Writerly Questions with CK Garner

Warm weather has finally arrived and it is time to start thinking about what to read as you lounge around the pool, while your kids play in the park, or during your hour-long commute on the transpo. To help you prepare your summer-time TBR list, every Monday for the next few months I will be talking with some really fabulous authors about their latest or upcoming books.

This week marks a very special day for C.K. Garner as Friday is the release of Stealing Time. A little bit steam punk and a little bit science-fiction, this novel is part of the Urania imprint. 

How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
A cryptic Illyrian secret, a Sky-Captain’s gamble, the father of Time-Travel lost; young Acastu, last heir of the Pieraomati, battles the evil Phantom-Ships, wagering time itself against his future.

 How long did it take you to write this book?
Stealing Time is a novella-length short story; so it took me only about two months from writing it to initial edits before submission. Since then, innumerable small edits ensued, so in total about five months.

With three months worth of editing, how many drafts do you go through?
About fifteen so far, from first sentence to submission, then edits with the publishing company.

That is a lot of drafts! When do you write best: in the morning, afternoon, or at night?
From midnight to four-o-clock in the morning are the magical, most productive times for me to write. That’s when the magical writing faeries hang about my shoulders pointing the way for the Muses to come calling! When the rest of my part of the world is sleeping, I’m awake scribbling my tales with a pen, or tapping the keys of my laptop to pour the story from Universe to brain to page.

I also tend to be at my most creative at night; the muses seem to have no concept of “office hours” *wink*. Where is your favorite place to write?
My desk in the office area of my bedroom facing the window.

Typewriter, computer/laptop, or pen & paper?
Pen and paper, plus laptop and fur=perfect set up for writing.

If your cats are anything like my best-friend’s feline, you’re scribbling away on paper while the kitties are keeping the computer warm *L0L* What do you drink or eat while you write?
I drink coffee if it is earlier in the day, water all the time, and a small dram of good whiskey, sometimes in the form of a hot toddy help out when creativity and stress are high, but I want to get writing juices flowing. I don’t like to eat when I write because then my fingers aren’t busy. On occasion, chocolate is, of course, the exception to that rule.

Chocolate is the exception to every rule! Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
Rarely do I listen to music when I write, but if I do, it has no words because I find words in a song too distracting.

What do you wear when you write?
Lol!  Your imagination! Nah, really, yoga pants and a T-shirt, or a comfy cotton dress are perfect. Nothing binding.

Do you have any other writing rituals?
I like writing when it is dark outside and everyone is asleep, have a penchant for all things cherry flavoured while I’m at my most creative, which, alongside chocolate are my faves during the creative process. The requisite cats at hand are invaluable for their opinions and furry contributions to my writerly efforts.

How do you plot? Chapter by chapter or an overall synopsis? Do you use detailed outlines?
Seat of my pants; later organization.

How do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?
That was a hard one for me. I began Stealing Time in first person POV, then switched to third person because I think a writer has more option to get into other character’s heads in third person POV than in first. I could be wrong, here, but that has been my experience.

It has been my experience, too. How do you choose your characters’ names?
I enjoy classical Greek and Roman mythology, and other mythological realms, so I tend to use archaic names from those legends and twist them to suit my needs as an author.

I’m a fan of mythology, it is an endless source of fascination. Since I don’t know who got to hear those stories the first time they were told, who is the first person to read your manuscript?
My friend Christina, also known as The Book Geektress, who told me to sit my ass in a chair and just start with a single sentence. She’s been encouraging me since day one for this manuscript and others.

Sounds like a pretty good friend! What did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time?
Toes did a little dance beneath the desk while reading. Double checked to see that it was real. Feet left the floor. Called my mother and my four best friends. Haven’t come down from high yet!

 If your book were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it?
Oded Fehr as Captain Acastus Hale Atanai, Avan Jogia (with brown hair) for Acastu, Joey King as Ligys, Daniel Henney (slightly younger) as Jim Kodama.

What is the first book you remember reading?
Had to be a conglomeration of these: The Children’s Book of Bible Stories, Aesop’s Fables, or The Children’s Book of Greek Mythology. To this day I still mix up all of the players.

I can definitely see how that could happen! What book is on your nightstand right now?
There are twenty-seven books surrounding my bed as I don’t officially possess a nightstand. The ones actually in the bed are: Circle at Center, The Woman in Black, The Sword of Shannara, The Alienist, Paradigm Shift (a graphic-manga), a book about writing mysteries, and Galileo’s Daughter.

That’s quite a collection! Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy series and Kim Harrison’s Hollows series

How do you organize your personal library?
What is this “book organization” of which you speak? Let’s see: Piles and Towers and Five Sagging Bookcases—organized? Meh.

Did you always want to be a writer?
I had notions as a kid, even bought a book about how to write for publication as a teen. Lots of belittling and self-doubt curbed the inclination, but finally, it escaped its bottle and poured out. Stealing Time is the first of my “WIP” to be published—yay! *performs happy dance with toes*

I’m sure it is just the first of many *grin* But if there was one book you wish you had written, what would it be?
Kushiel’s Dart

If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you ask/talk about?
J.R.R. Tolkien: The creative person’s eye-view of humanity; his hopes, visions, and fears for future generations, which flowers he likes best.

 If you could be any character from any book, who would you be?
Mmm—it’s a four-way tie between Ms Eglantine Price from The Magic Bed Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons Sally Owens from Practical Magic, Princess Leia from Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, and Dumbledore from Harry Potter. All carry burdens, kindness, and strength in equal amounts—good side bearing the balance. Impossible for me to pick just one.

What is the best gift someone could give a writer?
A good readership, a great review, friendship, and loving support.

 What is the best advice someone could give a writer?
To quote a comedic fictional space captain, “Never give up! Never surrender!” Write every day, read every day, and don’t give up your dream of being published. Always keep going onto the next work in progress…even when you have a manuscript already in the publication works!

 What is one random thing most people don’t know about you?
That, friends, will remain my secret–but thanks for asking. Oh, they can find me at http://www.ckgarnerstealingtime.blogspot.com and now the secret is out!

 Previous Interviews: Cordelia DinsmoreDevin HodginsKaitlin BevisMartin Bodenham


Author: JaimeKristal

JaimeKristal is a freelance editor and writer. She started her book review blog "Tales of a Booklover" for the enjoyment of sharing her love of reading.

2 thoughts on “Writerly Questions with CK Garner”

  1. Rhea! Yep. Cherries. Remember that ol’ movie The Witches of Eastwick? Cherries for the weirdest scenes. Special effects on the Poltergeist series? Cherry pie filling! I’m convinced that there is a connection with cherries and creativity, but I like ’em in any form when I write. Glad you stopped by for my grilling! Thank you to JaimeKristal for hosting!

    C.K. Garner


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