CHARLES DEEMER was raised in Virginia, Texas and Southern California. He began his undergraduate studies at the California Institute of Technology, where he was quarterback of the 0-4 Freshman football team, and finished them at UCLA, where he received his BA (Phi Beta Kappa, Honors English). He has an MFA in Playwriting from the University of Oregon.
Deemer’s play Famililly won the 1997 “Crossing Borders” international new play competition. The public television version of his play Christmas at the Juniper Tavern won an ACE award. Three of his short stories were selected to the “Roll of Honor” in Best American Short Stories. His novel Dead Body In A Small Room was a finalist for ForeWord Magazine’s Mystery of the Year award. His book Seven Plays was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. His other books include Sodom, Gomorrah & Jones, a novel; Kerouac’s Scroll, a novel; In My Old Age, poems; and A Charles Deemer Reader.
Deemer is a pioneer in hyperdrama, a term he is credited with coining. His short memoir Hyperdrama: My Obsession With A New Theater Form shares his enthusiasm for the new dramaturgy.
Deemer is the former editor of Sweet Reason: a journal of ideas, history and culture, former managing editor of Oregon Business magazine, former editor of Oregon Literary Review and former artistic director of Small Screen Video.
Deemer recently began making digital films. His DVDs include Three Short Digital Films, Deconstructing Sally and The Farewell Wake.
Deemer teaches screenwriting at Portland State University.
What inspires you to write?
I no longer need inspiration — been doing this for over half a century. It’s my way of being in the world.
Tell us about your writing process.
It varies from project to project. I’ve learned not to be too hard on myself too early, that the fun comes with rewriting and reworking drafts, not with creating first drafts, so I just muddle through as best I can in the beginning.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
They talk to me all the time. Sometimes when I wish they’d shut up.
What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t take any advice too seriously. In the final analysis all you have is your individual way of looking at human experience — you can learn craft things but the nuts and bolts come out of your vision of the world, this is what will make your stories interesting or not. You have to keep your individual vision. Author comes from AUTHORITY. Don’t let anyone else define success for you. Be your own best fan and your own toughest critic.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had played the traditional game for a long time, primarily as playwright and screenwriter. As I neared retirement, I got tired of collaborating. Digital technology rescued me — I could start doing things my way, period. I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone any more. It was an easy decision.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
There’s too much amateur writing being published. It makes it difficult to find the gems. We need people who find and promote the gems. We need ways to find and define niche audiences. For example, “literary novel” has almost become a pejorative term. In the 1960s when I was in an MFA program, it was a badge of honor.
What genres do you write?
Literary, mystery, suspense, thriller, black humor, and social satire
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print.