Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with the characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you Erik Therme!
When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering for his oldest daughter’s volleyball team, or chilling on the PlayStation 3 with his twelve-year-old. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only seven places in the world, UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.
Without further ado, here is Erik’s interview…
I love reading the bios of authors. Many of them did not start out as writers. Sometimes people stumble upon the craft. Did you always want to be a writer? I’ve always been blessed with the creative bug. When I was a child, I loved to draw, and everyone thought I would be an artist. When I reached my teens, my interests shifted to music and writing. One of the challenges of being in a band was relying on others to accomplish goals, and I preferred the solidarity of writing. I don’t think anyone was surprised when I quit music and began my first novel.
Why did you choose to write mysteries and thrillers? I believe an author should write the story they feel compelled to tell, regardless of the genre. Mortom began life as a horror story before eventually transmuting into a mystery, whereas my current novel is more action-driven and targeted toward young adults. Part of the joy of writing is being able to follow your imagination wherever it takes you. [I agree.]
What is the strangest subject or topic you’ve ever written? At one point I toyed with the idea of writing a book about a donut shop robbery, told from multiple people’s perspectives. I have no idea how the idea originally came to me, but—upon reflection—it’s probably a good thing the idea was abandoned.
What are you currently working on? Resthaven is about a pack of kids who have a scavenger hunt inside an abandoned retirement home. . . Only to discover they’re not the only ones roaming the hallways. [Sounds intriguing.]
What motivated the plot of your latest book? I have two teenage daughters, and I wanted to write something I thought they’d enjoy. I’m also a big fan of horror movies, and it was a lot of fun to employ a creepy, abandoned building as a backdrop for the story.
What was the hardest story for you to write? I have a half-completed novel about two people trapped inside a cabin in the dead of winter. I’ve returned to it multiple times over the years, but I just can’t seem to make it work. Having only two characters in a confined space is definitely a challenge, and hopefully someday I’ll be talented enough to pull it off. [Looking forward to it.]
What process do you use to plan your novels? It always begins with an idea. If I’m lucky, the idea branches into a scene, and from there—a story. Sometimes that story can be molded into a novel. If that’s the case, I push through the first draft without an outline, but I usually create a timeline and character sketches before the next draft. For the most part I try and let my characters do what they want, and they often surprise me and drive the story in unexpected directions. [Sounds like a pantser to me.]
Who has been your favorite character to write and why? Harlan Shawler (Mortom) is a real dirt bag, which made him extremely fun to write. It’s always a joy to create a character that says and does whatever they want. [I’ll admit it. He was fun to read as well.]
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality? As many writers will freely admit, characters are often ‘thinly disguised versions of themselves.’ The protagonist of Mortom, Andy Crowl, is basically me with all my worst attributes. I never intended to write him as a borderline unlikable character—he just sort of emerged that way. The real version of me is much nicer. I hope. [Me too.]
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? I would imagine that every writer experiences some form of writer’s block at one time or another. For me, writer’s block most commonly takes the form of crappy writing. The only solution is to keep plowing ahead and hope the muse eventually shows its face again.
If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be? I really like books that are infused with quirky characters, and I think I would enjoy writing comedy.
Which authors inspire you? I’ve always been drawn to Stephen King. [It shows.] He’s a brilliant storyteller and an incredible curator of characters. If I’m stuck or uninspired I grab some King, leaf through a few pages, and I’m off and running again. I also really enjoy the work of Alden Bell, who wrote the brilliant novel The Reapers Are the Angels. It’s a tasty bit of literary fiction, set in a post-apocalyptic world of zombies.
What novel would you read multiple times? I’ve read Catcher in the Rye too many times to count, and I never tire of reading The Stand.
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? I think it would be a blast to meet Jackie Chan. I’ve enjoyed his movies for years, and I think it would be a lot of fun to be on set, watching him work.
What is your favorite quote? “Worry does nothing but steal your joy and keep you very busy doing nothing.” (Unknown)
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary? As a writer, I appreciate the solidarity nature of cats!
What is your favorite color? It’s a tie between charcoal gray, dark gray, or ash gray.
When Erik’s not writing, you can find him working as a manager of a small office. Catch up with him online at…
Thank you Erik for participating in my Author Spotlight! It was such a pleasure getting to know you.
Join me next week as I feature Lynn Lovegreen!