It’s Writer’s Wednesday!
Today we have with us
Michael Charney who is the author of
Chasing Glenn Beck: A Personal Experiment in Reclaiming Our Hijacked Political Conversation
Tell us a bit about yourself:
Do you work another job when you are not writing?
Two, actually, though both are for myself. First, my wife and I work together in an HR consultancy that works with corporations to promote leadership and team building. Secondly, I?ve established a publishing company, Riddle Brook Publishing, that has just signed a new author from here in New Hampshire. Working on her book?and reviewing other query letters and manuscripts?takes up a chunk of my time as well.
What is your favorite thing to do when you aren?t writing?
Reading. I know that sounds trite for a writer, but it?s true. I constantly have several books going, and I might be reading Dickens in the morning and Atwood in the afternoon.
What is your favorite color? Why?
Blue. It used to be green, but it changed. My wife doesn?t like blue so we have almost none of it in our house. She actually talked me out of buying a blue car at one point. Turns out I miss it.
What is your favorite season? Why?
I live in New Hampshire, so I?m obligated to say, ?autumn.? It really is devastatingly gorgeous up here during that time of the year.
If you could live anyplace on earth, where would it be? Why?
I?ve never really thought about it. I?ve lived in California (both southern and northern), in New Jersey, and now in New Hampshire. I?ve made many trips to Europe and to Israel. What I?ve found is that when you?re working, ?here? is just ?here.? So I?ve never really had a preference as to location. I guess I would most want to live wherever my wife lives; she?s my rock, despite her aversion to blue?
If you could have any car, what would it be?
One that never needs repairs, or oil changes, or new tires, or a tune-up. I just hate taking care of all that mundane stuff. Oh, and if it used air for fuel, that would be great, too.
Tell us about your writing:
How long have your been writing? Was it a dream, a goal or is it just a hobby?
I?ve been writing most of my life, starting way back in grade school, where it was a dream. Then, in my twenties, I wrote a couple of novels?which I?m happy to say have remain unpublished, since they weren?t good at all. At that time it was a hobby. Then, in my thirties I started up again, and writing for publication became a goal. I started in earnest on short stories, essays and technical articles, and had great success, placing quite a few pieces both in North America and in Europe, and winning a number of awards. One story I wrote even ended up in a high school English textbook?I?m very proud of that. Chasing Glenn Beck is my first book-length publication, and that was dream, goal and hobby all wrapped up together.
How many hours a day do you devote to writing?
When I?m in the middle of a project, the actual writing gets 2-3 hours of my time each day. Since I?ve been working in non-fiction, of course, there?s additional time for research, fact checking, etc. During the writing of Chasing Glenn Beck, I probably devoted about 30-40 per week to the project.
Do you have a set routine or do you write when the mood strikes?
When I?m working on a project I try to stick to a set routine because, oddly, I don?t actually like writing all that much. It?s more of a compulsion for me, and I would procrastinate (and then feel guilty about it) if I didn?t work to a schedule. I prefer to write in the mornings and mid-afternoons; that?s when I feel most productive. By the way, while I don?t love to write, I love having written. I suspect more authors feel that way than would care to admit it.
Is there some place special you like to be when you write?
I write in my home office because that?s where my computer is?the one with the full-sized keyboard and the overlarge monitor. While I love the freedom that laptops bring, I just find that I prefer the size. I don?t suppose it?s a particularly special place, but I do have a few internet radio stations that soothe me and make the writing a bit easier.
Do you listen to music or do you need a quiet place to write?
As it turns out, I write best when I listen to quiet music. I find that Brian Eno works well, as does mellow jazz. I tried classical for a while, but the intricacies proved distracting. Even with the music playing, though, I need the remaining surroundings quiet. Someone talking on the phone in the next room, for example, leaks through and makes it difficult to concentrate. I really envy those people who can completely tune out everything around them; it?s a skill I?ve never acquired.
Tell us about your book:
What is the name of it and is it part of a series or a stand alone novel?
My book is entitled Chasing Glenn Beck: A Personal Experiment in Reclaiming Our Hijacked Political Conversation, and it?s narrative non-fiction.
Where did the idea come from? How long did it take to write?
The idea, unfortunately, emerged from tragedy. Shortly after the earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan last spring, Glenn Beck came out and said that if perhaps we had all been just a bit better at following the Ten Commandments, then maybe this particular Act of God might never had happened. I couldn?t believe it: an entertainer with no particular background?a former shock-jock and self-proclaimed rodeo clown?had crossed some line I didn?t even know I?d drawn. And this guy seemed to have tremendous influence! It was my anger, my sheer incredulousness, which drove me to the keyboard and started the project.
What is it about?
The book describes the three months I spent on Twitter chatting with thousands of political junkies in an effort to find out why the loudest, most raucous, most illogical voices seem to have taken over all the political conversation. As I began to throw my own crazy ideas out there, certain themes started to emerge; those themes?along with what was happening in the world at the time?allowed me to tie everything together.
Along the way I found that on many topics people were very funny, and that was only one of the surprises that emerged. So the book has quite a bit of humor in it, as well. We found out, for example, why Rush Limbaugh should have asked for a bigger loan from God, and why Aristotle was never invited to any of the really cool parties.
Your other work:
Do you have any upcoming projects in the works or other books that have been published?
This is my only book to date, but I do have another project in the works.
In establishing my own publishing company for Chasing Glenn Beck, I came to the realization that there were many other talented writers out there looking for an opportunity. So I decided to use my new company, Riddle Brook Publishing, as a vehicle for that. I?ve just signed a wonderful writer from New Hampshire who is writing about her experiences raising an autistic son. She has a wonderfully unique take on the topic. We expect her book to come out through my company at the end of this year.
Where can readers connect with you?
Where can we buy your books?
The book can be ordered at any bookstore (and found in some of them), and online the book is in all the usual places: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. You can get the book both in trade paperback and electronically. Please note, though: don?t skip the footnotes! That?s where most of the humor ended up!
Website: Blog: www.chasingglennbeck.com ; www.riddlebrookpublishing.com
Barnes and Noble