C.C. ADAMS Q&A
A short interview with super talented horror writer, C.C. Adams
QUESTION 1: What or who inspired you to be a writer?
C.C. ADAMS: I guess there are a number of things that led to me being a writer. Probably the one that had the most impact was doing the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge back in 2009 – and beating the challenge quite comfortably. That’s when I thought, ‘there might be something here.’ So, I’ve been running with it ever since.
QUESTION 2: What do you like most about writing?
C.C. ADAMS: Wowing the audience. Not just writing something but crafting it; all the nuance and flourish of plot, pace, scenes – all that good stuff. And to have that work move people, unnerve people, make their skin crawl, scare the shit outta them? To have an audience tell you those kinds of things is as much gratifying as it is humbling.
QUESTION 3: What writing projects are you working on?
C.C. ADAMS: There’s at least one novel that needs an overhaul before I get another round of beta readers on board. There’s at least one novella that needs an overhaul. Currently, I’m up to the armpits in the latest project – that and working on a short story or two.
Because publishing can be a slow-moving creature at the best of times, I’m mindful to keep working. And I had the conversation only today, in fact. The audience at large will only see the tip of the iceberg. But beneath the surface; the work and coordination that begat the iceberg in the first place? Now, there’s the rub.
QUESTION 4: What other writers would you compare your style to?
C.C. ADAMS: You know, I’m glad you ask this one because it’s not something I buy into. Now, my audience can compare me to whoever they want if it pleases them – but that's not what I’m going to do. I do my level best to create a body of work that speaks to me and has my stamp on it; nothing like anyone else’s.
As for how I describe the style of that work. Very much modern, mostly set against the backdrop of the capital (London), and with a sense of eerie and insidious menace. Yes, there's violence, gore, death, grief, and such in places; but that sense of eerie is mostly what speaks to me. That and the quiet moments, where characters spend time in their own heads and their actions or inaction – and the ramifications – really start to weigh on them.
QUESTION 5: What is your writing process?
C.C. ADAMS: Generally, I start with the elevator pitch – summarising the story in one sentence – and the ending. When I have the ending in mind, I know what I'm actually writing toward.
Then comes outlining and research. The longer the story, the more outlining and research it needs. That said, the outline isn't set in stone, so there’s wiggle room to improvise. Once a first draft is down, I’ll do basic clean-up of grammar and typos before passing it to beta readers. I’ll aim for at least two rounds of beta, with me tightening up the draft as per beta feedback – kind of like distillation of vodka. Once I have the strongest blend of story I want to tell, then it’s shopped to a publisher.
As for getting the words on the page? Yes, I appear to have a reputation as dedicated/prolific, but I’m not slavish to it. The days when I write, I'll aim for at least 1000 words a day. That says nothing of how quick I write, what I write, what I do as I write (e.g. leave edit notes), etc.
QUESTION 6: What's your favourite book of all time?
C.C. ADAMS: Ah, I couldn’t pick just one. I can pick some favourites, plural. Jurassic Park, and Timeline, by Michael Crichton. The Rising, by Brian Keene. Thor, by Wayne Smith. Incubus, by Joe Donnelly. Practical Demonkeeping, by Christopher Moore. Just to name a few.
QUESTION 7: Who is your favourite writer and why?
C.C. ADAMS: Same as the last question; I couldn't pick just one.
QUESTION 8: Where do you see your writing in five years’ time?
C.C. ADAMS: Definitely more work in the marketplace, for one thing. I do think that there’ll come a point where a particular work will land with audiences who’d then say, “CC Adams? I need to see what else he’s done,” and there’ll be a surge of followers.
I’m humbled and grateful for the audience thus far, but it’s hardly enough to retire on. But the bottom line is about getting work out there that moves the crowd, as Rakim would say. As long as I’m putting in work and getting product out there, the rest will come.
QUESTION 9: Tell us a little something about yourself?
C.C. ADAMS: Londoner. Born and raised in the capital and proud of. Seasoned weight trainer; not known to skip leg day; yes, I squat. Religiously. Regular exercise is weights, walking, running, some kung fu once in a while. Years since I’ve been in class, let alone had a decent sparring session. Foodie. Cook, baker, bass player. Wearer of Timberlands. Spider-Man fan.
QUESTION 10: If you weren’t a writer, what career would you have loved and why?
CC ADAMS: When I was a kid, I wanted to be an actor. Looking back on it, what was sad was that I had the desire, but I didn’t have the plan. Not one scrap of thought given to how to make it happen – just that I wanted it to happen. I was so not ready.
At least with being an author, I have a plan.
QUESTION 11: What one, key writing tip would you share?
CC ADAMS: The writing is the bottom line. Forget all the ‘he say, she say’ foolishness and sniping in the genre, along with the arguments, and the questionable; from authors to publishers and beyond. Focus on you and your craft; grow and elevate them. As long as you’re writing diligently and expressing your truth, the audience and accolades will come.
QUESTION 12: What would you say to educate or inspire new writers?
CC ADAMS: Three words: Do. Not. Fold.