Interview with C.E. Medford

What is your writing process?
Writing is my passion but in this instance I treat it as my job. I write, pretty much no matter what. As in, I have fewer sick days from writing than I have from any traditional 9-5 job. I don't believe in waiting for inspiration. I think writing is like playing an instrument - you practice on good and bad days. You keep your skills up so that you are ready when the big ideas come.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee because it captures the best and worst of humanity at a potent point in American history
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson because no one can create psychological tension like Jackson
Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote because it's as Southern Gothic as can be and because it never shirks the darkness of growing up
Beloved by Toni Morrison because it is unrelentingly beautiful, unrelentingly sad and gives the reader no place to hide
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley because it explodes one of the archetypal myths of an American childhood: that of the heroic farmer.
What do you read for pleasure?
I'm a closet fan of the female amateur detective. For this I blame my mother and Nancy Drew.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Asking readers for feedback. And letting people know how they can help: Amazon reviews, Goodreads reviews, posting on social media sites. If you've read a book and liked it, you can do an author a world of good with a few clicks.
How do you approach cover design?
The cover image needs to 'feel' the same as the story. And I have to find it beautiful.
Describe your desk
It's a big glass-topped table with a mission-style lamp, a clock my father built and lots of books about witches, saints and poison.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote my first story when I was seven; 'How the Leopard Got His Spots'. It was effortless. It made me happy. It's no longer effortless, but it still makes me happy.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Whitestone, Queens. Summer storms, blackouts, playgrounds built by the WPA, stickball, Saturday Night Fever, cicadas, Mimosa trees, sidewalk hopscotch, lightning bugs, a night sky full of stars and airplanes, conflict and competition - these things have all made their way into my writing. A city is so full of the real that an imaginative child has plenty of opportunity to develop her tendency to escape into her own thoughts. I moved to New Jersey when I was ten. That was when my relationship with the woods began. That's when I first saw deer. I wouldn't be the same person without the urban, the suburban, and the rural influences in my upbringing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Like my protagonist Hope, I spent my teenage years in Lawrenceville, a township that stretches from Trenton to Princeton. I began writing stories based on that time, which were memoir. Eventually I found I couldn't do justice to the real situations undergone by myself and the people I met without spilling into figurative language. That for me was the beginning of the magical realism. One day I realized I had to let the psychological monsters be real.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Watching a world take shape that wouldn't exist without me.
What do your fans mean to you?
Nothing feels as good as hearing that someone loved you book, was immersed in it, carried somewhere new. I love it when a reader describes having empathy for characters they might not have if they met them in real life. This is one of the most important functions of reading - broadening our compassion by allowing someone a 360 degree view of a stranger, even a fictitious one. A book marches out into the world with the hope of changing things, bringing enjoyment or understanding. The reader is 50% of that interaction. I couldn't do what I do without them.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
When your book continues to get lots of very good feedback from people who then say they can't figure out how to sell it because it doesn't fit into neat enough categories, you sell it yourself.
What are you working on next?
A series about witches.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Being alive is about getting out of bed each day. It's part of the contract. Get up, get to the next right thing you need to do, and move your life one day closer to your dreams. I'm a fighter. Nothing much is going to happen from my bed. I get up because life is a chance, one that doesn't last forever. While I'm here, I'm going to shine. I'm going to move. I'm going to leave something that says I appreciated the time that was given to me.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Feeling like I should be writing, which is pretty much what writers do.
Published 2014-07-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Magic America : Coming of Age in an Altered State
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 72,440. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age, Fiction » Urban
A magical realism, coming of age story with the grit of an urban novel and the color of an underground comic book. Prepare to laugh and cry while holding on to this magic carpet ride of a book with both hands. Experience enduring love, feisty hope and the power of a rampant imagination as these unforgettable characters band together to close down the chemical factory that's ruining their world.