What would I tell a new author? by Robert Creekmore – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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What would I tell a new author?

I would tell them to sit their ass in a chair and write.

I’m always astounded by the way writers are portrayed in television and movies. It’s as though, whatever comes out of their typewriter or printer is the finished product, ready to be handed over to an eagerly waiting agent or publisher upon their completion. No rewrites or revisions are necessary. We skip ahead a few months where they’re lavished with praise for the new edition to their evergrowing oeuvre. Guess what? That shit doesn’t happen. Writing is a messy business because what we do is take the inner workings of fallible human minds and whittle down an idea to a lean state that can be packaged between two covers and hopefully sold as something besides stiff toilet paper or a spacer for a short table leg.

There is no secret to writing besides hard work. I speak with new writers all the time who tell me that they’re not writing momentarily because they’re, “waiting for inspiration.” That’s a horseshit excuse to be lazy. In writing, as in most art, inspiration rarely comes at a random moment. Instead, I often find myself most inspired when I’m deep in the process itself. Sure, there are entire chapters in my novels that were written while running or showering, but they’re more akin to spillovers from the previous night’s writing session. Once my mind has a moment to calm itself, the new bits that were begging to break through the prior evening stumble out like drunkards into the street after Saturday night’s last call. Had I sat on my hands instead of engaging them on my keyboard, I would have never finished my first novel, let alone be writing my fourth.

There is no wrong or right to it otherwise. Unfortunately, I cannot provide you with insights as to what creativity is, exactly. I cannot because I don’t understand it. My brain spins ideas like an out-of-control Rolodex of free associations. The bizarre connections I make between them happen somewhere behind the scenes of my gray matter. Practice can improve your ability to access it, but I believe a substantial portion of it is endemic to the neurology of the individual. That you can’t control. The only thing you can do is keep working and never, ever give up.

Two years after Naomi murdered the serial killer and rapist Vernon Proffit, she is attempting to adjust to a quiet life with her wife, Tiffany. But Vernon’s flock is not done with her. Under new leadership, their numbers have swollen as they morphed from a single entity into a network of cultists called Apostles of the Cloven Hand.

Naomi has suppressed her abilities since killing Vernon, but she cannot ignore the voices of the young people the new flock tortures and molests. They scream for help in her dreams every night, causing her to question her own sanity.

When she uses her long-dormant abilities to stop an attempted gay-bashing, Naomi’s true identity is exposed. The cult sends an assassin to kill Naomi and her family, forcing them to flee the state while the Apostles move to take everything the family has built.

Naomi fought the cult before and won. But that was before she had her chosen family to worry about. Now, she must choose between hiding on her own to keep her family safe or fighting back to destroy the Apostles. If she hides, the Apostles will continue to victimize those near them. If she fights, her family will be at risk of the same fate they plan for Naomi.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Even after your enemies’ defeat, they are still with you.”

Those are Nate’s words. I hear them whenever I wake up screaming and fighting in the middle of the night. Tiffany has similar episodes.

How do you build an ordinary life when you’re not, well, ordinary? Terror and fury molded me for eleven years. That abruptly ended with the death of Vernon Proffit and his acolytes. Sure, there was a period of celebration following. After vengeance, the anger never completely subsides. Don’t interpret that as regret; some motherfuckers need killing.

What bothers me is that before I fed Vernon to the Atlantic Ocean, the screams that woke me were my own as I relived trauma.

The abilities my guide, Mara, gifted me are still intact, but I choose to shut myself off from them. However, now something new comes pulsing forth from the ground that I have no control over. I’m stirred from sleep by the horrors others are experiencing. They cry out for help, but I don’t know how to save them. Mostly, they’re abused young people. Their voices drive me mad. If I could only find them, maybe I could stop their suffering. Last night, it was a young man named Vincent. I couldn’t see where he was. I could only hear him wail in pain as he experienced abject hopelessness.

But I attempt to tarry forward.

Today, I should be happy. It’s July twentieth, two-thousand-six; my twenty-seventh birthday as Naomi Pace. Legally, as Hannah Sillman, I’m thirty-four and will turn thirty-five on Christmas day. That birthday is celebrated more ominously, as the real Hannah rests with her mother, Milly, under an old oak tree high up in the hills of Yancey County. Her father, Al, gifted me with this new life by giving me her identity for my eighteenth birthday. He was more of a father than my own, Amos, who beat me mercilessly when he found out that I was in love with Tiffany. I still am. Their hate and violence couldn’t destroy that.

I won. Why am I still so sad? Why do I disregard my own life, feeling guilty about those I couldn’t save, like Charles? He died during our escape. There was nothing I could do. I know that, logically, but I can’t convince my heart of it. It eats at me with each heartbeat, saying, ‘you could have done more.’ It does so now, at four-thirty in the morning. I’m sitting up in bed with no one to speak with. I don’t dare wake my beautiful bride, Tiffany, as she sleeps soundly next to me.

About the Author:Robert Creekmore is from a rural farming community in Eastern North Carolina.
He attended North Carolina State where he studied psychology. While at university, he was active at the student radio station. There, he fell in love with punk rock and its ethos.

Robert acquired several teaching licenses in special education. He was an autism specialist in Raleigh for eight years. He then taught for four years in a small mountain community in western North Carolina.

During his time in the mountains, he lived with his wife Juliana in a remote primitive cabin built in 1875. While there, he grew most of his own food, raised chickens, worked on a cattle farm, as well as participated in subsistence hunting and fishing.

Eventually, the couple moved back to the small farming community where Robert was raised.

Robert’s first novel Afiri, is a science fiction love letter to his childhood hero Carl Sagan. It was nominated for a Manly Wade Wellman award in 2016.
Robert’s second novel is the first in a trilogy of books. Annoyed with the stereotype of the southeastern United States as a monolith of ignorance and hatred, he wanted to bring forth characters from the region who are queer and autistic. They now hold up a disinfecting light to the hatred of the region’s past and to those who still yearn for a return to ways and ideas that should have long ago perished.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Marcy Meyer says

    The excerpt sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Sounds like an interesting read.

  4. Marisela Zuniga says

    What inspired you to write this book?

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