, but I was sure that I’d get a job screenwriting not in two weeks, but maybe two months, and soon I’d be directing quality films. I told them I’d get a job in a camera store or something until I connected with Hollywood.
And that’s what I did. I worked at the Pan Pacific Camera Center, which was used by big-time photographers. I saved up money and one weekend rented 35mm film equipment to shoot a black-and-white eight-minute film that I thought worthy of an Academy-Award short. When the fire department shut me down for not having a film permit at my own apartment, I decided then and there to forget about directing and just write because I didn’t need no stinking permit to do that.
I went to a graduate writing program at USC to explore more, and I wrote a novel, a screenplay, and a stage play. I secretly wanted to be a novelist, but until I could get good enough, I thought the great thing about movies and plays were their collaborative nature. If dialogue didn’t work, then actors or directors might suggest something better.
After USC, I had three plays produced, and I also made headway into screenwriting. However, I saw screenwriters who made a great living at it and never had a film made. Or if a film was made, the script was changed so much—and credit was shared with so many people—that it wasn’t their story anymore. Screenwriters are low on the pecking order, and the interns seem to do most of the reading and initial decision-making. It’s a difficult medium in which to be a happy writer.
One of my optioned screenplays had the producers so eager for it, but then once they had it, they changed it from a man in prison who learned how to channel himself into a spirit in order to leave prison at night to learn who set him up, to a woman who would channel herself to find a boyfriend.
It took steps to get there, but the process was so ridiculous, I found much more pleasure in playwriting. Playwrights are revered. I loved it—but there’s so little money in playwriting, and it’s so hard to get second productions. My play Who Lives?, however, received a great second production and won five Ovation nominations, the top theatre awards in L.A.
Long story short: in between my plays and screenplays, I wrote short stories for myself, pushing to get better in fiction. When those started getting published, I moved into fiction exclusively. I have two collections of short fiction published and now three novels. I also started teaching in 1994, and I find a wonderful balance between teaching, writing and having a family of my own.
Please tell us a little bit about your upcoming release.
As a writer, I give myself challenges. Blood Drama is my first thriller, but I’ve always liked reading them, and I just wanted to write a book where the tensions are high and the pace is fast. The story is about a graduate student in theatre who is taken hostage in a bank robbery gone awry, and he’s got to fight for his life.
What character was your favorite to write about and why?
I’m partly known for my unusual characters, but I never start out thinking “quirky.” People in real life have an inkling of what they might do, and most people follow that inkling, falling into things, then remain there. I love exploring the interface between desire and accepting what you have. My characters evolve.
Thus, I started with my graduate student, Ian Nash, wanting to write a dissertation on playwright David Mamet, but forces come at Ian. He loses his girlfriend, he’s kicked out of graduate school, and then he’s in the wrong place at the wrong time--at a bank robbery and taken hostage. He fights to survive.
What I didn’t know when I first conceived the book was that the FBI is in charge of bank robberies. I soon created a kick-ass FBI agent named Aleece Medina who was so strong that I had to find a way for Ian and Aleece to intersect.
Why did you decide to write in this genre and this storyline?
As I said, it’s where my own interests took me. Mysteries and thrillers also have a lot of readers, and I knew I could match my style with this genre.
What do you hope that readers can take away from your stories?
That there’s hope. That you can do things if you really want to.
Are you currently working on anything?
I’m writing a mystery, Ten Days to a Bad Habit.
Where can readers find you?
Go to my website, www.ChrisMeeks.com or my blog on www.RedRoom.com
Any upcoming events?
I will be reading from Blood Drama at the publication party at Book ‘Em Mysteries in South Pasadena on June 1.
Thanks, Mindy, for having me here.
June 1st publication party at Book 'Em Mysteries bookstore in South Pasadena, CA
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This was a quirky book. I felt dragged along on the adventure, a slightly off-kilter but enjoyable ride. Nash is a whiner who needs to grow up, and during the course of this adventure he does. His whole life is upended and he is mad at everyone because it is their fault that things are not following his plan… which I’m not even sure he knows what it is. He is one of those perpetual students who just doesn’t want to grow up because they enjoy being a child.
Then he is taken hostage during a bank robbery and FBI Special Agent Aleece Medina enters his life in her brash no nonsense way. Aleece isn’t sure what to do with Nash. His life is in danger, he needs protecting, she’s attracted to him and annoyed with him in the same instance. Her zest for life may be just the thing Nash needs to get his act together… if they survive.
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading this book, but this book is in a class by itself. The heroes are deeply flawed. The villains, with one glaring exception, are really not all that bad… in fact at least one or more are motivated by honorable intentions. The author knows just how to turn a phrase to make you take a second look at a situation you thought you understood, only to find that perhaps it’s not what you thought at first, or even second, glance.
I give this book 4.5 out of 5 clouds.
This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.