There are so many writers that have both a great desire and ambition to write a novel. How many of us actually do? More importantly, how many writers have the guts and ambition to get their stories out into the world? Christine Makepeace, an Austin based writer, has recently done both of these “bucket list” activities.
Christine's superbly written debut novel, Wake Up, Maggie, works both as a gothic horror novel and a deep character study of a troubled protagonist. Christine took some time off her busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Dusty: Christine Makepeace, who are you in a few short sentences?
Christine: I’m a libra. I enjoy movies, books, TV, media in general.I like chocolate and baby carrots. But not together. And I wrote a book. (Nice segue, huh?)
Dusty: What are some of your formative literary experiences? Favorite books?
Christine: I can honestly say my first memorable literary experience was getting in trouble in school for rushing through my work to read. What a weird kid! Really though, I was insatiable. I felt like this whole world was on pause until I could get back and press play again. I was a Christopher Pike gal growing up. Anne Rice. Stephen King. I dug the dark stuff. Older me still digs Pike. Bradbury and Matheson have been favorites. Shirley Jackson was a life changer. And comics.
Dusty: Moments that made you want to grow up to be a writer?
Christine: I don’t know if there are any moments that made me want to be, but there were thing that reaffirmed the desire. I just always loved telling stories and manipulating language. Writing makes me feel like a whole person. It’s euphoric.
Dusty: Tell us a bit about your background as a writer. What sorts of projects have you worked on which paved the way to your novel?
Christine: I dabbled in fiction when I was a teenager. Just goofy referential stuff mostly. I fell out of it for a while in my early twenties. And then my fires got stoked by film! And I started devouring essays and reviews and decided that I wanted to do that! And I was able to with Paracinema magazine for 5 years. It was fan fiction that really pushed me towards writing a book.
Dusty: You recently published your first novel; Wake Up, Maggie. Would you give us a short pitch?
Christine: Wake Up, Maggie is the story of a woman in a new home, and a new city, dealing with her past ghosts.It’s more of a character piece than anything else.
Dusty: Would you like to tell us a bit about your process for writing Wake Up, Maggie? Did you have a set schedule? Did you use any kind of outline, or did you just sit down and “go for it?”
I just went for it. I kind of had an outline for where I wanted it to go, but nothing was set in stone. I would sit down and write until I was finished. It was a very organic process. One I hope I’m able to replicate!
Dusty: What is your ideal audience for the book? Who would the book appeal the most?
I hope the answer to this is “lots of people!” I think the book has a couple different tones. It’s spooky and sarcastic and pop culture refereney. So I hope it has something for many different brands of readers.
Dusty: You have made the decision to self publish via the Kindle Store. What was the impetus for that decision?
Christine: No one else wanted to! I kid (sort of). I solicited indie publishers and agents to no avail. So, as with many things in my life, I got impatient and decided to do it myself.
Dusty: For those of us who don’t know; What is the process for publishing a book through Amazon?
Christine: It’s actually pretty simple. My main hurdle was getting the document formatted correctly. There are some quirks. Over all though, it was painless.
Dusty: This is probably on obvious question; However, what is your “PR” plan? How are you planning on getting the novel out there?
Christine: PR plan? You mean crossed fingers and good intentions, right? I’m anticipating a few reviews, and those should materialize in early 2015. I’m hoping to get some kind of presence on Amazon and hopefully get some traction that way. But no real hard-target plan.
Dusty: Full Disclosure: We know each other through an internet community which is mainly fixated on film. So I probably know the answer to this. Are there other projects you would like to promote?
Christine: Not really! I could start listing other people’s podcasts. Oh wait! I have a podcast. It’s called The Feminine Critique. You can find it on iTunes and junk.
Dusty: Similar to above; What sorts of movies are you into?
Christine: Horror is my main squeeze. But I’m pretty open. I tend to lean towards darker material, but that doesn’t guide all my choices. Hitchcock and De Palma are my favs.
Dusty: The question every writer dreads; What’s next?
Christine: I want to put out a book of short fiction, and then I don’t know! Hopefully something awesome.