Interview with C. Edward Baldwin

What are your five favorite books, and why?
My all time favorites: 1. The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, 2. Salem's Lot by Stephen King 3. Show of Evil by William Diehl, 4. The Firm by John Grisham 5. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. The Scarlett Letter and Salem's Lot are my two all time favorites. I read the Scarlett Letter in 11th grade as part of a class assignment. I was hooked by the surprise twist at the end. And as far as Salem's Lot goes, it was my first King book. I've since read several of his stories and nothing has grabbed me like Salem's Lot.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read and enjoy a lot of different things, different genres. If I'm reading strictly for pleasure I'll read the blurb and check the number of pages. If it sounds exciting and is not too long I'm in. I'll know from the first chapter if it's going to be pleasurable for me. If it's fast moving, that's my ticket. So fast moving, medium-sized books are my thing. I'll read a 700 or more page yarn every now and then; but mostly I'm in the 200 to 400 page market.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Right now I read e-books on my I-Phone. Maybe my wife will surprise me with a Kindle or Nook for Christmas. Hint.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
That's a good question. Since I'm relatively new to independent publishing I can't fully answer the question now as the verdict's still out in terms of sales. But in terms of making myself known as a writer, i.e marketing myself, getting on sites like Goodreads and Library Thing have been very effective. They've allowed me to introduce myself to people who love books and are open to new writers. So my guess is that those types of marketing techniques will prove to be most effective in the long run. I'll keep you posted.
Describe your desk
The desktop is worn, not because it's particularly old or anything. I don't really know why the paint's peeling on the thing. I have a printer, my laptop and a Mitey Mite championship trophy sitting atop it. I coach a 7 and 8 year old football team and we won the city championship for the second year in a row. Very proud of that. There's also some notebooks and scraps of paper jockeying for position atop the desk as well.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Lumberton, North Carolina. It's a small town, so I guess the biggest influence would be in my voice. Certain elements in my writing can be kind of folksy in spots and that's definitely related to my upbringing in a small town. I've since lived in places like Miami, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia, so voices from those places have a tendency of popping up as well.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I read a story about a city where the police officers were doctoring the books, misleading the public about the number of arrests made. It made the city look as if it had a significant decrease in the number of violent crimes. So, I thought what if a city worked hand in hand with the criminals. In other words, I'll let you get away with a few crimes if you stay out of certain areas and maybe snitch on some other outfits. I'll make some arrests, you can make some money. One hand washes the other. In essence that city would appear safe on the surface; but there would be a sea of badness underneath it. So, that was the basis behind my debut novel Fathers House. The other elements came into play after I started writing. Since I, like most of us have some Father issues, that was naturally going to be an element in the story.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has made e-publishing so much easier, allowing me to place my work in so many different retailers is invaluable. It's so good to tell people that you can find my novel at Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, just about anywhere e-books are sold.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is when I write a sentence or paragraph that sounds good to me. When you write a long form story, such as a novel, a lot of it is grinding. You're trying to tell a story and sometimes "It ain't pretty" in the creation process. But every so often you write a sentence or a paragraph that just flows and it looks and sounds good. Whenever I create one of those sentences or paragraphs, I tend to read it over and over, probably a bit too long. But it's those sentences that push me through the completion of the project.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a project, tentatively titled, Rememberers. In a way, I've been working on this story in my mind for about 19 years. I won't say a great deal about it now; but I will say it tends toward science fiction and I will add that I'm very excited about it. I can't wait to get it in front of others.
Who are your favorite authors?
Currently I would say Grisham, William Diehl, Dean Koontz and I'm a huge fan of King's, particularly his earlier works like Salem's Lot and The Stand.
I notice that you didn't mention E.M. Forester. I recall a past interview where you appeared to rave about the author.
Forster is a great author. What I said in the interview that you mention is that any writer, particularly a beginning writer, who wishes to understand characterization and plotting and how characterization can drive plotting should read Forster's Howards End. That book's plot in my opinion was definitely character-driven. And one thing begat another thing which begat another thing. Just terrific cause and effect driven by the characters. It's what I attempted to imitate in Fathers House. Nothing in Fathers House happens by chance. One thing causes something which causes something else. Each character responds to the different events according to how he is as a character. Howards End was perfect in that way. Fathers House may not be in the same league; but it's differently a student of that book despite the fact that it's a completely different genre. But good characters and plotting aren't confined to a particular genre.
What are your interests outside of writing and books?
I used to be a gamer. I say used to because my son is now of the age where he's into video games too. So, he has kind of taken over our gaming console. But I still like to read about video games and game systems. I haven't weighed in on the whole PS4 vs Xbox one debate at this time. I do have a Xbox 360. My brother has the PS3. So I'm very familiar with both console families. I tend to research what's going on in Asia since it seems they sometimes get some titles before the States. Right now the rage seems to be about a game called MMORPG Frontier. An Engilsh version of the game, Aura Kingdom, is set to launch here in the states soon.So, maybe I'll get a chance to play that before my son takes over.
Do you see a connection between video games and books?
Definitely. Obviously, there are imagined worlds in each. Both forms attempt to invite a user, be it a gamer or a reader into this imagined world. And each user's experience is unique to him or her. When I play video games I tend to lose myself in the game. I love video games with lush and vivid surroundings. I try to do with words what video game designers do with images. That's why I was particularly pleased when the Kirkus Review for Fathers House mentioned the "striking imagery" in the book. Because there was definitely a conscious effort on my part to create that.
Do you wish to weigh in on any of today's controversial topics--Obamacare or Duck Dynasty?
Not really. And not because I'm afraid of any particular issue or that I don't have a take on a particular issue. But really as a writer I want to take people away from their day to day concerns. I want them immersed in a different world for however long they decide to spend time with a story I created. I don't want them thinking about my thoughts on any particular issue, whether they agree with them or not. When they're reading Fathers House. I want them concerned about the protagonist's Ben Lovison's plight. Not whether or not C. Edward Baldwin is for or against Obamacare or agrees or doesn't agree with Pat Robertson.
One of the young characters in Fathers House is a rapper. Was there a particular reason for that?
If you asking if I'm a fan of rap music, the answer is yes. I've loved rap music since forever. So, I did want to include something about it in Fathers House. But that storyline also fits with my take on the dreams and plights of urban kids. Why they make some of the decisions that they do. I think oftentimes we read headlines and come up with our own assumptions about kids. And I won't make excuses for any kid who runs afoul of the law. But what I will say is that every kid you read about has a story and a reason behind what he or she has done or has been accused of doing.
Published 2013-12-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Fathers House: A Preview
Price: Free! Words: 27,240. Language: English. Published: May 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Literature » Literary
A Preview of the critically acclaimed Fathers House. When a young teen is fatally beaten in an abandoned schoolyard, assistant district attorney Ben Lovison is assigned the case of prosecuting the alleged perpetrator, a seventeen year old wannabe rapper and current resident of Lovison's childhood home, Fathers House.