Interview with Pierre C Arseneault

What's the inspiration behind your newest book?
My last publication was Oakwood Island which was written in collaboration with Angella Cormier. The inspiration for this book came solely from said collaborative partner. In the early days of our friendship, our love of stories and interest in telling some of our own eventually led Angella to create Oakwood Island and some of its cast. She created a series of events in three finely crafted short stories that were deliciously intertwined. Once I read them, I was hooked and after many conversations we joined forces, grew the cast of characters and weaved this into the novel that it is today. Working with someone else is a treat in itself but having them trust you with their creation is amazing and something I’m very proud of.
What are you working on next?
My next book to be published will be my first solo novel and a departure from my usual darker stories. Of course it’s a murder mystery which starts with a body being found; and while the book doesn’t bode well for the entire cast, this story has much levity in its characters and situations. And while this one at the moment is in the hands of my publisher in anticipation of seeing the light of day, I’ve started a new novel which will be a return to my dark side where I will terrorize characters simply because I can. Simply said, I’ve too many ideas and not enough time.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend most of my days in gainful employment to remain fed and out of the cold. In the dark of night and on weekends too, I’m a mild mannered freelance cartoonist publishing cartoon puzzles with deadlines to keep. And with all that said, one can’t be a fan of stories without allocating time to the consumption of books and movies, but I’d rather be writing.
What is your writing process?
I was once asked if I was a pantser or a plotter and in all honesty I’ve yet to figure out if I am solely one or the other. Depending on the story we’re discussing, I’ve done both. While working in collaboration, we have to be plotters. It wouldn’t work for us otherwise. But while working on some of my past short stories I’ve been a pantser; starting with an idea and perhaps a planned ending and simply writing out the story. My first solo novel which will remain unnamed for now is a combination of both. I wrote a third of the novel as a pantser but then had to plot out the balance in loose detail before continuing to write. And with that said, I’m testing out that method with my newest work as well. And I believe that a writer should never settle on being one thing. A writer should always be looking to stretch his or her legs and try something new.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The answer to this is no. I don’t recall the first story I ever read although in my youth I did gravitate towards graphic novels and comic books. I was a fan of the fantasy elements and read a lot of Conan the Barbarian comics. With that said, life sometimes gets too crazy to make time for simple pleasures and so I truly rediscovered my love of reading again later on when I picked up a Stephen King book and found that now I preferred present day fiction. So to look back on my youth, my early reading would have influenced my desire to be an illustrator and cartoonist more than my desire to write: although my love of a great story has always been there.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Five is a pretty big number as I would have to dig deep to list so many and they simply wouldn’t be sincere as there are too many great books out there. So instead I will list two and explain the reasons why picking two is much easier than five. Whenever I’m asked what my favourite book is, I can never just pick one because I really do have two and for very different reasons. My favourite story (so far) is The Green Mile by Stephen King. As a movie buff, I first discovered this story via VHS; and that means Video Home System to all you young people out there who are not familiar with the acronym. With the help of performances from Tom Hanks, David Morse, Michael Clark Duncan and many others; I fell in love with the characters and the story they had to tell. And while it’s hard to imagine at this time in our lives, I didn’t have the internet at my fingertips so had no way of knowing that this movie that I loved was based on a novel. I had no way of knowing this tale was from the same man who was behind some of my favourite movies such as Needful Things, The Shinning, Misery, Thinner and The Night Flyer. But eventually I did learn this and so eventually read the book. And to this day, I can’t think of Paul Edgecomb without seeing Tom Hanks’ face. This is by far, my all time favourite story in both movie and book form.
As for favourite experience reading, I have to again turn to Stephen King and thank him for the massive tale of a town called Chester’s Mill in Under the Dome. The immense cast and the turmoil they endured while trapped under the mysterious dome kept me enthralled and I couldn’t put it down. I’m not one of those people who can read a book in two days but I found myself with book in hand more often than not as I needed to know what happened next. If I was to say that any book had perhaps influenced my writing, this would be the one. The massive tale of all these characters is one that I will never forget. And to you out there who’ve never read the book but did watch the television show, do yourself a favour and read the book. You may not end up feeling as deeply as I do about it but I’m pretty sure you’ll never forget the experience of reading this one.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the small town of Rogersville, New Brunswick in eastern Canada which had no book stores but many places that sold comic books. The closest book store was a half-hour drive away at best and as a kid with a bicycle that posed a challenge. But with that said, growing up in a small town has engrained in me a deep love for all small communities. Those who know me well will know that there is nothing I find more charming than a small town, friendly folk and mom and pop restaurants. Many of my tales will be set in smaller fictional communities as they often want to become one of the characters instead of just a setting.
When did you first start writing?
When I turned 40, I found myself thinking about something I had always wanted to do which was to tell stories. I began taking notes and planning some short stories to start with and soon confirmed what I already knew. The ideas flowed easily for me but writing wasn’t something that flowed quite as well. Stories ideas were like water in a stream while the writing was molasses on a cold winter’s day. I’ll be the first to tell you that my word crafting will never be the best you’ve ever read but I do ask that you let me tell you a story from time to time. But with that said, I dedicated my very first short story anthology called Sleepless Nights to my friend Angella (Jacob) Cormier because she truly did teach me a few things about writing. She helped me find the springboard and inadvertently gave me what I needed to jump right into a pool of words.
Who are your favorite authors?
There was a time when I would have spoken of Robert E. Howard as I was a fan of fantasy but now as an older man, without a doubt I’m a fan of Stephen King and the immense body of work he has accomplished. People who call him a horror writer only have simply never read enough of his works. And while there are other great writers out there such as Steve Thayer for example (read The Wheat Field… trust me), I feel there are too many to discover them all but it sure is fun to try.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Of course the thrill of seeing a work come to fruition is a true joy. To see the book out there and hold a copy in your hand is fantastic. But with that said, the best part for me is the work itself. Developing characters, settings and plots is something that can’t be compared to anything else I’ve ever done in my entire life.
Published 2017-03-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Oakwood Island
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 71,040. Language: Canadian English. Published: August 23, 2016 by Artemesia Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural, Fiction » Horror » Ghost
Mysterious things are lurking on Oakwood Island. A young woman shows up at the police station with an unbelievable story of being kidnapped and suffering from a mysterious illness that baffles her doctors. More residents of the island fall victim to the strange disturbances on the island. Some locals hold he answers, but will they be able to save their neighbours, and better yet, do they want to?