Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lessons Learned on the Way to the Top: A Q&A with Christopher Cloud and Book Giveaway

Christopher Cloud is the author of the YA novel “Voices of the Locusts.” The Musing of a Book Addict caught up Cloud and he shares his lessons learned on the way to the top. 

About Voices of the Locusts
Sixteen-year old Jack O’Brien has never known the bittersweet stint of love, and romance is the farthest thing from his mind as he and his family arrives at a remote U.S. Air Force outpost in Japan where Jack’s father is base commander. The year is 1948. Jack’s life changes after a chance encounter with Fujiko Kobaysi, a beautiful and enchanting 17-year-old Japanese girl. Jack is immediately smitten.
Fujiko’s traditional parents are overly protective and monitor her every move, and Jack and Fujiko meet secretly at her garden, located some distance from her village. There is a good reason why Fujiko’s parents are so protective and Jack is devastated when Fujiko tells him that her parents have promised her in marriage to an older man, a practice common throughout Asia at the time. The marriage is only a months away. Jack devises a cunning plan, one that will overshadow her arranged marriage and bring Fujiko and him together.
Playing against a backdrop of swirling post-War social change, Voices of the Locusts tells the story of three families – one black, one white, one Asian. Told in Jack’s voice in vivid and sometimes haunting detail, Jack and Fujiko are frustrated in their romantic quest by story characters coming to terms (often violently) with the emotional scars of World War II.

Book Excerpt
            A flutter of panic races through my body. It is instantly replaced by a sweep of joy, and a strange, unnatural lucidity overcomes me.
            Fujiko and I hesitate for what seems a small eternity, our eyes locked in a moment of mutual understanding. Finally, I lean in toward Fujiko and she leans in toward me. Our eyes close and our mouths touch in a whisper-soft kiss, a brief, gentle brush of lips.
            I pull back slowly, my heart racing, my head alive with all manner of strange, warm images. This must all be a dream. A wonderful, glorious dream. I don’t want to ever wake up.
On Writing:
Q:  What motivated you to write the book?
I have carried this story in my head for 30 years. It was not until I reached my mid-60s did I have the discipline to sit down and piece the story together. Writing requires Himalayan dedication, but I was never able to demonstrate this personal commitment until late in my life. Much of my story is based upon personal experience.   
Q:  What is the single most useful thing you have learned and how has it helped you as a writer.
I am constantly amazed at the volume of copy I can produce if I dedicate three or four hours each day to writing. Working seven days a week, I wrote the first draft of “Voices of the Locusts” in about two months.

Q:  What would you say are your main literary influences?
All of my novels are multi-cultural: Native Americans, Latinos, and Asians assume pivotal roles in each of my novels. I would hope that each novel provides the reader with the knowledge that although we are all different—our language is different, as are our looks and cultures—there is a common thread of humanity that runs through all of us.

About Christopher Cloud

            Christopher Cloud began writing fiction full time after a long career in journalism and public relations. “Voices of the Locusts” is his fourth novel. A multi-genre author, Cloud’s  choice of novels to write is determined not by genre, but by the weight of the story. Cloud graduated from the University of Missouri in 1967 with a degree in journalism. He has worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist at newspapers in Texas, California, and Missouri. He was employed by a Fortune 100 company as a public relations executive, and later operated his own public relations agency. Cloud attended high school in Japan, and much of his “Voices of the Locusts” is based on personal experience. Cloud lives in Joplin, Missouri

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