About Charles Harned:
I graduated from Clemson University and have lived in the southeastern United States my entire life. I've written eight novels with one, A Day in Fall, available worldwide. I'm a huge sports fan and love running, kayaking, and painting in my free time. In 2016 the Southeastern Writers Association awarded me a fiction writing scholarship at their summer conference.
What inspires you to write?
I've loved reading for as long as I can remember because of the new ideas, the escapism, and the way it makes me feel. I think it boils down to the fact that I started coming up with book ideas that nobody else had done, and I felt compelled to write them. The ideas drive me, and they seem to pile up the more I write.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
Daniel Silva is kind of my gold standard for espionage authors. Carlos Ruiz Zafon is my all-time favorite author – his melancholy and sinister books set in Barcelona are so incredibly poetic. I also love Sidney Sheldon, John Berendt, Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus), and Mikhail Bulgakov. Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita isn't quite as famous as other Russian classics, but I highly recommend reading it.
Tell us about your writing process.
I've become more of an outliner as I've progressed because it 1. Keeps me on target and 2. Helps me to avoid getting blocked, which I think stems primarily from not knowing what should come next. I find a loose outline with some room to maneuver very beneficial (written on paper). I'll sketch out the principal characters (their motivations, background, relationships etc.) and add to those as I go along as well as list some tertiary characters that help drive the plot but don't need as much detailed background. From there it's time to write.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Ideally, I'll be able to see and hear the character in my head – how they speak, what they sound like, etc. This is much easier if they're based at least in part off of people in my life or characters from movies/shows/other books. My characters tend to be amalgamations of several people rolled into one, but anchored to someone that I can hear and see in my head. I try to watch them interact with their counterparts rather than speak to them directly, if that makes sense.
What advice would you give other writers?
I'm going to keep it real here. If I'd known what was coming when I started I'm not sure I could have gone through with this whole writing thing. I thought all I needed to do was write a book and it would get published (and financial stability would follow). Writing eight books before one got picked up by a publisher isn't what aspiring writers want to hear. But that's what I needed.
My advice is to be really sure that this is what you want. Not money, not fame, simply publishing a book for the sake of doing it. It takes tons of perseverance to write one book. Know that that book probably won't see the light of day. If you really want to be a published author, keep going and don't stop. Keep writing, and do the hard, gritty, dirty work to get better. And one day things will work out.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My first instinct was to get an agent and let them get me in the door with the big publishing houses. Easier said then done, and not always the best way to go. I got lucky that an awesome indie publisher wanted to add me to their roster, but the itch to get a book out there in the world had me ready to self-publish before I heard from them.
My mindset is that I'm not a publishing professional, so if I can get my book in the hands of publishing professionals who have both of our best interests at heart, I want to do that.
But at the same time, if you're willing to work hard for success and be patient it can come via self-publishing too.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It's hard to say. The market is flooded with books, which is great as a reader but makes it harder to stand out as an author. The big publishers keep consolidating and that makes it more difficult to get in the door with them. It's probably harder than ever to get a lit agent. To me those factors lend themselves to more indie publishing and self-publishing. And that's perfectly fine! Big advances are drying up, and authors will make their money more on merit (sales) than big expectations they might not be able to fulfill. It's going to make the industry more authentic, and force authors to rely on readers, reviews, and doing the hard work of reaching their target audience to rise to the top.
What genres do you write?: Thriller/Mystery/Crime/Horror
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.