Getting To Know Our New Literary YA Fiction Author

Join us as we chat with author Craig Terlson, the newest member of the Blue Moon Publishers family, about his writing and upcoming literary YA novel Fall In One Day!

Have you always wanted to be a writer? 

Even though I ended up with a career as an illustrator, and then later, graphic designer, my earliest memory as a kid was wanting to be an “author” (which is what I called it – because, anybody could write, right?). As a kid, I was a voracious reader, even plowing through the World Book Encyclopedia, which impressed my parents and annoyed my sisters. I always figure if you read enough books, eventually you will want to write them.

What inspired you to begin writing Fall In One Day? Did you draw from personal experiences? 

In the 1980s I worked in the hospital where LSD testing was first experimented with in the 1950s. Growing up in the same city, I’d always heard the tales of alternative treatments for addictions and psychiatric patients, but I never knew the full story.

Years later, as I read about the history of LSD therapy, I was amazed at the fascinating connections that all led back to my hometown. I combined this history with my own memories of growing up in the 1970’s in a small Canadian city. We were TV kids, being amongst the first to get U.S. television stations because of our proximity to the border. I still remember watching Watergate, and wondering what the hell was going on down there.

These experiences wove together to form Fall In One Day.

Can you describe your revision and/or editorial process?

I do ascribe to the Stephen King adage of writing the first draft with the door closed (from On Writing). But once I have the shape of something, I am a huge believer in beta-readers and editors to help me see the things I missed. As I gather comments, and my own insights from leaving the manuscript rest for a while, I begin to revise by asking two main questions: “Why?” and “Is this true?” For something like a novel, that’s a lot of questioning. I also don’t do a chronological edit, page by page, until much later. Instead I jump around to different parts, and try to deal with the various problems that emerge. Sometimes, like with Fall In One Day, I need to put a book away for a couple of years before I can really come back to it with fresh insight.

From where do you draw your inspiration for your vivid characters?

My characters are definitely born from people I know, but then they go through an amalgamation process and develop into someone altogether original. And then once in a while, characters drop from the sky as complete gift. Mostly Harold in Surf City was like that, as was Lawrence in Correction Line. I don’t know where they came from, but both kept trying to take over the novel they appeared in.

What have you learned through your writing?

As an illustrator, I used to say if you really wanted to learn about something, then draw it. I see this even more as a writer. It’s an updated, and more accurate, version of the “write what you know” adage—I believe it is “write what you’d like to know.” I learned a lot while writing Fall In One Day, not just about the 1970s, Watergate, and the history of LSD. I learned a lot about how we search for answers, and try to find out what is true and what is false in our lives, our families, our experiences.

Great stories teach us about ourselves, and in my writing I get a window into who I am more than almost anything else I do. It may seem a tad esoteric, but my writing has taken me to places of great emotion and insight, for which I am truly grateful.

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